Friday, September 23, 2022

ARCS - Need more data storage?

More than the other Oracle Cloud EPM applications, Account Reconciliation ("ARCS") has the most need for file attachments. For each recon, there could very will be a requirement to upload a bank statement or other supporting documentation. If these are stored in the regular EPM database, it can quickly use all of the available space, make snapshots larger (since the attachments are included), increase the time to clone production to test, etc.

Fortunately, Oracle has thought about this and has a solution ready. Instead of storing the attachments within the ARCS environment, attachments can be stored in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Object Storage. Basically (and I'm sure that I'm oversimplifying this) it's like having on steroids. The easy part of this is that the product is built to use it, so once it is configured the users do nothing different and have the same experience.

To enable, go into System Settings and on the left click Object Storage. Provide the URL, ID, and password and click Validate and Save.

Once enabled, a migration process moves existing attachments to the object storage. Any new attachments automatically go there. The bottom part of the screen above, Attachments and References, provides information about the items in Object Storage.

Another benefit of switching to OCI Object Storage is that the administrator can choose to increase the maximum file attachment size from 20MB to 100MB.

In case you're wondering, yes, there is a cost. The cost is US$0.0255 per GB per month. So 150GB of storage would cost $45.90 per year.

If attachments are not a huge part of account recs, then this probably isn't needed. But if attachments are a way of life, then this option should be considered.

Here is the pricing link for details:

Here is the link in the help regarding setup:

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Consolidation Dimension, DSO, and Solve Order

With FCC the change to DSO (where the movement and period dimensions are dense) really speeds everything up. One area that has still seemed slow involves QTD and YTD reporting. The fix for this is to adjust the solve order for the consolidation dimension. All of the dynamic parents should have a solve order of 51 (not 50 or 52 but 51).

This change is scheduled to be pushed to the pods with the June 2022 update.

In case you think I have a crystal ball or a hotline direct to the development team, you're right, I do. But actually I found out about this on a cloud customer connect post to the FCC forum. So even if you don't have a question to post, there are still benefits to following the forum and finding out what others are saying.

By the way, here's the original cloud customer connect post. See the bottom of the responses for the details.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Provide Feedback Not Working with 22.04

When there is an issue with Oracle EPM Cloud, one of the steps to work with Oracle support is to use the the provide feedback process to generate a UDR for the environment (which basically lets Oracle support look at the snapshot). But what if that doesn't work? What do you do?

With the 22.04 release, we found out. Users go through the steps, get to the window below, type in whatever or highlight parts of the screen, and then click Submit. What should happen is a confirmation window pops up with the option to allow the snapshot access and the final submit button. But for some users, the process would stop and go no further - no error, no message, no anything. 

It turns out that 22.04 has an issue with provide feedback if the environment uses an external URL for the background image. Go to the Appearance screen and check the background image. If the background image is a URL, then remove it. Changing to an uploaded file also solves the problem. Click Save and now provide feedback will work.

Obviously this is being worked on and should be addressed soon.

UPDATE: I heard via Oracle support that this will be addressed in the May 2022 release.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Using EPM Reporting Books with Smart View - Part 2

The previous blog post described the new Smart View extension to bring Oracle EPM Cloud books into Microsoft Excel using Smart View and walked through the installation steps. Please refer to that post before proceeding with the below.

This post will walk through how to use the extension to work with books. This new capability works with FCC, Planning/EPBCS, Tax Reporting, and Narrative Reporting. Note the books must be new Reporting books and not the old Financial Reporting books. Just another reason to migrate from FR. 

Connect to the application using the Smart View panel and click on the application ID. At the bottom of the screen a new item called Launch EPM Books Home will appear. If this does not show, click More>> and see if it is listed there. If not, then go back to the previous blog post and check the extension installation.

Once opened the extension will list the available books. The lower half of the screen is the job console. This section will be used after running a book.

Clicking the info bubble to the left of a book will show a few facts about the book.

Click the Run icon to the left of a book to run it. Running the book will show as a job at the bottom panel. Click Refresh as needed until the processing is complete. There are also tool buttons to remove a single job or all jobs from the display.

When the processing is completed, click the download icon in the Status column to download. Click Yes if prompted to open the workbook.

The table of contents will be shown on the first tab. The reports will show on subsequent tabs. The table of contents lists the reports with clickable links to the right (not shown below) to each tab.

Going to the other tabs will show the different pages. In my early testing the rows and columns of the report grid are parsed correctly into cells. The report header (not shown below) comes in as a graphic instead of text into cells. The reports in the books I have do not have footers so would have to assume footers would be treated as a graphic as well.

At this point there is a new "Books" ribbon showing. There are three options: Refresh, Edit POV, and Inspect.

Refresh is self-explanatory. The Inspect option shows the same information as above along with the POV used for the book.

As shown above the book ran for Dec FY19 Periodic. This was my active POV in FCCS (when I ran the report book last through the website it was for Dec FY19 Periodic). The middle option on the ribbon, Edit POV, suggests that the POV can be changed. After clicking it, for each dimension dropdown, there is an option to select. 

When I tried clicking Select..., I got a message that "Member selection not supported." According to the documentation, editing the POV should work. Also, if the user has enabled previewing the report POV in User Preferences on the website, then the POV prompts should appear when initially running the book. The software did correctly identify the dimensions in the POV. The books I'm using have Default as the only member selection in the book POV and are not limiting the members that the user can select. So that may have something to do with it. As I'm working with an early version, I'll assume that this will get cleaned up.

Here is the link to the product documentation.

In conclusion, all of us can finally rejoice that report books can be brought into Microsoft Excel. Again, it requires migrating from Financial Reporting to Reporting and the quick installation of a Smart View extension. Looking forward to using this at clients.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Upcoming Enhancement to Clear Data Profiles

There is a need, sometimes, to clear data. Whether something got loaded wrong or whatever, there is a need. The clear data screen, below, is almost perfect: enter dimension members and then run the clear. There is one thing lacking. If you look closely at this screenshot, you'll notice the period and year dimensions are trying to use substitution variables. Currently, this does not work. You have to specify the period(s) and year(s) being cleared. This requirement makes clearing data somewhat useless in an automated process. 

In case you're wondering, where this ability will be the most helpful with automation is the ability to clear a period before loading new data. Even if the data is loaded in replace mode, if an entity was loaded to the period in the past and is no longer in the data load, then the system does not know to clear the data. By clearing the period first, then this would no longer become an issue.

There is good news. The idea of allowing the use of substitution variables was created on Cloud Customer Connect back in September 2020 and then a duplicate submission was done in March 2022. On April 14, 2022, there was an update to the March idea. "Should be coming in the next few months" was the update. I assume the normal safe harbor statement applies.

This is welcome news and I look forward to using it. And don't think that the substitution variables have to be manually updated. EPM Automate can populate the substitution variables and then run the clear data profile, so this will be a great addition.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Using EPM Reporting Books with Smart View - Part 1

One of the Oracle EPM product features that has been requested for decades - yes, decades - is to bring a report book into Microsoft Excel. With the April 2022 update this can FINALLY be done. Granted, the report book has to be the new Reporting book and not the old Financial Reporting book. But think of it as one more reason to migrate from Financial Reporting to Reporting.

This new feature works for FCC, Planning, Tax Reporting, and Narrative Reporting.

Using the feature requires enabling a new Smart View extension that is being released with the April 2022 update. This blog post will cover how to install the extension. A future blog post will cover how to use it.

To install the extension, go into Microsoft Excel and go to the Smart View ribbon. Click Options and then go to the Extensions panel.

The screen above shows EPM Books already listed but your screen will not. Click the blue "Check for Updates, New Installs, and Uninstalls" link at the bottom. When prompted, select the appropriate environment. Here, I'm using a FCC test environment.

Once the update is done, an item for EPM Books will be shown. Click Install on the right to install the extension. Note that administrator level access to the computer should not be needed for this. 

Once the installation is done, quit Microsoft Excel (the installation process will remind you) and restart. Now, use the Smart View panel to connect to the application. Once the application ID is clicked upon, a new link will show for launching EPM Books. Click More>> if the link does not show.

The next blog post will go through how to use the Smart View extension to bring books into Microsoft Excel.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

FCCS - Parent currency intercompany matching without running translation

So, there is a question that comes up with the intercompany matching report. We load data and consolidate. We have entities with multiple currencies and all of the parent entities are a single currency. Why then is there a need to also run a translation step in order to compare all of the multiple currency entities in the same common currency as all of the parents?

Looking at the intercompany matching report, the solution looks easy. Change the Currency dimension to Parent Currency. It works for regular reports, right? Here's what happens when the report is executed.

You can change the Currency dimension to a reporting currency, but then the translation process is required. If the Currency dimension is left at Entity Currency, then each entity will be compared in its local currency, which is not helpful at all.

So, what can be done?

Create a member in one of the custom dimensions but not under any hierarchy, like a sibling of Total Custom or whatever. Tag it as dynamic calc. Then, create a member formula as shown below.

This formula pulls the parent currency data of the top level custom dimension member into entity currency for this calculated member. Change "Total Custom" to be the top of the hierarchy.

Last, in the intercompany matching report setup, use this calculated member for that custom dimension and set the Currency dimension in the POV to Entity Currency. Running the report with this configuration, the parent currency data will be shown, which is perfect and the translation rule process can be skipped. 

The report header will still say "Entity Currency" although the header will also list the new custom member as well. A small price to pay to skip the translation step!