Hyperion Planning – Readiness before Every Budget Cycle


Budgeting and forecasting is often a stressful undertaking for FP&A as well as Oracle Hyperion Planning administrators. Preparation is key to ensuring you successfully complete your budgeting and forecasting on time and without errors. Having a “flight plan” is the best way to achieve this. The more you prepare the easier your Forecast should be.

Comparing a Hyperion Planning application to operating an airplane, we’re going to examine five key points Hyperion Planning administrators should review before any budgeting/forecasting undertaking. Of course, you probably already know all of these, but it never hurts to go over it again.

Fasten your Seatbelts, Hyperion Planning is About to Take Off

Let’s imagine that managing a Planning application is like operating an airplane. You are the Administrator, the captain of the vessel, and you work with your team to make sure your passengers (your users) in both first class (FP&A) and economy class (Budget owners) will have a safe and pleasant journey.

Have a (flight) plan

Before you fly, you need to know which route you are going to take, the cargo you will transport, and last, what kind of aircraft you are about to fly (type, manufacturing year, hours of flight, maintenance history).

Before departure, your passengers need to book their ticket, go to the airport and have a place to stay when they reach their destination. So let’s translate that in Hyperion Planning.

Work with FP&A and make your plans:

  • Timeline: share all steps from the beginning of the budget season to the completion of the exercise. Do not forget to add testing and validation prior to the opening of the tool to end-users.
  • Review: What went well /what didn’t go well during the past exercise—it is important to not have the same issues repeated from one exercise to another.
  • Other checkpoints: Review any change you’ve made since the last exercise: make sure you have everything covered: review the changes you’ve made since the last exercise. Also make sure there is no need to work on Business Rules, Security, and Dimensions in general (new departments, acquisitions, Business Units, …)

Verify Backups

Would you fly without making sure that the backup system is working properly? No, so do the same with Planning.

Restoring a backup after a failure happens more often that anyone can imagine. This implies having a backup routine (for Essbase, but also all Planning artifacts) and mastering the art of restore. I recommend verifying the backup process before every Forecasting exercise. Just like a good pilot who has sessions in a flight simulator.

Backups and the Transaction Replay functionality will be the subject of another blog entry.

Check Your Weather

Airlines always check the weather for an entire journey to determine they need to take a detour and keep the passengers informed about the weather and altitude during the trip.

In the case of your Planning application, your weather is the calendar. IT and system calendars are tight, and IT maintenance have a tendency to happen at the same time as a Forecasting exercise. Therefore, communicate your plan with IT and ask them to do the same; you will be in a position to mitigate from there or at least, give visibility to both IT and users.

Small bumps are OK when you travel; going through a violent turbulence is not acceptable and sometimes disasterous.

Be Ready for Late Arrivals

I hate to be delayed because the previous flight was late. I am always afraid that the crew will rush through their pre-flight inspection to make up their lost time. I would rather take another plane that is sitting on the tarmac.

Generally speaking, Forecast starts right after the close, which means that you only have a very limited window to prepare your system for Forecast (if any). The best thing you can have is a copy of your Production environment where you can practice your Forecast exercise. This environment is often referred as a failover, UAT, or Pre-production. It can act as a spare environment in case of a problem.

Keep Cool

The last thing you expect from a captain is to see him panic under any circumstances. And the last thing the captain and the crew would like is to have anxious or unconfident customers.

A forecasting exercise is stressful for FP&A, they are between budget owners, management, and shareholders: the last thing they need is an issue with their system. Have a good system that is well designed, well maintained, and well tested. Proper preparation will increase user’s confidence and they will soon praise it.
Thanks,
~KKT~

Financial Reports Batch Scheduler – Bursting & Export to PDF


For those of you who use Financial Reporting in Oracle Hyperion 11.1.2.x, here’s a handy tip on how to configure Financial Reporting to enable Bursting and exporting PDFs to an external file:

When you first try to create a Batch, you might notice the drop-down for the Export to PDF / Export to an External Directory is blank. The values for this option are set using the FRConfig.cmd file on the Workspace server you login to. The FRConfig.cmd can be located in the \Oracle\Middleware\EPMSystem11R1\products\financialreporting\bin folder.

1. Run the FRConfig.cmd (Financial Reporting Configuration) to open the Java Monitoring & Management Console Application

2. Select MBeans tab select com:hyperion\Financial Reporting\Attribute

3. Set the Value for ExportFolder

– syntax: FolderLabel1=FolderPath1,FolderLabel2=FolderPath2

– example: PDFBatch=\\LincolnB\PDF_Batch

4. Restart all services related to Financial Reporting

Now when you create your batch the Export to External Directory drop-down will show “PDFBatch” as an option.

It appears that it may be necessary to create a “share” on a folder if you want the external folder to be on a server other than the server where Financial Reporting is installed.

You can also use this to publish to a SharePoint server, but the services running as a User that has at write access to the library (ex: a user with Contributer rights).

With v11.1.2.1, it appears that when you specify members to “burst” you need to list them with detail members first and summary members at the end. Not sure why, but this looks like the only way to get all members to process without errors.

Thanks,
~KKT~

Smartview My Views and Question and Answers


Now a days there are number of questions that I didn’t have time to get to. Below you will find answers to most of them.
Q: Can the multi-grid be used to connect to an Essbase cube and an HFM cube?
A: Multi-grid only works with multiple Essbase connections—only Essbase and Essbase.

Q: Can we display Smart List items from Planning in a Smart View ad hoc query?
A: Yes, but it has to be a Planning ad hoc query and not an Essbase ad hoc query. Planning has it’s own connection you can make use of.

Q: Smart View has access to relational databases, how does this connection work?
A: It works through OBIEE.

Q: Can you create multiple grids from different databases?
A: Yes, as long as they’re Essbase databases.

Q: What version of Smart View are you using in the demo? 11.1.2.5?
A: I was using Hyperion v11.1.2.3.000 (build 157). Version 11.1.2.5 is more current. It would have all features in v11.1.2.3, and hopefully more stability.

Q: How do you get warnings and errors to show up on a worksheet when a user doesn’t have all the dimensions populated?
A: You can’t—if you leave a dimension off, instead of a warning message, Smart View it will just bring in a dimension for you at the top.

Q: I didn’t think you could mix variables with regular adhoc retrieval. Is this a new feature?
A: Yes, formula variable reference—HsGetVariable—is a new feature.

Q: Peers have commented that having Smart View and the Add-in active on the same computer causes problems. Is there a patch or other fix for this?
A: This is a known issue—conflicts with add-ins. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fix; you have to disable one add-in or another, or disable certain features, otherwise it conflicts.

Q: Can you provide a link to that VBA conversion utility?
A: Here you go: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/middleware/smart-view-for-office/downloads/index-088403.html
Go to the bottom of the page—the VBA conversion utility is the last one.

Q: I used able to cascade more than one dimension at the same time in the classic Essbase add-in. Does the Smart View Cascade have the same feature?
A: Smart View only cascades on one dimension.

Q: In classic add-in, there is the option to display unknown members. This is useful when aliases change. Is there such an option within Smart View? And if so, what version? My experience has been that it populates with the data from the row above.
A: Same unknown members leave things out—e.g., dimension off. See question about warnings above.

Q: I’m not getting any of these features (I’m trying alongside). I’m on a current version of Smart View but working on version 11.1.2.1. Will I get access to these features once we upgrade the application to 11.1.2.3?
A: Yes, you will get these features on 11.1.2.3. The features are dependent on the version of Smart View you are using, and some are specific to the Essbase version.

Q: Is there a different API so I can write Smart View code in VSTO?
A: Yes.

Thanks,
~KKT~

MaxL – Batch file to Encrypt


Security is always an Important things that Client consider everytime.

Clients are becoming increasingly concerned with security within their Hyperion environment, and rightly so. Having administrator credentials hard-coded into our scripts is not a real secure solution. The real solution is to encrypt the administrator credentials using public and private keys within a Windows environment. NOTE that this approach written and tested using a Windows 2008 R2 Standard Server.

1

Steps to Encryption

Step 1: Initiate a remote desktop connection onto the Essbase server.

Your MaxL scripts don’t necessarily have to reside on the Essbase server, but the MaxL shell does need to be properly configured so that you can access the Essbase shell by typing ‘startmaxl into the command prompt from any directory.

Step 2: Open a command prompt window, and type…

startmaxl –gk

2

 

This command creates the Public and Private keys that you will be using. The Public key is used to encrypt your scripts, while the Private key is used to decrypt your script prior to runtime.

Step 3: Open a blank notepad document and record both of these keys, as you will be using them several times…

Public Key: 21157,1723372087

Private Key: 1186517533,1723372087

With an un-encrypted script, the admin credentials can be entered into the MaxL script file itself, or passed into the script from the DOS batch file via instance variables…

In MaxL File:

login admin password on aphrodite;

Passed to MaxL File from DOS batch:

startmaxl script_to_be_run.mxl admin password aphrodite

login $1 $2 on $3;

For the encryption to work, the admin credentials must be in the MaxL file itself, and not passed in as instance variables.

For simplicity, navigate to the directory where your MaxL script resides, (C:\TopDown\Essbase) in this example.

Issue the following command…

startmaxl –E script_to_be_encrypted.mxl 21157,1723372087

Where 21157,1723372087 is the Public key you created previously.

3

Issuing this command creates a copy of your MaxL script and adds an ‘s’ to the file’s extension. You can use .msh, .mxl, or even .txt for your scripts. After encryption, these will be .mshs, mxls, or .txts respectively. The new file will be created in the same directory as its original.

4

 

If you open the new script that was just created, you can see what has changed…

5

Notice the username and password are no longer visible.

Now you can test your newly created, encrypted script. Issue this command…

startmaxl –D script_to_be_encrypted.mxls 1186517533,1723372087

Where 1186517533,1723372087 is your Private key.

6 7

 

If your script executes, delete the original MaxL file, empty the trash, and you’re done!

Repeat for all of your MaxL scripts using the same Public and Private key pair.

Thanks,

~KKT~

 

 

 

Hyperion DRM Basics to learn


There appears to be a lot misconception about what the DRM tool really is and where and how it can be used. Client’s tend initially to narrowly focus on how they are going to use the product and use that information to develop an initial impression of exactly what the tool really is.

Some say it is a hierarchy management tool; some say it is a functional hub that manages and feeds metadata to multiple Hyperion products. Still others see it as a strategic organizer for an organizations metadata that can then be used to integrate with the operational data within an organization.

The truth is: DRM is all of these things and more. Oracle currently markets DRM as part of it’s over all Master Data Management suite of Master Data Management tools. It is the recommended tool of choice for organizing the financial views of financial chart of accounts, cost centers and legal entities that are then used to govern on-going financial management and consolidations for an enterprises. In most cases these very narrow, focused views of what DRM brings to the table change very quickly once clients gain familiarity and expertise with the tool The new views are broader and based on consistent definitions of financial and reporting structures across general ledger systems, financial consolidation, planning and budgeting systems. All of the new functional definitions are enforced by the verification and validation functionality of the tool.

DRM is also an Analytical Master Data Management tool. It allows creation of an enterprise view of analytical dimensions, reporting structures, performance measures and their related attributes. It helps an enterprise build departmental perspectives that bear referential integrity and consistency with master data constructs based on validations and business rules that enforce enterprise governance policies. This functionality allows synchronization of an enterprise’s master data with downstream systems and facilitates integration with an organization’s business intelligence (BI)/enterprise performance management (EPM) systems, data warehouses and data marts.

DRM’s functionality does not end there. Client’s have further found innovative uses for the tool that include:

  • Creation of a standard set of metadata that will feed the entire Oracle Hyperion EPM Suite of Products from a centralized data repository that has integrity enforced by business rules and validations.
  • Creation of cross reference tables that can be used to build consolidated reporting models for disparate systems such as an enterprises’ Oracle and SAP general ledger systems.
  • To make needed data enhancements that are pushed to downstream systems without incurring the long development cycle time required to make changes in the operational systems of an organization

As you can see from the information provided, DRM is an extremely flexible tool that has applicability in many functional areas of an organization. Uses of the product are only limited by the imagination of the implementer.

In our next blog posting we will be discussing in great detail how DRM enhances EPM solutions, how TopDown Consulting implements the tool to enhance it’s EPM solutions. We will also be providing details of actual client use cases highlighting the ability of the product to be used in non-traditional ways to manage and organize an organizations key master data.

Will follow more basics in next Update and more about DRM.

Thanks,

~KKT~

Where do you start learning Essbase ?


Is essbase for me to study? Is essbase hot in the market? Does essbase has future? I am from XYZ background, I want to learn Essbase, Is it for me? …..

I have been encountering these questions now and then. Essbase is an OLAP tool. I have seen many who hardly have understood OLAP as a concept (at least, the definition of it) but are working on Essbase.

I would fit a guy ideal to work on essbase as someone who has a technical computer science background, had worked on one of the relational databases (it might be oracle, SQL server, DB2 …or any), warehouse conceptual clarity, and the location of OLAP in the architecture of its design, who know the industry which he works, and understands the importance of conversion of data into information. Last but most important, who is willing to agree that Business and IT go hand-in-hand, and IT is the enabler.

These are few traits, if one already has, can enter into the world of essbase with ease. There are other aspirants, who don’t have technical, complementing background, and had never worked on any database but are impressed by the OLAP technology and willing to contribute to the world of it ,and they are interested to start with this tool. For few ,it might be an obligation ,as their job demands them to work on this tool. For them, who are about to start and stand at the cross roads, and confused with the multitude of ways available to start learning this tool .I have some information.

First, realize the objective of an OLAP and how big, the role, it plays in the Decision science of any company. Understand the importance of data warehouse, and why does one need OLAP and where does it fit in. Technically, what skills are required as a pre-requisite to learn essbase. Answer to these, concepts of any database, minimal programming understanding…if you are sure of them, kick off.

Finally, before I conclude I have a request to all, when they start reading the material of essbase of any OLAP tool for that matter you need to imagine two important things
1. Imagine how exactly the essbase technically works Ex: When some one loads data into a cube, he has to imagine as a yellow content filled in that cubes Ex2: If FIX statement is written in a script, then he needs to imagine a cube , with only the fixed content is taking part in the operation or transaction
2. Try to co-relate every technical change with the requirement of the user. Always imagine a user sitting in front of your report made by your OLAP logic trying to make a sense and decision based on it. This decision made based on your report will eventually change the face of his company.

Any Questions , Please email me.

~KKT~

ODI 12.1.3 is released !


The 12.1.3 release is out ad available for download! This is the first major patch release on 12c, as well as more features there is substantial stabilization of features from 12.1.2. There are lots of useful stuff from UI improvements such as model accelerators that create topology items quickly to big data related KMs (SQOOP and more), SQL override capabilities, performance improvements with parallel target tasks capabilities and a tonne of bug fixes.

Check the new features document below which covers at a high level the release;
http://www.oracle.com/us/products/middleware/data-integration/odi-12c-new-features-wp-2226353.pdf

Madhu also has a blog post below;
https://blogs.oracle.com/dataintegration/entry/announcing_odi_12_1_3

Cheers.
~KKT~

Unable To Launch SmartView From HPCM


When  SmartView is launched from HPCM (Stage balancing) , error: Connection to the serviceProvider is not possible, The server name is not connected  – is generated and no data is displayed in Smartview.

This issue happen due to HPCM server name and SV server name did not match

Smartview was using the fully qualified name:
The shared connection in SmartView is properly set with the FQDN : http:/servernameFQDN/workspace/SmartViewProviders.

and HPCM was using:
http://servername:13080/aps/SmartView/” app=/”EAOR/

 

To resolve –

1- launch “EPM System Configurator (all instances)”
2- check “Configure logical address for web applications” under “Hyperion Foundation”
3- check “Set the logical web address for all the web applications to” and enter the FQDN

 

Thanks,

~KKT~

HPCM Calculation Issues


In HPCM generated calculations on an Essbase Application used by HPCM runs for hours.

 

This issue occur due to CALC PARALLEL is not supported with Essbase application used by HPCM as HPCM calculates in Serial. The settings causes drastic performance degradation.

Just remove this parameter from the Essbase.cfg file and restart essbase.

This will fix.

Thanks,

~KKT~

HPCM: Search Task Gives Error 500..


In Version 11.1.2.3 after upgrade some of the tables didn’t updated properly.

so follow the below procedure to fix the issue.

1) Stop Foundation Service.
2) Add a property “workflowEngine.ces.upgradeFlag” to registry as false
a) Lunch a command prompt at “EPM_ORACLE_INSTANCE\epmsystem1\bin”
b) Execute below command –
epmsys_registry.bat addproperty
SHARED_SERVICES_PRODUCT/@workflowEngine.ces.upgradeFlag false
3) Restart Foundation Service.

Thanks,

~KKT~