An EPM Solution Using Oracle Hyperion Tools–Part I

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April 27th, 2011


This discussion is presented in two parts. Part I discuses the components of a sample EPM solution for financial monitoring. Part II will discuss the deployment of the sample EPM solution.

Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) solutions are getting a lot of attention these days. Planning cycles are no longer stagnant pieces of corporate information; rather they now require constant vigilance and flexibility for corrections as dictated by the changing market climate. Organizations are always looking for improved and enhanced EPM solutions to stay current and stay competitive. Oftentimes it is hard to uncover the one tool in the array of tools that actually delivers on the promises and guaranteed results.

The best way to illustrate a proven solution is to provide an example. The goal of every EPM solution is to provide management with the best possible set of data for finding key performance indicators and determining how to best manage these to make sure they remain a constant and reliable source of feedback on enterprise performance. Multiple companies in different industries have implemented this solution. And feedback shows that it works especially well in environments that have multiple financial products—e.g., Essbase, Planning and HFM.

Today’s business environments are typically made up of a variety of operational systems. These systems hold the data necessary for business assessment, planning purposes and any necessary midcourse corrections. The solution example will look specifically at financial monitoring. The example will also show how the solution, combined with the included tools, can extend measurements to personnel management, warehousing, manufacturing and other areas of the business.

SOLUTION COMPONENTS

Relational Database
The relational database is used to create a financial data repository (FDR) of information that can be used to recreate all of the reporting environments in the event of a disaster. As such, the FDR will contain all data records (FACTS – counts, dollars or any other type measure) and the structure (Metadata) used to construct the hierarchies used by the Oracle Hyperion tool set.

The FDR can best be characterized as an operational data mart storing financial information, both metadata and transactional in nature, which will be used on some predetermined cycle (nightly, weekly, monthly) to create fact tables and dimension tables that will be used to update the Oracle Hyperion BI and reporting environments.

For this particular example, the two most common relational databases are Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server.

Essbase
Essbase is referred to as a Multidimensional Online Analytical Processing (MOLAP) tool. It allows data to be viewed through the use of a multidimensional data model. Reports that query information from Essbase typically use a cross data that intersects various sets of data points. For example, if I wanted to perform a sales analysis, I might want to see Sales Dollars by region, by office, by sales managers, and by sales personnel assigned to each of the sales managers. The “by” is how I define each intersecting data point. The multidimensional model is what allows me to create the set of multidimensional points of interest and stores data (in this case dollars) at the intersection points of each dimension (I am defining a dimension each time I use the word “by”) in an optimized storage array capable of doing near real-time retrievals.

Oracle Hyperion Planning
Oracle Hyperion Planning is part of the EPM suite of tools. It creates an enterprise wide budgeting and forecasting solution that marries the financial and operational planning processes for an organization. It also creates a set of planning models that delve into the operational portions of a business to provide information about the operational impact on the financial well-being of an organization.

Planning couples the organizations financial and operational planning models. It helps the organization satisfy its immediate need for producing a financial planning model while also creating a cross functional platform that can be used in operational models. Because Planning is centralized within the organization, the planning process for the entire organization is created, viewed and scrutinized through this, creating a single sourced set of models that the entire organization uses.

Oracle Hyperion HFM
Oracle Hyperion HFM (Hyperion Financial Management) is part of the EPM suite of tools. It is a finance department maintainable tool that creates business rules to perform consolidations, reporting and analysis in one scalable solution.

Oracle Hyperion DRM
Oracle Hyperion DRM (Data Relationship Management) is part of the EPM suite of tools. It is a data management tool that allows the finance group to manage the pertinent dimensions and metadata. It provides support for extensive validation and enforcement of business rules, and when used across the enterprise, will enable and enforce data governance and compliance across the enterprise. The enterprise can also use the tool to build a consistent set of terms and definitions across all systems using like metadata.

Part II of this discussion will cover the deployment of the sample EPM solution using the components described above. To receive a notification when Part II is available, subscribe to receive this blog at http://blog.topdownconsulting.com/.

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About TopDown Team

The TopDown Team includes members of TopDown Consulting who want to let the community know about webcasts, conferences, and other events. The team also conducts interviews on various EPM industry topics.

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