Falling in Love with Oracle Hyperion Calculation Manager

Mike Arnoldy

May 4th, 2011

The recent release of Hyperion means that it is once again time to consider an upgrade of your current Hyperion application (s). For companies using older versions of Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), the EPMA and Calculation Manager platforms are topics that come up during the consideration process.

Many years ago when I first heard rumors that a GUI interface for writing rules was being developed, I was very skeptical. I knew that Hyperion’s competitors viewed the HFM rules as a weakness, wanting Hyperion to have to “show the rules” during a sales cycle. Clients I had were all excited about the possibilities of this tool. I, on the other hand, was very comfortable using VBScript. However, after working with Enterprise, I found I loved the freedom I had to do virtually anything with the HFM rules. I was able to teach accountants to understand the rules, and yes, they even learned to write rules. After this experience, I had fears that I would lose my new found freedom.

When System 11 was released, I did take advantage of several opportunities to build applications from the beginning using only calculation manager for the rules. I have to say that at first it was very, very painful. I described it as having to write rules with my hands tied—very slow and very frustrating.

I hated it… for about a week….

Then, I quickly found that I could do all of the things I could do in VBScript. At first, it took some time to discover how to do it. But literally everything I would normally put in rules—Cash Flow, USD Overrides, special consolidation rules, write to file—I could do in Calculation Manager. And, the accountants I worked with loved it.

Calculation Manager has a very nice flow chart representation of the rules. Depending upon how it is used, it breaks the rules file into individual rules. Opening up one of these rules, you see a flow chart that shows exactly what the rule is doing. Click on an object in the flow chart, and you get the details. You can even see the entire rule as VBScript. This is a great way to validate what you are building in Calculation Manager for those who are familiar with the old VBScript.

My fears over losing in System 11 what I’d gained in Enterprise were gone.

If you decide to convert to Calculation Manager, I would suggest building a separate test application to try it out, because once you upgrade an application, there is no turning back. In System 11, there are utilities that will convert your current rules. The early versions did a poor job of this conversion.


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Mike Arnoldy

About Mike Arnoldy

Mike Arnoldy has over 20 years experience in all phases of design, development, and implementation of financial applications. He has exceptional problem-solving and architecting skills with a strong technical background. He specializes in financial consolidation applications that include complex calculations, foreign currency translation, inter-company/equity eliminations and varied reporting requirements to satisfy both external and management reporting needs. Mike is also a Certified Public Accountant.

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