Enhancing your Hyperion Planning application with Text Data Type members


September 19th, 2012

The ability to assign text data type has been available since Hyperion Planning version 11.1.1; albeit, text data type assignment is limited to the Account dimension members. Nonetheless, this feature allows one to include non-numeric information in Planning Web Forms and Reports—information that can enhance your Planning application.

Below are two examples of how to use the text data type to achieve this result.

 1 – Workforce Planning

A common post-planning question is how to track or relate New Hires to the plan data. For example: what is the status of action on the new hire—i.e., has a requisition/recruiting document been raised? has a person been hired? if so, what is the name of the new hire, and what was the hire date?

Needless to say, the forgoing questions are very important and help to tie the new hire plan to actual implementation.

The screen shots show how questions such as these can be tracked and answered simply by incorporating text members into the Employee planning application.



2 – Plan Review

As we know, Hyperion Planning features Supporting details, Cell texts, Document Attachment, and Process Flow Annotations. All of these are features that allow the planner to provide qualitative information to give more meaning to the planned numbers.

As useful as the aforementioned information are, your planning application could be further enhanced by using text fields to capture summary information. For example, a summary statement that gives the reviewer of your plan a general idea before they go digging for more information in the aforementioned list of additional information sources.

The examples below use the combination of a composite Web Form design and text data type to give the reviewer a quick overview of the rationale behind your planning numbers while also allowing the reviewer to write their own general comments as they review your plan. The reviewer’s comments are also immediately visible and do not require you to dig into annotations to see them.


Top Left Quadrant          – shows the unit’s operating expense by GL account
Bottom Left Quadrant    – shows trend of the unit’s operating expense
Top Right Quadrant        – shows the planner’s comments regarding the major expense categories
Bottom Right Quadrant  – shows the unit’s contribution to their group’s expense


Top Left Quadrant          – shows the unit’s operating expense by GL account
Bottom Left Quadrant    – shows the unit’s contribution to group expense
Top Right Quadrant        – shows the planner’s comments regarding the major expense categories
Bottom Right Quadrant  – shows the reviewer’s comments by major expense category


Note the following about text data type.

  1. Text size and number limitations:By default, the maximum number of single-byte characters allowed for text in each cell is 255, and the maximum number for comments is 1500.If you need to display additional characters in cell text or comments, you can set the Planning application properties for MAX_CELL_TEXT_SIZE and MAX_CELL_NOTE_SIZE to the maximum length required by your application. However, note that updating these settings to more than 2000 requires that you make a corresponding change to the database. Also, if you increase the maximum number of characters allowed for cell text, you must alter the database column size or type to support the changed size. These changes can also impact the performance of your application.
  2. Text data type is stored as a numeric value in Essbase. Therefore, doing a retrieve of text data directly from Essbase will only return the numeric value and not the text itself. The underlying text is actually stored in a Planning relational table that also stores the association of the Essbase numeric value with the text entered. Planning Web Forms and Hyperion reports cull the text data from the Planning relational table.
  3. Problems have been encountered when migrating text data using LCM because of the changes that may occur in the numeric value when exporting text data type. See more discussion in the Oracle Technology Network for how to resolve this particular problem.


Fortunately, none of the caveats listed above are “show stoppers”.

The advantage of using text data type to give a quick high-level and immediately visible summary to the thought or key assumptions behind plan numbers outweighs any potential performance issues that one may face.

For an organization with up to 100 user licenses, the default text data type setting should be adequate to capture succinct summaries since it means, in effect, that each planner can store up to 20 data text comments. Additional information can always be added through supporting details, attached documents, and annotations. Therefore, organizations with less than100 user licenses should not need to change the text data type default settings, which can have adverse performance implication.

And, as illustrated above, using text data type to track key post-planning actions may be critical to the attainment of your plan goals/numbers.


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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