Unexpected behavior in your EPM application


February 10th, 2013

The “Known Issues” section of every Readme File lists the limitations of a particular software version and the bugs that the developers were able to catch.  The application administrator or someone in IT reviews the document and confers with everyone before installing the software to avoid unexpected issues.  But every application sits in a unique combination of version, process and environment.  As a result, the users find the most interesting issues after the installation.

A good example of a version-related issue is one that we found with Essbase 9.3.1.  The outline for one of the databases was updated to include new fields and grew to over 170mb.  At that point it would not open in edit mode.  An error message would come up saying that there is not enough memory on the server to open the outline.  The outline was not corrupt because it would open in view mode.  The other database outlines would open in edit and view mode as well.  We tried restarting services, changed JVM settings and even tested it on a server with more resource capacity.  Since we were on a service pack, we decided to test on the base version of 9.3.1.  The outline finally opened in edit mode.  Finally, we tested the outline in the next available service pack version.  The outline opened in edit mode in the next version as well.  This issue that took several weeks to resolve but it only existed because the software version limited the size of the outline available in edit mode.

An issue that was related to the operating system was one we encountered using Hyperion Reports 7.0 in older versions of Windows like NT and XP.  A number of users reported that the Reports application would often, but not always, freeze up requiring them to close it down using task manager.  It only happened when they switched from Reports to another application like Outlook to answer an email or check on a calendar reminder.  When the user clicked on the icon in the Windows taskbar Hyperion Reports would not respond.  It turned out that in each instance the user was in the member selection wizard for one of the dimensions.  The wizard opened a new window that did not register in the Windows taskbar and the Hyperion Reports icon that was visible was not active at that point.  We instructed report writers to use the Alt + Tab to select the wizard icon when switching back to Hyperion Reports.  The workaround for this unique behavior was necessary until we upgraded the operating system.  Windows7 created the additional icon when a Hyperion Reports member selection wizard was open so users can return to the ‘appropriate’ Reports window.

Sometimes the process does not match with the functionality of the application.  Hyperion Financial Management, for instance, has three options for consolidating data; consolidate, consolidate all and consolidate all with data.  Normally, a submitting entity will select consolidate to aggregate their data.  However, I ran into a situation where the entity cleared out the base level data after the initial consolidation.  The second load went to a slightly different set of accounts.  The submitting entity was confused by the consolidated values in Financial Management  The issue was resolved by selecting ‘consolidate all’ to aggregate the null values and overwrite the erroneous upper node numbers.

Unexpected behavior is bound to continue as technology and reporting standards change.  Stories like these are an interesting read and might help someone with a similar issue.  So if you came across an unusual issue yourself and resolved it with an upgrade or a workaround please share your story, or stories, with us.


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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