By TopDown Team
December 19th, 2016
As part of our Top 10 Blog posts of 2016 series, TopDown’s experts are weighing in on how each of these topics fits in with the maturing of EPM in the cloud. The 10th most popular post of 2016 was, Adding Custom Dimensions to HFM. Below, Brian Willson discusses dimensionality in the context of Oracle Financial Close and Consolidation Service (FCCS).
With the release of FCCS, Oracle has shifted focus from its on premise-based consolidation solution, HFM, to a cloud-focused solution. FCCS isn’t quite “HFM in the cloud”, however, it is a great option for organizations looking for a cloud-focused consolidation solution. Almost all the tried and true features of HFM are present in FCCS. One of the attributes of FCCS that bears a striking resemblance to HFM is the dimensionality offered. This parallel in dimensions provides a comfort for long-time users of HFM when transitioning to FCCS.
FCCS comes with eleven standard dimensions and up to two custom dimensions (more on that in a moment). These dimensions are, in order:
As you can see, many of the dimensions in HFM are also present in FCCS. Account, Period, Entity, Intercompany, Customs, Scenario, Year, and View are all familiar faces to HFM users. Upon closer inspection, even the dimensions that appear to be different aren’t truly that different. The Value Dimension that resides in HFM is now broken out and represented by the Currency and Consolidation dimensions in FCCS. Initially it would seem that we are “limited” to two custom dimensions, however, in a great majority of HFM applications, Data Source, Movement, and sometimes even Multi-GAAP, are fairly common custom dimensions. Essentially, Oracle has taken a best practice approach to HFM custom dimensions and made them standard dimensions in FCCS.
One important thing to note about the design of FCCS dimensions: Multi-GAAP is considered a custom dimension. The dimensions in FCCS are treated as features selected during the creation of an FCCS application. If you select Multi-GAAP as a feature of FCCS while creating your application, you will have the option to create one custom dimension rather than two.
The design of FCCS lends itself to a more standardized approach to consolidations and as a result, there are some differences when it comes to FCCS dimensions versus HFM. The most glaring difference is the fact that FCCS comes pre-seeded with members for each dimension, prefixed by “FCCS_”. These pre-seeded members cannot be renamed or removed, however the alias (description) can be changed. This pre-seeding allows for FCCS to leverage standard calc scripts to perform consolidations and translations. Additionally, the design allows for the use of a standard cash flow statement without the need for additional calculations.
The maintenance of FCCS dimensions is likewise a departure from HFM. There is no Windows Client as we’ve had with HFM. You can maintain FCCS dimensionality either using the web interface or via Smart View in a manner similar to the Excel EPMA file generator.
The order of the dimensions in FCCS is configurable, which represents another departure from HFM. The order of the dimensions as listed above is the recommended order by Oracle. The order of the dimensions has an impact on the performance of the consolidation and any change to the dimension order should first be carefully evaluated for performance impacts.
At first glance, FCCS would seem substantially different from HFM. The Simplified interface looks nothing like the traditional HFM workspace interface. When taking a closer look, however, especially when considering the design of the dimensionality, you’ll see that FCCS is a very close relative of HFM. As Oracle continues to increase the features and functions of FCCS, the two seemingly different applications will move closer and closer in comparison.