By Brian Willson
December 25th, 2017
The most important thing to know about FCCS is that it works as advertised. The functionality present in HFM, consolidations, translations, and eliminations, all perform in the same manner in FCCS. The fact that these fundamental operations are the same make transitioning from HFM to FCCS a little easier.
Performance in FCCS is not yet on par with HFM. In speaking with Oracle, performance is the number one task the FCCS team is focused on and we have seen performance gains in the last few updates released. Oracle is anticipating even greater performance increases in the first quarter of 2018 and we are definitely looking forward to it.
Oracle has proven to be a willing and valuable partner in this journey. We have participated in several Q&A sessions between Oracle Development and clients during FCCS implementations. Oracle’s willingness to help resolve concerns and issues quickly has been a welcome surprise. The responses from Oracle Support have been quicker than I have ever seen.
Configurable Calculations were recently released and show promise. While not full blown custom rules like we would see in HFM, we do now have an avenue to insert some custom calculations within the default consolidation process in FCCS. This particular enhancement will be crucial in getting to parity with HFM.
There have been quite a few lessons learned over the past year with FCCS. It is crucial to have a firm understanding of the Movement and Data Source dimensions in FCCS.
The Movement dimension drives the behavior of your data in FCCS. Not understanding this concept in FCCS will lead to a lot of frustration when loading and reconciling historical data in FCCS. In addition to understanding the Movement dimension, if at all possible, loading data in a periodic fashion rather than a year-to-date (or inception-to-date) manner will greatly improve your experience during data loading and reconciliation.
It is also important to understand how the Data Source dimension is leveraged in certain activities within FCCS. Clearing data and Intercompany Eliminations within FCCS both leverage specific Data Source members. Having a greater appreciation for this concept will save you some frustration during development.
In addition to the Movement and Data Source dimensions, understanding the attributes of all dimensions will help in achieving the highest performance from FCCS. Incorrect dimension attributes can severely impact FCCS performance. To aid in this understanding, Oracle released the Simplified Dimension Editor in the 17-11 (November 2017) update. Incorrect attributes will be outlined in red in the Simplified Dimension Editor. This feature has proven helpful in troubleshooting issues during testing.
It’s also important to remember that FCCS is built on Essbase. The amount of data in the application impacts performance. The more data there is, the longer it takes to refresh the database after changes have been made to the application. In HFM, it is not uncommon to make changes in the application during the close process. Those activities will need to be considered and planned in FCCS as an extended database refresh could cause delays in the month-end close process.
Is it for Me?
More and more HFM clients are starting to fit into the FCCS model. With that said, if your HFM application has a large number of custom dimensions or complex consolidation calculations, you may be limited in your transition to FCCS. While custom calculations are still limited, we have seen a combination of member formulas and Configurable Calculations meet the needs of several clients.
The user experience will also need to be factored in when considering a move to FCCS. The look and feel of FCCS mimics in many ways those of EPBCSWorking with Data Types in PBCS and EPBCS. This experience is drastically different from the years-old look and feel of HFM. Clients will need to take into account the adoption tendencies of their user base when considering FCCS. It is a different experience, but one that I’ve found doesn’t take long to get comfortable with.
Having spent the better part of a year learning, implementing, and testing FCCS, I can honestly say it’s been both an interesting and frustrating journey, but overall a fun ride. Seasoned HFM experts will need to continue to remember that some of the concepts in FCCS are not the same as HFM. Maintaining this perspective will also aid in keeping client expectations realistic. FCCS is not HFM, but quite honestly, I don’t think it ever was meant to be. What it is, however, is a consolidation solution for the new era of cloud computing. The sooner we embrace that notion, the quicker we will find our comfort level with FCCS.