Paul Hoch

December 27th, 2017

A question that we are frequently asked is “What is the difference between PBCS and EPBCS?” To answer this question, let’s take a look at the features and functionality in both applications.


When you purchase a subscription to PBCS you get 2 pods (environments) that each have the capability of creating 3 BSO Plan Types and 4 ASO Plan Types. There is no pre-built content and you are free to build out the Plan Types to suit your needs. You can migrate an on-premise Planning application into a PBCS pod relatively easily with a couple of caveats:

  1. EPMA enabled applications are not supported. You will need to disconnect EPMA prior to exporting via LCM to the cloud.
  2. No on-premise modules are supported in a migration. Examples are Workforce, CapEx, and so on.

If you have a Planning application on-premise that has 2 regular plan types and one Workforce plan type that uses the out of the box functionality you could, in theory, modify the application and change the Workforce database to be “Plan3” or similar and then import it into PBCS as a generic BSO plan type. Keep in mind that a PBCS pod only contains a single Planning application with multiple plan types. Many of our on-premise customers have multiple Planning applications in their environments. In order to migrate to a PBCS pod, you would need to consolidate your applications into one. If this isn’t possible you may need to purchase multiple PBCS pods. One reason you may have multiple Planning applications is that you may have different security needs for different plan types, i.e. P&L versus Workforce. In PBCS you only have that single application to work with so you need to take this into account as well.

I mentioned that there are 2 pods with a PBCS subscription. The intent is to use one for Production and one for Dev/Test. While not recommended, it is possible to have different Planning applications in each environment. This could enable you to have different users/security for different environments but it would leave you without a Dev/Test instance and wouldn’t be normally recommended.


Moving on to EPBCS you get all of the above (3 blank BSO plan types, 4 ASO plan types, 2 Pods) and pre-built business processes. In an on-premise world we referred to these as modules but in the move to the cloud, the nomenclature was revised to be business processes. These business processes are much more than just a move of the on-premise module into the cloud. Several are net-new and those that are not new have significant rewrite, improvement, and enhancement.

Diving into the business processes, you get:

  • Financials – this business process is brand new for EPBCS. It allows for a rapid deployment of a financial model that includes an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. During the initial configuration process, you have the option to choose which pieces you want to enable.
  • Workforce – this business process is similar to the on-premise Workforce module but it has been significantly rewritten for improvements in many areas. It has also become much more customizable by using wizards and configuration tools rather than code changes. What I mean by that is, in the on-premise Workforce (depending on version) you get an Employee dimension and a Job dimension. What if you don’t plan by job? Too bad – the dimension exists and if you try and remove it you need to hack into all of the forms, business rules and so forth in order to strip it out. In EPBCS you can enable or disable these dimensions during the initial configuration and when the application is deployed out those dimensions will appear or not show up throughout the application. There are also wizards for things like benefits and taxes. Want to use one blended rate for all employees? No problem. Want to use state-specific taxes for each state? Sure! You can build all of your benefits and taxes using a wizard to whatever level of detail makes the most sense for your organization.
  • Strategic Workforce Planning – this business process is new for the cloud. It allows you to capture demographic, skill set and other related employee information for long-term forecasting of your workforce needs. For example, your organization may be forecasting to grow by 20% over the next 5 years. In order to meet that target, you may need to hire additional salesforce. When we hire a new salesperson, there is certainly going to be some lead time until that person is at full capacity. We also may have turnover, retirees, and so forth. By taking a holistic look at our current staffing levels, age bands, skill sets, and our desired growth we can begin to model and forecast hiring needs.
  • Projects – This business process is similar to the on-premise Projects module but like Workforce it has seen updates and rewrites. Many found the on-premise version either overly complex for their needs or not complex enough for their needs. The EPBCS business process has removed some of the complexity of the on-premise module to make it more accessible to the majority of customers.
  • Capital – if you are familiar with the on-premise CapEx module, this business process will feel familiar. Like the Workforce business process, it is much more wizard driven and configurable without needing to modify the code.

In addition to the business processes, the blank BSO and ASO plan types you also get built-in cross-module integration. Salary data will move easily to your financial cube. Projects will be able to reference Employees. You can capitalize projects and have them flow through into the Capital module for depreciation. It is all very tightly integrated and doesn’t require running any rules or calculations to push data. This is accomplished using the new “Smart Push” and “Data Maps” features many of which are pre-built within the business processes.

EPBCS is a start anywhere application as well. You don’t need to do all of the business processes right away. You can build just your financials to start and then add other business processes as your needs grow.

Making the Decision

When deciding on whether to purchase a PBCS subscription or an EPBCS subscription it basically comes down to the built-in business processes and content. If you don’t have a need for the business processes, PBCS will work just fine. If you want rapid deployment of best practice business processes, EPBCS will be the solution for you.

Paul Hoch

About Paul Hoch

Paul Hoch has over 18 years of EPM and Hyperion experience, specializing in Essbase and Planning. He has successfully completed large-scale EPM implementations for clients in industries ranging from retail to government and financial services to health care. Paul has served as solution architect and team lead for implementations and he has developed and delivered advanced team training. He also blogs and presents regularly on EPM topics, including Essbase, Planning, Hybrid Cloud implementations, PBCS, EPBCS, Smart View, Calc Manager, migrating to the cloud, and more.

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