Top Five Essbase/Planning Calculation Trends for 2018


December 20th, 2017

2017 was a big year for Oracle Cloud EPM. As expected, the cloud focus shifted from infrastructure and one-off application development to instantly available subscriptions and reusable application frameworks.

We’ve seen rapid adoption, including the four EPBCS business processes. Apparently, implementation of Financials is nearly equal to that of Workforce.

Innovation also accelerated. In the last 12 months, Oracle added over 300 new features and four new services/modules to EPM Cloud.

Intelligent Performance Management

One of Oracle’s major themes for 2018 is Intelligent Performance Management. The idea is to reduce the overhead required to get to the decision making. That is, to simplify, integrate and automate the routine or time-consuming tasks so that humans can focus on meaningful analysis. This has been the idea for as long as I can remember.

Five (Old made) New Innovations for 2018

2018 is already shaping up to be an interesting year for EPM Cloud. In particular with these five innovations that are on track to reduce overhead and put the focus on analysis and decision making in the new year.

None of the innovations are new (each has been around for a few years or in some cases many years). What IS new is that they are now all coming together in the EPM Cloud.

Strategic Modeling

Strategic Modeling is the integration of Hyperion Strategic Finance (HSF) with Planning in the cloud, specifically with EPBCS. Strategic Modeling provides a tremendously powerful and very customizable financial statement model including Income Statement, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow. You can relatively quickly create alternative forecasts and compare their strategic value using discounted cash flow. With Strategic Modeling creating value for shareholders just got easier.

Predictive Planning

Predictive Planning is the integration of Crystal Ball and Planning. Predictive Planning allows you to apply sophisticated statistical techniques to your forecasts, including linear regression, moving averages and seasonality. For each forecast, it tests many different techniques and creates a forecast using the best one. Wait a minute – isn’t that Machine Learning? These forecasts can be used to eliminate manual forecasts or they can be used for comparison and validation of human-created forecasts. And you don’t need a Ph.D. in statistics. In fact, it’s a good way to learn more about statistical forecasting techniques (aka Data Science).

Calc Manager Templates

Reusability reduces cost and it has the potential to increase quality. The four EPBCS business processes are a set of customizable reusable frameworks and they rely on a lot of calculations. Templates are essentially customizable calc script generation wizards. They can prompt the person doing application setup and create the business rules according to the selected features. Templates can recognize application types, dimensions, dimension types and other outline patterns. Under the covers of the four EPBCS business processes, there are dozens of Calc Manager templates.

Groovy Business Rules

Groovy rules have been around in the Essbase world for several years. But now they are actually part of the out-of-the-box calc manager rules created when you enable features in EPBCS. Groovy brings the power of a full-featured programming language to Calc Manager rules enabling you to do things you can’t do with Essbase Calc language such as data and metadata validation.

So where in EPM Cloud will you find Groovy? If you have EPBCS or PBCS+1, you will see out-of-the-box groovy rules in Calc Manager and Groovy can also be integrated with the REST APIs for automation

Hybrid Aggregation

I include Hybrid Aggregation not because it has made a huge impact on Planning but because it hasn’t. Everyone knows the single worst thing about Essbase is the agg times. Hybrid Aggregation can, in many cases, eliminate the aggregation step. That’s earth-shattering! So why isn’t it available in Cloud Planning? Go figure. Rumor has it that it will be 2018.

Looking Ahead

In the coming weeks, I will take a deeper look into each one of these innovations with a focus on how to use them to step up your analysis and decision making as you move forward with EPM Cloud.


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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