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How to Make the Call When You’re Looking at EPM Cloud

Wayne Bates | | May 15, 2019

The hardest part of moving to the cloud might be the very first step: making the decision to migrate. Every organization has its own set of needs, desires, and goals that cause it to weigh the question differently.

 
Some of the concerns that you might have when moving software to the cloud are:

  • How will your cloud and on-premises applications integrate and work together?
  • Which application is the best to move to the cloud first?
  • What do you need to know before you get started?

This post is oriented to Oracle on-premises clients who are contemplating a move to the cloud. We’ll go over what you need to know about the nuances of some of Oracle’s most popular cloud offerings.

PBCS vs. EPBCS

PBCS and EPBCS are Oracle’s solutions for on-premises Hyperion Planning customers who want to move to the cloud. Both are mature, feature-rich cloud software applications that offer benefits like no license fees or annual maintenance costs.

The standard PBCS subscription provides users with 2 “pods” (instances of an EPM Cloud service). Each pod can build out three Block Storage Option (BSO) Essbase cubes, as well as four Aggregate Storage Option (ASO) cubes. BSO cubes are better for situations that require complex business logic, while ASO cubes are better for high-dimensional data. This capacity is usually enough for most PBCS customers.

Where the two applications diverge is in the ability to customize and fine-tune the deployment. PBCS is based directly on the on-premises Hyperion Planning, which allows users the flexibility to define custom business rules and templates. EPBCS, on the other hand, provides standard pre-built business processes (sometimes known as modules) for ease of use and configuration.

Due to these prepackaged features, Oracle suggests that EPBCS is better for customers who are less experienced with EPM solutions or who don’t have as much need to fine-tune their applications.

Planning vs. Reporting: Automation and Integration

Using one pod for both planning and financial reporting, such as a PBCS instance, can create unexpected challenges. Those with more experience using Oracle have determined that you are better off not doing financial reporting out of the same planning application. For the sake of simplicity, integration partners often suggest this, but Oracle has come out strongly to the partner community with the message, “Don’t sell EPBCS as a planning and a reporting app.” There are other products you can use in the Cloud for reporting. You may still come across sales reps suggesting that you can buy EPBCS to handle both, but clients have found that it causes issues down the road with being able to support everything in one product. If you’d like to move your Essbase and/or BI reporting to the cloud, consider Oracle Analytics in the Cloud, OAC.

Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management, Enterprise Edition (FDMEE) can bridge the gap between planning and reporting.  It enables you leave some applications – like Essbase reporting – on-premises. FDMEE serves as a data integrator between EPM applications, including planning, Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), and FCCS. The advantage of using FDMEE is that it directly integrates your EPM cloud applications with your other on-premises applications, unlike Oracle’s data management tool which exchanges data to the cloud through files.

FDMEE also enables you to more directly integrate your on-premises financial systems (e.g. JDEdwards, EBS, PeopleSoft, etc.) to your EPM applications regardless of whether you are in the cloud or on-premises.  You may use direct integration to Oracle Financial systems or choose SQL integration, and then automate it with reporting and validation capabilities. From there, you can easily integrate between the cloud and on-premises as much and as often as you need to.

FCCS vs. HFM

Choosing between PBCS and EPBCS isn’t too difficult: both are cloud applications with highly similar feature sets. Choosing between FCCS and HFM, however, can be much trickier if you aren’t yet sure you want to move to the cloud.

FCCS is intended as a replacement to Oracle’s Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) on-premises software. Rather than doing a direct port from HFM, Oracle built FCCS from the ground up, using Essbase as the back-end database. Essbase is the same database leveraged by EPBCS and PBCS. In terms of core functionality, FCCS is on par with HFM; however, FCCS is more rigid so it does not offer the same level of flexibility in terms of the customization of the application. At first, this may seem like a setback, but it has great benefits. It essentially guides companies into using best practices and standardization of the application setup. This doesn’t mean that you are boxed in – customization of rules and calculations are still a viable concept. Execution will just differ from what an HFM native is used to.

One great feature FCCS has that HFM does not is Supplemental Data Manager. Supplemental Data Manager facilitates the integration of data from sources other than financial systems. These sources tend to be unstructured such as SEC footnote disclosures and tax schedule forms. Collecting and consolidating this data can be a time-consuming process without the centralized hub that Supplemental Data Manager provides.

Final Thoughts

A growing number of businesses are opting for a hybrid cloud deployment. This setup uses a mix of public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises services, as best fits the needs of the individual business.


Read This Next

It’s Not All or Nothing: Exploring Hybrid EPM Environments.

When considering your cloud roadmap, remember to also consider your Oracle support timelines. Sound like a concept you can get behind? Datavail has all the answers in our white paper.

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