With each version of Oracle Hyperion Planning, we see new enhancements to (hopefully) help us implement a more efficient solution. Each of these enhancements brings up another challenge on how to adapt old and new systems to fully take advantage of the new functionality. At times, we get caught up in the excitement of trying to implement the most modern technology, forgetting about the power of existing functionality. Recently, I started to explore what I believe is a major issue that remains unsolved: data integrity.
The Oracle team developed a solution that is a fairly straightforward introduction of Process Management. If you are not familiar, the idea of Process Management within Hyperion Planning is to allow for a user to “own” a specific Entity and then to promote the Entity to an analyst or administrator for review once a budget or forecast has been completed.
In recent versions, the functionality has been expanded to allow for more specific paths, but the general idea is to control the flow of a specific Scenario, Version, and Entity combination, also known as a Planning Unit. Once a user gives away ownership of a specific Planning Unit, access is also lost for data entry. This allows each user to control the flow of the entity, relieving administrators of redundant tasks.
But, of course, there are some issues that have pushed many away from even attempting to implement Process Management. The idea seems great (well, at least to me), but there are some roadblocks. Let’s have a look.
Too Complex to Implement Efficiently
First of all, Process Management seems complex because, well, it has a lot of complexity. In the new versions, it seems even more difficult to set up with all the different combinations that are possible for just the Process Management functionality. However, one thing to remember is that this is an out-of-the-box solution. It is meant to allow for the most complex solutions….but….that doesn’t mean YOU have to make it that complex. For example, we can have a path that has an owner approve to an analyst, who then approves to another analyst, who then approves to…you get the point. Or, we can simply have an analyst approve to a general administrator user or group.
Time Consuming to Keep Sending Planning Units Back to Users for Corrections
One of Oracle’s best introductions (which passed by many without notice), is the idea that Validation Rules on data forms can also be integrated with Process Management. Planning settings allow for a Planning Unit to be unapproved if its validation is not passed. However, one issue with this is…
The Approval Process Slows with Too Many Validations and Does Not Prevent Business Rule Execution
Agreed. I can’t have a comeback for every question, right? In my opinion, Oracle overlooked the incorporation of business rules within the Process Management flow. This is especially true for any right-click rules that will impact the way the data looks. Even without the ability to input data, these right-click business rules can only be prevented when security is taken away from the business rule.
BUT WAIT! There may be another way. I’ve recently put up some fairly detailed explanations on Cameron Lackpour’s (a very gracious host, indeed) blog to explain how this process would work. The process involves a full validation solution featuring business rules, data forms, and the process management functionality that has been discussed. This can be seen at Part 1 and Part 2.
Hyperion Planning is implemented to increase efficiency for forecast and budgeting processes in a quick, out-of-the-box manner. One of the issues plaguing Planning system administration is that administrators have to perform manual, redundant tasks like opening and closing the system. Through the proper use of Process Management, we can start to eliminate some of these items and allow administrators and analysts to focus on more pertinent issues. In addition, users can control their own budget flow without any delay time, such as having to wait for the administrator to perform an action.
With the inclusion of the ideas detailed in the blogs I mentioned that are posted on Cameron Lackpour’s blog, these steps can be taken even further to seamlessly maintain data integrity for any Planning application. All of these items can be a little overwhelming in total, so feel free to reach out to the Performance Architects team for any follow-up questions….or maybe….a demo at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Author: Tyler Feddersen, Performance Architects