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The Top Three Focus Areas to Streamline the Oracle EPM (Hyperion) User Experience
Posted on June 24, 2015
Author: Tyler Feddersen, Performance Architects

The Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite offers generous flexibility for each individual user to control settings based on how each user would like to see data. However, there eventually comes a time when this flexibility can actually be more inconvenient if all users are expected to use the same settings. Do you have a section at the beginning of your User Guide to simply show users how to all set the same settings? No!? Then it’s time to explore the world of Hyperion defaults.

The rest of the blog will be split into sections for defaults of the following tools: Oracle Hyperion Planning, Oracle Hyperion Workspace, and Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting.

  1. Hyperion Planning

Administrators can set defaults within each application under Administration -> Application -> Settings in the “Current Application Defaults” tab. Within this area, there are two groups of options: “Application Settings” and “Display Options”.

For “Application Settings,” I will keep it short. The most universal option here will be what is displayed for members. The administrator can choose to show member names with the member name and/or alias, in a specified order. If “Process Management” is used, there are a few more options here, but for the most part “Display Options” will be our primary target.

“Display Options” is where the primary focus will be for defaulting preferences for users. The below image shows a number of defaults that have been set for an application. For this particular instance, there was a strong desire for everyone to see negative numbers colored red with parenthesis. Another potentially nice option here may be the use of “Allow Search When Number of Pages Exceeds…” to activate the search functionality on forms within the page. For example, if this number is set to 100, the search functionality is not available if there are 99 options in the page. This may not be very desirable for a user, as it requires a hefty amount of scrolling. By setting it to a lower number, however, the list can be much more manageable.

One of the more confusing items here is the presence of “Use Default,” shown below next to “Number Formatting,” “Page Options,” and “Other Options.” Logically, in order for a user to use the defaults, it might seem these options must be selected. Fortunately, this is only the case if a user has already customized preferences to override the defaults. If there are no overrides, each user’s preferences will update to the defaulted settings as the administrator makes them without these boxes needing to be selected.

  1. Workspace

This section is “short and sweet” because there are not very many default options for the general Workspace area, but the few that exist are important. This setting can be found at “Navigate” -> “Administer” -> “Workspace Settings” -> “Manage Preferences.”

For Workspace settings, Shared Services will be used to group preferences. They can either be assigned by specific users or groups. After choosing groups/users, the two options available will be: “Default Startup Options” and “Accessibility Mode.” The latter of the options will be very specific to certain EPM users, but the Startup Options can be used by all. Here, a default can be chosen to select the first page that a user will see. For groups that may use reporting and documents most of the time, Explore might be a nice change. Likewise, a different group may primarily only use a single application, and the option can be defaulted to go directly to that application on login.

From a technical perspective, the default start page does not make much of a difference, as all aspects are still accessible. However, from a usability standpoint, it can make a great difference in the user experience.

  1. Financial Reporting

The last (and most complicated) set of defaults will be for Financial Reporting, or FR. Unlike the previous two sections, FR defaults are set using a specific utility called FRConfig on the server where Financial Reporting has been installed in the location <MIDDLEWARE>\EPMSystem11R1\products\financialreporting\bin. For Windows environments, the specific file is FRConfig.cmd while non-Windows will see FRConfig.sh. When this file is executed, a console appears, as shown below.

The console can also be used for monitoring CPU and RAM usage if there are optimization issues, but our focus is going to be on the defaulting capabilities, found in the MBeans tab. Within this tab, navigate to com.hyperion -> Financial Reporting -> Attributes.

An overwhelming amount of options will now be displayed. Some of the more popular ones also seen through the front end will be shown with the prefix of “com.hyperion.reporting.HRPrefs”. For example, the “filter_by_security” option is shown below:

The “filter_by_security” property (Member Selection Displays in the front-end) will default users to automatically leverage Planning security for member selection on reports that use the Planning connection. The default for this option is actually “false” or off, which will have users see the full member list in POV or Prompt selections. For users with access to only a few entities, this option can make a big difference in usability.

Like the Planning defaults, the FR options will only take effect as long as the user has not customized overrides. For example, if a user sets the “filter_by_security” (Member Selection Displays) option to “false” (“All Members Regardless of Access”) within preferences from the front end, it will override the default setting made in this example.

Note: The overrides actually exist in the Reporting and Analysis table, V8_PROP_VALUE. If desired, the override values can potentially be modified to be the new default (changing false to true and vice versa). However, this is NOT supported by Oracle so steps should be taken very carefully if this option is chosen.

Note: For the FR modifications to properly take effect, the service should be restarted. Additionally, services do not need to be running for the FRConfig utility to be used.

While this blog covers three of the most heavily used EPM components, there are more options out there. These defaulting options can all be used throughout any phase of a Hyperion implementation, whether it’s before any user has even accessed the system, or five years into using a solution. However, there is definitely a major benefit in determining how these defaults should be set up before any user has even accessed the application, especially with Financial Reporting. Through the use of these three components, the user experience can be both a pleasant and streamlined one.

For further information on incorporating a solution like the one described here, please contact sales@performancearchitects.com.

Author: Tyler Feddersen, Performance Architects

 

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