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Things to Like in Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 11.1.2.3: Hyperion Planning Outline Load Utility (OLU)
Posted on May 28, 2013
Author: Andy Tauro, Performance Architects

Continuing the series of posts that highlight the new and significant features in Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 11.1.2.3, today we talk about the Hyperion Planning Outline Load Utility (OLU). This tool is often used by developers to quickly make bulk updates to the dimensional information or outline of an Oracle Hyperion Planning application, and traditionally required access to the server machine where Hyperion Planning is installed. Since this type of access was not usually granted to folks who are not tech-savvy like the Finance team (who are the people who best understand the business logic behind most Hyperion Planning applications), the business team would have to rely on IT support personnel to allocate time to upload dimensional changes to the application. The case was the same if Planning dimensions needed to be extracted into flat files for consumption elsewhere.

Before 11.1.2.3, another option was to make changes to the outline over the Planning web interface, to one member (or node) at a time. As a result, adding a whole bunch of members – especially during the preparation stage for a books-closing – took a lot of time, effectively reducing productivity.

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With 11.1.2.3, OLU functionality is now available via the Planning web interface. Using the same outline build files that would have been supplied to the command line utility, Finance users who have been granted access can now upload (or download) dimensional information from their own terminals using just a web browser.

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This reduces dependence on IT support personnel, whose time is better spent building, running and monitoring increasingly complex virtual and physical systems. This functionality allows the business to update outlines not just for monthly tasks, but also allows more development responsibilities to stay within the business team.

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For security reasons, business users are usually on an internal network that does not have direct access to the servers. A business user needing this capability in the past required not just an understanding of command-line systems, like Oracle Linux servers, but had to go through virtual private networks (VPNs) or virtual desktop (VDI) gateways to get to the server. With the web interface, this is no longer needed, and the ability to make and test changes to a development application reduces turnaround time by hours, if not days. This also eliminates the need to set up and maintain the VPN and VDI systems, and to provide access and educate non-technical personnel on their use.

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The OLU web interface also provides the ability to export data to a flat file, and a Finance team member can do this without IT support.

The word “agile” comes to mind when we think of the capabilities that this adds to Hyperion Planning solutions. With development now in the hands of those who understand business needs best, solutions can be made better by more accurately meeting the business audience’s expectations. This reduces overhead due to mistakes made in the build, as well as reduces build time, since developers can now work more closely with the users on improving the solution.

Author: Andy Tauro, Performance Architects

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