EPM Cloud Planning Essentials: Inter-pod Integration in EPM Cloud Planning

Published March 20 2020 by Vatsal Gaonkar
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How do we move data in the EPM Cloud Planning world as compared to the on-premise counterpart? In the on-premise solutions, if administrators needed to move data between two separate planning applications, say Workforce and Financials applications, a series of steps to write data between the applications was created. Given the on-premise solution housed two applications on the same server, the methodology was to use XWRITE or XREF functions to write between the applications. The link between the applications was created using a location alias which substantiated the sources and targets of data movement.

With an Oracle EPM Cloud SaaS subscription, that paradigm changes. First, it is essential to understand how subscriptions are set up in the EPM Cloud world. After a subscription is created, only one application can be created in an environment.

Figure 1 - Oracle EPM Cloud SaaS configuration

Domain – Assigned by Oracle for your EPM Cloud SaaS subscription

Subscription – Can be any of the subscriptions of business processes available through Oracle EPM Cloud

Environment – A test and production instance per environment; best practice is to use 1 application per environment

 

Figure 2 - Multi-product SaaS subscription

When data movement between applications is needed, a combination of data integration rules and inter-pod connections need to be established in the EPM Cloud Planning architecture. Alithya often sees such requirements coming for integrating Workforce application data with Financials application data. Typically, the need is to move data between environments regularly, due to change in assumptions in the Workforce model or re-running of the Employee load in the Workforce application. Alithya’s  best practice is to plan in a Financials Planning cube, with Block Storage Option (BSO) Essbase database, and report of a Financials Reporting cube, with Aggregate Storage Option (ASO) Essbase database. What is the methodology to integrate the Workforce data into the Financials data given that they exist in two separate instances/ environments? How do we automate the movement of this data? At the time of this writing, inter-pod or inter-application Data Maps option is not available in Oracle EPM Cloud. For more information on Data Maps, click here.

Figure 3 - Integrating Workforce and Financials application

The illustrated data movement requirement can be broken down into 3 sub-sections:

  • Clear the Target – BSO will have a calculation manager rule for target data clearing, while ASO will have a Clear Cube job for target data clearing
  • Establish inter-pod/ inter-application connection - Source extraction data management load rules are created to pull data from “Workforce Reporting” to send to Targets, “Financials Planning”, and “Financials Reporting.”
  • Integration Automation – EPM Cloud Planning and Data Integration REST APIs are called through Groovy Business Rules to enable seamless process management of clearing data in a remote target application, and then pushing the source data to the target.

To enable integrated automation, Alithya will create EPM Connections for REST API calls in the Source. The connection will be to run Clear Jobs in Target and to run the Cloud Data Management load rule to extract from Source to load to Target.

Groovy Business Rules call Clear Jobs in the Target plan types, “Financials Planning” and “Financials Reporting” using REST API, invocation of Clear Cubes. This link provides more information on Groovy Business Rules.

Groovy Business Rules call Cloud Data Management load rules from the application to extract Source data to move to the Target. The link below w provides Oracle EPM Cloud REST API invocation documentation.

Data Management REST API to run data management load rules

Planning Jobs REST API to run business rules and clear cube jobs

Alithya’s best practice methodology to integrate data between Oracle EPM Cloud Planning applications calls for the following design considerations –

 1.   Purpose-driven design – Implementation design and security require business processes like Workforce have separate security access rules than Financials. An appropriate design in these circumstances is to have Workforce as its own application (in its own environment), thereby creating a need to integrate data from Workforce to Financials.

 2.   Groovy Scripting – At the time of this writing, Groovy scripting invoking REST API calls is the best Inter-pod integration possibility, especially when data needs to be moved en masse between applications.

 3.   EPM Cloud Planning and Data Management REST APIs – EPM Cloud REST APIs are application programming interface commands that use the HTTP requests to talk with EPM Cloud applications. For example, REST API invocation of Data Management load rule from Groovy Business Rule requires a JSON object to be passed to invoke the rule. A combination of Connections and start/ end periods avail the ability to run this rule from a Groovy Business Rule.

Figure 4 - REST API Data Management load rule invocation

 4.   Configuration of Source/ Volume of data – Data Management is the best tool to move the volumes of data that we see as a requirement for moving between Workforce and Financial applications. Workforce application data sets are large and need summarization before moving to the Financials application. Using ASO as a source plan type (Workforce Reporting) yields the best results in summarizing data on extraction in the source before moving to target.

 5.   EPM Cloud Planning Job Schedules - Once all the steps are in place in a Calculation Manager ruleset at the source, a ruleset can be scheduled to run from Jobs in EPM Cloud Planning. Below is an example of a scheduled Ruleset that calls Groovy Business Rules to clear targets and run data rule to move source data to target, between fiscal Jul-20 through Jun-21.

For comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics, please reach out to us at infosolutions@alithya.com.  Visit our blog regularly for new posts about Cloud updates and other Oracle Cloud Services such as Planning and Budgeting, Financial Consolidation, Account Reconciliation, and Enterprise Data Management.  Follow Alithya on social media for the latest information about EPM, ERP, and Analytics solutions to meet your business needs.

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