How Oracle Cloud Enterprise PCM Changes Our Data Integration Approach
It’s been a while since our last blog on Embracing the Possibilities of EPCM (How Oracle Cloud EPCM Changes our Approach to Dimension Management)! This blog will continue our blog series by looking into how the introduction of EPCM changes our approach to Data Integration in our Oracle EPM allocation solutions.
Oracle Cloud PCM has been behind the curve for some time in data integration functionality when compared to the other Oracle Cloud EPM business processes such as Oracle Cloud Planning. As shown in the illustration below Oracle Cloud PCM only ever had very limited data integration options and while they worked successfully over many years, we never had the feature rich data integration functionality of the Common EPM Platform. With Enterprise PCM on the Common EPM Platform we get all those data integration options, which is a very big deal, and gives us a huge amount of functionality and flexibility in choosing the correct data integration for our purpose:
What’s the Impact on How We Implement?
Cloud Data Management (CDM) is the preferred method of data integration (inbound and outbound) in Oracle Cloud PCM. This is primarily due to its ability to connect directly to the source and target applications, such as Oracle Cloud Planning, but also because of mapping and security functionality. The Native upload functionality works well for large data imports (>150k records) but lacks any mapping functionality and has limited ability to see kick outs (the first kick out will cause the load to fail). SmartView is the most convenient but can be error-prone, does not handle large data inputs very well, and lacks security. On the outbound side, CDM is our preferred method for many of the same reasons (target system connectivity and security), PCM Queries can be used to easily extract larger volumes of data (<5m records) through the UI and EPM Automate and SmartView can be used for both reporting and data extracts (using MDX). One great feature introduced to Oracle Cloud PCM was the ability to export level 0 data to a column format (Profitability Tech Tips – Level 0 Export of Cube Data in Columnar Format). This functionality allowed us to export huge data volumes (millions of records) in a columnar format that can be consumed by a relational database or other application.
In Enterprise PCM we have a HUGE number of new features available compared to Oracle PCM and going through every possibility would take its own blog series but let’s discuss some of the major ones. Data Exchange and Data Maps largely replace the use case of CDM and add a lot more functionality in the process. For example, the Data Exchange UI gives us almost all of the functionality of CDM, but we have the added benefit of building in clear scripts directly into our integrations (which is not possible in Oracle Cloud PCM). We can also utilize EPM Integration Agent which allows us to directly connect to on-premise source systems (something that Oracle Cloud PCM cannot do). Data Maps make our lives easier when pushing data between our Oracle Cloud EPM applications and will enable even greater functionality in the future. Webforms are great for allowing a more controlled data entry and reporting mechanism than SmartView (Webforms will never replace SmartView, which is still the king of ad-hoc reporting). For outbound data integration we can utilize Data Exchange to connect to target applications (for example, an on-premises database using EPM Integration Agent) and produce text files. The ability to export level 0 in columnar format is also built into Data Exchange and can be initiated by the user rather than being isolated to an EPM Automate command. Data Maps can be utilized for sending post-allocated results to other Oracle EPM applications (as can Data Maps). We can use the Data Export functionality much the same way we could use Oracle PCM Queries to export unmapped data to a text file.
So, what’s the ultimate impact:
- Right Tool for the Job:
- Enterprise PCM has significantly more data integration functionality than what exists in Oracle Cloud PCM today. What this means is that we have more control over choosing the correct inbound and outbound integration and ultimately have fewer “workarounds” to compensate for less-than-ideal data integration options
- Enhanced Simplicity and Maintenance:
- Data Integrations within Enterprise PCM are far more End-User focused than those in Oracle Cloud PCM.
- Oracle Cloud PCM often relies on CDM and/or EPM Automate for both inbound and outbound data integrations which, depending on the deployment strategy, may not be available to End Users.
- In addition, even if users are allowed access to CDM and/or EPM Automate, the End Users may not feel comfortable using the functionality as it is more technical in their approach.
- Future Functionality Availability:
- As with most future functionality, Oracle Cloud PCM will most likely not be getting any major new functionality in the future for Inbound and Outbound Data Integrations.
- As the Common EPM platform introduces new functionality, the existing Oracle Cloud PCM platform is going to be left further and further behind.
The net results of Enterprise PCM being on the Common EPM Platform means that our data integrations are simpler to implement for consultants, requiring fewer workarounds and more out-the-box functionality, and easier to maintain for clients in the long term!
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