Top 5 New Features in Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud Planning
What an interesting year 2020 was. The good news is, Oracle continued to work diligently on new features within Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud Planning while we adjusted to wearing masks and paying hefty food delivery fees. In my opinion, these are the top five newest features, in order of impact for our clients.
1. EPM Auto Predict
With EPM Auto Predict, basis data in an application is projected out to a base case, best-case, and worst-case scenario projection. Basis data in your application is any data set that has valuable insights. The data can be actuals, driver data from your decision support systems, or projection data.
EPM Auto Predict uses industry-standard machine learning algorithms to project out these base case, best-case, and worst-case scenarios. These datasets are then published into your application.
This is an enhancement from its predecessor, Predictive Planning. The result is that managers can now look at these projected scenarios alongside traditional projections. One use case for this would be the non-variable expense lines on your income statement within the application.
2. Data Management Enhancements
Data management allows you to load data into your EPM cloud solutions. A plethora of enhancements were made to data management in 2020.
- EPMIA: In late 2019, Oracle introduced EPM Integration Agent (EPMIA), a utility that can be installed on a server that integrates directly to on-premises solutions such as Microsoft SQL Server, or PeopleSoft GL. There's a major update in EPMIA in 2020 where you can use EPMIA to write back to these source systems.
- Event-based Business Rules: You can now run event-based business rules in EPM Cloud Planning, which means you can run a business rule before you load, after you load, before you import, etc.
- Integration with EPM Inbox/Outbox: You can now export data from your data form, which can then be loaded into a target application, whether it is in the same instance as a database or it's in a separate instance or separate application.
- LCM Migrations: These migrations used to be all or nothing, and now there is the flexibility to pick and choose what you want to move and how you want to move these artifacts. You can choose to migrate a location only, for example.
- Targeted Clear Options: You can now perform targeted clears from your data management load rules. You can clear the intersections as you are loading, or you can override it and choose to clear something else in your target applications where you are going to load. You can also delete all of the data management application when you're deleting an application. In the past, deleting an application in your EPM Cloud Planning, for example, meant it would not delete the data management application. Now you can completely delete everything when you're deleting the application.
- Enhanced Data Validation: There is now enhanced data validation for kick-outs encountered as you are loading targets.
3. Dashboards 2.0
Dashboards are extremely useful for getting a quick view of KPIs and key metrics. Often data is easier to understand when seen using a visual representation. In Dashboard 2.0, over 17 different chart types, with dynamic views, can be implemented.
Dashboards have many uses, for example, they may be used by Executives or senior management to quickly see how the business is performing, or to help at the beginning of a planning cycle.
The new Dashboard 2.0 includes new visualizations based on Oracle’s JET Technology. Currently, the visualizations available with Dashboard 2.0 are a variety of Graph Types, Gauges, Tables with optional Sparkline graphs, Performance Tiles, and Maps.
4. Groovy Java Library Updates
Groovy Business Rules are a cornerstone of many, if not all our EPM Cloud Planning implementations. In 2020, the knowledge base for Groovy enablement was expanded by Oracle through their tutorials. The Groovy Java Library, itself, expanded to more classes, and Microsoft Excel functions were added to those classes.
In our implementations, we extensively use REST API invocation, especially to run data management load rules to integrate data between applications on different pods. Groovy templates are now allowed in ASO plan types. You can now run Groovy Rules to write back to upper levels of a BSO or ASO plan type and then allocate that data down to lower levels using a custom allocation logic.
5. REST API Updates
As previously mentioned in the Data Management Enhancements, you can now interact with the EPM inbox in planning. A data management REST API for integration allows you to pick up files from this planning inbox to then load using data management load rules to targets. Using REST APIs, admins can now upgrade Essbase automatically or skip upgrades altogether. Other important features include the ability to perform partial cube clears, and integration of REST API to override source filters in data sync.
You can also use REST API to run EPM Auto Predict. And finally, the REST APIs can be used to move data files between instances and to and from the Oracle Object Store. Think of this as moving a file from your EPM Cloud SAAS to an object store and infrastructure as a service offering.
There were other updates in 2020 that were impactful, such as updates for Strategic Modeling, Enterprise Planning, Workforce Planning updates, and Oracle's continued development of the User Assistance Program. I’d be happy to discuss these top five updates with you in more detail if you have questions.
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