What's New in Enterprise Data Management 21.04

Published May 10 2021
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Introduction

The April 2021 (21.04) release of Enterprise Data Management (EDM) has now hit both Test and Production environments, so I figured this is a good time to highlight a few key updates. This was a large release (20+ enhancements!) and continues the cadence of major feature drops for EDM occurring about once per quarter.

For a complete list of the enhancements, be sure to check out the Oracle What's New page.

I decided to pick 3 enhancements to focus on and believe me, it was not easy to pick only 3!

  • Create Unbound Dimensions
  • Enrich Request Items During Approval
  • Dimension Extracts Enhancements

 

Create Unbound Dimensions

This enhancement opens the door to many possible use cases. You can now create unbound dimensions, directly from the Application Inspector, without having to use the Application Registration wizard. This allows you to integrate EDM to external systems for special-purpose integrations not natively supported by the application adapter. See the screenshots below for how to create an unbound dimension:

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Okay, so I’ve created an unbound dimension, now what? Create your data chain (node type, hierarchy set, node set, viewpoint) and start using it. It really is that simple. That is what makes this feature so powerful - you can quickly create your own unbound dimension, data chain objects, and custom properties to model the enterprise data based on your requirements, all without impacting the bound dimensions, application registration, or inbound/outbound integrations. And couple this with the Extract feature, you have a new, powerful tool in your EDM tool bag.

 

Two things to keep in mind about unbound dimensions:

  • You cannot use Import to populate the unbound dimension with master data. Instead, use Requests.
  • You cannot use Export to publish the master data in the unbound dimension. Instead, use Extracts.

 

Enrich Request Items During Approval

You might be thinking – enrich items during approval - what is this trickery you speak of? This is a subtle, but significant, enhancement that positions EDM for true enrichment workflow stages in the future.

To enable this feature, toggle the Allow Enrichment checkbox in the Approval Policy definition:

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Now when a request enters the approval workflow, the approver can (like before) Approve, Reject, or Pushback a request. But in addition, the approver can now edit the request in-flight. Whoa! But don’t worry, the approver’s ability to edit the request is still limited by their Write access permissions (which, by the way, was also enhanced in 21.04 with a new Participant permission and granular read-write access at an Action and Property level).

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This is a nice enhancement because it will streamline the overall workflow process and reduce the elapsed time. Instead of rejecting or pushing back a request for a minor change or oversight, the approver can now apply those edits in-flight.

 

Dimension Extracts Enhancements

Dimension Extracts were first introduced in 20.12 and are probably the single feature I am most excited about. Why? Because Extracts allow you to create custom output files, using bound/unbound dimensions, filters, file formats, and a variety of other formatting options, for specific types of integrations. We are already starting to use this feature in current Alithya EDM implementations.

With 21.04, some key enhancements were introduced to Extracts. First, on the General tab, you can now configure the extract to create a compressed, zip file archive:

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Next, on the Options tab, look at the new “Reconnect Parents” option next to the Node Filter (the Node Filter is where you define expressions to conditionally include/exclude nodes in the output). By enabling “Reconnect Parents”, EDM will link a node to the closest extracted ancestor in case your filter excluded one or more nodes in the ancestor branch. It’s essentially a “skip-level, reconnect and reassemble your ancestor branches” function which could be very useful for EDM integrations to external systems such as a data warehouse/data mart.

And finally, you can define Custom Header and Footer blocks in your extract. Very helpful when an external system requires specific header/footer content for files to be natively consumed.

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Summary

That’s it for this edition and I hope you found this useful. If I try to summarize these enhancements plus many others I didn’t discuss (global connections, new REST API endpoints, alternate names, and others), one word comes to mind: flexibility. These enhancements further strengthen how EDM can (and should) be positioned as a true “master data hub” that integrates with Cloud, On-Premise, Oracle, and Non-Oracle systems in a flexible manner.

Until next time!

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.