The True Power of Oracle’s Enterprise Planning Suite Unleashed at POET: A Case Study

Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service“If you are going to change the world, you need a system to help get you there. For us, it was… about strategic opportunities. POET was at a crossroads. We needed a system that we could grow with and that could grow with us.”
Lezlee Herdina, Director of FP&A, POET

A privately held corporation headquartered Sioux Falls, South Dakota, POET LLC is a U.S. biofuel company that specializes in the creation of bioethanol. The 1,900-employee company produces 1.8 billion gallons of ethanol annually and has been granted 90 patents in the U.S. and abroad.

In this webinar, Edgewater Ranzal’s Managing Director and HSF Practice Director Ryan Meester speaks with Lezlee Herdina, POET’s Director of FP&A, to give us a behind-the-scenes look into POET’s Enterprise Planning Solution journey, from realizing that significant change was needed to an extensive evaluation process to the ultimate solution and, finally, to the company’s enduring vision going forward.

The Right Tool for the Right Job (RTRJ)

While Lezlee and the POET team were open to the insights and recommendations generated by their Ranzal analysts, they also had some specific goals in mind from the outset:

  • Provide seamless integration of financial and operational data
  • Create a platform for process improvement, including implementing greater automation in monthly processes improving efficiency and increasing time for value-add analysis
  • Achieve better communication, including ease of reporting
  • Reduce reliance on Excel models and associated version control issues
  • Improve data governance, with clarity of data model with common definitions to facilitate planning and reporting processes
  • Integrate operational and financial dashboards for performance measurement
  • Use of scenario analysis to drive M&A and strategic business decisions
  • Increase emphasis on cash perspective
  • Understanding when to use SmartView, Financial Reports, and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE), as well as take full advantage of the strengths of each of the Reporting Tools
  • Keep it simple, and trust in the higher level nature of HSF
  • Recognize the important nature of the user experience
  • Ensure that data integrations are seamless for the end-user

To learn more about the POET team’s initial ongoing business challenges, the lessons learned, and the ultimate results, view a recording of True Power of Oracle’s Enterprise Planning Suite Unleashed at POETwebinar.

To learn more about our Enterprise Planning solutions, visit www.ranz.al/epbcs-webinars

Missed the webinar? View Recording Here.

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Automating Enterprise Planning with EPBCS: A Case Study Featuring Sims Metal Management

Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud ServiceIn using Enterprise Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service (EPBCS) to support annual budgeting and forecasting processes, organizations are choosing solutions that allow them to leverage the financials, projects, capital and workforce business processes necessary to provide a driver-based solution that links expected intake to revenues and costs. In turn, they are able to more efficiently produce integrated income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Featuring Jim Clark of Sims Metal Management, Our Special Guest

 Our August 16, 2017 webinar, featuring Jim Clark, Group Manager of FP&A at Sims Metal Management, takes a detailed look at how one organization automated enterprise planning to streamline processes and produce better results.

Within a real-world scenario, this means that whether using EPBCS out of the box or as a “hybrid” of OOTB with customized extensions, companies like Sims are able to adjust sales forecasts—throughout the year and through sales cycles—to better match the actual costs and needs in areas such as raw materials and labor.

A Better Approach To Performance Management

Using this integrated approach to Performance Management, companies are, in effect, bringing actual performance numbers, on a monthly basis, into their models.

As a result, changes and adjustments can be fine-tuned and incorporated into the mix.  Forecasts can be based more on actual numbers and less on assumptions, thus leading to a balance sheet that matches projections. From a planning perspective, companies can be more nimble and, ultimately, create their models with greater accuracy.

Whether you are participating live or via a recording, this webinar will illustrate how organizations like Sims are leveraging EPBCS in ways that allow them to: 

  • Gain insight to increase efficiency and improve outcomes
  • Better understand how organizations like yours can make standardization and centralization a top priority
  • See how an integrated solution works not just in theory, but actually in practice
  • Follow the processes to results that include improved accuracy and increased efficiency across the enterprise

For More Information

No matter where your team or your organization is along your EPBCS journey, this webinar is certain to provide you with valuable insight and context that can help you to implement changes that lead to greater efficiency and a more streamlined forecasting process overall.

Register for our “Automating Enterprise Planning with EPBCS: A Case Study Featuring Sims Metal Management ” webinar:

Missed the webinar? View Recording Here.

 

Strategic Finance for Service Lines: Finding Opportunities for Growth

Healthcare providers are always seeking innovations and evaluating strategic alternatives to meet growing demand while healthcare legislation is adding challenges to an already complex industry. As the population continues to age and development increases the demand for high quality healthcare, providers must put themselves in the optimal financial position to deliver the best care to the communities that depend on them.

To do this, many are turning to a service line model so that they can identify profitable areas of their organization that will generate future growth and capture market share.  In order to identify the strategic value of each service line, organizations need to have a long-range planning tool that will enable them to quickly forecast each of their service lines over the next 3-5 years and evaluate growth areas so that investments can be made in the service lines that will generate the greatest long-term economic value for the organization.

Utilizing Oracle’s Hyperion Strategic Finance, Edgewater Ranzal has helped many organizations chart a realistic financial plan to achieve their long-range goals and vision.  Some of the ways that we have helped organizations are as follows:

  • Forecast detailed P&Ls  for each service line using revenue and cost drivers such as number of patients, revenue per procedure, FTE’s, and payer mix to accurately forecast profit levels of each service line.
  • Easily consolidate the forecasted service line P&Ls to view the expected financial results at a care center level or for the Healthcare organization as a whole.
  • Layer into the consolidation structure potential new service lines that are being evaluated to understand the incremental financial impact of adding this new service line.
  • Run scenarios on the key business drivers of each service line to understand how sensitive profitability, EPS, and other key metrics are to changes in variables like number of patients, payer mix, FTE’s and salary levels.
  • Compare multiple scenarios side by side to evaluate the risks and benefits of specific strategies.
  • Evaluate the economic value of large capital projects needed to grow specific service lines beyond their current capacity.  Compare the NPV and IRR of various projects to determine which ones should be funded.
  • Layer into the consolidation structure specific capital projects and view their incremental impact on revenue growth and profitability at the service line level as well as the healthcare organization as a whole.
  • Use the built in funding routine of HSF to allocate cash surpluses to new investments and to analyze at what point in time the organization is going to need to secure more debt financing to fund its operations and its capital investments in specific service lines.

Regardless of where you are in your understanding, analysis, or implementation of service lines, a viable long-term strategy must include a critical evaluation of how will you identify the market drivers for growth, measure sustainable financial success, and adjust to changing economic, regulatory, and financial conditions.

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 4 – Creating RuleSets

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced Calc Manager, providing a general overview and explanation of some new terms.  In the second post we walked through the development of a Planning rule that utilized a run time prompt.  Part 3 covered templates available with Calc Manager.

In this, the final post in this series, we’ll step through the creation of a ruleset.  Rulesets are equivalent to Business Rule Sequences in Hyperion Business Rules.

We’ll begin by logging on to Hyperion Workspace and navigating to Calc Manager.  Once in Workspace, the navigation path is:  Navigate -> Administer -> Calculation Manager.

Once in Calc Manager, you’ll land on the System View tab, which appears as follows:

 

Once again, I’ll use my EPMA enabled version of my Planning app based on Sample.Basic.

To create a new ruleset, right click on the “RuleSets” node under your Planning app and select New.  You’ll be prompted to give the ruleset a name.  I’ll name mine Process_Application.  Additionally, you can change the app/database for this ruleset in this dialog box.

After I click OK,  the following screen loads:

You can display the rules available for your rule set by expanding the tree until you see the rules for your database. 

To add rules to the ruleset, simply drag and drop them onto the Ruleset Designer on the right side of the screen.

By default, the rules will run sequentially.  If you wish for rules to execute in parallel, select the RuleSet name within the RuleSet designer.  Check “Enable Parallel Execution” on the Properties tab at the bottom of the screen.

In order to run the script, save, validate, and deploy to your Planning application.

The series of posts that we’ve put together this summer were designed to give a user a basic understanding of how to work with Calculation Manager.  With any new technology, its best to dive in and immerse yourself to speed through the learning curve – Calculation Manager is no different.  Take the opportunity to experiment with the tool.  I feel that you’ll find it easy to learn the basics and before long you’ll be developing your own rules.

If you have any questions about Calc Manager, please leave a comment on any of the posts in this series, or reach out to me via email at jrichardson@ranzal.com.

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 3 – Working with Templates

In Part 1 of this series, we introduced Calc Manager, providing a general overview and explanation of some new terms.  In the second post in the series, we walked through the development of a Planning rule that utilized a run time prompt.  In this post, we’ll explore templates provided within Calc Manager.

As with the Rule Designer, which is a great tool to help less experienced developers build rules, templates provide a simple way to develop rules for basic tasks in Planning and Essbase…tasks such as copying, clearing, exporting, allocating, and aggregating data.  In addition, you can design your own templates.

We’ll begin by logging on to Hyperion Workspace and navigating to Calc Manager.  Once in Workspace, the navigation path is:  Navigate -> Administer -> Calculation Manager.

Once in Calc Manager, you’ll land on the System View tab, which appears as follows:

Once again, I’ll use my EPMA enabled version of my Planning app based on Sample.Basic.

To access predefined templates, right click on “Rules”.  Once you give the rule a name, the graphical designer is launched.  In the “Existing Objects” window, you should find a list of the pre-existing templates.  A list of the system templates follows:

CLEAR DATA

In order to use the system template to Clear Data, drag and drop “Clear Data” from the System Templates to the Rule Designer.  This will then invoke a member selection window asking you to specify the data to clear.  Keep in mind that this template generates a calc script utilizing the CLEARBLOCK command as opposed to a CLEARDATA command.

In my sample app, I select “FY11” for the Years dimension and “Final” for the Version dimension.  The dropdown box for “Clearblock Option” can be used to define the blocks to be cleared…”All” is the default.  The code that is generated appears below.

FIX ("FY11","Final")
  CLEARBLOCK ALL;
ENDFIX

COPY DATA

The Copy Data template helps to walk the calc developer through the process of copying data from one slice of the database to another.

In the remainder of the wizard, you select the “Copy From” member and the “Copy To” member.  The calc script generated follows:

FIX (@RELATIVE("Measures" , 0),@RELATIVE("Periods" ,0),@RELATIVE("Product" , 0),@RELATIVE("Market" , 0),@RELATIVE("Years" , 0),"Budget")
DATACOPY "Working" TO "Final";
ENDFIX

AMOUNT-UNIT-RATE

The Amount-Unit-Rate template allows the developer to build a calc script to solve for either an amount, unit, or rate, basically whichever is missing.  I’ve added a couple of measures to my application to facilitate the demo.  Using the member selection wizard, I’ve selected “Sales” as my amount, “Cases” as my unit, and “Revenue per Case”  as my rate.  The script generated by the template follows:

"Sales"(
  IF ("Sales" == #missing and "Cases" != #missing and "Revenue per Case" != #missing)
    "Sales" = "Cases" * "Revenue per Case";
  ELSEIF ("Sales" != #missing and "Cases" == #missing and "Revenue per Case" != #missing)
    "Cases" = "Sales" / "Revenue per Case";
  ELSEIF ("Sales" != #missing and "Cases" != #missing and "Revenue per Case" == #missing)
    "Revenue per Case" = "Sales" / "Cases";
  ELSE
    "Sales" = "Cases" * "Revenue per Case";
  ENDIF
)

ALLOCATIONS

Two types of allocation templates are provided within Calc Manager.  The first template, Allocate Level to Level,  allows you to allocate from one level to another.   In my example with my Planning app, you would use this template to allocate marketing expenses  from product family to product using a driver like revenue.  This approach utilizes @ANCESTVAL to build the script.

The second template, Allocate Simple, allocates values based on a predefined relationship, such as Marketing->Market * Cases/Cases->Market.

Both templates walk the developer through the setup of the allocations, selecting members that are fixed throughout the process, offset members (if any), etc.

AGGREGATION

The aggregation template aids the developer to create a script to aggregate the application.  The first screen of the wizard, pictured below, allows you to select members for the FIX statement in the aggregation – here you would limit the calc to a particular version, scenario, or your non aggregating sparse dimension members.

The next screen prompts for dense dimensions to aggregate.  However, if dynamic calcs are properly utilized, this should not be necessary.

The third screen asks for sparse dimensions for the aggregation.  You should exclude any non aggregating sparse dimensions from this selection.

Next, you’re prompted for partial aggregations of dense dimensions.  Again – if dynamic calcs are used properly, this should not be an issue.

In the final screen of the wizard, the developer selects settings for the script…

The code generated by Calc Manager follows:

SET AGGMISSG ON;
SET FRMLBOTTOMUP ON;
SET CACHE HIGH;
FIX (@RELATIVE("Years" , 0),"Working","Budget")
CALC DIM ("Product");
CALC DIM ("Market");
ENDFIX

Please note that this code is not optimized.  In this example, I would use the following:

AGG (“Product”,”Market”);

The code as generated by Calc Manager will result in an extra pass through the database – the calc can be accomplished with a single pass.  Additionally, AGG can be used in place of CALC DIM if there are no formulas on the dimensions being calculated.  Generally speaking, stored formulas on sparse dimensions should be avoided due to performance issues.

SET Commands

The next template walks the user through setting various SET commands for the calc.  This is a fairly straightforward exercise.

EXPORT DATA

This is another straightforward template that helps create a data export calc script.  You need to define the fixed members for the export,  delimiter, #MISSING value, export type (flat file, relational), etc.

In the final part of this series, due for posting on August 13, we’ll walk through the creation of a ruleset.  If you have any questions before the next post, please leave a comment!

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 2 – Creating a Planning Rule

In Part 1 of this series we introduced Calc Manager, providing a general overview and explanation of some new terms.  In this post, we will walk through the development of a rule for Hyperion Planning using the graphical interface within Calc Manager.

Again, in order to access Calc Manager, log on to Hyperion Workspace.  Once in Workspace, the navigation path is:

Navigate->Administer->Calculation Manager.

Once in Calc Manager, you’ll land on the System View tab, which appears as follows:

 

For purposes of this demonstration, I have created an EPMA enabled Planning application from the Sample.Basic application that we all know and love.  When the Planning node is expanded, this is what I see:

First, to help illustrate functionality available in Calc Manager, I’m going to create a script component that contains my standard SET commands for the rule.  In order to create the script component, right click on “Scripts” and click on “New”.  Give your script a name and click on “OK”.  This will launch the Component Designer.

From here, you have two options.  If you know what your SET commands need to be, you’re free to type them in directly.  If you wish to be prompted through the process, click on the  button at the top left corner of the Component Designer window.  This will launch a window with all of the calc functions and SET commands.  The following shot displays the function selection interface for SET commands.

For my purposes, I’m going to directly type my SET commands into the Component Designer.  Once complete, save and validate.

Think of script components as an easy way to reuse code…SET commands, standard cube aggregations and the like. 

Once we have saved the script component with our SET commands, it’s time to develop our rule.  To begin, right click on “Rules” under the database node and select “New”.    Give your rule a name and click on “OK”.  This will launch you into the Rule Designer window.

In this example, I’ll create a rule that aggregates the cube, using a run time prompt for the Version dimension.

We can now begin to develop our rule.  First, we’ll select the script component for our SET commands that we developed earlier.  Simply drag this into the rule designer to the right of “Start”.  The Rule Designer window now looks like this:

Let’s take this opportunity to create our variable for the Version dimension run time prompt.  Go to the “Tools” menu and select “Variables”.  Once the Variable Navigator launches, expand the Planning, application, and database nodes.  I’m going to create a run time prompt variable for the Version dimension.  Right click on your rule name and select “New”.  Once I populate the fields on the “Replacement” tab, my screen looks like this:

When complete, save the variable.  Now, back to our rule…

We’re going to specify members for our “Fix” statement.  To do this, select “Member Range” in the New Objects portion of the Rule Palette.  

To add to the rule, drag and drop to the right of the SET command script.  My screen looks like this:

Next, we’ll populate the members for our Fix statement.  I’ll start with Measures.  For my rule, I want to select all of the level 0 measures.  Once I click on the Value field for the Measures dimension, an Actions box appears. 

I want to select a Function.  This invokes the function selection window that we observed earlier.  I want to select @LEVMBRS from the list, which will then prompt for the dimension and level number.

I select Measures from the drop down box and enter “0” for the level name.  I’m going to repeat this process for all of my dense and non aggregating sparse dimensions, with the exception of the Version dimension.  This will be handled via the run time prompt.  For the Version dimension, select “Variable” in the Actions box.  Change the Category selection to “Rule” and this is what we see.

Highlight the variable and click OK.  My member range box looks like this:

Now, we’ll develop the script component to aggregate the Product and Market dimensions.  I’m going to drag a script from the “New Objects” portion of the Rule Palette into my member range.  The graphical display looks like:

Again, I’m going to select a function (AGG in this case).  I then select Products and Market from the dimension selector. 

Now, save and validate.  To deploy the rule to Planning, select Quick Deploy:

Once deployed, the rule can be run from Planning.

In this post, we’ve provided a walk through on developing a new rule using the graphical designer.  More experienced developers can directly code the calc in script mode.  To convert to script mode, select “Edit” and “Script” from the menu. 

In the next post, due by July 31, we’ll explore templates and ruleset creation.  In the meantime, please leave a comment if you have any questions!

ORACLE HYPERION CALC MANAGER – Part 1

With the continued investment in the Hyperion tool set by Oracle, there was a desire to centralize the development of calculations for HFM, Essbase, and Planning.  As a result of this, Oracle Hyperion Calculation Manager was born.  Calc Manager is a powerful tool for developing and administering rules for Planning and Essbase.   An intuitive graphical interface is available to help in the development process, helping to expedite movement through the learning curve for people just beginning to dip their toes into the world of Oracle Hyperion Planning and Oracle Essbase.

Over the course of several posts this summer, I’ll explore Calc Manager functionality from the Essbase and Planning points of view.  For EPMA-enabled Planning applications, use of Calc Manager is required.   With version 11.1.1.3, Calc Manager can be used with Classic Planning apps as well.  However, the focus of my blog posts will be EPMA-enabled apps, as Classic Planning rides off into the sunset.

Calc Manager, a component of EPM Architect, is integrated into EPM Workspace, the standard entry point for many Hyperion applications.  In order to access Calc Manager, log into Workspace, and select Nagivate->Administer->Calculation Manager (see screen shot below for navigation path).  However, before we get too far into actually navigating the tool, we’ll need to get comfortable with the terminology within Calc Manager.

There are three types of objects within Calc Manager:  components, rules, and rulesets.   Components are smaller pieces of a larger rule.  Things like SET commands, FIX statements, formulas, etc. are examples of components.  I’ll explore this in much greater detail in a future post, but think of a standard types of SET commands that you use in all of your scripts – this can be saved separately as a script component and pulled into a new rule very easily.  Included below is a shot of the Component Designer with a sample of some standard set commands.

Essentially, rules are the finished calc script, similar to Business Rules in the past.  Rules are used for modeling/allocations/aggregations and the like.  Rules can be built using system templates.  Oracle has provided standardized templates for tasks such as clearing, copying, allocating, aggregating, and exporting data.   Again, these templates will be explored in additional detail in a future post.

Rulesets are similar to Business Rule Sequences under Hyperion Business Rules.  Rulesets can be used to launch rules sequentially or simultaneously depending on your logic requirements.

Now that we’ve covered the basic terminology related to Calc Manager, in my next post, which should be online by July 4, we’ll walk you through creating a rule for an EPMA enabled Planning app.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, leave a comment!