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Product Update Highlights: Oracle Enterprise EPM

– July 2020

This will change from month-to-month, and attempt to provide a picture of what is going on with EPM from an operational sense and Planning/Freeform as relevant. This blog post will also include notable updates for Narrative Reporting.

Documentation

Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud Operations Guide - This is a new document which has only been available a short while and tends to focus on generic EPM operational issues. 

Link: https://docs.oracle.com/en/cloud/saas/enterprise-performance-management-common/tsepm/ops_app-specific_issues_epm_cloud_heading.html

This is a continually evolving document that has received several new updates which reflect new functionality, as well as enhancements. 

Oracle is providing more and more tools for managing the environment. A primary focus is Business Continuity; when environments are down, or not performing, or there is a loss of data, for example. This is not designed to be app-specific, but generic for EPM.


Notable New Features

I have cherry-picked a few of the features for this month's update blog.

Top of the list this month has to be write back for EPM to on-premises databases. There are other integration improvements as well. Integration is always a key part of developing solutions whether in a hybrid Cloud / On-Premises environment, or Cloud to Cloud. It is a long time since I have come across any Organisations only using “pure’ on-premises environments! I’m glad to see that Oracle is continuing to improve these features.

 

  • New Feature #1 - EPM Agent Write-Back

The EPM Integration Agent, which provides connectivity between EPM Cloud and on-premises sources, now provides write-back functionality where data from EPM Cloud can be loaded back to the on-premises database.

To support this feature, a new data export application allows you to export data to the on-premises database. There are two modes in which you can load data to the target table. To use the simple mode, you register the application and specify the table name and include all the columns from the table in the application. The system generates the INSERT statements automatically and loads the data. To use the advanced mode, you provide an INSERT statement with the appropriate source value and any SQL expressions in an INSERT query.

In addition, the agent can execute two event scripts during the write-back execution: BefExport and AftExport. Using a BefExport event, you can perform any action before inserting data to the table or you can override the default insert processing. Using an AftExport event, you can do any post processing cleanup after inserting data to the table.

The write-back feature is supported for agents running in both SYNC and ASYNC modes.

Steps to Enable: 

Download the EPMAgent.zip from the Download Agent option on the Actions menu in Data Integration. Unzip the EPMAgent.zip and overwrite your existing agent folder. There is no further action. You don’t need to update the ini file or certificate.


  • New Feature #2 - Set new clear region option data in Data Integration

A new Clear Region option in Data Integration allows you to select the slice of data to be cleared before loading data in Replace mode to a Planning module application. In addition, when loading budgets to the Oracle General Ledger, you can optionally clear prior budgets before loading a new budget. This feature can only be used with Oracle Financials Cloud 20C or higher.

You define the clear region by specifying member selection criteria for dimensions such as a static list of members, member function selections, and members derived from the data. By default, the system defines a default clear script based on Entity, Scenario, Version, Year, and Period values included in the data load.

    • For Planning, the Period, Year, and Scenario dimensions are derived automatically based on the data and you do not have to specify any filters for these dimensions.
    • For Fusion, the Ledger, Scenario, and Accounting Period dimensions are derived automatically based on the data and you do not have to specify any filters for these dimensions.

Clear Region option

Clear Region tab: The Clear Region option is only available for the Planning module and Oracle Fusion General Ledger (Fusion release 20c or higher required) target applications.


  • New Feature #3 - New time balance properties let you customise or disable spreading behaviour on Forms

You can now customise or disable data spreading on forms using two new time balance properties: Custom and Disable.

These new properties give you the ability to control the spreading behaviour at the Account level. If you select the Custom time balance property, the application designer is expected to apply customised spreading if desired (for example, using a Groovy rule), and data entry input is allowed on a parent time period. If the Disable time balance property is selected, no spreading will occur and the summary time periods are read-only.

Note that these new time balance properties only affect how spreading works on the client, be it Planning Web or Smart View. They do not affect how data is stored nor do they affect other rollups defined on the member. For example, if the consolidation operators call for the Children to rollup into the Parent, then once the data is saved and recalculated that is the behaviour that will occur. Also, all current form settings are respected such as locked cells, and so on.

Key Resources:


  • New Feature #4 - Enable Strategic Modelling when creating Custom Planning application

When creating a custom Planning business process in EPM Enterprise Cloud Service, you now have the option to enable Strategic Modelling for use with your custom application.

You enable Strategic Modelling for the custom application by selecting the Strategic Modelling option on the Create Applications: Details screen.

You can enable Strategic Modelling for use with your custom applications only when creating the application.


  • New Feature #5 - New Groovy Rules to run pre-defined workforce data maps

New Groovy rules are available in Workforce to execute the pre-defined data maps with runtime prompts for Entity, Scenario, and Version. Additionally, these new Groovy rules use the Years and Periods defined in the Planning and Forecast Preparation configuration task per Scenario. Conversely, the data maps execute for all Entities, all Versions, all Scenario, and all Years.

The new Groovy rules are:

      • OWP_Compensation Data Reporting
      • OWP_Non Compensation Data for Reporting
      • OWP_Headcount Data for Reporting
      • OWP_Compensation Data to FinStmt
      • OWP_Non Compensation Data to FinStmt

Only service administrators can execute these Groovy data map rules. The ability to focus the scope of the data pushed through the runtime prompts for Entity, Scenario, Version, and Years and Periods by using the Planning and Forecast Preparation configuration task should improve the performance of the data movement.

Key Resources:


  • New Feature #6 - Audit will now retain records for up to 365 days

Audit information is now retained for up to 365 days from the current system date.

To enable auditing, click Tools, then Audit, and then click Enable Auditing. To view audit details, click Tools, then Audit, then select filter criteria for Audit Types,Date Range, andUser Name. Audit details can be exported to Excel by clicking Export. To export more than 180 days of audit records, you can use export tools like EPM Automate and REST APIs.

Key Resources:

  • New Feature #7 - Working with burst in EPRCS

The Bursting feature enables you to run a single report or book for more than one member of a single dimension for one data source, publishing a PDF output for each member.

Using this feature, you can send an email with the published PDF files attached to a specified recipient list. You can also save the published PDF files to the Narrative Reporting Library.

Using a distribution template, you can specify Email recipients and Library permissions.

Let’s consider an example, how Bursting can run a Report, or Book for these two entities such as New York, and Houston.

    • You want to send the PDF output for the New York location to the specific email recipient b.lumbergh@initech.com.
    • Similarly, you want to send the PDF output for the Houston location to the specific email recipient m.bolton@initech.com.
    • If you want to save the generated PDF output files into the Narrative Reporting Library, and based on the user permissions, you can view or access the published PDF documents.

Narrative Reporting Library

 

Upcoming Changes

There are a number of changes coming.

  • Depreciation of the Identity_Domain Parameter from the Login Command

In an upcoming release, Oracle will deprecate the use of IDENTITY_DOMAIN as parameter for the login EPM Automate command. Instead, the name of the identity domain will be calculated automatically from the URL. Existing scripts that contain this value have to be updated after this parameter is deprecated.

This change is expected to be implemented in the 20.10 update. If you have any concerns about this change, please contact Oracle Support.

  • Usability enhancement for horizontal tabs in Navigation Flows

In an update within the next few months, we are introducing a few usability enhancements to the horizontal tab feature within navigation flows. As part of these usability improvements, we will be placing the horizontal tabs at the bottom of the page instead of at the top of the page where they are currently located. The vertical tabs will stay where they are.

Customers will benefit from a clear separation of the EPM Cloud horizontal tabs from their browser tabs at the top of the window. Another benefit of this change will be to keep the navigation flow tab names distinct from the name of the artefacts (such as forms and dashboards) rendered within the horizontal tabs.

These changes will be the default for all customer environments where horizontal tabs are being used within navigation flows. The effective date of the release will be announced in the month prior to the release. It is expected in the next 2-4 months’ timeframe.

  • Removal XLS. format export option

Currently, the following report export options are available: csv, xls, xlsx, pdf and html.

In an upcoming update, the option for xls will be removed for Account Reconciliation and Tax Reporting. Customers who have built custom reports must ensure that their reports will export as desired to one of the remaining formats: csv, xlsx, pdf, or html.

  • EPM mobile app statement of direction - The app goes away by September this year...

EPM Mobile App is a downloadable application for the phone that is purpose built to perform approval actions for iOS and Android based phone devices. It was purpose built to help users perform Approval and Workflow activities. It is currently only supported for Oracle EPM Cloud for the Planning business process.

The terminal release of EPM Mobile App is September 2020.  EPM Mobile App will not be available for download in the Apple and iOS App Stores effective October 2020. Oracle’s strategic direction is to have customers use the Approval and workflow capabilities using the mobile browser interface on mobile devices.

Oracle will continue to support Oracle EPM Mobile App in its current supported versions until September 2020.  Oracle recommends that users using Oracle EPM Mobile App prepare to instead use the approval functionality using supported mobile browser in tablet devices.

  • Flash disabled by default in Calculation Manager

Flash is now disabled by default in Calculation Manager. You can still enable Flash temporarily, if desired.

By the end of 2020, Oracle will disable Flash in Calculation Manager, and options to enable it will be removed. This change is in response to Adobe’s decision to stop updating and distributing Flash at the end of 2020. See https://theblog.adobe.com/adobe-flash-update/.

  • Simplified search in Access Control

Access Control now uses a simplified, intelligent search function across screens that supports search for artefacts such as users and groups. This search function, unlike the previous version, does not use wildcard characters with partial search strings. Instead, it searches using a partial string from one of the user (user name, first name, last name, and email ID) or group (group name) attributes to retrieve all artefacts that contains the search string. For example, using the string st to search for groups displays groups such as Test, Cast, Analysts, and so on. Similarly, using the search string Fr displays user names of Frank, Freddy, Alfred, and so on.

  • Internet Explorer Browser Support (I will leave this in each issue of this, until such as IE is "de-supported"!)

For Internet Explorer browser users, Microsoft recommends using the new Microsoft Edge as your default browser. With this guidance in mind, the 20.08 update will be the last release to support Internet Explorer. EPM Cloud will no longer support Internet Explorer starting with the 20.09 update. If you have any questions regarding de-support, please create a Service Request. For additional guidance on Internet Explorer Lifecycle, please reach out to Microsoft.

Previews

EPM are doing a number of previews currently, one after the other. We are limited in what we are allowed to share as we are assisting Oracle with the preview under a non-disclosure agreement

Some of the recent ones are:

  • We are reviewing changes to the Prediction capability already in Planning
  • There are enhancements being tested on enhancements to security, which will affect the granularity and method of assignation
  • Ways of being able to automate loading of Valid Intersections
  • There is currently a major update  to the Dashboarding capability for EPM being reviewed as well. This will provide many new reporting artifacts, as well as capability to create dashboards without first creating grids.

Some of this was announced and shared with the public at large at the EPM Symposium as part of the ODTUG Learn at Home Series.  I will share a few screenshots of Dashboarding 2.0. When is it actually arriving...

Dashboarding 2.0

Dashboards 2.0 (1)

Dashboards 2.0 (2)

Dashboards 2.0 (3)

Dashboards 2.0 (4)

The Dashboard 2.0 module will be launched as a parallel feature to the existing dashboards initially, and then gradually replace the old. There will be a drop down selection allowing you to choose which version of it to work with.

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