Our Enterprise Performance Management landscapes are changing. With an increased emphasis on efficiency, reporting and a new found stress on the information technology industry, being a project implementation leader today is very different than being one in 2006. With the changes in the industry, it’s easy to lose track of how the product has changed significantly over the years.
Some of the more notable changes:
- Oracle has focused on adopting Oracle’s ADF standards – so the ‘look and feel’ is similar across products. HFM’s look and feel on the web has significantly improved to increase ease of use over the years.
- The Financial Reporting Studio, Shared Services and Smart View are now common across products. Reporting Studio is the report writing tool, thus we now have one tool across all the products. Shared Services delivered to us one source for provisioning all our users for HFM, Essbase, FDMEE and Planning. This makes managing security easier and more effective. Smart View is an Excel Add-in that the end users use to pull data from the applications. Having one version of Smart View that can access all three applications is good for the end users and for the application Administrators.
- Initially the dimensionality in HFM was limited to four custom dimensions, now having “configurable dimensions” better enables the application to meet customer needs. Some smaller applications now can only have two custom dimensions instead of keeping four and only using two. On the flip side, for the bigger applications, you can now have more than four custom dimensions. Historically, to work around the four custom dimension limitation, we would have a custom dimension serve multiple purposes. Additionally, having more custom dimensions increases data visibility and simplifies the dimension usage as you no longer need to use a dimension for multi-purposes. With that said, this can be a double edge sword, by having too many dimensions, the users can easily get lost trying to find the data and get frustrated with the application.
- The product initially had a fat client for metadata changes, now most changes can be made via the web interface. EPMA has evolved significantly over the past ten years. It started out as something called Hyperion Hub. System 9 was the first release of what is now known as EPMA. That first release was a little rough, but with the most recent releases, EPMA is a solid and stable tool for administering metadata and managing applications.
- With the latest release, HFM is now platform independent. Previously we had to utilize Microsoft Windows Server to run HFM. This requirement for a Windows based operating system is now gone. HFM can run on Linux or Solaris UNIX.
- The products have expanded beyond just financial reporting. Products to supplement HFM include ARM, FCM, SDM, HTP and Disclosure Management (now defunct).
- The latest releases allow for the creation of an HFM application as a Hyperion Tax Provisioning application.
Reporting needs remain steadfast
We can easily recognize the changes in HFM as a product, but what has been consistent is that Oracle/Hyperion has continually been the market leader in bringing Financial Reporting tools to their clients. This is my tenth year with CheckPoint, with 16 years focused on this area. In all my years of consulting, I find that clients still have the same overriding principles for meeting their reporting needs.
- Self Service – clients have excellent accessibility to the data and can self-serve as the reporting tools are easy to use.
- Single Source of Truth – Hyperion provides for one-version of the truth, providing reliable and consistent data.
- Greater Accountability - The HFM, Essbase and Planning tools provide the opportunity for solutions that are fully integrated or independent solutions depending on the client’s needs. The application can be customized to meet a wide variety of reporting requirements, giving the finance leader the ability to answer any C-Level need.
Over the years as HFM has evolved to meet the changes in technology and to incorporate features into the product based on client feedback, our clients see a greater sense of accountability and reliability in the data they use to make business decisions.