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When EPMA is in the mix it is critical to follow a strict change control process when updating metadata. A recent client failed to heed this suggestion and has run into numerous challenges along the way. They have 4 separate environments, not counting Disaster Recovery. The nature of their business generates a significant number of metadata changes throughout the month. All metadata changes flow through one approver within the organization, and when approved the changes are expected to be implemented quickly. To satisfy the short turn-around time, the changes are typically made directly to Production EPMA. Each of the impacted EPM Applications are then deployed to affect the changes. The changes are not first tested and verified in a lower environment, which has led to two Production outages.
There are also changes being made in the lower environments to satisfy other project activities and a new initiative. With EPMA there’s no easy way to reconcile or merge the differences between EPMA instances. It can be done, but the process is time consuming and can’t be managed on a regular basis.
The client has concerns about the time necessary to test the changes in multiple environments prior to going to Production. There’s also concerns about human error in making manual changes in multiple environments. Both are valid concerns, however without a formal process Production outages are likely to continue to occur.
A solution involving the use of Oracle’s Data Relationship Management is being discussed internally. The solution would involve using DRM as the Master Data Management tool for everything EPM. All metadata changes would be made within DRM and pushed to each EPMA instance through an automated process. This would eliminate the need for manual changes across multiple environments while satisfying the need for a strict Change Control Process.
At the end of the day there are multiple ways to manage the metadata changes across the environments. Some are time intensive and complex, while others are relatively quick and much less complex. Each with their own pros and cons. The thing to remember is that you can choose two of three: Fast, Good, Cheap.