ODTUG KScope19 – Thoughts on the EPM Strategy Symposium

Mike Falconer
EPM Consultant

I had the great opportunity to head to @ODTUG #KScope19 this year, and had a fantastic time meeting the crème de la crème of the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) blogging world. Members of the Brovanture team delivered some great presentations (Guillaume Slee and Lydia Maksoud won an award for theirs!) and it was great engaging with Oracle Product Managers in the partner forums and the roadmap update sessions.

I focussed mainly on EPM and Data Integration, being my two favourites, so here’s the headlines from an interesting week!

EPM Pricing Changes

Huge changes in the EPM Pricing space, with some massive opportunities going forward. The key one is the new SKU, Enterprise EPM Cloud. This offers unlimited applications for any of the Oracle EPM Cloud suite, which have been renamed from the original product acronyms to their actual purpose:

  • Planning (EPBCS on steroids)
  • Financial Consolidation and Close (FCCS)
  • Account Reconciliation (ARCS)
  • Narrative Reporting (EPRCS)
  • Enterprise Data Management (based on DRM)
  • Profitability and Cost Management (PCMCS)
  • Tax Reporting (TRCS)
  • Data Integration (facelift for Data Management based on FDMEE)
  • Management Reporting (facelift for Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting)

Unlimited truly means unlimited here. You can have 10 planning apps with one of each of the others, for example, and each planning app will now support 6 custom BSO and 6 custom ASO cubes, as well as the EPBCS frameworks (now called modules). This is huge for bigger customers who want to leverage the entire Oracle Cloud EPM Suite who could save a lot of money by moving to this SKU. The only problem is the base price, a whopping $500 per user per month, but Oracle are bound to offer discounts.

Not so exciting is the other offering, Standard EPM Cloud. It’s half the price at $250 per user per month, but each extra app costs $2500, and you’re limited to just one custom BSO and ASO cube. You can leverage the EPBCS modules as well, but these can be clunky and really suppresses the capability to lift-and-shift.

The good news is that existing PBCS and EPBCS customers can renew without changing their deal, and you can also buy PBCS through Oracle NetSuite for the usual price, meaning customers who just want a great planning solution can get that for a more reasonable price.

Free Form Planning

‘Holy smokes’ this thing looks fantastic. It’s basically a planning solution with no restrictions on dimensions at all, so you can create whatever crazy applications you want. Don’t want Version? That’s fine. Want a single time dimension instead of Period/Year? That works too! This is the solution to creating Oracle Essbase style solutions on the cloud.

The main benefit is that you can also leverage all the usual great Oracle planning functions (cloud and on-premises) like forms, business rules and the rest on top, with the caveat that if you don’t have a scenario dimensions, you won’t be able to use workflow. The available features will be automatically assigned based on your dimensionality.

Free Form apps can also be created entirely in Microsoft Excel templates, and maintains all the great Oracle Essbase features like multi-grid on one sheet, aliases in different columns and in-sheet POV’s.

On-Premises Support until 2030

This is a cloud applications blog, but on-premises is getting a big upgrade to version 11.2 and will continue to receive new features and be supported at least until 2030. On-premises version 11.2 does require a fresh install however, which could be a pain point for big organisations.

Updates to tired features

Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting has received a facelift and big upgrade, and soon Oracle Management Reporting will replace it, with the big bonus that MR can have grids from various sources (ERP/EPM) all in the same report. I didn’t get to play with it too much, but I understand key features like batch bursting and report scheduling are coming, and it will be the driving force behind the Narrative Reporting solution.

Machine Learning makes its way into EPM

A module named IPM (Intelligent Performance Management) is being actively developed to add machine learning style predictions to the EPM Cloud. The idea is that forecasts will be auto-filled with a machine-predicted figure which users can then change if needed. It seems like a great future feature, but it’s not quite up to industry standards just yet.

Finally, some RIPs:

  • EPMA has died a death, finally (owners will get a restricted version of DRM to replace it)
  • On-Premises Workforce/Capex/Project templates are dead
  • The FDMEE Fish are dead (in the new Data Integration facelift for Data Management)