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Monthly Planning & Budgeting Cloud Update - April 2018

  • Belen Ortiz - Product Architect, Planning & Essbase

Oracle updates all Planning & Budgeting Cloud environments (PBCS / EPBCS) on a monthly basis to address defects and introduce new features. These updates are delivered automatically on specific dates scheduled by Oracle, during the mandatory daily maintenance window. Keep in mind that while you can configure your daily maintenance window time, you can't change the dates these updates are applied. Oracle announces next month's update dates via newsletter at the end of each month.

April 2018 updates are currently scheduled to be deployed in test environments on Friday, April 6th and to production environments on Friday, April 20th, starting at 10PM UTC. Any schedule changes are also announced via the newsletter, which is automatically sent to all cloud administrators (keep an eye out for Oracle emails with Enterprise Performance Management Cloud Services in the subject).

These are the highlights of the April 2018 Planning & Budgeting Cloud update:

  • Starting with what I think is one of the most important pieces of info in this update, composite forms will not be available to new subscriptions effective June of this year. Net new cloud clients won't know the difference since they'll be able to use the dashboard functionality instead, but I'm curious to see how existing on-premise clients will migrate their composite forms to the cloud. Will LCM reject composites flat out starting in June? For clients with a considerable amount of composite forms, how much longer will their migrations be if these need to be rebuilt as dashboards from scratch? We will soon find out!
  • Two new options for row and column suppression will be introduced in Smart View with this release: Legacy and Standard. These can be configured as an application default or from Smart View itself. When both suppress missing/no data AND zero are enabled, Legacy will only suppress rows/columns that are either ALL missing/no data OR ALL zero. Standard will suppress any rows or columns containing missing OR zeros (if both options are selected).
  • Activity Reports are automatically generated every day and enable administrators to understand application usage over a period. Six new reports will be added with this new release: Number of user interface requests by hour, Number of Essbase operations by hour, Duration of Essbase operations by hour, CPU usage, Memory usage. It is very interesting to get a peek into hardware performance in a SaaS platform, however, I'm not sure how much the CPU and memory usage reports will be of service, when administrators are still not allowed to edit cache settings of their planning cloud applications. Maybe soon?
Additional features released in this update include:
  • The Migration (lifecycle management) and Audit cards are being from the Application to the Tools cluster.
  • You can now schedule jobs to run in 15-minute, 30-minute and hourly increments.
  • A new Explore repository is being released for new subscriptions. Existing subscriptions will be migrated to the new repository in an upcoming release. The new repository is supposed to be very similar to the existing one. It remains to be seen if it'll be as intuitive as it is now.
  • There is a new Calculation Manager design-time prompt, @PlanDimMember, that will "return a member if it is valid for the specified dimension in the specified plan type". However, there is no other documentation available at the time of writing this blog post.
  • Service Administrators can now add subtitles to infolets after the infolet header. Infolets are new dashboard artifacts in the shape of a "small interactive box", introduced in the March 2018 update.
  • In the Strategic Modeling Smart View extension, the Forecast Method now includes an Apply To button for freeform formulas. Apply To enables you to apply the freeform formula to selected subaccounts and children.
  • In the EPBCS Workforce module, you can now set default percentage rates for merit increases. The merit increase for the year is included in the base salary calculations of that year and carried forward into the base salary for subsequent years.

More details including a full list of defects fixed on the April 2018 Planning & Budgeting Cloud update can be found here.

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