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What's new with Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud for April 2020

  • , Planning Essbase Practice Lead

As regular as the dawn, Oracle's monthly release of cloud EPM new features continues apace. This post will be from the planning perspective because that's what Yr. Obt. Svt. does in his time both employed and personal. It is possible that I need to broaden my horizons to include a hobby but no matter. A beneficent Oracle has rather a lot in store for us. Are you comfortable? Then let's begin.

Whoops, wait, there's something you need to know

NB - In case you are not aware, EPBCS and PBCS are deprecated SKUs. The new world is Enterprise and Standard EPM. This is far more than a renaming exercise and instead is a completely new way to look and work with and consume EPM. Existing customers continue for now with their products; net new ones can buy only the Standard or Enterprise product. I encourage you to Read The Whole Thing for both versions of EPM cloud. It's exciting stuff. I'll wait till you're done. Ah, you're back. That's quite a lot to digest, isn't it? Confused? Contact MSA and we'll help you navigate your company's future EPM path.

On to April 2020

There are five significant changes in this release from a planning-with-a-large-P's perspective:

  • A new UI
  • New REST API calls
  • Forms
  • Edge support
  • The Death of Flash
  • Free Form Planning aka Essbase SaaS continues its meteoric climb
User Interface

The new EPM UI is across all the components of Enterprise and Standard EPM and will eventually come to the legacy cloud products.

What do we get?

  • Six new user-selectable color schemes
  • A redesigned layout to reduce scrolling based on screen resolution
  • Clearer announcements and notifications on the home page
  • Infolet arrow navigation
  • A larger navigation menu
  • An expanded work area
  • A consistent UI with other Oracle cloud applications

Don't discount tweaks to the UI design as a mere bagatelle: one need only use a poorly designed tool to understand the productivity losses associated with a bad or merely obsolete interface. Embrace the new. Speaking of embracing, existing users will continue to experience their current theme (although this can be changed); new users will default to the light blue UI theme.

That's the surface, what about the underneath?

New UI aside, what's on offer?

REST API
If you get down with getting your full geek on (Doesn't everyone?) by controlling EPM cloud, this release will please you because you can now: 1) Review rejected metadata imports: useful In My Very Humble Opinion (IMVHO) 2) Perform partial clears in ASO cubes: waaaay beyond useful In My Not At All Humble Opinion (IMNAAHO)
Forms

Data is the bedrock of EPM.

Flex forms in Smart View (and only Smart View - Huzzah for Excel!) now allow planners to move and sort rows for easier review and input. Flexing these forms preserves functionality like attached Business Rules.

Action menus (right clicks in forms) can now optionally launch a form using the member context of the source form where previously it could only do so in that form's dimension context. Think of this is a more focused launch when and where you need it.

Edge

Microsoft Edge is now fully supported. For this diehard Firefox fan this is not particularly exciting news, but for the 99.9999% aka EPM normies who don't have eleven browser extensions that control every aspect of the browsing experience, this support may be rather more important. My Windows 10 copy of Internet Explorer has a 2015 copyright date. It's dead, Jim. Again, embrace the new.

Note that Firefox, even if you don't have 11 extensions that radically change how the tool works, continues to be supported. It's to both Oracle's as well as Mozilla's credit that even with the amount of junk I've installed EPM still works perfectly. Sometimes products are just that good.

New to Planning

These could be big these could be small features - it's up to you:

  • Capital Planning now supports the IFRS16 lease accounting standard.
  • A form server status icon will let you know when a client-server action (like running a calc, retrieving data, etc.) is happening.
  • Strategic Modelling now supports flat file data loads so long as they are in .csv format.

These are big changes:

NO MORE FLASH! OMG, no more of that accursed, buggy, and easily hackable product. Finally. It's disabled by default but you can (Why oh why oh why would you want to do this? Discuss.) turn it back on if so desired. By the end of 2020 it will be permanently gone. Will your IT department host garden fetes, launch fireworks from barges, and march in a victory parade as celebration? Probably.

Free Form Planning aka Essbase SaaS no longer requires the import of an already existing Essbase .otl or LCM export. You can now build Essbase SaaS applications just the way you want. Can you tell that Yr. Obt. Svt. is happy, intrigued, and disturbingly excited over the continuing progress of Essbase SaaS? You should be. He is.

In conclusion for now

So, there we have it: changes big (UI, Flash is dead, dead, dead, and Essbase SaaS' continuing progress) and small-ish (REST API extensions, improved forms, action menus, processing indicators, IFRS16 support, and flat file imports to Capital Planning). That's a lot of new goodness and there'll be more next month. Check back here for more.

Be seeing you.

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