Wednesday, February 23, 2011

There is a need for a new solution: Drill-into-Anything

If you are interested in Drill back from Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management into any of your source systems, then you are at the right place to find out more about a ground-breaking solution called "Drill-into-Anything. MindStream Analytics has developed this solution to help analysts expedite tedious analysis and reconciliation processes.

Last year I was working as a sub-contractor at a very successful high-tech company in San Francisco and learned about a problem which will apply to many other companies as well. This was not a project of MindStream Analytics, but the consulting firm on-site asked me to take over as the data integration specialist for the last two months of an upgrade project from pre-system 9 to 11. While I was facing a lot of work on my side, compared to the short time frame to complete (converting HAL routines to ODI processes and building additional ODI and EPMA automation processes), the project's major risk was in a different area.

The original architecture included Hyperion Planning and Financial Management (HFM) as the target EPM applications which would be the source for various management reports. Financial Data Quality Management (FDM) was going to be the application which would take care of loading and mapping the data from E-Business Suite into Planning and HFM while also enabling drill-back from into the General Ledger system - utilizing the new ERP Integrator (ERPI) adapter for FDM.

I was very familiar with ERPI after leading an implementation with this brand new EPM component in a previous project. The solution sounded state-of-the-art and very promising to help the company improve their performance management processes. However, something was not right here: nobody was talking about FDM and ERPI anymore but drill-through was mentioned many times as a problem area.

Drill-Through not supported with ERPI and E-Business Suite version prior to 11.5.10 cu2

As I found out, the project had required a significant change in scope as the original design was not feasible due to one incompatibility. The version of existing E-Business Suite (EBS) implementation was one sub-release below the required version which is supported by ERP Integrator (11.5.9 instead of 11.5.10). Because of this, FDM - as the enabling solution for the highly desired drill-back - was replaced with Essbase Studio. ODI was supposed to populate the tables to feed Studio's drill-through and in parallel integration processes loaded data to HFM and Planning. As drill-back from Planning and HFM was not possible without FDM, a separate Essbase application was created - the Studio application. This way drill-through to EBS data was possible, although the data was maintained in a separate database.

While it becomes obvious that this solution was not as smooth as one expected (multiple load routines, drill-back is not directly possible from HFM and Planning), it seemed possible. However, the data validation effort to make sure that the Reporting cube would exactly match the consolidated data in HFM did not succeed within time and budget.

Projects aren't always successful, but if this case have happened today, I am sure the outcome could have been changed. The reason I am so confident about this is because of a solution named "Drill-into-Anything" which was created by MindStream Analytics. Drill-into-Anything (DIA) is a source adapter which can be used as an enhancement to FDM. It is quite similar to ERP Integrator, however, it has one major benefit: it is not limited to certain versions of GL systems as the data source.

DIA offers drill-through into any source system, any version.

With Drill-into-Anything, it would have been possible to leave the original architecture at this client as it was and only ERPI would have to be replaced by DIA. The need for an additional Reporting cube - and the associated effort of synchronizing the data between this Essbase application and Planning and HFM - would have been eliminated.

If your company is facing a similar situation, please feel free to contact us.

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