The team here at Cervello has been heavily involved with Oracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) since the product’s inception. As such, we are really excited about the recently applied November .601 update and the powerful new features being released. In turn, we wanted to call out some specific enhancements that both current customers, as well as companies interested in improving their planning and budgeting capabilities, can benefit from with this new release.
The .601 update for Oracle PBCS includes a series of enhancements that allow customers to take advantage of advanced automation features. These features allow customers to improve the efficiency in their processes and simplify application maintenance.
To start, Oracle PBCS .601 includes a new feature called EPMAutomate which allows customers to automate typical Oracle PBCS day-to-day maintenance activities, including:
- Transferring files between internal systems and Oracle PBCS. This could be useful for automatically uploading a new month of Actuals from your on-premises General Ledger into Oracle PBCS, or downloading exported Oracle PBCS data for integration into another on-premises system.
- Executing Business Rules such as operating expense allocations or converting a Forecast based on updated currency rates.
- Automating the migration of objects and data between Production and Pre-Production. Oracle PBCS is one of the few Cloud products that offers two different environments to customers, and this is a great feature for keeping the two environments in sync.
Probably the most exciting part about EPMAutomate is that it can be installed on-premises (behind your firewall), and incorporated into your existing automation tools. For example, if you have an internal workflow that generates an export of Actuals from your General Ledger, you can use EPMAutomate to trigger a file upload to Oracle PBCS after the export is done running. This is a powerful feature for integrating a Cloud-based tool into your existing workflow.
Updated Look & Feel with Mobile Support
Starting in release .601, Oracle PBCS customers can now use the updated Planning interface we first saw in the on-premises 184.108.40.206.500 release. This new look and feel represents the go-forward direction for Planning both on-premises and Cloud. An important item to note about this new look/feel, is that Oracle is not replacing the current application user interface with this update. Current and future customers will be able to use both the pre-601 and post-601 UIs for the foreseeable future. This is a differentiator for Oracle PBCS in comparison to other Cloud tools, which do not offer customers such flexibility.
The .601 release delivers:
- A single unified interface for both Desktop and Mobile. Oracle PBCS can now be accessed via Tablet or Desktop, using a single interface. This is an important distinction as Oracle is not creating a stripped down mobile version, but instead creating a robust UI with a consistent look/feel on both Tablet and Desktop.
- Redesigned Task Lists, Improved Web Form rendering and data input performance. Oracle has shown demos of web forms pulling back over 100,000 cells in seconds, which should greatly improve the experience for Planners with large forms.
- Easy to create, great looking dashboards available on both Mobile and Desktop.
- A powerful feature that allows administrators to author Web Forms via the new interface, and save them as a functioning Financial Reporting Studio Report without ever having to open or learn the Financial Reporting Studio Client.
- A new, streamlined application creation wizard that guides the user toward a Demo, Basic, or Advanced application design.
There are also a series of other enhancements that we think are noteworthy for Oracle PBCS customers:
- Oracle now backs up Oracle PBCS data on a nightly basis for customers, ensuring that customers can easily rollback to the prior day’s data.
- Updated Browser support for:
- Safari & Chrome
- Internet Explorer 10 & 11
- Firefox 31 ESR
- An Oracle PBCS scheduler for administrative tasks like database refreshes, import/export of data/dimensions, and reporting application data pushes.
- Nips and Tucks all over the UI for an improved administrative experience:
- The Oracle PBCS menu bar now shows which instance (Pre-Prod or Production) you are currently using
- A new shortcut for Data Management in the Tools Menu
- A new shortcut to the new Simplified UI from the newly renamed ‘Planning Administration’ homepage
- A cleaner, more streamlined Refresh Database Menu
- A new feature for controlling whether or not Data Management will allow users to ‘clear all data’ in an application
- The ability to view and terminate user sessions such as reports, queries, or calculations
- Additional Training Videos and Walkthroughs for customers
- Many other enhancements and changes to simplify the administrative experience
All-in-all, we at Cervello are impressed at the number of enhancements and improvements Oracle was able to squeeze into this new Oracle PBCS update. Also, this is a great opportunity to point out one of the major differentiating points between Oracle PBCS versus other Cloud tools. Oracle updates ‘Pre-Production’ environments prior to the new release being deployed to Production. This gives Administrators a chance to familiarize themselves with new features, and educate their users before Production is updated. This is rare in the Software-as-a-Service world and a compelling feature for those considering Oracle PBCS.
Also, since Oracle PBCS is a Software-as-a-Service Product, there is no additional cost or infrastructure work necessary to apply the new update. The update is applied during a maintenance window that you define, and Oracle does the rest. It is that simple.
Stay tuned to our blog for more updates on Oracle PBCS in the future. Or, if you would like a demo of PBCS, please register for one of our bi-monthly interactive PBCS demos here: http://mycervello.com/landing_pages/live-demo-oracle-pbcs/.