For well over a decade, Oracle Hyperion Planning has been consistently recognized as the market leader in ‘on premise’ Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) applications. As the demand for SaaS-based EPM tools has increased steadily over the past 5 years, Oracle began moving its best-in-class capabilities to the cloud with the introduction of Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS). PBCS joins a cloud Enterprise Planning market previously owned by Host Analytics and Adaptive Planning, and more recently Anaplan. Although Oracle was by no means first to the cloud EPM market, they have quickly gained status as a leader, moving to the upper right corner of both the Gartner Magic Quadrant and the Forrester Wave. Driven by the increase in demand for cloud-based solutions in general, EPM solutions have matured faster than ever. The cloud is no longer just for small and mid-market companies; enterprises of all sizes and across all industries are making the move.

In this blog, we aim to answer the most frequently asked questions from our clients when they consider making the move to PBCS.

What is PBCS?
PBCS is a web-based planning tool on track to have identical features to the on-premise solution. The product has several Cloud specific features such as EPM Automate to push data from your system to the cloud. It includes two Planning instances (Dev/Test and Production), Life Cycle Management (LCM) support for migrations and automated nightly backups of your entire environment.

Behind the scenes of PBCS, the same OLAP Essbase engine and Calculation Manager logic power complex business logic using reusable, object-based rules and a “Code Free” calculation generator and hundreds of financial functions.

Also included is a dedicated Aggregate Storage Option (ASO) Reporting application for Historical actuals or prior plans, and the powerful mapping capabilities of Financial Data Management to enable User defined data mapping and drill back to Transaction Level Detail.

The product leverages Hyperion’s Financial Reporting Studio for traditional highly formatted, batch PDF reporting and interactive web-based reporting. However, the biggest impact is felt from the reporting and ad hoc analysis possible with the Smart View add-in. This integration with Microsoft Office has been often imitated but never matched by other vendors in this space.

For customers looking to maximize their knowledge and adoption, extensive Training Videos and Tutorials are available for both users and developers.

Can I keep my on-premise applications?
In short, yes. Oracle will be investing in both traditional on-premise EPM as well as PBCS, and most, if not all, features will be available in both forms. Oracle is looking to make the software transition seamless between the two options, so the question really comes down to this: What is your enterprise software strategy? Are you moving other applications to the Cloud?

Can I migrate my applications to the cloud?
If your on-premise applications are version and above, yes you can migrate easily. Earlier versions may work with some manipulation. However, regardless of your version, any mappings, translations and automation (i.e. ETL built in Essbase, ODI, FDM) must be rebuilt in the cloud tools such as EPM Automate.

What Oracle EPM products are available today?
Hyperion Planning and Essbase (if built through a planning application) are available today through PBCS. Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) is not yet available, but seems to be next in line for the move to the cloud, while no plans seem to have surfaced for the hierarchy management tools Data Relationship Management (DRM) and Enterprise Performance Management Architect (EPMA).

Can I automate loading data to PBCS?
Yes, following file formats that work with FDM, automated jobs can be set up to transfer files to the cloud and load them to the application. Starting soon, the PBCS API will enable integration with tools such as Dell Boomi and Snaplogic for automated feeds.
In fact, Cervello performed extensive testing with the API while it was under development with Oracle

Is PBCS secure?
With features like these it is likely their cloud is just as, if not more, secure than many on-premise environments. Customers benefit from:

  • Physical security and best-in-class facilities
  • Redundant power and network
  • Disaster Recovery
  • 24/7 environmental monitoring and alerting
  • Security accreditations necessary for most organizations, governments, and industries
  • Code review and third-party vulnerability assessment
  • Resilient architecture with no single point of failure

Which is right for us, on-premise or cloud?
The decision really comes down to your priorities, but here are some pros and cons:
On premise advantages:

  • Application sits behind your own firewall
  • Sophisticated automation data and hierarchy builds
  • Stronger integration with other systems
  • Active Directory (network authentication) – i.e. one password to remember
  • Pre-built modules, unlimited applications
  • All EPM products available (HFM, DRM, Planning, etc.)
  • Drill back to on premise EBS

Cloud advantages:

  • No capital costs, low monthly subscription cost
  • Lower TCO – data center, hardware, DR, IT team
  • Less/no reliance on IT
  • Scalability – no new hardware required for expansion
  • Automated Quarterly patches and upgrades included
  • Latest and greatest version / functionality
  • Tablet-friendly interface is available anywhere without VPN

The bottom line is that with the introduction of PBCS, more often the question our clients are asking is not ‘why should we move to the cloud’ but rather ‘why would we not move to the cloud’?

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Eric Sanders

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2 comments on “Oracle Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service – You Have questions, We Have Answers

    • The ASO cube is treated similar to other plan types, so PBCS allows you to apply security either for all plan types at once, or individually for each plan type.