Oracle-PBCS-Cloud_167x167In this blog, I will summarize and simplify updates in the March 2016 release of Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Solution (PBCS).  There are several major improvements in this update, but even more significant changes to the platform are scheduled for May with the rollout of “Enterprise PBCS”.

New Financial Reporting Web Studio
The star of the show in this month’s update is the new and improved, completely web-based version of Financial Reporting Studio. This new version is both a welcome change and a familiar environment. Previously users had to install a desktop application from their PBCS environment in order to build, edit and manage reports. Users had to be mindful of what version of Reporting Studio they were working with, as certain releases are only compatible with a similar version of PBCS. Having a cloud-based tool means users never have to worry about version management again, a welcome relief for anybody that works in multiple Hyperion environments.

The latest version continues Oracle’s trend of bringing everything into the cloud and simplifying the management and accessibility of the product. Users can launch the Reporting Web Studio from the same Tools menu where the desktop version can be downloaded and installed. Launching the web product pops open a new browser window that looks very similar to the classic studio interface and will allow users to dive right into making beautifully formatted reports.

Although Reporting Studio offers some very powerful report creation tools it often felt clunky and unstable making it a frustrating product to work with. While the interface is instantly recognizable using the new studio provides a much smoother and faster experience. Gone are the days of consistent lag when performing simple operations and having to save after every minor change for fear of the application crashing. This long-neglected product has finally received the refresh it has so desperately needed to bring it up to par with the rest of Oracle’s ever-evolving EPM suite.

There are no migration headaches if you want to switch over from the desktop version, you can open any existing report in the web-based tool and start editing. Overall this a huge quality of life improvement for users that spend significant time on reporting and will provide a much more streamlined experience.

Upgraded Financial Reporting Chart Rendering Engine
Part of the new Reporting Studio is a new and updated report chart rendering engine. Oracle has overhauled the system that creates visualizations in order to make it work “smarter.” Although this new engine doesn’t offer the capability to create any new chart styles, it improves on the already existing options available. It does so by introducing features like auto-scaling, which adjusts the size and location of various report elements based on the type of report, number of data elements, fonts, and screen space available.

The output of the new rendering engine is graphically similar to that of the desktop version, however, some charts that were created in the desktop version might look different when rendered by the web studio due to auto-scaling.

New EPM Automate Utility Version
This release includes an updated version of the EPM Automate Utility. The changes to this tool are not significant but are worth noting. Oracle has addressed several known bugs as well as provided enhanced detail in the command reference. Older versions of the utility will be phased-out, to ensure compatibility with your PBCS environment you should update to the latest version before May 6th, 2016.

New Planning Job Type to Clear Database
This release introduces a new job type to clear a cube. Users can select a plan type and schedule the job just like the already existing job types.

New Sort Filters for Planning Process Management Approvals
This release provides a new feature on the Process Status screen when managing approvals. Administrators are now able to filter the planning unit list by Approval Status, Sub-Status, Current Owner, Location, and Total Value making it easier to view and manage the status of all planning units on one screen.

Enterprise PBCS
Although it’s not part of the March update Oracle has released some more detailed information about PBCS Enterprise, which is the return of the pre-defined planning modules that are included with the on-premise version of Hyperion Planning. These modules are scheduled to become available in May 2016 and they include Financial, Workforce, Capital, and Projects. Each module is intended to be a template to start from when addressing each area of a planning process. Each comes with pre-built elements such as dimension structure, forms, and business rules that can be enabled, disabled, and configured as needed. These modules are a great starting point and are just as flexible and customizable as a standard planning application; administrators can choose to activate a module and then add to it, remove elements, and generally adjust it to their needs. This design is a significant improvement over previous iterations of Workforce and Capital modules as it will enable Oracle to release upgrades and enhancements to the modules themselves to benefit both new and existing customers.

As an Oracle Gold Partner, we have extensive experience with their comprehensive suite of integrated, global business applications that enable organizations to make better decisions, reduce costs, and increase performance. If you have any questions about this release or our work with Oracle PBCS in general, feel free to email me directly at [email protected]

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Victor Botvinnik