If you use Host Analytics for your budgeting and reporting then you are likely aware of their monthly updates. You may also know that each quarter they publish a major release where new features and functionality along with updates to existing functionality are made available. As a consultant for Cervello focused on Host Analytics, I am always keen to try the new functionality and discover ways our clients can take advantage of it. In this blog, I will share the main aspects of the February 2014 release, the latest major release, along with some key insights. Here is a break down of the enhancements.
Airlift XL Enhancements – This release adds Approval Setup mapping, attribute and summary column formatting options, and dynamic formula retention.
- Approval Role Mapping: Basically, you can now update the approval role mapping for a template within Airlift XL. If you were building a template in Host Analytics you would have to update the approval role actions in the User Management section of the Maintenance module. The benefit of having this functionality in Airlift XL is that you won’t have to go into the system to map the approval role and will be able to update the approval roles through Excel with Airlift XL.
- Attribute and summary column formatting options: Airlift XL now supports:
- If you have a global formula defined you will see the formula in Airlift XL, but the formula will reference the row and column structure for the template in Host Analytics and not Airlift XL. If you build a new template and use a global formula you will need to reference the row and column structure as if you were building it in Host Analytics.
- Dynamic formula retention: This release adds new dynamic (will update the template worksheet as you make selections) options in the Template Design Task of Airlift XL.
The Airlift XL enhancements are my favorite additions so far this year. Airlift XL has great potential, especially if you use a lot of Global Templates – Single Copy (GT-SC) templates. Currently, you can only use GT-SC templates with Airlift XL. More than 90% of all templates used by Host Analytics clients are GT-SC templates, hence the one type, but more template types would certainly be a nice addition. Either way, I would highly recommend checking out the documentation on Airlift XL which is available from Host Analytics.
Clear Data – This is also in the running for coolest new functionality of the year. You now have the ability to delete financial data posted by the Consolidation process or Data Load Rule. This is different from the “Clear Data” button in DLRs where you have to delete ALL data loaded through the rule. The neat thing with this new function is that you can specify the exact intersection that you want to clear.
Administrators will need to update the navigation access so they can see the option under the Data Integration section of the Maintenance module. The best practice with this new capability would be to restrict access to just the administrators or members of the finance team responsible for data validation. Once that is complete those with access can clear very specific intersections of data. Or more importantly, data associated with a specific time period can be cleared if it is loaded in error or with the wrong load rule. Speaking from experience this is a great new addition to the Host Analytics suite.
Dynamic Reports – AS OF SEPTEMBER 2015 Host Analytics will no longer support Ad Hoc and Financial reports. If you still have Ad Hoc or Financial reports it is probably a good idea to begin to start thinking about converting the older report types to Dynamic reports. If you have a lot of those report types I would highly recommend the Report Conversion feature under the Reports Administration section of the Maintenance module. If you don’t have a lot of those reports, I would recommend converting the reports individually. It will be good practice.
File Cabinet Organization – With this release, the file cabinet view will now be retained. This means that if you are in a folder and move out of the reporting when you go back into reporting it will open in the folder that you were viewing previously.
Elimination Variance Report Enhancements – If you use eliminations you can now run the report for all entities for a specific elimination and month. The account selection from the report has been removed.
Elimination Processing in the Cloud – Eliminations can now be processed in the cloud. However, this is an OPT-IN feature and you will need to submit a support ticket to obtain it.
Browser Independence – Expanded support of Google Chrome and Firefox on a Windows platform for Dynamic Reports is now available.
In summary, this release has some very valuable improvements to the suite. Most notably, these include the continued improvements to Airlift XL and the Clear Data functionality which are sure to be big time savers.With Airlift XL just think of how many screens you needed to go to in order to build a GT-SC template – – template build, entity mapping, and approval role access. Now you can handle it all in one Excel tab. Pretty slick if you ask me! Then there is the Clear Data functionality, providing huge potential for quicker restatements to data in any scenario, and at very specific intersections. This newfeature provides data loaders/validators much greater flexibility to adjust data on the fly. This will be very handy during those month and quarter end crunch times.
If you’ve got questions about this blog or the February 2014 release, feel free to contact me at: [email protected]. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back in May for my next post about the May 2014 release.