A consultant working for a publicly-traded professional services company referred us to help with an internal Oracle PBCS (Hyperion Planning / Oracle EPM Cloud Planning) implementation. Before he left for his new industry (non-consulting) job, he worked to make sure the team was in great hands.
Assume the lead consultant role and help a team of three other consultants successfully finish the previously started PBCS implementation. The other systems going-live for the first time at the same time: a new Oracle Cloud ERP and on-premise data warehouse implementation. A big bang approach is how everything comes together (decided before we arrived).
The client had an existing on-premise Hyperion Planning instance to perform forecasting. However, the legacy application was developed and maintained by many different client consultants over the years when they were idle (on the bench/beach). Due to so many hands in the pot, this led to a band-aid system and poor performance. It was almost impossible to maintain, much less find time to fix and/or improve it.
Each line of business has the opportunity to forecast revenue differently. A few elected to do so. Therefore, we need to create many different revenue forecasting models consolidating in the same application. In fact, in the same cube.
Refine/complete the PBCS requirements/build enabling monthly rolling forecasts. Help wherever we can to make all client teams successful. EPBCS was not selected as the client required heavy customizations to match their business processes which are a competitive advantage. Implement three interdependent cubes: FinStmt, Employee, and Revenue. Reporting solutions include: Smart View, Financial Reporting, and Web Forms (for task list). To help each line of business know what to do when in the forecasting process, Task Lists are used.
The arrangement of the team is mostly remote with some in-person interaction for client prototype feedback and training. Every person lives in a different city across North America. Although we love seeing clients in-person, the project only required eight days on-site over the course of a year. We utilized conference call tools with recording capabilities to share and capture accurate requirements. EPM&BI’s core values include proactive communication. Communication (especially remotely) is powerful in keeping things running smoothly.
The PBCS workstream was already under development when we became engaged. There is a Revenue, Employee, and Financial Statement cube within the application. Each serves its unique, distinct purpose. The data between them is natively interconnected using XRefs.
The requirements were still evolving even though we were well into the build phase. Fast forward ten months later to go-live and the requirements were still on the move. We remained flexible enabling a successful go-live with ongoing requirements changes as well as data sourcing challenges. It took months after go-live for requirements and data to stabilize enough to start winding down team resources.
One of the biggest challenges on most projects is data flow/integration. For this client, data flows from the new Cloud ERP to the new data warehouse implementation (via BICC), and then to PBCS (via flat files). Other data flow best practices have been established and/or solutions invented since then. After a couple of months on the project, we started assisting in with the data flow/integration effort. Based on our great work thus far, the client asked us to help facilitate data warehouse status meetings and working sessions. We also helped coordinate cross-team responsibilities and driving action items to completion.
Overall, the largest data challenge was data validation. There were no parallel runs and historical data was loaded at an aggregate level in the new Cloud ERP system. This makes it impossible to validate data back to a source of truth at the detailed level needed. At the end of the day, we worked through it. After being live over a year, the data warehouse is asking for PBCS data to complete the circle.
There are a few data sources feeding the warehouse and then, in turn, feeding into PBCS. The sources include: Oracle Cloud ERP (GL and PA) feeding all cubes, Oracle Cloud HCM feeding the Employee cube, Salesforce and a home-grown resource forecasting tool feeding the Revenue cube.
Keeping everything above in mind, executives went live knowing there would be bumps along the way. Especially since teams continued to make changes across all workstreams. Being a great partner, we worked overtime to make sure the first forecasting cycle could be run even in the midst of data sourcing challenges. After a couple of months, things smoothed out significantly.
After a successful go-live and six months of hypercare, the client started their search to hire an internal resource to administer/maintain/enhance PBCS. They quickly realized it would make more sense (financially and for continuity’s sake) to engage us for Managed Services/Support. In fact, the client has no internal resources dedicated to PBCS – EPM&BI is their PBCS team. We are very happy they chose us to continuously provide exceptional support, enhancements, and changes as the client keeps evolving their business.
The initial contract length was three months. Fast forward and we have been serving the client for 2.5 years with over 2.5 years left on a managed services/support contract!