Oracle Extends Financial Performance Management Suite - InformationWeek

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Oracle Extends Financial Performance Management Suite

The first major EPM enhancement in two years delivers a host of new Hyperion features.

The Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) System release 11.1.2 announced yesterday is the vendor's first upgrade of its EPM portfolio in nearly two years. Despite the point-release billing, it stacks up as a major upgrade, adding new applications, new bundles and new core functionality for Hyperion and Essbase--though perhaps not all the functionality some might have expected.

Hyperion Planning enhancements include user-configurable workflows for common planning and forecasting processes and "zero-code" Web forms for creating task-specific data-entry and planning interfaces. The planning application's SmartView add-in has been upgraded to provide tighter integration with Microsoft Excel and Outlook. The goal of all these upgrades is to extend the reach of the planning system to a broader base of business users. Task steps supported in workflow, for example, show up in e-mail inboxes and can be managed entirely through Outlook.

The new EPM applications include Financial Close Management, Disclosure Management, and Public Sector Planning and Budgeting. The close management app expands existing Hyperion capabilities for managing and coordinating quarterly and annual financial consolidation processes. New data quality assurance features, for example, support data validation before the close process even begins. Extensive links into ERP systems ease access to core financial data, and a process task list is said to streamline and track the various steps in the financial close process.

"The idea is to centralize the overall close process, providing better visibility, coordination and predictability so it's not a period-end fire drill," said Hari Sankar, vice president of Oracle's EPM product management team, in an interview with Intelligent Enterprise. The Oracle Hyperion Disclosure Management application extends capabilities to handle statutory reporting to government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC and many of its counterpart agencies globally now require the use of XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) for computer-readable reporting. That requirement has complicated reporting, and many companies have outsourced the XBRL work to specialized publishers. The Disclosure Management application brings XBRL publishing back in house to save time and reduce cost.

"Disclosure Management handles all the XBRL mapping and tagging at the source level in Hyperion Financial Management and Essbase, so people in finance can easily author the disclosure documents and reuse those components from quarter to quarter," Sankar said.

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