EPB Basics: EPB which stands for Enterprise Planning and Budgeting is an offering from Oracle that allows organizations to do their planning and budgeting. In effect it replaces Oracle Financial Analyser but it can be used practically for lot of different planning and analysis purpose.
Components: There are two key components to the whole EPB offering. The first component is the Enterprise Performance Foundation known as EPF. All the objects and structures belonging to EPF reside in the FEM schema. EPF is a datawarehouse in itself and it comes with predefined FACT and Dimension tables. It is also packaged with its own Discoverer End User Layer. EPF is the common datawarehouse and lot of other tools (OLAP based) get sourced from EPF. Financial Consolidation Hub and Profit Analyzer also feed off EPF and in future EPF would become the common hub for lot of other applications.
On the other hand EPB is based on OLAP and all the dimensions and data is sourced from EPF. Together with EPF and EPB it makes a solid combination that allows you to do planning and analysis.
Usage: There are two ways you can use EPB, one with General Ledger integration and other is Non GL. General Ledger Integration is a powerful asset that no other tool in the market offers. With the GL link you can directly pull your Oracle General Ledger data into EPF and hence into EPB for multi-dimensional analysis. EPB being OLAP based you get the option to slice and dice your GL Balances and in combination with XML publisher you can create Profit and Loss reports, Income Statements and lot of other ways to report your data. You can configure EPF and EPB such that when your period and set of books in GL closes, the actuals data is automatically pushed into EPF and then into EPB (using Open APIs).
The Non-GL mode is used when you are using some other General Ledger application like PeopleSoft or other vendor. In Non-GL mode it requires to load the data and dimension members through the interface tables that comes with EPF schema. You need some kind of ETL to get the data and dimensions from the third party system into EPF. So using the Non-GL mode you can effectively bring in any kind of dimensions and data for your analysis. Also Non-GL mode becomes an ideal choice in the following situations
- If you want to keep your planning and budgeting seperate from your production enviornment
- If your Oracle Apps version is on lower version than the required base version for EPB
- If you have multiple set of books and multiple chart of accounts with not all the sites and users on Oracle Applications.
The only drawback with Non-GL mode is that you need to design the ETL part in order to bring in the data into EPB.
Key to Success: So it is very important to understand what you need to consider and how you want to implement EPB beforehand.
- Prepare the EPB instance : Ask your DBAs to go through every step in the EPF and EPB “About document” and religiously follow each and every step mentioned in it. If any pre-requisite patch is missed that would further add delay to your proof-of-concept or demo with the CFO!
- Hire EPB Consultant : Since this is fairly new product there are not many resources who have EPB implementation experience. Lot of clients try to hire consultants with previous OFA experience but who do not have EPB experience and this can put your implementation at serious risk. Its a natural recipe for project overruns and running out of EPB implementation budget. Finally the consultant who was trying to learn EPB on clients dime blames it on the product and the client not knowing the reality agrees with the consultant.
- Good Hardware resources : During the demo or POC it makes perfect sense to isolate the instance and have only few people using or only the EPB implementation team. This helps in quicker isolation of the issues and hence resolution. Also make sure that the hardware resources like memory, CPU bandwidth are adequate. At one of my clients the instance they provided did not have enough memory so every now and then we would get the memory leakage and thrown out of the application. This becomes really irritating and feels like nobody is interested in implementing except yourself.
- User Involvement: Work with the users and get a commitment for their time during the entire implementation process. Users are the end customers of this product and they are going to use it on day-to-day basis so it is mandatory that they become part of the implementation team.
- Smaller Scope: Start with a smaller scope and slowly expand to cover other aspects of your implementation. For e.g if you have multiple set of books with different chart of accounts then start with the consolidated set of books or just one set of books. Finish off with one small scope, get familiar with it and then go forward with the wider scope.
EPF provides a nice feature to reset the EPF and EPB setups which is an indirect way of uninstalling EPB. With this feature you may as well start the real implementation in the same instance after you are done with the POC.
EPB with the latest rollup patches has become very robust and stable. The key to success is fully patched up instance and resources with the right skill set.
Hope this was useful, please drop me a line (firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you have further questions or need more information.