When an employee decides to leave, it’s tough on any organization. It’s particularly difficult when that employee is a Hyperion administrator — suddenly you’re left without support for complex applications that are essential to your financial operations.
This is what happened to Williamson-Dickie, a Fort Worth-based work wear outfitter, when their admin decided to leave. But what began as a tough situation ended up benefiting the organization. They realized they didn’t have enough work for a full-time admin — instead, they could save time and money by outsourcing Hyperion support to an experienced support services provider.
Why did Williamson-Dickie choose US-Analytics? Hear from Stephanie Reynolds, Senior Director of Corporate Accounting:
In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the ways Williamson-Dickie uses Hyperion support services to support Hyperion Planning. Williamson-Dickie’s support agreement includes both “scheduled” tasks that occur each month/quarter/year as well as “unscheduled” tickets for unforeseen needs.
Below are a few examples of scheduled tasks that the support services team does for Williamson-Dickie:
- Monthly load from HFM to Planning (HFM is single source of truth)
- Quarterly backups scheduled for HFM and Planning environment
- Seed and maintain 2017 forecast scenarios
- “Pre-seed” Feb-Dec forecast periods with budget
- Update forms for forecast periods after budget is rolled in Jan of each year
- Load actuals for forecast scenarios monthly during the year
- Update rules due to business changes (calculating EBITDA)
- Quarterly environment assessment
- Review logs for errors and evaluate
- Archive logs
- Review and install relevant patches
- Performance recommendations
Ad-hoc support requests are captured by a ticketing system and assigned to the support services personnel. Below are a few examples of unscheduled tasks.
Preparing for the next budget season
As they seek to constantly improve, Williamson-Dickie’s processes are everchanging. The organization uses predefined forms, but as their requirements change, they rely on the US-Analytics support services team to make new forms work.
For example, Williamson-Dickie had roll forward forms to help with cash flow planning. When they realized they had an account that they no longer wanted in the roll forward forms, they called on their support services team. The team went through the business rules, took the account out of the form, and put it back into the main balance sheet accounting form so that they could plan for the account as a normal occurring balance, rather than a roll forward balance.
Other actions the support services team has taken to help prepare for the budget season include:
- Updating substitution variables and Planning forms
- Updating business rules to pull open balances from appropriate scenarios
- Verifying security group assignments on all Planning forms
- Updating EPMA data synchronization jobs to integrate Planning to HFM loads
- Processing one-time data calculation to seed budget forms
Adding accounts and hierarchy changes
Williamson-Dickie uses the support services team to manage their metadata, such as adding accounts and custom numbers on a regular basis. The organization sends the team a list, eliminating any worry about the technical aspect of making hierarchies work within dimensions. The support services team also ensures that members are working with the Planning application as well as the HFM application.
The support services team takes care of:
- Adding new accounts and subtotals in EPMA’s Dimension Library
- Verifying that there was no impact to the existing hierarchy
- Assigning appropriate attributes to consolidation and planning
- Updating Planning forms for new accounts
Troubleshooting new user issues
As a global organization, Williamson-Dickie faces time zone issues as well as language and experience barriers. Because of these barriers, Williamson-Dickie can’t always troubleshoot user issues themselves — especially when an issue arises at month-end.
The time zone difference makes it difficult for Williamson-Dickie to respond to user errors right away. However, the support services team is able to solve the problem right when it arises, whether it’s with a user in China, Mexico, or North Texas.
For example, when a user was having an issue accessing Planning forms during an important time, the support services team took the following actions:
- Contacted the Williamson-Dickie admins to replicate the error
- From the historical ticket resolution, they understood that they needed to clear the HFM user cache
- Once cleared, the user had access to the forms
By opting for support services instead of an in-house administrator, Williamson-Dickie has seen significant cost savings and a breadth of expertise that would be nearly impossible to find in one employee.
“I needed to be able to sleep at night knowing I had solutions to problems,” said Williamson-Dickie’s Finance Group Director. “Forming a relationship with US-Analytics gave us a pipeline into a variety of expertise.”