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FCCS Updates (May 2019): Improvements to Task Manager, On-Demand Rules, Support for Additional Essbase Functions & More

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The May updates for Oracle's Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud Service (FCCS) have arrived. After the lack of an update for April, Oracle has provided an assortment of updates, including improvements to Task Manager, the creation of on-demand rules, and support for additional Essbase functions in configurable calculations.

The monthly update for FCCS will occur on Friday, May 17 during your normal daily maintenance window.

Video: Take a Tour of FCCS

New FCCS Features

Approvals Process

FCCS now provides an approval process and workflow. Administrators can manage the approvals process by creating an approval unit hierarchy or modifying the default approval unit hierarchy, setting up the promotional path, and reviewing status. Users can start, promote, reject, approve, and submit data through the promotional path set up for the approval unit hierarchy.

On-Demand Rules

On-Demand Rules enable you to add your own ad hoc rules that can be used for calculations outside of the consolidation process. The calculation results can be verified or adjusted prior to invoking consolidation. OnDemand rules are created by administrators, and can be launched from data forms, Smart View, journals, Supplemental Data, or from the Rules card by users with launch permissions.

Metadata Validation Enhancements

The Metadata Validation process has been enhanced with new validations. For example, the system now checks to ensure that primary members exist before shared members, whether a Custom or Multi-GAAP parent member is shared, or whether Level 0 members have the Dynamic Calc property.

It is strongly recommended that you apply the validation error recommendations to minimize risks of data integrity issues and take advantage of best practice performance considerations.

Enhanced Auditing for Task Managers

Administrators can now view the history of all Task Manager changes from the Audit card. For example, the Audit log now includes all changes in running schedules and details about deleted tasks, templates and other Task Manager objects or settings.

Task Manager Reassignment Requests

In Task Manager System Settings, Administrators can select the workflow users who can approve task reassignment requests. In addition to Administrators and Power Users, Users can now approve reassignment requests from their Worklist if the Administrator has granted them permissions.

Task Manager Reminders for Due Dates

When Administrators set up email notifications for Task Manager, they can also set the number of days before the due dates to send reminders.

Task Manager Integration Enhancements

New End User Task Types have been added for Task Manager Integrations.

For FCCS:

  • Approvals
  • Manage Ownership

Importing and Exporting Teams and Users in Supplemental Data Manager

Administrators and Power Users can perform a bulk update of teams and members, rather than having to update teams and members individually. In addition, from the Manage User page, you can export a list of users to a CSV file to obtain user information.

Support for Additional Essbase Functions in Configurable Calculations

You can now use these additional Essbase Financial functions in Calculation Manager when you create configurable calculations: @ATTRIBUTE, @COMPOUND, @INTEREST, @IRR, @NPV, @SHIFT, @SHIFTMINUS, and @SHIFTPLUS.

New Form Validations Rule Options

When you use Dynamic user variables in the form, you can select these additional options for the validation rule:

  • Validate with each possible value for user variables from approval unit dimensions: When enabled, the form will be validated multiple times by replacing the user variable from the approval unit dimension with every possible value.
  • Validate with current approval unit members as values for user variables: When enabled, the user variable for the approval dimension on the form will be replaced by the approval unit member before the validations are run.

Removal of the Ability to Create New Composite Forms

As announced in previous readiness documents, starting with this update (Release 19.05), Oracle has removed the ability to create new composite forms (forms that comprise multiple simple forms). This change will be reflected in test environments starting May 03, 2019 and in production environments starting May 17, 2019. You can still edit and use existing composite forms. You can also migrate composite forms from other applications and supported on-premises versions of Planning applications and use them. However, you cannot create new composite forms in the service.

Oracle recommends all customers to shift their usage to dashboards instead of composite forms.

Audit Entry for Copy Data and Clear Data

When you run Copy Data or Clear Data, corresponding audit entries are now available in the Data task group of the Audit Task List.

Data Management: New Workflow Mode

The new Workflow mode provides a scalable solution when processing large volumes of data. By default the data load process in Data Management is designed with a well-defined process flow that provides a full audit of the data load process as well as the ability to drill down and view data in Workbench. However, a full data flow may contribute to lengthy processing times due to archiving of data for audit purposes. There are many data load use cases that the audit is not required and performance is a key requirement.

The full data flow is the default mode for loading data. Data is loaded in the standard way between the staging tables, data can be viewed in Workbench, and drill down is supported.

A full (no archive) data flow loads data in the same manner as the full mode, but data is deleted from the staging tables at the end of the data load process. Data can be viewed in the Workbench only after the import step. No drill down is available with the full (no archive) mode. This method is useful when you want to review and validate the data during load process but auditing or drill down is not a requirement. This method does not provide performance improvement but limits space usage since data is not persisted for future reference.

The simple workflow mode limits data movement between the staging tables. No drill down is available and the data cannot be viewed in the Workbench. This method provides performance improvement and is useful when you do not require auditing or drill down.

Index and Page File Run Time Statistics for Block Storage (BSO) Cubes in Calculation Manager

Starting in this release, the total number of index files and page files will be shown in the run time statistics for Block Storage (BSO) cubes.

The previous BSO statistics (hit ratio on index cache, hit ratio on data cache, hit ratio on data file cache, number of index page reads, number of index page writes, number of data block reads, and number of data block writes) are no longer displayed.

Since Essbase run time statistics are no longer available in Cloud applications, there is no reason to show 0 value entries. These statistics were turned off to improve performance.

Ability to Define Whether Missing, Error, and Zero Values are Plotted on Charts in Financial Reporting Web Studio

A new server setting, Chart Plotting Ignores Data Values allows you to define whether #MISSING, #ERROR and #ZERO values are plotted on charts.

New Planning Admin Extension with Each Monthly Update

A new version of the Planning Admin Extension for Smart View is now provided with each monthly update of Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud, Oracle Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud, Oracle Financial Close and Consolidation Cloud, and Oracle Tax Reporting Cloud.

The Planning Admin Extension version will always be in sync with the Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud version. Each month, the extension may or may not include customer- and internally-reported fixed defects. However, for consistency and interoperability with the EPM Cloud platform, and ease in troubleshooting issues, Oracle recommends that administrators download and install the latest Planning Admin Extension each month.

New Version of the EPM Automate Utility

A new version of the EPM Automate Utility is available with this update. This version includes support for Mac OS and the ability to run multiple sessions of the utility from the same directory. This version also includes new commands ( ApplicationAdminMode and SortMember) and updates to the replay command to support Lagtime parameter and to the ProvisionReport command, which now, by default, generates the simplified version of the Provisioning report instead of the classic version. You must install this version of the utility to use these enhancements.

  • Support for Mac OS: The EPM Automate Utility can now be installed on Mas OS computers.
  • Ability to run multiple instances of the utility from the same directory: 
    The EPM Automate utility now supports the execution of multiple instances of the utility against an environment from the same directory. You can now...
    • Run multiple instances of the utility from the same directory
    • Execute the utility from separate directories 
      In both these scenarios, each instance of the utility works independently; logging out of one instance does not log you out of other instances.
  • New ApplicationAdminMode command 
    This command places the application in administration mode so that access to the application is limited to Service Administrators only. This command is useful to prevent users from working on the application when Service Administrators are performing administrative operations.
  • New sortMember command 
    This command sorts members of Entity, Account, Scenario, and Versions dimensions and of custom dimensions. This command is useful for sorting dimension members after loading members into Planning.
  • New lagTime parameter for replay command 
    lagTime, an optional parameter, allows you to set the number of seconds that the replay command should wait between the execution of each HAR file included in the replay file. Because user activities are not usually initiated simultaneously, setting this parameter helps to create a more realistic simulation of load on an environment.
  • The provisionReport command now produces a simplified version of the report by default 
    The provisionreport command now, by default, generates the simplified version of the Provisioning Report identical to the report that is displayed on the Provisioning Report tab of the Access Control screen. You can generate the classic version of the report, which lists the component roles that are subsumed into the pre-defined roles to which users are assigned and the application roles assigned to the user (directly or through groups), by using the format=classic parameter.

New Ad Hoc Behavior Configuration Option

With the new application configuration option, Ad Hoc Behavior, Service Administrators can enable the following enhanced ad hoc features and behaviors in Smart View: in grid, cell-based POV, submit without refresh, additional free-form functionality, and multiple grid ad hoc.

To enable the Ad Hoc Behavior option, select the Navigator. In the Application group, select Settings, and then set the Ad Hoc Behavior option to Standard (the default is Native). These ad hoc features are then available to Smart View users:

  • In-grid, cell-based POV—POV members are placed on the grid instead of in the POV toolbar. Submit without refresh—Using the default
  • Submit Data button in the Smart View ribbon, all data cells in a single grid (modified cells and unchanged cells) are marked dirty and submitted. Once the submit operation is complete, the entire grid will be refreshed.
  • Enhanced free-form—Users can insert empty columns and rows anywhere in a grid and change the alias table. Additionally, supports member auto-refresh where deleted members are returned to the grid upon refresh.
  • Multiple-grid ad hoc—Multiple ad hoc grids can be placed on the same Excel worksheet. With multiplegrid ad hoc, users can submit data from any grid on the sheet. Grids based on aggregate storage cubes and block storage cubes are supported on the same sheet. Each grid is independent; for example, if required, you can change the alias table for only one grid on the sheet.

New Version of Oracle Smart View for Office

Oracle Smart View for Office 11.1.2.5.900 will be available in May 2019. This version includes new features and fixed defects.

New features include:

  • Enhanced ad hoc features, including cell-based POV, submit without refresh, additional free-form functionality support, and multiple-grid ad hoc.
  • New Extension Alert dialog to notify you of extension updates upon login.
  • Support for Microsoft Office 2019.
  • New Health Check option, Browser Emulation Mode, to ensure that browser-based screens, such as the Oracle Cloud login dialog, render properly.
  • Informational dialog showing the POV of the drill-through report launch point.

This release also fixes a number of defects.

The Smart View 11.1.2.5.900 Readme, available on the Help Center, will contain a complete list of features and defects addressed in this version. You must install this version to ensure access to the new functionalities.

Removal of Support for Transport Layer Security Protocol 1.0 and 1.1

As announced in previous readiness documents, starting with this update (Release 19.05) to EPM Services, Oracle will support only Transport Layer Security protocol version 1.2 (TLS 1.2) to communicate with EPM Cloud. To ensure the highest level of authentication and data encryption security, TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 will no longer be supported after your environments are updated on May 3, 2019.

Note: Support for TLS versions 1.0 and 1.1 will be removed for both your Test and Production environments on May 3, 2019.

Because most modern operating systems and browsers support TLS 1.2; users of such systems and browsers will not be affected by the deprecation of TLS 1.0 and 1.1. EPM Automate and Smart View are also not affected by this change.

After TLS 1.1 is deprecated, you cannot use client operating systems that do not support TLS 1.2 (for example, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and Microsoft Windows 2002) to run operating system-specific commands (for example, code to run cURL tools to transfer data and custom code that integrates with the Rest APIs) against EPM Cloud. Additionally, Smart View installed on such systems will also fail to communicate with EPM Cloud. Similarly, you cannot use browsers that do not support TLS 1.2 protocol to access EPM Cloud environments.

Upcoming Changes

EPM Cloud's New Look & Feel

In a future update, there will be a revised interface with enhanced navigation and a new theme called Sky Blue.

epm cloud march 2019 update

The following services will adopt this new theme as their default interface:

  • Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud
  • Oracle Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud
  • Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud
  • Oracle Tax Reporting Cloud
  • Oracle Profitability and Cost Management Cloud
  • Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud
  • Oracle Strategic Workforce Planning Cloud
  • Oracle Sales Planning Cloud

The revised interface retains existing functionality and enhances your Home page experience with a more responsive design. The Welcome panel and the global header readjust after resizing, which means less scrolling. Clearer announcements and notification areas are added to the Welcome panel, as are arrows to help you navigate easily between the Home page and your infolets. A bigger Navigator menu has improved usability, more themes for customization are included, and a bigger work area has more space to maneuver and provide better visibility. The interface is more consistent with other Oracle products, such as Fusion Applications.

After the interface is released, all new customers will use the new lighter-colored Sky Blue theme, and existing customers will keep their current theme. You can switch themes using Tools, and then Appearance.

FCCS Environments with Extended Dimensions Patch Automatic Upgrade to 19.05

Starting in the 19.05 update, if you are already using extended dimensions and have environments running one of the patches listed below, they will be upgraded to the 19.05 monthly patch automatically during the respective scheduled maintenance window on these environments:

  • 18.10.90
  • 18.11.90
  • 18.12.90
  • 19.01.90
  • 19.02.90
  • 19.02.91
  • 19.02.92
  • 19.02.93
  • 19.03.90

On May 3rd, Test environments (service name ends with –test) will be upgraded during the scheduled maintenance window that starts any time after the 22:00 UTC. On May 17th, Production environments will be upgraded during the scheduled maintenance window that starts any time after the 22:00 UTC.

If your environments are on the latest extended dimensions patch 19.03.90 before these dates, then no additional downtime is required. If your environments are on older extended dimensions patches, we will upgrade them one patch version at a time until they are upgraded to 19.05. This incremental upgrade process may cause the scheduled maintenance window on the respective environments to take up to 3 hours.

To reduce the duration of this extended maintenance, we suggest you open a Support Request (SR) to update your environment to 19.03.90 or as close to 19.03.90 as possible such as 19.02.90 or 19.01.90, prior to this upgrade to 19.05.

If you need different timing for the upgrade process to 19.05, open a Support Request (SR) no later than 1 week prior to the upgrade timing you prefer.

After the 19.05 update has been applied to your extended dimensionality environment, you will no longer need to raise SRs requesting the monthly updates for these environments.

Classic Dimension Editor

With a view to allowing customers more time to familiarize themselves with the Simplified Dimension Editor, Oracle has decided to defer the removal of support for Classic Dimension Editor to a future update in 2019. Oracle will notify you at least two months prior to the removal of the feature.

Additional Updates to Connections Interface

Starting with the June update, you will see a number of additional changes to the Connections interface.

  • On the Select Provider to Create Connection page, all Enterprise Performance Management service providers will be grouped into a single service provider called Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud.
  • On the Connection Details page, based on the URL provided, Application Type will be automatically identified and displayed.
  • On the Manage Connections page, the name and description will be grouped together under one column called Name, and the application type and provider will be grouped together under one column called Application.

Considerations 

Calculation Status

When you change Ownership Data that uses a Consolidation rule and then consolidate, the Calculation Status is not correct for the partner and entity.When you change Ownership Data that uses a Consolidation rule and then consolidate, the Calculation Status is not correct for the partner and entity.

Copying Data

When copying an entity with a Calculation Status of No Data, the target should also have a Calculation Status of No Data. The Copy Data process is incorrectly setting the Calculation Status to Impacted.

Editing Dates in a Data Collection Period

In a Data Collection Period in Supplemental Data, editing Start, End, and Close Dates may result in an error that the date is outside the valid range.

Adding Shared Members in Smart View

When using Smart View, after adding a Shared Member, Refresh and Submit may not work correctly.

Self-Service Upgrade

It is strongly recommended that you do not use the Upgrade Application Content settings in this update. Although a new Upgrade screen is available in Daily Maintenance, this feature is not fully functional.

Horizontal Scroll on a Non-tabular Form

In Supplemental Data forms, the horizontal scroll does not work on a non-tabular form, which is intended only for use on a single record. Do not use non-tabular layout if the form is meant for more than one record.

Unable to Refresh the Cube

A Cube refresh will not complete if a level 0 currency dimension member has the "Label only" data storage property, but this is not currently detected in the Dimension Editor or Metadata Validator.

Viewing Members on Seeded Forms

If you are using an Extended Dimensionality environment, on seeded forms, use the View members, such as Periodic, QTD and YTD, instead of using functions to ensure the _RULE members are not accidentally added to the forms.

Viewing the FCCS_View_System_Members

If you are using an Extended Dimensionality environment, users other than the Administrator can view the FCCS_VIEW_SYSTEM_MEMBERS and its hierarchy in the data form and Intercompany reports.

Translation Override Rule Redirection

When you create a Translation Override rule, redirection does not work properly when you use a shared Parent account for the Source. The workaround is to specify the primary Parent account.

Simplified Dimension Editor and Metadata Validation

Some of the Simplified Dimension Editor errors (cells outlined in red) are false-positive errors (that is, incorrectly reported as errors). Data Storage errors for the following members should be ignored:

  • Data Source --> All children of "FCCS_Source Entities" Entity --> "FCCS_Global Assumptions"

If you are using an Extended Dimensionality upgraded environment, the Simplified Dimension Editor does not show Dynamic Calc as an allowed value for Custom dimension parent member Data Storage. This issue does not occur in a newly-installed Extended Dimensionality environment. You can use the Classic Dimension Editor, Import Metadata, or Smart View to change the Data Storage value.

In addition, the Metadata Validator incorrectly shows validation errors for the following:

  • Shared level 0 Scenario dimension members
  • Parent members of the Scenario dimension

Entity Member Name/Aliases with ICP Property

When you create an Entity with the ICP property enabled, the maximum length of the member name is 76 characters instead of 80, to allow for the ICP prefix.

Setting the Data Collection Period

In Supplemental Data, when setting the Data Collection Period (DCP), the Start, End, and Close dates must be inside the valid range.

Errors When Importing Accounts

Sometimes when importing an account, error messages may be generated because there are several accounts that reference an intercompany account in the Plug Account column but that account has yet to be encountered in the account file.

Try to reimport the account.

Working with Metadata

You should not make metadata changes that result in the following:

  • Changing a base member to which a journal has been posted into a parent member If there are journals or Supplemental Data posted to those members, these changes can cause problems when accessing Journals or importing existing journals.
  • When you use ad hoc grids in Smart View with Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud, do not add a root Period member on the grid. Make sure the root Period member is removed by either clicking Remove Only or selecting periods that are in the application and selecting Keep Only.
  • If a Period member is left on the grid, then any changes to data that you make will fail to properly set the impact status of the Entities.

Ownership Management Enablement

Enabling the Ownership Management feature entails adding seeded accounts, which causes a restructuring of your application. Depending on the size of your application, the restructuring could take a considerable length of time. This can be expected to take as long as manually refreshing the database after adding accounts. If there are conflicts with aliases of existing members, an error is displayed that the system cannot enable the feature. Resolve the member alias conflict, refresh the database and then enable the feature. When the Ownership Management feature is enabled, you will need to reconsolidate all existing data in your application in order to re-populate the Proportion member in the Consolidation dimension. If you enable the Ownership Management feature, you may not be able to open some existing Financial Reporting reports due to metadata changes for Ownership Management.

Smart View Summary Dialog Display

In Internet Explorer, you may experience issues using the Open Summary dialog in Smart View. To work around this issue: Use the keyboard arrow keys to make your selection, then close and reopen the dialog; or Minimize and then reopen the dialog; or Use a different browser.

Extended Dimensionality Performance Consideration

For an Extended Dimensionality application with Ratios enabled, consolidation performance may be slower. When you create an Extended Dimensionality application, you should not enable the “Include Ratio Calculations” feature.

 

Video: Take a Tour of FCCS

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