Hiring a new employee for any open position is a major task, but it can be extremely difficult to find an Oracle EPM administrator who’s both qualified and a good fit for your organization.
If you’re currently searching for an Oracle EPM admin, you probably realize that you can’t make exceptions to the qualifications you’re looking for — this is not a job organizations have the time and resources to provide additional training for. Your ideal candidate profile also depends on several factors, like which tools you need managed, the number of applications, and much more.
In this blog post, we’ll outline the skills and qualities your recruiter should be looking for because, let’s face it, their job is hard enough. So what exactly makes an outstanding Oracle EPM administrator?
1. Application Experience
Oracle EPM is such a comprehensive and powerful platform that users at one end can have absolutely no idea what goes on at the other. It's not uncommon for companies to have multiple admins, each with specialized skill sets. If you’re trying to fill a Planning admin opening, look for someone with a broad understanding of forecast cycles and experience with planning dimensionality and workflows during a budget cycle. If the opening is for HFM, however, your candidate should be a CPA or someone with accounting experience.
2. Technical Skills
When it comes to a complex suite of tools like Oracle EPM, the administrator you’re looking for will need an assortment of technical skills. There are several general infrastructure tasks you should look for on their resume:
- Automation and scripting of tasks
- System documentation
- Assisting in the creation and maintenance of interfaces to or from other financial system applications
- Application optimization
- Diagnosing and resolving issues with Oracle EPM infrastructure, hardware, and software
- Evaluating and installing relevant patches
- Performance tuning
- Backup and recovery of Oracle EPM applications
- Establishing disaster recovery procedures
- Server maintenance
You also need to make the distinction between maintaining an Oracle EPM system and developing an Oracle EPM system. Do you need someone to make customizations to your tools, like writing a calc script in Essbase? Is your organization thinking of upgrading or installing another application in the future? If so, you need to look for resumes listing experience in these areas.
To evaluate if a candidate is a good fit for your organization’s needs, consider their level of experience with…
- The current version of your tool or system
- Your data loading and integration tools
- Updating calc scripts, business rules, web forms, and reports
- Creating and maintaining Essbase cubes (if you have Essbase)
- Creating and maintaining workflows (for Planning, HFM, or DRM)
- Managing user security roles and access
- Implementing monthly metadata maintenance
- Supporting the integration of acquisitions (both the company’s and the inherited systems)
3. Functional Skills
While an Oracle EPM administrator requires an array of technical skills, an admin needs to speak the language of finance and accounting as well as IT. Just being familiar with your business processes is not enough — they should be able to help optimize them. After all, the ultimate goal of an Oracle EPM system is to support strategic, seamless EPM processes.
Examples of functional tasks you should look for on your prospective Oracle EPM admin’s resume include:
- Setting up, opening, and closing business processes with your Oracle EPM tool(s)
- Helping the corporate FP&A team manage forecast processes and helping business units complete their forecasts and budgets
- Performing ad hoc and routine financial close tasks (e.g. running month-end close processes, maintaining a reports calendar)
- Creating and maintaining financial reports
- Ensuring data accuracy and integrity
- Providing training to end users
- Resolving end-user support requests
- Advising on best practices for business processes and technology
4. Broad Business and IT Experience
While a high level of experience with the various Oracle EPM tool sets is clearly valuable, it helps even more if an admin is good with relational databases and is active in Hyperion user communities to stay on top of the latest developments, trends, and issues.
Note that ex-consultants make excellent Oracle EPM admins. That’s because they’ve often had hands-on experience with most — if not all — Oracle EPM products, upgrades, and platform integrations. And there’s probably not an Oracle EPM problem or issue they haven’t seen in some form at some point.
5. Needs vs. Wants Alignment
Make sure that your Oracle EPM admin candidate is aligned with not just organizational goals (wants) but day-to-day operational requirements (needs).
For example, your company may have lofty plans to open three new business operations overseas in the next five years, and you want an Oracle EPM admin who can expand Planning capabilities to help achieve that — but what you really need right now is someone who can complete the month-end close and reporting cycles efficiently and on time. Ideally, you’ll find someone who can do both or at least fulfill the immediate need while you look for another admin to help with the want.
6. Soft Skills
Because Oracle EPM admins typically deal with disparate teams and a heavy workload, soft skills are important. A good admin has organizational and interpersonal skills that enable them to prioritize and communicate effectively.
Initiative and perseverance are soft attributes commonly found in someone who starts out as a “super user” but morphs into someone with deeper technical skills because he or she is motivated. They’re the ones haunting user communities and Oracle EPM forums simply because they’re interested and curious — and they won’t give up! Understanding the technology, they feel accountable for its successful utilization. In short, the proper attitude is the difference between those who just keep the lights on and those who own the platform.
Finding a Good Oracle EPM Admin
The technical and functional expertise required to support Oracle EPM is a scarce skill set in high demand. Often, organizations looking for an in-house administrator search for months but still come up short, leaving a mission-critical system without sufficient support.
Fortunately, there is a less risky and more cost-effective alternative. Outsourcing support to an experienced Oracle EPM support services provider will give you all the skills listed above, typically at a more affordable price.
If you need help supporting Oracle EPM — whether you recently lost an admin, completed an implementation, or need supplemental support for critical times like month-end close — support services is an option worth evaluating.