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PBCS & EPBCS Update (June 2019): Options for External Connections

The June updates for Oracle's Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) and Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (EPBCS) have arrived. There are several big changes to the Oracle EPM Cloud as well as new features added to PBCS and EPBCS. 

The monthly update for PBCS and EPBCS will occur on Friday, June 21 during your normal daily maintenance window.

Video Tutorial: The Simplified Interface in PBCS

PBCS & EPBCS Updates

New Oracle EPM Cloud Services

Oracle has introduced two new Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud services: Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Standard Cloud Service and Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Enterprise Cloud Service. Changes introduced with the new services mainly affect new customers only; current customers will continue using their existing, familiar EPM Cloud environments. Going forward, the two new EPM Cloud Services will replace the existing EPM Cloud Service offerings for new purchases. The Business Processes and features available to you depend on the specific EPM Cloud service that you purchase. Users will notice some changes to certain naming and terminology used in documentation, videos and other collateral as we adopt the new Cloud Services (Standard and Enterprise). 

TLS 1.2 Support for Outbound EPM Cloud Emails

EPM Cloud has been enhanced to send outbound emails using Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol 1.2. This update enables EPM Cloud to route emails, for example, from Financial Reporting Batches, correctly even if your email server accepts only TLS 1.2 compliant emails. 

Removal of Support for Transport Layer Security Protocol 1.0 and 1.1

As announced in previous blog posts, Oracle supports 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, support for TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 have been removed.

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

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.

New Version of the EPM Automate Utility

A new version of EPM Automate is available with this update. These new commands are now available: mergeDataSlices, and restructureCube. Additionally, the recreate command has been enhanced to change the service type of a current environment to another service type; for example, to change a PBCS environment to an ARCS environment.

  • mergeDataSlices Command This command merges all incremental data slices of an aggregate storage cube with a view to improve a cube’s performance and, optionally, removes cells that have a value of zero.
  • restructureCube Command This command restructures a block storage cube to eliminate or reduce fragmentation. Restructuring also removes empty blocks, and will not push any changes from the application to the cube.

Script Available for Maintaining a Snapshot Library

Generally, Oracle EPM Cloud supports snapshot compatibility for one monthly cycle only; you can migrate maintenance snapshots from the test environment to the production environment and vice versa. However, audit requirements of some customers may necessitate restoring snapshots from multiple years on the latest EPM Cloud environment, and accessing application in a short period of time. 

New EPM Cloud URL

Starting with this release, all EPM Cloud Service instance URLs will use epmcloud as the context for accessing environments. Existing users may continue using the current URLs to access EPM Cloud environments or update them with this new application context. For example, if the current URL is https://example-idDomain.pbcs.dom1., you can update it to https://example-idDomain.pbcs.dom1.

Oracle Smart View for Mac OS and Browser-based Deployment of Microsoft Excel

Oracle is pleased to announce the availability of Oracle Smart View for Office for MacOS and browser-based deployment of Microsoft Excel. This new Smart View add-in provides for a thin and customizable deployment across the enterprise in support of Oracle EPM Cloud applications.

The following high-level features are included in the initial release:

  • Ad hoc analysis operations such as: Zoom, Pivot, Keep/Remove only, as well as Submit, Range Operations, Analyze/Free Form, and Formula Preservation
  • Form operations such as: Form Open and Refresh, Submit from Forms, Expand/Collapse, Supporting Details, Mass Allocate, Job Console, Copy Version, Business Rules, and Analyze
  • Options and Styles
  • Member Selection and POV
  • Drill Through

NOTE: Existing Windows-based deployments of Microsoft Office should continue to use the existing Smart View client.

Updates to REST APIs

You can now override some of the job parameters when importing or exporting data and metadata with REST APIs. Also, when you import security with REST APIs, you can now use a CSV file for import, and you can clear existing access permissions when importing new access permissions.

Review the Prerequisites and Manage Jobs sections in the REST API for Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud guide (available by going to the Oracle Help Center, navigating to your help center, and then clicking REST API).

Changes to Default Setting for Exporting Smart List Textual Data

Starting with this update, the default value of Export Planning Smart List textual data during daily maintenance for incremental data import application setting has been changed to No.

The current default value of this setting (Yes) impacts the performance of the daily maintenance process by also exporting text data associated with Smart Lists. The exporting of text data during daily maintenance is required only if you plan to use the daily maintenance snapshot to perform incremental or selective data imports. Because this is not a common customer scenario, Oracle will not, by default, include Smart List text data in the maintenance snapshot. This change ensures improved performance of the daily maintenance process.

NOTE: The snapshot that is created with the Export Planning Smart List textual data during daily maintenance for incremental data import option set to is a fully contained snapshot that includes all No metadata and data required to recreate your application.

If you have a requirement to include Smart List data in the maintenance snapshot for incremental data imports, you must change value of Export Planning Smart List textual data during daily maintenance for incremental data import application setting to .

New Connection Type and Advanced Options for External Connections

Service Administrators can now create connections to external Web services and specify optional query or header parameters while defining external connections. These connections can be referenced or used in a Groovy script to create a communications link between the Groovy script and the external Web resource.

Connections Interface Updates

Updates to the Connections interface include grouping all EPM service providers into a single provider called Oracle EPM Cloud.

  • On the Select Provider to Create Connection page, all EPM 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.

Data Export to File

The Data Export to File option in Data Management enables you to export data from an EPM application to a data file. You can use the data file to load data into an ERP application or an external system. The new Data Export to File option provides several enhancements over the existing Custom Application option and will provide performance improvement when using the Simple workflow mode option.

Both the Data Export to File option and custom target application options are supported in this release. Eventually, the Data Export to File option will supersede the custom target application option due to its enhanced functions and capabilities.

Starting with this release, you can migrate your existing custom target applications to Data Export to File application using a new Upgrade Custom Application script. The new script is available under the System Maintenance and it can be run for an individual or all scripts.

Purge All Imported Data

Use the new Purge All Imported Data script, available in Data Management, to clear all imported data from your data tables for a selected LOV. Purging data may increase system performance and enables you to start over when loading data. Note that there is no backup or utility to recover any purged data when this option is executed. For this reason, use extreme caution before executing this script. 

Show or Hide Financial Reporting Annotations

In the simplified user interface, when running a Financial Reporting report in HTML preview, you can now select to either show or hide annotations. This functionality was previously only available when running a report from the Explore Repository.

EPBCS Updates Only

Improving Forecast Accuracy Using Simulations

Simulations allow you to perform automated what-if analysis on your Strategic Modeling models, optimizing your decision making. Simulation allows you to assign a range of possible values to inputs that are uncertain and analyze how that uncertainty affects related accounts. You can:

  • Quickly calculate and review hundreds of possible outcomes and the likelihood they will occur
  • Analyze best and worst case scenarios
  • Assess the likelihood of meeting target goals
  • See how key uncertain inputs affect your bottom line

Integration Between Strategic Modeling & Financials

You can integrate data between models in Strategic Modeling and income statements in Financials using the provided template and data maps. Both Strategic Modeling and Financials must be enabled. Income Statement must be enabled in Financials.

Create the Strategic Modeling model from the provided Financial template. When you create the model, two data maps are created:

  • _SMtoPLDatamap pushes data from Strategic Modeling to the Target version in Financials.
  • _PLtoSMDatamap pushes data from the Working version in Financials to Strategic Modeling.
The data maps' detailed mappings are automatically populated between the dimension members in Strategic Modeling and in Financials.


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.

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