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PBCS & EPBCS Updates (May 2019): Data Integration Updates, Planning Admin Extension, Link Accounts by Default, and More

In this extensive update for Oracle's Planning & Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) and Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (EPBCS), there are a variety of new features and updates including data integration improvements, a new Planning admin extension, linking accounts by default, and much more.

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

Video Tutorial: The Simplified Interface in PBCS

PBCS & EPBCS Updates

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.

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.

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.

New Database Suppression Option in Smart Push

There is a new Smart Push option called Use Database Suppression that enables you to apply row suppression at the database level instead of at the application level, thus eliminating the impact on query thresholds and improving Smart Push wait times.

When using Smart Push to load large amounts of data from a block storage cube and while using the missing block and row suppression options, the resulting query process that occurs at the application level can cause long wait times and query thresholds to be exceeded. As a result, you had to break up the data push into smaller regions.

To address this issue, there is a new Smart Push option that enables administrators to apply row suppression at the database level. The Use Database Suppression option is at the top of the Smart Push tab in the form designer interface and this option is available for simple forms only.

If you use Groovy rules to configure Smart Push with the Use Database Suppression option, Oracle has added an additional parameter to specify the new option for Smart Push execution:

public void execute(Map<string, string=""> overrideMembersMap, boolean suppressMissingRowsNative)

New Application Setting: Link Accounts by Default

A new application setting for block storage (input) cubes named Link Accounts by Default enables you to set the default for whether to XREF linked account members.

STEPS TO ENABLE

  1. On the Home page, click Applications, and then Settings.
  2. For the option Link Accounts by Default, select Yes or No.

TIPS AND CONSIDERATIONS

Selecting Yes means that XREFs will be created for account members the same way as in previous releases.

Selecting means that all generated XREFs will be removed from Account members and accounts will no No longer be automatically linked in multiple cubes.

HSP_LINK is a new attribute, provided specifically to override the setting for Link Accounts by Default. You No can add the HSP_LINK UDA to members to create the @XREF function only for those specific members.

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.

Updates to the Connections Interface

When you create or manage connections in EPM Cloud subscriptions, you will see a number of changes in the Connections interface.

  • On the Manage Connections page, the gear icon is now a Create button.
  • On the Manage Connections  page, the Delete option is now a row level action and there is a new Duplicate option.
  • When selecting a service to create a connection, there are new icons for Cloud services and the icons are now selectable.

New Form Validation Rule Options

Two new options Validate with each possible value for user variables from approval unit dimensions and Validate with current approval unit members as values for user variables for user variables are available for data validation rules in forms for promoting and approving approval units.

  • 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.

New 'Success with Warnings' Job Status

The new job status 'Success with Warnings' indicates that a job was successfully completed, but there were warning messages logged while executing the job. Users can review the warnings by viewing the job details.

New REST API Jobs to Import and Export Security, Export Audit Records and the Job Console, and Sort Members

You can now use REST APIs to execute jobs to import and export security, export audit records and the job console, and sort dimension members.

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.

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 PBCS, EPBCS, Oracle Financial Close and Consolidation Cloud, and Oracle Tax Reporting Cloud.

The Planning Admin Extension version will always be in sync with the PBCS 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 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.

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.

Oracle NetSuite PBCS Sync SuiteApp Role ID

You can now specify a role ID when connecting to the Oracle NetSuite Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service Sync SuiteApp. The role is required only when you have multiple roles and you want to use a specific role for the connection to the to Oracle NetSuite Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service Sync SuiteApp.

The role ID option is only available for user-based authentications and can be left blank if you don’t have multiple roles. Role IDs are defined in the Oracle NetSuite Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service Sync SuiteApp and not in Data Management.

Data Integration Updates

Data Integration simplified user interface has been enhanced to allow drill-through to source from specified data cells in the Workbench. The updated interface also allows you to create filters to view specific values in the Workbench.

DRILL-THROUGH

Users can drill-through to source from specified data cells in the Workbench.

MULTI-DIMENSIONAL MEMBER TYPE

When adding member mappings, you can now use multi-dimensional as a member type. For example, the mapping for Account dimension can be based on source values of Entity, Product, and Project.

FILTER WORKBENCH DATA

In the Workbench, you can apply filters to view specific values. You can create filter criteria on one or more dimensions using a "Contains" or an "Equal" operand and a specific value.

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.


EPBCS Updates Only

Additional Rolling Forecast Time Periods in Financials

The Financials business process now supports additional monthly level rolling forecast time periods so you can now plan at a monthly level for 30, 36, 48, or 60 months in addition to 12, 18, or 24 months.

After you enable rolling forecast, use the Planning and Forecast Preparation configuration task to configure rolling forecast to plan continuously at a weekly level for either 13, 26, or 52 weeks, at a monthly level for either 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, 48, or 60 months, or at a quarterly level for either 4, 6, or 8 quarters.

Manage Strategic Modeling Metadata with Model Change Management

In Strategic Modeling, use Model Change Management to copy metadata from a source model to one or more target models.

Organizations work with different models to perform their strategic planning. Some models might be more granular, and others might focus on a specific territory or region. Typically, many of the models have a similar structure. For example, custom dimensions, accounts, scenarios, and time periods might differ only slightly. You can create a master source model in which you build the master structure of accounts, account groups, custom dimensions, time structure, and scenarios. You manage metadata by copying all or part of the metadata from this source model to one or more target models. You can also copy incremental changes from the source model to the target models.

To use model change management, first create a base model to use as the source. The source model should include the accounts, account groups, custom dimensions, time structure, and scenarios that you want to copy to any target models. Once a source model is created, you can use Model Change Management to copy any of the metadata to one or more target models.

Capital Forms and Rules Allow Different Planning Years for Plan and Forecast Scenarios

In the Capital business process, forms and rules have been updated to allow different planning years for the Plan and Forecast scenarios.

Previously, the Planning and Forecast Preparation configuration task for Capital set the &OEP_YearRange substitution variable for both Plan and Forecast scenario. References to this substitution variable are being discontinued. Instead, Capital has updated all business rules to use methods that read the start year and end year from the Planning and Forecast configuration separately for each scenario. Forms are modified to display data based on the start and end periods for the scenario. When the update is applied:

  • Predefined forms are updated.
  • Predefined business rules are updated.

If you’ve modified rules that rely on the &OEP_YearRange substitution variable, update the forms or rules to use these functions (either in Business Rules or Groovy rules):

  • [[PlanningFunctions.getModuleStartYear("CAPITAL",{Scenario})]] - This function returns start year of given scenario
  • [[PlanningFunctions.getModuleENDYear("CAPITAL",{Scenario})]]- This function returns end year of given scenario

For any forms you’ve customized, use ILvl0Descendants of “ All Years” instead of &OEP_YearRange.

Groovy Rules

A new groovy rule is available in Rules in the Capital business process to push data from Capital to Financials. Also, you can now execute jobs of type rules, rulesets, and templates synchronously from a Groovy rule. Additionally, groovy business rules for Planning ASO cubes now support all types of variables with run-time prompts.

PUSH DATA FROM CAPITAL TO FINANCIALS

In the Capital business process, there is now a groovy rule available in Rules to push data from Capital to Financials. The rule Push Data To Financials runs the data map Financial Statement Integration.

EXECUTE JOBS IN ENTERPRISE PLANNING AND BUDGETING CLOUD

You can now execute jobs of type rules, rulesets, and templates synchronously from a Groovy rule.

SUPPORT FOR ALL TYPES OF RUN TIME PROMPT VARIABLES IN ASO GROOVY RULES

Groovy business rules for Planning ASO cubes now support all types of variables with run-time prompts.

New Scenario Formula Expressions in Calculation Manager Graphical and Script Rules

The Module Start Year and Module End Year new formula expressions have been added to Calculation Manager.

  • Module Start Year: Returns the start year in string format for the given module and scenario.
  • Module End Year: Returns the end year in string format for the given module and scenario.

More Flexibility in Setting Salary for Jobs

In the Workforce business process, now you can set and change the salary for jobs in one of three ways.

You formerly set the salary for jobs using Salary Defaults. Now you can set job salary:

  • By using the salary defaults, based on the entity defaults defined for the salary.
  • By directly entering the salary rate and selecting the salary basis (for example, Monthly or Annual).
  • By selecting an existing salary grade

STEPS TO ENABLE

To set the salary for a new job:

  1. Click Compensation Planning, then Manage Jobs.
  2. Click the Actions gear, and then Add Job. (To change the salary for an existing job, select Change Salary.)
  3. Select the options for the job in the wizard prompts, and then at the Salary Options prompt, select a Salary Option:
    • Salary Defaults
    • Salary Rate and Basis
    • Salary Grade

Greater Flexibility in Making Mid-Year Changes

In the Workforce business process, you now have greater control over when compensation expenses change during the year.

For example, you can now specify the start month and year for an employee’s updated salary, and then subsequent periods reflect the new salary. Likewise, you now have greater flexibility in making mid-year changes such as:

  • Changing an employee’s Status or Salary Basis (for example, Monthly or Annual) and Salary Grade (for example, Grade1 or Grade2) starting from a specific month.
  • Assigning new earnings, benefits, or taxes starting from a specific month by using Compensation Planning, then Mass Update, and then Process Updated Data or Synchronize Definitions.
  • Changing the options or tiers for already-assigned earnings, benefits and taxes starting from a specific month by using Compensation Planning, then Mass Update, and then Process Updated Data or Synchronize Definitions.

STEPS TO ENABLE

  1. Click Compensation Planning, then Manage Employees, and then Existing Employees.
  2. Specify the POV for the employee.
  3. Click the employee, click the Actions gear, and then Changing Existing Details.

TIPS AND CONSIDERATIONS

Updating customers: Immediately after updating content, run the new rule 1X Copy Compensation Details from BegBalance to Periods one time to copy compensation data to all periods.

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.

Changes to the Default Setting for Exporting Smart List Textual Data

Starting with the June update to the service (release 19.06), the default value of Export Planning Smart List textual data during daily maintenance for incremental data import application setting will be 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 No is a fully contained snapshot that includes all 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 Yes.

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 the 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 EPM service providers will be grouped into a single service provider called Oracle EPM 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.

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