Oracle Planning and Budgeting in the cloud update.
Last October, I posted an article on the capabilities of the Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) Cloud and asked if it was right for you. It’s been a full year, and while Oracle has yet to still to have a public offering, there have been some changes.
They have made some improvements/themes that are worth noting. The new official time frame for the release of the PBCS is in the first half of next year. The word is that all the coding is done; it’s just a matter of packaging it with the Oracle Public Cloud offering.
I am hearing that that the initial pricing will be $120 per user per month with a 10 user minimum, for a 1 year minimum.
The Theme of the PBCS is “Rapid Deployment”. In essence, it is intended to be a way to get up and running quickly with the basics.
- Software licensing built in
- No need for hardware infrastructure support
- System patches and upgrades are part of it an free – always have access to the latest features
- Built in wizards, advisors, training to ensure best practices
They also claim “IT won’t mind.” Hyperion Planning is sometimes considered to be a financial specific one-off system that may not perfectly fit into IT standards. Many times it does not need a lot of day-to-day care and feeding but it can cause havoc when it needs attention. Therefore Oracle claims that IT will be happy to allow you to place the system off premise and even have an external entity completely manage it.
Maybe, maybe not…regardless, who can argue with the quick, agile and scalable model the cloud has to offer – if the capabilities meet your needs.
You get ONE planning application only
- No EPMA
- up to 4 plan types (ASO or BSO)
- no modules (CAPEX, WFP, etc)
Patches: Patches can be scheduled, but they are mandatory. Oracle will only support the last release and the release prior. You will not be able to back out patches.
Backups: Essbase data is backed up once per day.
Training: Tutorials start from the basics of Planning and multidimensionality to advanced administration. There are also videos that are more geared for end users to get them familiar with the system. The landing page has a Cloud Documentation Center with other various documentation. Guided demo applications are available complete with task templates to get started.
Diagnostics: There are built in application diagnostics that assist you with your applications. It will have advice and guidance that identify design flaws such as outline structure, ordering, block sizes, etc. There are also built in run-time governors that will warn you if you reach a frowned-upon threshold.
Scalability: built-in automatic scaling as you add users and usage
High Availability: Built in fault Tolerance and redundancy
Other Administration: Admin functionality added to Excel, log diagnostics.
So who is this cloud for? I see this being a viable option for the following:
- midmarket companies that are not able to buy full licenses and/or maintain IT infrastructure. A great way to get midmarket companies out of spreadsheet mode into a feature rich robust planning solution that larger companies use.
- Business that want to expand additional business units where the current hardware or budget is restrictive.
- Existing non-planning EPM customers that want to expand into planning where the current hardware or budget is restrictive of that expansion.
- Customers on 184.108.40.206 with only 1 classic planning application (no modules or EPMA) that want a quicker way to upgrade or to test latest features.
- A Sandbox. Customers that want a place to test something out in a non-prod environment or have a place for development without the need for an IT overhead. Or a temporary place to start development while on-premise hardware is acquired.
The Cloud Rapid Deployment Life cycle
Of course, the money maker for Oracle are net new mid-market accounts that want to start learning, using, and adopting Hyperion planning in their organizations. The cloud offers them an inexpensive way to get started. The hope, of course, is that these companies either continue to expand their use in the cloud or eventually purchase the licenses and move it on-prem.
What does a “Rapid Deployment” project look like for a first adopter?
The key is to do a phased approach, starting with just the basics, go-live, then expand capabilities. The K-I-S-S method for the initial phase is crucial.
1.) Start with the basics
- Design – identify Critical Forms, Reports, Calc
- Training and familiarization
3.) Expand Capabilities
- Additional features, detail, reports, forms
- Additional users, departments, etc
The Initial Phase
Target for initial rapid deployment
- Less than 20 users
- Less than 8 dimensions
- 5 calculations (ie –% sales, % salary, Rate per headcount, etc)
- less than 10 entry forms
- less than 10 reports
- less than 3 task lists
- simple profit and loss, no operational planning
The Rapid Deployment Project could be an average of 4-8 weeks depending.
- 1-2 weeks design
- 3-5 weeks build
- 2-3 weeks training, deploy, roll-out
- Additional dimensions, calcs, forms, reports, task lists, etc.
- Additional users and departments
- Full financial statements (Balance Sheets, Cash Flow)
- Operational Planning
How do you get on the Cloud?
Whether you are a new company looking to get out of the spreadsheet rat-race and take a serious look at Oracle’s Planning offering, or an existing customer that would like to get your application up on the latest version, we are ahead of the curve when it comes to the cloud. We have assisted Oracle in their pre-view launch and have deployed applications to it. We are developing an all-inclusive fast track package that will get your organization in the cloud inexpensively using our methodology.
Stay tuned to this blog as I will announce when the cloud is available and give you details on how we can get you up and running in no time.