Data is the new oil. Just as oil became a valuable resource during the 18th century, so too is data in the 21st century. Today data is quickly becoming a vast, valuable and yet untapped resource. As we move into ever increasing digitization of business processes, high quality data has grown exponentially in value.
With business applications generating huge amounts of data everyday, getting access to and making sense of the data are the main challenges. In the area of enterprise financial applications, especially Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) applications, quality data is essential for ensuring smooth financial management.
Hyperion data is locked away
Organisations that have Oracle Hyperion Planning and Financial Management (HFM) find it complex and time consuming getting access to their data.
For example, looking at the financial close process:
If you want to provide a report on actual vs budget variance to unit managers, then you need to move data from HFM to Planning. Or if you’re going through a budgeting process you find that you need to move budget data back and forth between the two applications.
The requirement to supply data to other applications such as workflow management or variance analysis also needs to be addressed. Reporting systems for financial close require data from HFM and Planning to be produced in different formats such as dimensional, parent-child or balanced hierarchy 1.
Unlocking Hyperion data
The underlying technologies for HFM and Planning are different. HFM uses relational database technology while Planning uses a dimensional database called Essbase. These different technologies mean that moving data between the Hyperion and external applications requires an intermediate step to translate the data from one technology to the other.
There are different options for solving the access and translation problem. Oracle themselves provide products to address this. These are:
- Financial Data Management (FDM)
- Oracle Data Integrator (ODI)
- EPMA Data Synchronisation
- Essbase Analytics Link (EAL)
- Lifecycle Management (LCM)
There are also non Oracle solutions. The primary ones are:
- Cognos Integration Server (CIS), previously Star Analytics
We will examine at a high level the CIS capabilities, in this article.
Cognos Integration Server Overview
Cognos Integration Server saves time by making it easier to extend your Oracle Hyperion systems.
IBM Cognos Integration Server (previously Star Integration Server from a company called Star Analytics) extracts data at very high speed from Oracle Hyperion applications.
The data can then be stored in a relational database or directly into the Cognos TM1 planning application. Or the data can be used with other performance management and business intelligence applications.l
The functionality of CIS can be divided into 2 areas:
- Data Integration
Liberating Hyperion Data using Cognos Integration Server
There are a number of factors that influence the selection of a solution to unlock Hyperion data. The different options highlighted above address very specific scenarios. Overall, the factors to consider are:
- Typеs of Hyperion, EPM and other Analytics applications in your environment
- Frequency of data extraction and loading from source to target applications.
- Speed of data extraction
- Volume of data moving between the different applications
- Data mapping needs of the applications
- Self service and workflow automation requirements
- Data formatting needs e.g. Balanced Hierarchy 1 and 2
Cognos Integration Server enables you to have real-time, fast insight from specialized Oracle data sources.
With the challenge of gaining a holistic view into different types of financial data, companies are always looking for ways to automate and provide business users with self-service access to critical information.
It’s the self service capabilities, together with fast data access to Hyperion applications that ultimately allow you to get the most from your investment in Oracle Hyperion applications.
by Krum Daskalov, VP Advanced Analytics and Business Intelligence