Oracle FCCS Deep Dive Report – May 12th 2016

Earlier this year, I provided a report on the introduction of Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud Service (FCCS) at the Collaborate2016 conference. You can find that report here.

Since the conference, Oracle held a deep dive demo, led by Senior Director of Product Management at Oracle, Rich Wilkie. These are the takeaway’s which I found from the day.

KEY TAKEAWAY #1 – It’s Available Now!

Literally midway through the session, it was announced that FCCS was available for license purchase. You can find an overview of FCCS benefits, pricing, videos, data sheets, and FAQ here.

Here are some quick details:

  • 2 instances of FCCS come with the license, one for Production and one for development/testing
  • Instance uptime is 23 hours per day. A 1 hour outage window is to be selected by the customer to be used by Oracle for backup and system updates
  • 1 application per instance
  • 150 GB database size per application. No governors in place but estimated around 1000 entities and 5000 accounts
    • It is extendable to more size for an additional price
  • Additional products baked into the FCCS application
    • Financial Close Manager (FCM)
    • Life Cycle Management (LCM)
    • Smart View (SV)
    • Financial Reporting (FR) with web Studio (FRS)
    • Data Management
      • “Lite” Version of FDMEE which handles flat-file base data loading and mapping
      • Full FDMEE can work but will require additional license
    • Supplemental Data Manager (SDM)
    • There is an early adopter program available for new customers

KEY TAKEAWAY #2 – Application Creation Wizard

There is a step by step application creation wizard which includes all available modules to be enabled. Similar wizards can be found for HFM and PBCS (start/end year, 12/13 months, currencies).

There are additional modules which can be enabled if required. Be careful though, if a module requires an additional dimension to be created, it cannot be enabled after the application is first deployed.

  • Multi-source data input (supplemental or other)
  • Intercompany – allow intercompany elimination and separate enablement of intercompany elimination tagging on the data source dimension
  • Balance Sheet – choose between BS or Net Asset approaches
  • Multi-Gaap – enable/disable and have adjustments be manually or calculated
  • Journals – Journal Adjustments and workflow (user needs to approve before it is posted)
  • Ratio calculation – created members and formulas for liquidity, asset management, profitability & leverage

After a final review, the application can be deployed. Any subsequent changes to hierarchies are done through a database refresh (Similar to Planning).

KEY TAKEAWAY #3 – Simplified User Interface (SUI)

The simplified user interface, which is shared among Oracle’s cloud products, is a welcomed improvement over past HFM and Planning application UIs. It should enable greater acceptance and easier training for end users as the interface resembles various smart phone UIs . This is the purpose, as well to assist with mobile interaction with the applications.

The SUI consists of various “Cards” which enable different modules and functionality. Cards can be removed from review, reordered and grouped in folders as needed. Further, card set ups can be exported/imported using Life Cycle Management (LCM). Custom cards can also be created similar to task lists in HFM and Planning

Here are some quick notes on the landing page and the available cards:

  • Landing Page
    • The background picture and welcome message is configurable by admin. Great way to differentiate environments and to notify users (for ex: Today is the last day for file submission!)
    • FCM dashboard showing tasks which are open, late, due Today and due in a week
  • Card – Tasks – user can review outstanding tasks
  • Card – Dashboards – report on data in interactive chart formats
  • Card – Data Analysis – creating ad hoc data grids
    • Forms and ad hoc grid management similar to Planning
    • Includes a neat feature to turn an ad hoc data grid into an FR report
  • Card – Journals – similar to HFM journal module but more restrictive in initial version
    • View journals for a given period and open/close periods for journals just like HFM
    • Journal groups are created as an application attribute dimension (more like Planning than HFM)
    • Only balanced journals can be posted and in multi-entity format. The entities need to have the same parent
    • No journal templates, but we can copy journals from one period to another
    • Journals are for Periodic data, not YTD
  • Card – Reports
    • FR web studio looks very similar to previous client studio version with 85% parity of features (missing some report calculations and related content)
    • Similar to HFM, journal and intercompany reports can be generated here. Report templates cannot be saved as of yet
    • IC Matching report similar to IC1/IC2 report from Enterprise with flat list of plug accounts (no search) and suppression on tolerance value/percentage (similar to HFM)
    • FCM-type reports available
    • Consolidation path report is a good report to show auditors to trace all data from base to parent levels
    • From Q&A – what do we do with rounding and footing errors?
      • For HFM, TGG has a custom metadata and rules solution which can viewed here
      • For now, FR looks to be the only solution at this time
  • Card – Academy
    • This is a very cool addition which has online documentation, tutorials and videos side by side with the application you are using
  • Card – Console (Admins only)
    • Set up the one hour downtime window
    • Define valid intersections for the application (similar to Planning)
    • Define where in the application to apply data audit
    • LCM
  • Card – Settings (number formatting, notifications)

KEY TAKEAWAY #4 – FCCS Application Specifics

FCCS contains 11 system dimensions:

  • Scenario
  • Year
  • Period
  • View (Periodic, QTD, YTD)
  • Consolidation (the main engine of consolidating data from one entity to it’s parent)
  • Data Source (data loaded, journals, web form)
  • Currency
  • Entity
  • Account
  • Movement (for continuity and cash flow reporting)
  • Intercompany

FCCS application can contain up to 2 additional dimensions for multi-GAAP reporting or other needs.

An FCCS application starts with several system-defined dimension members with the prefix “FCCS_”. These members should not be removed at the risk of the prebuilt consolidation logic and data forms to not work. Changing the alias and adding new members is fine.

FCCS has the following differences than HFM

  • The periodic data is stored and the YTD data is calculated (usually this is the other way around)
  • Any parent entity data input is by journals only
  • No out-of-the box proportional ownership calculation available as of yet but can be done with custom entity structure. This is the #1 asked for enhancement so far.
  • Exchange rates are system defined from a list with a 50 rate limit. Currency translation triangulation still work. Multiply only rates are available.
  • Opening balances based on periodic, QTD and YTD is part of consol logic

For Planning and Essbase fans, application performance settings and evaluation order is available as well.

User access is handled with either active directory integration or creating native users. Only 4 user roles are available to choose from (Admin, Power, Regular, Viewer). Data security is enabled through security filters and valid intersections. HFM-like process control is not available as of yet, only locking/unlocking data can be done.

KEY TAKEAWAY #5 – New Things to be Excited About

Smart View has functionality to view application metadata directly in Excel. More functionality will come later to be able to modify these hierarchies using Smart View. Administration, maintenance and DR may get a lot easier.

EPM Automation allows for automating LCM and executing consolidations behind the scenes at planned intervals.

KEY TAKEAWAY #6 – Road Map (#SafeHarbour)

  • Current Features and Release Roadmap – can fluctuate
    • May 2016 – Initial release
    • Q2 – 2016
      • On Prem FDMEE/Data Management Support
      • Smart View updates
      • Enhanced EPM automate
      • Usability enhancements
        • Process management
        • Structures
    • Q4 – 2016
      • Alternate hierarchies
      • Proportional ownership calculation
      • Consolidation data audit
      • Custom rule support
      • Application sizing options for dimensions and data
    • Q1 – 2017
      • Advanced consolidations for custom logic and prebuilt logic for minority interest and equity pick up
      • Journal templates and contribution level areas to post

CONCLUSIONS

I am still very excited to work with this product. I can see how this can be helpful for customers that see HFM projects as too costly or take too long to implement. It will take some getting used to moving away from pure HFM and Planning functionality but this looks to be a happy medium.