The HFM Features Organizations Love

Posted by Deborah Jelley

Aug 18, 2017 1:29:00 PM

 New HFM Features Improve Performance

Bullet Train Your Financial Close Process - HFM Features

Oracle has worked hard on improving HFM features, specifically consolidation times and performance.  We’ve posted tips on how to reduce your financial close process time, by altering or adjusting your business process flows. But this is a physical manifestation of improvements to the actual consolidation cycle.

HFM Features You're Sure to Love

The Hyperion Financial Management product is finally taking advantage of the fast hardware that’s been available for a while.  Multi-core scaling has been around for the past decade, but the software has not been able to take advantage of it so that it can improve calculation and consolidation time.  HFM updated version now offers consolidation performance 2 to 5 times faster by using all available hardware cores.  Not only that, Oracle is delivering on other promised optimizations to speed things up. Some of the new HFM features include:

  • Centralized Data Retrieval
    • Optimizes central data query engine used for FR (Financial Reporting), SmartView, and Web
    • Multi-thread processing for multiple data loads at one time is a big improvement
  • CalcStatus Redesign
    • Stores only used currency, reducing unnecessary storage of numbers and improving metadata/data loads
  • Increases User Interface Interactions and Responsiveness
    • Replaces Webservices with Thrift (Apache Thrift Software Framework), optimizing the transfer of objects between C++ server and Java based web tier
  • Uses SmartHeap (a fast, portable memory library)
    • Improves memory allocation and reduces thrashing of heap (memory allocation methodology)
  • Replaces ADO (Active Data Objects) with ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) Driver
    • Better performance with Oracle RDBMS (Relational Database Management System)
  • Rules Profiling
    • Automatically details, function by function, the amount of time taken to run each rule and produces a timeline for consolidation
    • Used to interactively optimize performance when writing rules  

Web Based Administration Features – HFM

Member List (a subset of members within a dimension) edits and application configuration can now be done on the web. Previous versions required the administrator to log into the application to perform these tasks.  Oracle is moving the HFM application to web-based functionality as fast as it can. 

Another wonderful audit feature added to HFM is the Metadata Diff report.  This marvel allows you to run a report after you’ve made a metadata update to see the change.  This enables you to document any change to your metadata both so you won’t lose sight of what and when a change was made.  Troubleshooting a problem just got a whole lot easier with this baby.  

Level of Detail - HFM Features

You know how we consultants caution your organization to consolidate and report at as high a level of detail your organization can tolerate?  Well…with faster performance, comes the opening of that Pandora’s Box – provision for more data granularity.  It may still not be a good idea for you to pull in your Actuals at the SKU level, (or transaction level), but you could comfortably get down to a lower level if that’s what’s required to efficiently manage your company.  Ask yourself what a lower level of detail in the consolidation application would buy you on a strategic basis or for statutory and expense management purposes, and maybe it would now be worthwhile to open that dialog with your trusty consultants. 

Excel-based Journals Workbench – HFM

After your numbers are in, you need to understand where the data came from.  Some data is posted automatically via journals, and some data is submitted via uploads or SmartView data loads.  Older versions require you to log into the application to review and manage your journals.  Since you could post or manage your journals via SmartView, but in this latest version, you now get to review more detail about your journals within SmartView, like their data source, and review the impact of a journal before you permanently post!  Hate having to reverse a journal because you posted the wrong sign, or made an error in the value before it could be properly validated?  Things happen.  The workbench gives you so much more flexibility to both research and validate your journals. 

Independence Day Is Here! 

Not the American Independence Day, the 4th of July.  We’re talking about the ability of HFM to run on a non-Microsoft Windows operating system.  Some of our previous posts celebrate the ease and flexibility of moving your HFM application to the cloud. In addition to our cloud clients, we work with and support clients who prefer running their application in-house, so this feature is applicable to them. 

Hyperion Financial Management Insights

Pre-built dashboards, including charts and graphs and analytical reports for the financial close process are now embedded within HFM. They provide administrative insight into HFM processes, like monitoring system status and restarting the HFM application if necessary.  Previously, this feature was somewhat external from the HFM application, and to restart the application, the Administrator would have to call the IT department.   Please note:  you must have application Administrator to monitor the HFM system status, and it is only available for Exalytics installations.  

Each of these new features should help with your decision to upgrade to the latest version.  In some cases, the new features list of the latest version isn’t compelling enough to warrant going through the upgrade cycle, but if you have been frustrated with slower performance, or long to post journals through SmartView, consider doing the upgrade and taking training on how to best set up better analytical reports and dashboards.  It will be worth it in the long run.  Besides, the web based admin feature by itself should push you off the cliff on this decision!  You can log into the web, and do your maintenance there; no more logging into a separate workspace. 

Heard enough? Getting excited about what’s now available to you within the latest HFM version? Working in a consolidation application like Hyperion financial manager enables your organization to prepare and deliver much more meaningful financial analytics each month and throughout the year.  There is the saying that adding more software computing power could over-complicate your process, but I would suggest that there are identified issues in HFM that Oracle is addressing with a vigorous new software update.

If you’re on an older version of Oracle HFM, and are delaying the upgrade to the latest, allow us to make this decision much easier for you:  FASTER, BETTER, SMARTER.   ‘Nuff said.

At Strafford, we have deep experience with Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), both on-premises and in the Cloud (Private and Public). Our consultants have all held Finance positions, so we know your pain, and we understand how HFM can make things better. We are ready to help you with roadmaps, implementation, training, and knowledge transfer. Contact us and get an Oracle Hyperion Migration Assessment today.

Topics: Consolidation and Close, Financial Reporting, Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), Oracle Products