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Currency Conversion in Oracle BI applications

Guest Author

Authored by Vijay Aggarwal and Hichem Sellami

A typical data warehouse contains Star and/or Snowflake schema, made up of Dimensions and Facts. The facts store various numerical information including amounts. Example; Order Amount, Invoice Amount etc.

With the true global nature of business now-a-days, the end-users want to view the reports in their own currency or in global/common currency as defined by their business.

This presents a unique opportunity in BI to provide the amounts in converted rates either by pre-storing or by doing on-the-fly conversions while displaying the reports to the users.

Source Systems

OBIA caters to various source systems like EBS, PSFT, Sebl, JDE, Fusion etc. Each source has its own unique and intricate ways of defining and storing currency data, doing currency conversions and presenting to the OLTP users.

For example; EBS stores conversion rates between currencies which can be classified by conversion rates, like Corporate rate, Spot rate, Period rate etc. Siebel stores exchange rates by conversion rates like Daily. EBS/Fusion stores the conversion rates for each day, where as PSFT/Siebel store for a range of days. PSFT has Rate Multiplication Factor and Rate Division Factor and we need to calculate the Rate based on them, where as other Source systems store the Currency Exchange Rate directly.

OBIA Design

The data consolidation from various disparate source systems, poses the challenge to conform various currencies, rate types, exchange rates etc., and designing the best way to present the amounts to the users without affecting the performance.

When consolidating the data for reporting in OBIA, we have designed the mechanisms in the Common Dimension, to allow users to report based on their required currencies.

OBIA Facts store amounts in various currencies:

Document Currency: This is the currency of the actual transaction. For a multinational company, this can be in various currencies.

Local Currency: This is the base currency in which the accounting entries are recorded by the business. This is generally defined in the Ledger of the company.

Global Currencies: OBIA provides five Global Currencies. Three are used across all modules. The last two are for CRM only. A Global currency is very useful when creating reports where the data is viewed enterprise-wide. Example; a US based multinational would want to see the reports in USD. The company will choose USD as one of the global currencies. OBIA allows users to define up-to five global currencies during the initial implementation.

The term Currency Preference is used to designate the set of values: Document Currency, Local Currency, Global Currency 1, Global Currency 2, Global Currency 3; which are shared among all modules. There are four more currency preferences, specific to certain modules: Global Currency 4 (aka CRM Currency) and Global Currency 5 which are used in CRM; and Project Currency and Contract Currency, used in Project Analytics.

When choosing Local Currency for Currency preference, the data will show in the currency of the Ledger (or Business Unit) in the prompt. So it is important to select one Ledger or Business Unit when viewing data in Local Currency. More on this can be found in the section: Toggling Currency Preferences in the Dashboard.

Design Logic

When extracting the fact data, the OOTB mappings extract and load the document amount, and the local amount in target tables. It also loads the exchange rates required to convert the document amount into the corresponding global amounts.

If the source system only provides the document amount in the transaction, the extract mapping does a lookup to get the Local currency code, and the Local exchange rate. The Load mapping then uses the local currency code and rate to derive the local amount. The load mapping also fetches the Global Currencies and looks up the corresponding exchange rates.

The lookup of exchange rates is done via the Exchange Rate Dimension provided as a Common/Conforming Dimension in OBIA.

The Exchange Rate Dimension stores the exchange rates between various currencies for a date range and Rate Type. Two physical tables W_EXCH_RATE_G and W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G are used to provide the lookups and conversions between currencies. The data is loaded from the source system’s Ledger tables. W_EXCH_RATE_G stores the exchange rates between currencies with a date range. On the other hand, W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G stores the currency conversions between the document currency and the pre-defined five Global Currencies for each day. Based on the requirements, the fact mappings can decide and use one or both tables to do the conversion.

Currency design in OBIA also taps into the MLS and Domain architecture, thus allowing the users to map the currencies to a universal Domain during the implementation time. This is especially important for companies deploying and using OBIA with multiple source adapters.

Some Gotchas to Look for

It is necessary to think through the currencies during the initial implementation.

1) Identify various types of currencies that are used by your business. Understand what will be your Local (or Base) and Documentation currency. Identify various global currencies that your users will want to look at the reports. This will be based on the global nature of your business. Changes to these currencies later in the project, while permitted, but may cause Full data loads and hence lost time.

2) If the user has a multi source system make sure that the Global Currencies and Global Rate Types chosen in Configuration Manager do have the corresponding source specific counterparts. In other words, make sure for every DW specific value chosen for Currency Code or Rate Type, there is a source Domain mapping already done.

Technical Section

This section will briefly mention the technical scenarios employed in the OBIA adaptors to extract data from each source system.

In OBIA, we have two main tables which store the Currency Rate information as explained in previous sections. W_EXCH_RATE_G and W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G are the two tables.

W_EXCH_RATE_G stores all the Currency Conversions present in the source system. It captures data for a Date Range. W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G has Global Currency Conversions stored at a Daily level. However the challenge here is to store all the 5 Global Currency Exchange Rates in a single record for each From Currency. Let’s voyage further into the Source System Extraction logic for each of these tables and understand the flow briefly.

EBS: In EBS, we have Currency Data stored in GL_DAILY_RATES table. As the name indicates GL_DAILY_RATES EBS table has data at a daily level. However in our warehouse we store the data with a Date Range and insert a new range record only when the Exchange Rate changes for a particular From Currency, To Currency and Rate Type. Below are the main logical steps that we employ in this process.

  1. (Incremental Flow only) – Cleanup the data in W_EXCH_RATE_G.
    1. Delete the records which have Start Date > minimum conversion date
    2. Update the End Date of the existing records.
  2. Compress the daily data from GL_DAILY_RATES table into Range Records. Incremental map uses $$XRATE_UPD_NUM_DAY as an extra parameter.
    1. Generate Previous Rate, Previous Date and Next Date for each of the Daily record from the OLTP.
    2. Filter out the records which have Conversion Rate same as Previous Rates or if the Conversion Date lies within a single day range.
  1. Mark the records as ‘Keep’ and ‘Filter’ and also get the final End Date for the single Range record (Unique Combination of From Date, To Date, Rate and Conversion Date).
  2. Filter the records marked as ‘Filter’ in the INFA map.
  3. The above steps will load W_EXCH_RATE_GS. Step 0 updates/deletes W_EXCH_RATE_G directly.
  4. SIL map will then insert/update the GS data into W_EXCH_RATE_G.

These steps convert the daily records in GL_DAILY_RATES to Range records in W_EXCH_RATE_G.

We do not need such special logic for loading W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G. This is a table where we store data at a Daily Granular Level. However we need to pivot the data because the data present in multiple rows in source tables needs to be stored in different columns of the same row in DW. We use GROUP BY and CASE logic to achieve this.

Fusion: Fusion has extraction logic very similar to EBS. The only difference is that the Cleanup logic that was mentioned in step 0 above does not use $$XRATE_UPD_NUM_DAY parameter. In Fusion we bring all the Exchange Rates in Incremental as well and do the cleanup. The SIL then takes care of Insert/Updates accordingly.

PeopleSoft:PeopleSoft does not have From Date and To Date explicitly in the Source tables. Let’s look at an example. Please note that this is achieved from PS1 onwards only.

1 Jan 2010 – USD to INR – 45

31 Jan 2010 – USD to INR – 46

PSFT stores records in above fashion. This means that Exchange Rate of 45 for USD to INR is applicable for 1 Jan 2010 to 30 Jan 2010. We need to store data in this fashion in DW.

Also PSFT has Exchange Rate stored as RATE_MULT and RATE_DIV. We need to do a RATE_MULT/RATE_DIV to get the correct Exchange Rate.

We generate From Date and To Date while extracting data from source and this has certain assumptions:

If a record gets updated/inserted in the source, it will be extracted in incremental. Also if this updated/inserted record is between other dates, then we also extract the preceding and succeeding records (based on dates) of this record. This is required because we need to generate a range record and we have 3 records whose ranges have changed. Taking the same example as above, if there is a new record which gets inserted on 15 Jan 2010; the new ranges are 1 Jan to 14 Jan, 15 Jan to 30 Jan and 31 Jan to Next available date. Even though 1 Jan record and 31 Jan have not changed, we will still extract them because the range is affected.

Similar logic is used for Global Exchange Rate Extraction. We create the Range records and get it into a Temporary table. Then we join to Day Dimension, create individual records and pivot the data to get the 5 Global Exchange Rates for each From Currency, Date and Rate Type.

Siebel: Siebel Facts are dependent on Global Exchange Rates heavily and almost none of them really use individual Exchange Rates. In other words, W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G is the main table used in Siebel from PS1 release onwards.

As of January 2002, the Euro Triangulation method for converting between currencies belonging to EMU members is not needed for present and future currency exchanges. However, the method is still available in Siebel applications, as are the old currencies, so that historical data can be maintained accurately. The following description applies only to historical data needing conversion prior to the 2002 switch to the Euro for the EMU member countries. If a country is a member of the European Monetary Union (EMU), you should convert its currency to other currencies through the Euro. This is called triangulation, and it is used whenever either currency being converted has EMU Triangulation checked.

Due to this, there are multiple extraction flows in SEBL ie. EUR to EMU, EUR to NonEMU, EUR to DMC and so on. We load W_EXCH_RATE_G through multiple flows with these data. This has been kept same as previous versions of OBIA.

W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G being a new table does not have such needs. However SEBL does not have From Date and To Date columns in the Source tables similar to PSFT. We use similar extraction logic as explained in PSFT section for SEBL as well.

What if all 5 Global Currencies configured are same?

As mentioned in previous sections, from PS1 onwards we store Global Exchange Rates in W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G table. The extraction logic for this table involves Pivoting data from multiple rows into a single row with 5 Global Exchange Rates in 5 columns. As mentioned in previous sections, we use CASE and GROUP BY functions to achieve this. This approach poses a unique problem when all the 5 Global Currencies Chosen are same. For example – If the user configures all 5 Global Currencies as ‘USD’ then the extract logic will not be able to generate a record for From Currency=USD. This is because, not all Source Systems will have a USD->USD conversion record.

We have _Generated mappings to take care of this case. We generate a record with Conversion Rate=1 for such cases.

Reusable Lookups

Before PS1, we had a Mapplet for Currency Conversions. In PS1, we only have reusable Lookups- LKP_W_EXCH_RATE_G and LKP_W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G. These lookups have another layer of logic so that all the lookup conditions are met when they are used in various Fact Mappings. Any user who would want to do a LKP on W_EXCH_RATE_G or W_GLOBAL_EXCH_RATE_G should and must use these Lookups. A direct join or Lookup on the tables might lead to wrong data being returned.

Changing Currency preferences in the Dashboard:

In the 796x series, all amount metrics in OBIA were showing the Global1 amount. The customer needed to change the metric definitions to show them in another Currency preference. Project Analytics started supporting currency preferences since 7.9.6 release though, and it published a Tech note for other module customers to add toggling between currency preferences to the solution.

List of Currency Preferences

Starting from 11.1.1.x release, the BI Platform added a new feature to support multiple currencies. The new session variable (PREFERRED_CURRENCY) is populated through a newly introduced currency prompt. This prompt can take its values from the xml file: userpref_currencies_OBIA.xml, which is hosted in the BI Server installation folder, under :< home>\instances\instance1\config\OracleBIPresentationServicesComponent\coreapplication_obips1\userpref_currencies.xml

This file contains the list of currency preferences, like“Local Currency”, “Global Currency 1”,…which customers can also rename to give them more meaningful business names. There are two options for showing the list of currency preferences to the user in the dashboard: Static and Dynamic. In Static mode, all users will see the full list as in the user preference currencies file. In the Dynamic mode, the list shown in the currency prompt drop down is a result of a dynamic query specified in the same file. Customers can build some security into the rpd, so the list of currency preferences will be based on the user roles…BI Applications built a subject area: “Dynamic Currency Preference” to run this query, and give every user only the list of currency preferences required by his application roles.

Adding Currency to an Amount Field

When the user selects one of the items from the currency prompt, all the amounts in that page will show in the Currency corresponding to that preference. For example, if the user selects “Global Currency1” from the prompt, all data will be showing in Global Currency 1 as specified in the Configuration Manager. If the user select “Local Currency”, all amount fields will show in the Currency of the Business Unit selected in the BU filter of the same page. If there is no particular Business Unit selected in that filter, and the data selected by the query contains amounts in more than one currency (for example one BU has USD as a functional currency, the other has EUR as functional currency), then subtotals will not be available (cannot add USD and EUR amounts in one field), and depending on the set up (see next paragraph), the user may receive an error.

There are two ways to add the Currency field to an amount metric:

  1. In the form of currency code, like USD, EUR…For this the user needs to add the field “Apps Common Currency Code” to the report. This field is in every subject area, usually under the table “Currency Tag” or “Currency Code”…
  2. In the form of currency symbol ($ for USD, € for EUR,…) For this, the user needs to format the amount metrics in the report as a currency column, by specifying the currency tag column in the Column Properties option in Column Actions drop down list. Typically this column should be the “BI Common Currency Code” available in every subject area.
    1. Select Column Properties option in the Edit list of a metric.
    2. In the Data Format tab, select Custom as Treat Number As.
    3. Enter the following syntax under Custom Number Format: [$:currencyTagColumn=Subjectarea.table.column] Where Column is the “BI Common Currency Code” defined to take the currency code value based on the currency preference chosen by the user in the Currency preference prompt.

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Comments ( 3 )
  • Eric Brosseau Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    Thank you for this very informative post. Question: is there a parameter that can be used together with [$:currencyTagColumn=Subjectarea.table.column] to control the number of displayed decimals?


    Eric Brosseau

  • Amit Kothari Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    It cannot be done for now, once a tag is specified you cannot add further data format. This request is under consideration

  • Guest Monday, August 29, 2016

    Very informative. Thanks

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