Monday Apr 30, 2012

Fusion Financials Training

is now available from Oracle University.  If you'd like to learn more, check out the class schedule.

Tuesday Apr 24, 2012

Understanding Reporting in Fusion Financials

When talking with customers and potential customers of Fusion Fiancials, it is clear that they have heard that the reporting capabilities in Fusion Financials is quite extensive. It is not so clear that we have done a great job in explaining the capabilities. I will attempt to explain each of the solutions and point out the acronyms frequently used in conjunction with each solution and when you would use each of these solutions. 

Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence for Financials
Frequently referred to as OTBI, this solution allows you to build ad hoc queries or reports using views on transactional business objects. With Fusion Financials, you can build your own reports using the OBIEE tool and subject areas delivered with Fusion.  With simple drag and drop functionality, you can build a report (or ad hoc query) on any transaction without the need for a developer.  A couple of examples would be Unpaid Supplier Invoices or Payments over $25,000.  There are sorting, filtering, formatting capabilities with a variety of output options.  There are some pre-built reports delivered in OTBI for Fusion Financials.

BI Publisher
There are cases where a very specific format is required such as printed checks.  BI Publisher is the perfect tool for this, but is has many other great uses.  There are some pre-built reports delivered via BIP as part of Fusion Financials.

Financial Reports
When we speak about Financial Reports, we are talking about reports that look solely at GL balances.  These reports utilize the essbase cube to present financial data in a real-time environment without having to "run" a report.  These reports are defined using the FR Studio tool which has many features including hierarchy expansion and drilldown.

Smart View
Smart View is an excel add-in that allows users  to query GL Balance data real-time within Excel.  There's a previous blog post here that provides more information.

Oracle Business Intelligence Analytics
OBIA as we typically call it provides information from the pre-built data warehouse. The data here is not real-time based as with the other solutions.  Of all of these solutions, OBIA is not required and is separately licensed.

Hopefully, this gives a better idea of the reporting functionality within Fusion Financials, but if you have any questions, just leave me a comment, and I will respond or add a new blog post.


Tuesday Apr 03, 2012

Hierachies....from the Top Down

I've been struggling with how to write on the topic of the importance of hierarchy design.  It's not so much that hierarchies haven't always been important, it's more of that with Fusion, the timing of when the hierarchies are designed should take a higher priority.    I will attempt to explain.....

When I was implementing applications, back in the day, we had the list of detailed account values to enter with the obvious parent accounts. Then, after the setup was complete and things were functioning, the reporting phase started.  Users explained the elements that they want on the reports, what totals should be included, and how things should be compared.  Frequently, there was at least one calculation that became a nightmare either because it was based on very specific things that didn't relate to anything else or because it was "hardcoded" so that when something changed, someone need to "fix" the report.

With Fusion, the process changes slightly.  You still want to enter all of the detailed accounts, but before you start adding parent values, you should investigate the reporting requirements from the top-down.  It's better to build hierarchies based on the reporting requirements than it is to build reports based on random hierarchies. Build reports based on hierarchies that resemble the reports themselves, and maintain the hierarchies without rework of the reports.

For example, if you look at an income statement, you may have line items for Material Costs, Employee Costs, Travel & Entertainment, and Total Operating Expenses.  In your hierarchy, you have detail values that roll up to Material Costs, Employee Costs, and Travel & Entertainment which roll up to Total Operating Expenses. Balances are stored automatically in the cube for each of these.  When you define the report, you pick each of these members - no calculations required.  If a new detail value is added, you simply add it to the hierarchy, and there is no need to modify the report.

I realize that there are always exceptions that require special handling, but I am confident that you will end up with much fewer exceptions if you make reporting a priority and design your hierarchies from the top-down.


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This blog will be used by Financials Strategy group to discuss various Fusion Financials topics. Want to know more? Just ask.

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