The new workflow management of Oracle´s Hyperion Planning: Define more details with Planning Unit Hierarchies and Promotional Paths

After having been almost unchanged for several years, starting with the 11.1.2 release of Oracle´s Hyperion Planning the Process Management has not only got a new name: “Approvals” now is offering the possibility to further split Planning Units (comprised of a unique Scenario-Version-Entity combination) into more detailed combinations along additional secondary dimensions, a so called Planning Unit Hierarchy, and also to pre-define a path of planners, reviewers and approvers, called Promotional Path. I´d like to introduce you to changes and enhancements in this new process management and arouse your curiosity for checking out more details on it.

One reason of using the former process management in Planning was to limit data entry rights to one person at a time based on the assignment of a planning unit. So the lowest level of granularity for this assignment was, for a given Scenario-Version combination, the individual entity. Even if in many cases one person wasn´t responsible for all data being entered into that entity, but for only part of it, it was not possible to split the ownership along another additional dimension, for example by assigning ownership to different accounts at the same time. By defining a so called Planning Unit Hierarchy (PUH) in Approvals this gap is now closed. Complementing new Shared Services roles for Planning have been created in order to manage set up and use of Approvals:

The Approvals Administrator consisting of the following roles:

  • Approvals Ownership Assigner, who assigns owners and reviewers to planning units for which Write access is assigned (including Planner responsibilities).
  • Approvals Supervisor, who stops and starts planning units and takes any action on planning units for which Write access is assigned.
  • Approvals Process Designer, who can modify planning unit hierarchy secondary dimensions and entity members for which Write access is assigned, can also modify scenarios and versions that are assigned to planning unit hierarchies and can edit validation rules on data forms for which access is assigned. (this includes as well Planner and Ownership Assigner responsibilities)

Set up of a Planning Unit Hierarchy is done under the Administration menu, by selecting Approvals, then Planning Unit Hierarchy. Here you create new PUH´s or edit existing ones. The following window displays:

After providing a name and an optional description, a pre-selection of entities can be made for which the PUH will be defined. Available options are:

  • All, which pre-selects all entities to be included for the definitions on the subsequent tabs
  • None, manual entity selections will be made subsequently
  • Custom, which offers the selection for an ancestor and the relative generations, that should be included for further definitions.

Finally a pattern needs to be selected, which will determine the general flow of ownership:

  • Free-form, uses the flow/assignment of ownerships according to Planning releases prior to 11.1.2
  • In Bottom-up, data input is done at the leaf member level. Ownership follows the hierarchy of approval along the entity dimension, including refinements using a secondary dimension in the PUH, amended by defined additional reviewers in the promotional path.
  • Distributed, uses data input at the leaf level, while ownership starts at the top level and then is distributed down the organizational hierarchy (entities). After ownership reaches the lower levels, budgets are submitted back to the top through the approval process.
  • Proceeding to the next step, now a secondary dimension and the respective members from that dimension might be selected, in order to create more detailed combinations underneath each entity.

    After selecting the Dimension and a Parent Member, the definition of a Relative Generation below this member assists in populating the field for Selected Members, while the Count column shows the number of selected members. For refining this list, you might click on the icon right beside the selected member field and use the check-boxes in the appearing list for deselecting members.


    TIP:

    In order to reduce maintenance of the PUH due to changes in the dimensions included (members added, moved or removed) you should consider to dynamically link those dimensions in the PUH with the dimension hierarchies in the planning application. For secondary dimensions this is done using the check-boxes in the Auto Include column. For the primary dimension, the respective selection criteria is applied by right-clicking the name of an entity activated as planning unit, then selecting an item of the shown list of include or exclude options (children, descendants, etc.).

    Anyway in order to apply dimension changes impacting the PUH a synchronization must be run. If this is really necessary or not is shown on the first screen after selecting from the menu Administration, then Approvals, then Planning Unit Hierarchy: under Synchronized you find the statuses Yes, No or Locked, where the last one indicates, that another user is just changing or synchronizing the PUH. Select one of the not synchronized PUH´s (status No) and click the Synchronize option in order to execute.


    In the next step owners and reviewers are assigned to the PUH.

    Using the icons with the magnifying glass right besides the columns for Owner and Reviewer the respective assignments can be made in the order that you want them to review the planning unit. While it is possible to assign only one owner per entity or combination of entity+ member of the secondary dimension, the selection for reviewers might consist of more than one person. The complete Promotional Path, including the defined owners and reviewers for the entity parents, can be shown by clicking the icon. In addition optional users might be defined for being notified about promotions for a planning unit.


    TIP:

    Reviewers cannot change data, but can only review data according to their data access permissions and reject or promote planning units.


    In order to complete your PUH definitions click Finish - this saves the PUH and closes the window. As a final step, before starting the approvals process, you need to assign the PUH to the Scenario-Version combination for which it should be used. From the Administration menu select Approvals, then Scenario and Version Assignment.

    Expand the PUH in order to see already existing assignments. Under Actions click the add icon and select scenarios and versions to be assigned. If needed, click the remove icon in order to delete entries.

    After these steps, set up is completed for starting the approvals process. Start, stop and control of the approvals process is now done under the Tools menu, and then Manage Approvals.

    The new PUH feature is complemented by various additional settings and features; some of them at least should be mentioned here:

    Export/Import of PUHs:



    Out of Office agent:



    Validation Rules changing promotional/approval path if violated (including the use of User-defined Attributes (UDAs)):



    And various new and helpful reviewer actions with corresponding approval states.


    More information

    You can find more detailed information in the following documents:

    Or on the Oracle Technology Network.

    If you are also interested in other new features and smart enhancements in Essbase or Hyperion Planning stay tuned for coming articles or check our training courses and web presentations.

    You can find general information about offerings for the Essbase and Planning curriculum or other Oracle-Hyperion products here; (please make sure to select your country/region at the top of this page) or in the OU Learning paths section, where Planning, Essbase and other Hyperion products can be found under the Fusion Middleware heading (again, please select the right country/region). Or drop me a note directly: bernhard.kinkel@oracle.com.

    About the Author:

    Bernhard Kinkel

    Bernhard Kinkel started working for Hyperion Solutions as a Presales Consultant and Consultant in 1998 and moved to Hyperion Education Services in 1999. He joined Oracle University in 2007 where he is a Principal Education Consultant. Based on these many years of working with Hyperion products he has detailed product knowledge across several versions. He delivers both classroom and live virtual courses. His areas of expertise are Oracle/Hyperion Essbase, Oracle Hyperion Planning and Hyperion Web Analysis.

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