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Sneak Preview: Financial Consolidation Cloud Service

If you’ve attended a recent Oracle EPM conference, you are likely aware that Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) has been the most successful cloud launch in Oracle’s history. That success has been fueled by many factors, including perceived difficulties with the predecessor to PBCS, Hyperion Planning. As of this writing, Oracle claims over 575+ PBCS subscriptions supporting 38,700+ end-users. An impressive launch for sure.

That is all well and good for Financial Planning & Analysis, but what about Consolidations and Compliance? Enter PBCS’s sibling, Oracle Financial Consolidation Cloud Service (FCCS). This will be the cloud version of Oracle’s flagship consolidations tool, Hyperion Financial Management. I was fortunate to get an advance look at the development roadmap for FCCS and judging from the product messaging and demos, it’s a safe bet FCCS will soon be another successful cloud launch for Oracle.

fccs1

This is tremendously exciting stuff for partners and customers. Customers will reap the benefits quickly in the form of lower TCO, flexible enterprise deployments, more standard features “in-the-box”, and greatly simplified interfaces and maintenance. For partners, it eases the path to vertical solutions, prebuilt applications, non-finance use cases, and a greater focus on customer experience and mobile access. These areas have been underserved as companies have raced to implement and adopt on-premise EPM solutions.

Before we get to the good bits about what’s ahead for FCCS, allow me to share Oracle’s Safe Harbor Statement:

The following is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

If the development roadmap holds true, Hyperion consolidations will be a radically different place in 12-18 months. Here are the major features to expect in the upcoming FCCS releases:

FCCS will be built on the PBCS platform. For finance people, this may not register as significant. But, for HFM veterans and system integrators this is a paradigm shift. It means PBCS and FCCS will share the same data store (Essbase) and the same calculation engine (Essbase). HFM’s large, complex, relational database and Visual Basic API will not be ported to the cloud. For new customers, this may be largely irrelevant if performance and reliability is equal to or better than HFM. For current HFM customers moving to FCCS, they can anticipate higher costs around application conversion, training, and change management. For current PBCS customers, FCCS will look very familiar. The Simplified UI (pictured below) will be the main user interface for desktop and mobile browsers, and FDMEE will be embedded for data integration.

fccs2

FCCS will include “business logic.” Oracle has not been very specific about this yet, but future releases of FCCS could have US GAAP consolidation “rules” built into the product, and possibly IFRS as well. This will be a boon to many customers who have wondered why standard US GAAP logic wasn’t built into HFM already. Oracle is clearly recognizing a need here and are making plans to lead in this space versus other SaaS providers. It may take a year or more to fully mature, but administrators will rejoice when the oft-maligned and misunderstood HFM “rules file” is no more.

FCCS will be a source to FDMEE. Do you want to share your recently closed Actual results to Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service or Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management or Hyperion Tax Provision? Of course you do. Do you care if it’s done with Extended Analytics or Essbase Analytic Link or Oracle Data Integrator or EPMA Data Synchronization? Of course you don’t – you want single tool that does it all. In short, that tool will be FDMEE. FDMEE will be able consume any Hyperion application as a data source and target. This promises to greatly simply the work of getting data from Point A to Point B: on-premise to cloud, cloud to on-premise, or cloud-to-cloud.

FCCS will integrate with Financial Close Suite apps. Financial Close Suite is the license bundle that includes Close Manager (CM), Account Reconciliation Manager (ARM), Supplemental Data Manager (SDM), Hyperion Tax Provision (HTP) and the option for Data Relationship Management (DRM). So how does this change in the cloud world? Well, each product mentioned will have a cloud edition (I’ll save the acronyms for another article). The FCCS development team will likely build integration points to each them. So, if you want no-cloud, partial-cloud, or full-cloud, your consolidation and compliance needs will be covered.

FCCS will be offered on the same licensing model as PBCS. User minimums and pricing for FCCS are not yet final, but expect it to be on-par or slightly higher than the current cost of PBCS – $120 per user / per month.

There you have it; the highlights of what’s on the horizon. So what do you think? Is Oracle on the right track? I will be posting updates to this blog regularly and welcome your thoughts. Also, Oracle Open World is only eight weeks away, and I expect there will be more FCCS details revealed. If you are an HFM veteran or have a role in influencing Hyperion software investments in your organization, this is going to be one OOW you don’t want to miss!

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