In a recent Perficient webinar, Essbase in the Cloud: A Mercer Advisors Success Story, attendees heard first-hand from Douglas Maxwell, Chief Financial Officer at Mercer Advisors about the challenges with the legacy environment as well as the Excel to cloud migration approach and benefits realized. This on-demand event is available now for download, no registration required!
In this blog post, I’ll share the some of the key questions asked by attendees and answered by experts within our EPM practice, as well as Doug himself.
What are some of the considerations of migrating an Oracle on-premises application to the cloud?
[Perficient] Oracle provides a utility to help with the process of taking your on-prem applications and then converting them over to Essbase applications in the cloud. Some other considerations that may be part of that include data integrations themselves. Designing the processes to then, instead of pushing data into your on-prem applications through the cloud, using the tools that Oracle provides like the command line interface to automate some of those processes. The short of it is that there is a utility to do the bulk of the work for migrating from on-prem to the cloud.
Our biggest concern is data security, especially financials. Can you comment on that?
[Perficient] This is a common concern that we see with many customers, not just financials, but HR-related data as well. Across all of these areas, including many healthcare customers who consider data security to be a key component of moving applications to the cloud, Oracle does have all the highest standards certifications across cloud-based security. I highly encourage you to inquire some of the security standards your organization has, and make sure they’re in line with the certifications Oracle has for its appropriate cloud-based applications.
Are the analytics data visualization tools discussed only available for Essbase Cloud? Is that not included in the planning in the cloud?
[Perficient] Good question. It is not included with planning in the cloud. This is part of the Oracle Analytics Cloud application as part of the technology stack. You don’t get that with Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) or Oracle Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (EPBCS).
Did your management have concerns with putting financial data in the cloud?
[Douglas Maxwell] No, we didn’t have any concerns. Again, relying upon the strength of Oracle is one of our keys, but we use all of our solutions across our tech stack, not just the financial accounting solutions, but the solutions that we use for our CRM, the solution we use for payroll. Everything that we do today is all in the cloud, and I think the technology around security has gotten better and better as time has gone on. We felt very comfortable, when we’ve been a cloud-based solution for probably at least the last 10 years in all of our tech stack.
What products come with Oracle Analytics Cloud?
[Perficient] There are really two ways to license Oracle Analytics Cloud. There’s a standard edition, and there’s an enterprise edition. The standard includes data visualization, Essbase, and Smartview. When you leverage the enterprise version, it includes everything that’s in standard, but you also get Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS), along with Oracle Day-by-Day. Both of those features come with the enterprise edition.
[Douglas Maxwell] I think that’s a great point that you made about those two, as well. Part of our solution when we were evaluating standard versus the enterprise solution was, what do we need today, and what can we grow into? For us, standard edition was exactly what we needed to take care of the core, the size of the business that we are today. But we selected that with the idea that at some point in time, we would want the higher-end BI suite as well. One of the things that I think is really great about the solution is, you can scale into it and graduate into the higher-end products as your organization continues to grow.
How do you update dimensions or new GL account or members? How will you keep the Essbase application in sync with the general ledger? Do you have an automated process?
[Perficient] There are two ways. One is through the UI, the user interface going in through that web piece and managing your metadata through the tool itself. You can also create some automated processes using the CLI, or the command line interface, similar to using your on-premises processes to build out your dimensions.
How is security managed?
[Perficient] As far as security, using your filters to access the data, using the group access through the cloud interface or the cloud tool itself. Again, very similar to on-prem.
If you’re a customer who’s leveraging on-premise application, the transition to cloud is fairly seamless. All the terminology and all the knowledge and training you’ve received on-premises easily translates to what’s available in the cloud. That’s beyond just the Essbase piece as well. If you’re even using some of the other adjacent Oracle EPM applications, that knowledge and experience you have leveraging the on-premises application easily translates to what’s available in the cloud.