Why buy Financial Data Quality Management Enterprise Edition (FDMEE) when Cloud Data Management (CDM) is free? As outlined in my recent white paper – FDMEE vs. Cloud Data Management – there are myriad factors that can drive the decision. This blog post highlights how one customer gained a highly flexible and automated solution for data and master data management with an on-premise deployment of FDMEE in conjunction with Cloud Data Management.
This customer adopted a pure Cloud strategy as it relates to Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) procuring subscriptions to Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS), Financial Close & Consolidation Cloud Service (FCCS), and Account Reconciliation Cloud Service (ARCS). A diverse business, the customer has many unique operational systems with varying formats and charts of accounts. So far, no reason why Cloud Data Management (CDM) can’t handle this requirement, right? This is what CDM does – uses import formats and maps to consume and transform data – right? Sure, but with caveats. Notice that I used the word consume and not extract. CDM does not provide the ability to link with on-premise systems to extract data. Additionally, flat file data extracts that lack a consistent structure often cannot be natively consumed by CDM.
In this case, data needs to be loaded each day from numerous sources to support daily operational reporting. The systems are a blend of on-premise, hosted, and Cloud applications. The customer requirement dictated that any on-premise system should be connected directly to eliminate the need for a flat file extract to be generated daily. Additionally, the hosted and Cloud applications are very industry specific and, in some cases, provided by very niche vendors. The ability to modify extract formats was cost prohibitive or simply not supported. As a result, several of these data feeds were not consumable by CDM without preprocessing/modification.
In light of the above requirements, the customer procured and deployed FDMEE on-premise. The power of FDMEE allows a solution to be deployed that provides a direct connection to multiple on-premise systems as well as consume the flat file extracts from hosted and Cloud applications including Excel files (not in the required FDMEE/CDM format) and XML. Because FDMEE on-premise supports scripting, we were able to greatly enrich the data integration cycle with full end-to-end automation including FTP downloading of hosted data, enhancement of the data integration cycle to detect data mapped to members not yet in PBCS or FCCS, dynamically setting substitution variables based on the processing day, running calculations in PBCS, and sending email status alerts to outline the success or failure of a data load cycle.
Although I am a huge FDMEE advocate, I recognize the value of Cloud Data Management and the benefits it provides in a case like this one. This customer was one of just three participants in the Oracle Enterprise Data Management Cloud Service (EDMCS) program. This means that they were able to use the software before it was publicly available – otherwise known as GA. To participate in this program, one must recognize the absence of certain features and functions with the software. The program allows the customer (and partner) to offer Oracle development and product management valuable input about the software and in some ways drive what features are prioritized within the product roadmap.
EDMCS currently lacks native connections to FCCS, but this will change over time. So how does CDM help with loading metadata to FCCS? In a recent update to CDM, Oracle included the ability to import a flat file into CDM and load metadata to a registered target application such as PBCS or FCCS. John Goodwin gives a detailed overview of the technical setup.
FDMEE and CDM have come together in this case to provide a fully automated data integration process and an automated master data integration process. Within EDMCS, a Custom application type was created. The required properties for FCCS were built and attached to the multiple dimensions being mastered, and flat file exports were generated for FCCS. We knew we were going to use CDM to manage the master data load process, but we had a decision to make – do we leverage EPM Automate or FDMEE as our automation hub?
We chose FDMEE. Why? Simply because a lot of automation assets had already been developed in FDMEE that could readily be reused for this process including execution of EPM Automate commands, a framework for leveraging the REST API (for PBCS and FCCS), and email alerting. Additionally, we found the capabilities of EPM Automate to be somewhat limited.
For example, when you execute a CDM data load rule from EPM Automate, the process ID associated with the execution is not returned. Why is that important? Because in the event of a failure, I’d want to download the process log and attach it to the email so the user has information to address the issue. Could I use the ListFiles command of EPM Automate to get the process log? Possibly, but it doesn’t account for potential concurrency, and I am not doing my job as a consultant if I build a process that can’t handle concurrent operations. For reasons such as these, we leveraged EPM Automate when possible and the REST API as needed, and we wrapped it all together with an FDMEE process that could be executed on a scheduled basis or on demand simply by using the Script Execution functionality.
Let’s review the end-to-end solution. In EDMCS, metadata is maintained for PBCS and FCCS. The metadata is extracted to a flat file (.csv) after maintenance is completed and saved to a network folder. From FDMEE, the master data integration process is initiated to upload the metadata files to FCCS and PBCS. Cloud Data Management data load rules are initialized to process the metadata extracts. In the event of an error, the CDM process log is downloaded. Finally, an email is generated to alert the administrator of the data integration process status.
There you have it – EDMCS, FDMEE, and CDM working in concert to provide a seamless and elegant solution to data and master data integration for a customer that adopted a Cloud EPM strategy. If you want to learn how you can enhance your Oracle EPM integration processes, contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.