As an earlier blog mentioned, the 18.07 release of Enterprise Data Management Cloud Service (EDMCS) delivered one eagerly anticipated piece of functionality: Subscriptions! And do not fear – these subscriptions are useful and do not involve a 1-year subscription to the Fruit of the Month Club (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
This blog post dives deeper into this new functionality, describes how it works, and highlights some lessons learned from utilizing Subscriptions with a current project involving multiple EDMCS Custom applications supporting multiple Profitability and Cost Management Cloud Service (PCMCS) applications.
Why Are Subscriptions Important?
Subscriptions are a huge step towards true “mastering” of enterprise data assets within a single master data Cloud platform. With EDMCS, it is important to build deployment-specific applications configured to the dimensionality requirements of the target applications to most effectively use the packaged adapters, validations, and integration capabilities. But in many cases, you also need to share common hierarchies across applications and avoid duplicative (that’s my big word for today) maintenance. After all, why have a master data management tool if you still must perform maintenance in multiple places? That’s just silly.
The answer to this dilemma is Subscriptions. By implementing Subscriptions, requests submitted to a primary viewpoint will automatically generate parallel subscription requests to subscribing viewpoints to automatically synchronize your hierarchy changes across EDMCS applications.
This comment is important: “automatically generate parallel subscription requests.” EDMCS will not update a target, or subscribing, viewpoint behind the scenes with no visibility or audit trail to what has occurred. A parallel Subscription request will be generated along with the Interactive request that will be visible in the Requests window, along with the full audit trail and details that you find in an Interactive request. Even better, the Subscription request will generate an email and attach a Request File of the changes.
Views and Viewpoints
The first thing to really think about is the View and Viewpoint design of your EDMCS applications. Subscriptions are defined at the Viewpoint level, so you need to identify the source and target viewpoint for your business situation. With my current project, I have multiple EDMCS applications supporting multiple PCMCS applications. While the dimensionality is similar across the applications, the hierarchies vary, especially with the alternate hierarchies. So, it has been important to isolate the “common” or shared structures that should be synchronized across applications into their own viewpoint so that a subscription mechanism can be created.
Node Type Converters
You will likely need to create a node type converter. If the source and target viewpoints do not share a common node type, you must create a node type converter for subscriptions to work. In my situation, I had already created node type converters since I wanted to compare common structures across EDMCS applications, so the foundation was there to readily implement subscriptions.
To create a Subscription, the creator must have (at a minimum) View Browser permission to the source view, View Owner permission to the target view, and Data Manager permission to the target application.
The Subscription assignee (this is the user who will “submit” the subscription request) must have (at a minimum) View Browser permission to the source view and Data Manager permission to the target application.
Creating a Subscription
Once the foundation is in place in terms of viewpoints, node type converters, and permissions, the actual creation of a subscription is easy.
Inspect the target viewpoint (the viewpoint that is to receive the changes from a source viewpoint via subscription), navigate to the Subscriptions tab, and click Edit. From there you can select the source viewpoint, the request assignee, and enable Auto Submit if needed. Save the subscription and you are all set.
- Currently, there is no capability to edit an existing subscription. You must delete and add a new subscription to effect a change.
- Any validation errors for your subscription will appear on this dialog as well. These are documented nicely in the Oracle EDMCS administration guide.
Auto-Submit and Email Notifications
Emails will be generated and sent to the Request Assignee, whether Auto-Submit is enabled or not. The email will include details such as the original request #, the subscription request #, and how many request items were processed or skipped.
- Remember, the subscription request will have a Request File attached to it. View the request file attachment to see details on why specific request items were skipped.
- The request file is not attached to the email itself, only to the request in EDMCS.
Like I mentioned earlier, the foundation is important to making subscriptions work. And it all boils down to design and ensuring the building blocks of that foundation are in place:
Design, Design, Design!
- The importance of dimension, view, and viewpoint design cannot be overstated. For each dimension, evaluate the primary and alternate hierarchy content and identify what will be shared across dimensions or applications and what will be unique to each dimension and application.
- Based on that analysis, carefully design your viewpoints to enable subscriptions across EDMCS applications for hierarchies that truly need “mastering.”
- As early as possible, identify the EDMCS user population along with permission levels for applications and views. This is important to identify the appropriate “Request Assignee” for your Subscriptions. I recommend creating a security matrix identifying each user and the permissions each will have.
- Without a clear and well thought out design, you will find yourself constantly re-doing your views and viewpoints which, in turn, will cause constant rework of your subscriptions. The “measure twice, cut once” adage certainly applies here!
- I am a big proponent of standard, consistent naming conventions to improve the usability and end user experience. The same holds true for Subscriptions. Consider using a standard naming convention for your viewpoints so it is clear which viewpoints have a subscription. It’s not obvious – unless you Inspect the viewpoint – that a subscription exists.
- One approach I’ve been using is to name my source and target viewpoints identically with a special tag or symbol at the end of the target viewpoint name to indicate a subscription is present. I’m sure there are other and probably better ideas, but I find the visual cue to be helpful.
- Perhaps in the future, Oracle will display subscription details when you hover over a viewpoint name (hint hint).
Node Type Converters
- Ensure you have node converters in place
- Make sure your node type converters are mapping all required properties.
- I ran into an issue where updates to one property in my source viewpoint were not being applied to my target viewpoint via subscription requests, but all other property updates worked fine. The reason? I had recently modified my App Registration and added this property to a dimension’s node type. But my node type converter had already been created and wasn’t mapping or recognizing the new property. Once I updated my node type converter, the problem was solved.
- The request files attached to subscription requests are a valuable troubleshooting tool. Status codes and error messages are included in these Excel files that are extremely helpful to determine why your request was not auto-submitted.
- Inspect the Subscriptions on your viewpoints. Any validation issues will be displayed and are easily addressed. Typical Subscription validation errors include:
- The request assignee no longer has the correct permission levels
- The viewpoint no longer is active
- A node type converter is missing
I have been looking forward to the subscription functionality in EDMCS and am pleased with it so far. Subscriptions are easy to configure, can be configured to auto-submit if desired, and generate emails to remind the requester a request has occurred and to act if the request was not submitted or request items were skipped. EDMCS Subscriptions are a big step forward to enabling true mastering of your enterprise data management assets!