Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hyperion Planning Data Form Best Practices

In Oracle’s Hyperion Planning, data forms are configurable screens that allow end users to input and adjust data in their active budget and forecast scenarios. Configuration is remarkably easy–one of the true strengths of the application. Through a wizard-like interface, designers can easily define which dimensions appear as spreadsheet-familiar rows and columns, as drop-down “page” selections, and as fixed point-of-view (“POV”) dimensions. Unfortunately, the layout wizard will allow a designer to create any template—even one that can cause the application server to crash!

[One of my favorite lessons learned from the early days of our implementation of Hyperion Planning… As the project team began to build data forms in our development environment, the “preview” option in the data form wizard was identified as a root cause for frequent application-tier failures. Rather than identify the data form design itself as the culprit, we authorized a customization to prevent users from activating the preview feature!]

By default, Planning raises an alert to the end user anytime the potential data grid (row dimension members x column dimension members) exceeds 1,000. Any guesses about a typical potential grid size of our initial design? How about 4,000,000,000? Yikes.

Customers initially requested all Chart of Accounts members in the rows of the data entry forms—similar to the Excel spreadsheets they had long used for annual budget submissions. Unfortunately, the Hyperion Planning gurus gave us the following advice:
  • Row and Column contain dense dimensions only
  • Page and Point of View (POV) contain sparse dimensions only
  • Suppress Missing Data option enabled so as to not display Rows or Columns without data
  • Split data forms into multiple data forms that contain fewer Rows and Columns
  • To put it more simply – KEEP DATA FORMS SMALL!
Everything about our initial design contradicted the recommended practice. So how would we balance customer needs with performance standards?

Learn more at the HEUG Alliance 2011 and OAUG COLLABORATE ’11 conferences:
HEUG Alliance 2011 - Monday March 28, 12:45-1:45pm, Room 712
OAUG COLLABORATE '11 - Sunday April 10, 1:30-2:30pm, Room W304D

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