Hyperion Essbase Knowledgebase

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Essbase Administration Console - this is the tool used to create, modify, load data, and calculate an Essbase database.

Excel Addin - this tools is used mainly for reporting of data from the database.

Essbase is a multidimensional database designed for reporting and analysis.  It is used as both a reporting system (read only) and a budgeting system (read / write, users send data back to the server).

An example of a typical Essbase application is one where a company loads their entire ledger into an Essbase database.  The reason for doing so is because ledgers are not designed for reporting purposes.  Once the data is in Essbase, the users can access the data and create their reports.

This doesn't sound too exciting?

What's the big deal with creating a reporting system?

Many companies have realized that the simple act of running reports against their production systems slows down their daily transaction processing.  This is totally ridiculous if you think about it.  The ability of your accountants to enter invoices and write checks can be affected by someone in finance running a report?

A case for a single repository for reporting information (data mart):

Currently, companies information that people report on does not reside in one location .  You have billing systems, payroll systems, multiple ledgers for some of your divisions and much time is spent merely gathering this data together in a spreadsheet. A decade ago this was done by rekeying data from paper reports into an Excel or Lotus spreadsheet.  Well these days, most everyone has a facility where data can be dumped into Excel.  Well this shortens the cycle for getting the numbers in Excel, but each time the data is dumped it needs to be reformatted once again.  Countless hours are wasted by thousands of analysts across the country reformatting this data each month.  (I've been there, I know)  A feature of a properly designed reporting system is that an analyst is performed to determine all the information that is required to perform the reporting and that data is all placed in one location, the Essbase database.

Once it's in this location, you can then generate different views of your company.  This capability of reporting systems is very valuable.  This is not possible in your ledger systems because they are not designed for reporting.  Also during the Essbase design process, this is when additional statistical metrics can be applied to your data that is otherwise difficult or even impossible to do in your ledger system.  (revenue per equivalent business day, seasonality factors, # of parking spots per location).

 Major benefits realized from implementing Essbase at our clients.

Reduction in the monthly closing cycle by at least 30% if not 70%.  A large % of Essbase customers can actually perform 3 or 4 passes on closing the books in one day.  This means that an accountant sees something they don't like, make a journal entry, then want to see how it affects the companies financials.  With the typical Essbase systems I've seen, they can usually see the results in < 2 hours.  Quicker turnaround is an incredible benefit.

End users are now empowered to get the information they seek.  Previous to implementing one of these reporting systems, many times the only way for an analyst or CFO to get the data they desire is by calling up IT and having someone write a special report for this purpose.  This creates a monster sized mess.  For the most part, IT departments are fully utilized and time is not necessarily budgeted for responding to end user requests.  Essbase helps out for the mere fact that all the data is now in one location and users have the tools to get at this information without any IT support.

Properly deisgned Essbase systems empower the end users to get at the information themselves.  IT resources are now freed up from creating daily reports to behave in a more proactive manner by creating information systems instead of reports.  proactive manner at designing systems for the users.

 Problems solved:

Currently it takes all day to produce sku level reports from our ledger system.  Once Essbase was implemented, all the reports can be created in < 10 minutes.

Spreadsheet links:  All business analysts are guilty of using spreadsheet links.  Let me count the ways that spreadsheet links are bad.

-a cell in Excel can only have a certain number of characters in it.  When people try to use links to consolidate multple workbooks it doesn't take long before they run out of characters to enter in the formula.  In one case, the mapping to the network drive changed (5 more positions were added to the name) which resulted in breaking every report that was being used for corporate consolidations.

-people have been known to link to a file on someone's desktop.  When they happen to not be in the office, you can't get the data.

-people have made sheets that link to sheets that link to sheets.  In the beginning this seems to make sense.  6 months later, you find that people are spending their time trying to decipher the links.  When a value doesn't consolidate properly, the number of places to look gets exponentially large.

-by implementing spreadsheet links, you are designing an inflexible system.  What if the number of rows changes for some of your entities.  Are you going to be diciplined to implement the change to every spreadsheet or only the affected sheets?  If the latter, now you no longer have a standard layout and cannot copy formulas with dynamic references on your consolidation sheets.

 

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