Update: A lot has changed since we originally published this post. To learn the latest about changes to PBCS read this related post.
Oracle must be in “love” with this new offering, Hyperion Planning & Budgeting in the Cloud (PBCS); After all, they did release it on Valentines Day (Feb 14th). The bigger question is, will Oracle’s customers love it? With as much as 75% of companies still performing their financial planning and budgeting mired in spreadsheets, it’s hard to believe this will not be an attractive option for many (especially small and midsized companies).
You already know the basic advantages of Hyperion Planning, if not, you should. It greatly improves the planning, budgeting, and forecasting process by automating it and allowing you to spend 80% of your time actually analyzing your data rather than 80% of your time preparing it. If you are not familiar with Hyperion Planning, stop now and go here to learn the basics and then come back and read on. Now, let’s take a look at what this solution offers (and doesn’t offer) to see if it’s right for your organization.
So what exactly is Oracle Planning and Budgeting in the Cloud? Well unlike Oracle’s Fusion ERP offerings that were built from the ground up as the next generation of applications, this offering is the tried and true Hyperion Planning application that has existed for years with some additional development done to make it suitable for use in the cloud. The application is now being hosted in Oracle’s cloud environment and can be licensed on a monthly subscription basis better known as SaaS (Software as a Service). List price is $120 per user per month with a 10 user minimum.
What makes this, and most cloud applications, so attractive is that very little IT support is needed and you can get up-and-running fast.
For one low monthly cost you get:
- The application
- Complete hardware infrastructure to run the application
- Patches and upgrades are included (although you must upgrade to them within a reasonable timeframe)
- Nightly backups performed as part of the service
- Performance is guaranteed and scaling is built in
- Support is also included
In addition to the standard benefits realized from cloud offerings, there are a number of PBCS advantages:
- Guided application demos
- Best practices
- Training videos and tutorials
- Ability to migrate on-premise planning applications to the cloud and vice versa
- Wizards for setting up processes like rolling forecasts
- Ability to choose which Oracle data center your application is hosted from
- Tight integration with Microsoft Excel and the ability to use SmartView
So what are the things you should be aware of? As I mentioned previously, PBCS is not for everyone. There are a number of factors you should know; Some that only apply to existing Hyperion Planning customers looking to move to the cloud, and others that apply to most anyone interested in this offering.
Understand the following limitations:
- Existing customers can only upgrade their planning applications to the cloud if they are on version 18.104.22.168 or above
- Only one application is supported per subscription. Each additional application requires an additional subscription
- The file system is limited to 150 GB. That is the space for your Essbase database, FR reports and any exported Life Cycle Management content
- None of the other Hyperion modules are currently supported like Workforce Planning and CAPX
- No EPMA. All planning applications must be in classic mode
- Data is loaded via flat file loads using FTP
As you can see, many larger companies or companies who are already experienced Hyperion organizations will not fit the mold for PBCS. However, midsize to small sized companies living in “Excel hell” with no automated process will love this offering. Especially given that you can get up-and-running very quickly with very little up-front costs.
If you are one of the organizations that are not yet on a sophisticated planning platform, I highly recommend you consider Oracle Hyperion Planning in the Cloud.