Decide with Confidence: Oracle EPM Upgrade Path – On-Premises or Cloud?
Overview of Oracle Hyperion EPM
Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) helps organizations plan, budget, forecast and report on business performance as well as consolidate and finalize financial results.
EPM is critical for managing all types of organizations by linking financial and operational metrics to insights and ultimately driving strategies, plans and execution. In an environment of constant change, new competitors, and economic uncertainty, EPM offers a tool for organizations to manage their agile businesses. Key components of the EPM are narrated below.
Financial Planning and Budgeting
Hyperion planning is a web-based planning and budgeting solution that drives collaborative, event-based, operational planning processes throughout the organization for a wide range of financial and operational needs. Typical phases and processes in each phase would look as follows:
Hyperion Planning provides a robust modeling framework that helps organizations develop reliable financial forecasts based on sales and operational assumptions to produce cost-effective enterprise alignment. It provides flexibility to adapt rapidly to changes in direction, ensuring that plans are always current, relevant, and functional.
Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) is a financial consolidation and reporting application built with advanced web technology and designed to be used and maintained by the finance team. Typical phases and processes in each phase would look as follows:
HFM provides financial managers the ability to rapidly consolidate and report financial results, meet global regulatory requirements, reduce the cost of compliance, and deliver confidence in the numbers.
Roadmap of Oracle Hyperion EPM
Oracle published the following roadmap for supporting Oracle Hyperion EPM (on-premises) solutions as outlined below:
- The extended support for Oracle Hyperion 11.1.2.x ends in December 2021
- EPM 11.2 is the long-term support release for Oracle Hyperion EPM with Oracle Premier Support available through December 2031
- Oracle Hyperion EPM 11.2 is part of Oracle’s Continuous Innovation Program, which means that they will be delivering ongoing applications and underlying technology stack updates for Hyperion 11.2 without requiring a major upgrade. Updates will be cumulative and will combine bug fixes and new features into a consolidated patch set
How to get to the latest release
If you are using Oracle Hyperion EPM solution 11.1.2.x, you will mandatorily have to
- Upgrade to Oracle EPM 11.2 (On-Premises)
- Migrate to Oracle EPM cloud
Upgrade to Oracle EPM 11.2 (On-Premises)
The extended support for 11.1.2.x from Oracle ends in Dec 2021. Once you upgrade to Oracle Hyperion EPM 11.2.x, your support will automatically extend till Dec 2031. The other reasons for upgrade will be the extended support for the underlying Windows (Oct 2023) / Linux (Mar 2021) operating systems, support for Oracle database servers (Mar 2022) and different compatibility needs for end-users (MS Office, OS, and Browsers).
If you decide to upgrade to Oracle EPM 11.2, you will have to be on 220.127.116.11 as only this has a supported upgrade path. For versions prior to 18.104.22.168, you will have to perform an “in-place” upgrade, first to 22.214.171.124 and then to 11.2. Oracle EPM 11.2 is an out of place installation, which means the software needs to be installed on a new hardware and is a technical upgrade rather than functional, with the underlying framework changed to support easier implementation of future patches / releases.
Key Benefits of staying with Oracle Hyperion EPM (on-premises) solution
Security: Though EPM cloud is fast, innovative, and secure, one of the great things about on-premises is that you control your own security. The infrastructure (Hardware, Software, Middleware) belongs to you and you can decide how secure the environment should be. There are two ways you can provide enhanced security to your environment, either you appoint a Hyperion administrator or have an implementation partner who can provide best in-class managed services. This ensures application of best practices and standardized processes to your Hyperion security initiatives.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO): TCO is normally calculated based on your upfront costs, the cost of on-going maintenance and support, the timeframe you have used the application plus the cost of upgradation. Essentially if you can reduce your TCO, it will make sense to remain on-premises than migrating to cloud by considering the following parameters:
- Streamline the processes for OS patches, security updates, data back-up and maintenance
- Compare the costs of hiring a Hyperion administrator vs. Managed Services provider
- Provide training for your end users and IT staff post-implementation
- Maintain an inventory of your hardware, software, and licenses
- Continuously measure your spending on maintenance and upgrades
Latest Upgrade & New Features / Enhancements
One of the critical points you will consider while continuing on-premises will be to upgrade to a newer version to benefit from latest features and functionalities while making sure your version is supported by your OS. While Oracle EPM 11.2 was released in Dec 2019, it is primarily a technical upgrade to support easier implementation of future patches / releases. The look and feel are the same between 11.2 and 126.96.36.199, thereby having a minimal learning curve for end users.
Oracle EPM 11.2.4 is the latest version that Oracle customers can upgrade to if they choose to stay on-premises. Oracle has provided a Cumulative Feature Overview Tool (CFO Tool) that assists you by identifying the new features and functionalities when comparing your current release to the latest EPM release.
Migrate to Oracle EPM Cloud
New technologies are changing how finance operates. AI, machine learning, chatbots, process automation and more. When you migrate to a cloud based EPM solution, you can access these features and functionality to gain greater efficiencies and improve the quality of decision-making.
Oracle EPM cloud allows you to enjoy unlimited support without the end dates daunting your organization. Oracle’s EPM cloud is on a public cloud and uses the SaaS model. Some of the benefits of moving to EPM cloud include the following:
Regular updates and support: Regular updates and support are the major benefits of migrating to the cloud. You do not have to deal with lengthy or tedious patch updates, Oracle takes care of the same for you. Defects are fixed frequently, so you will not be struggling with technical challenges. Above all, you get to see new features and functions quickly.
No upfront investments on hardware or software licensing: Upfront hardware costs and software licensing is extremely expensive; you also must take into consideration the administrator who conducts regular maintenance or hire a third-party vendor to provide managed services for you. But in cloud (SaaS model), all the software, hardware and middleware are maintained for you by Oracle.
Monthly subscription: With SaaS model there are not unexpected fees. You pay only per user per month with no upfront costs. The cloud applications still require an administrator and managed services provider, which is Oracle.
Fairly streamlined and quick implementation: The implementation is fairly streamlined and quick. Just taking weeks as against months if you are performing the same on-premises.
Other Benefits of Oracle EPM cloud include:
Connected Planning: Oracle EPM Cloud helps align planning across the enterprise. Respond to changes faster and more effectively by developing agile forecasts for all lines of business. Create long-range forecasts for unpredictable business dynamics using sophisticated, built-in scenario modeling. Gain insights into dimensions of cost and profitability to determine where to invest limited resources.
Connected Financial Close: Oracle EPM Cloud enables organizations to adapt quickly to changing business and compliance requirements while reducing risk, improving controls, and delivering faster and more accurate insights to all stakeholders, anytime, anywhere.
Narrative Reporting: Oracle EPM Cloud enables organizations to reinvent narrative reporting. Businesses of all sizes can streamline reporting processes and combine data plus narrative in a secure, collaborative environment to deliver faster and more accurate insights for all stakeholders even on the go.
Enterprise Data Management: Oracle Enterprise Data Management Cloud provides a single platform to flexibly manage enterprise data while maintaining data integrity and enterprise application alignment. With improved data management, you can drive agile business transformation.
Trade-offs between On-Premises and EPM Cloud
When you move to cloud, one of the benefits we have heard is Oracle providing regular updates and support, while this is a benefit, you are given a short notice before the updates can occur. Sometimes features and functions change before you get to use them.
While we know that there are no upfront costs on hardware and software while migrating to cloud, there are other pitfalls. Consider losing control of your application or not able to carry out the required customizations. Importantly your data is in someone else’s hand. These are things to ponder upon before making a wise decision.
Another reason we know is monthly subscription saves money but for only for small organizations. Consider a large organization with numerous users, the costs will multiply, and organizations need to look at ways and means to crunch the numbers and see if they are saving money. You can compare on-premises TCO to SaaS TCO to determine if the move has been beneficial to the organization. Adopting the SaaS model implies keeping your invaluable information and data on a server with many other organizations’ data and then what happens if you ever need to cancel your subscription? Will the transfer and retrieval of your data going to be simple? The value of your data needs to be thought off if you choose to migrate to the cloud.
Finally cloud implementations takes weeks instead of months, that maybe a correct statement but the only thing you need to avoid is rushing into your decision. You need to consider it as a major project just like any other big one and carefully plan the steps for success. Developing a well-defined strategy is the best route to take, right from identifying your specific requirements, considering the challenges to finally deciding the implementation partner.
In conclusion, whether you decide to upgrade or migrate, EPM modernization offers both finance and operational users an opportunity for improvement in key business processes such as planning, financial consolidation and close and management reporting. Though Oracle wants customers to migrate to Oracle EPM Cloud, it may not be the ideal choice in every scenario. Client must carefully evaluate the pros and cons of both options and make the right decision after taking various factors into consideration, which include your current application environment, team size, budget, business objectives etc.
AppsTek built Oracle EPM Center of Excellence with an experienced and certified talent pool across different industry verticals. Our strong executive leadership, 10+ years of experience and global SLA based support model provides agility and flexibility to your upgrades and support. From enhancing visibility to the critical metrics needed for Senior Management to meet strategic and financial goals to improving the financial close and reporting process, we pin-point and streamline the key processes that it takes to manage costs and enhance organization’s profitability.
Companies who have selected AppsTek to customize their Oracle EPM have benefitted from greater efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. Our solutions enable project and work teams the tools needed to bring more value to their organization. We can be your trusted advisor in helping you plan your upgrade or migration!!
VICE PRESIDENT – TECHNOLOGY
Parag is heading the Big Data, Data Warehousing and BI initiatives across the USA, India, Middle East and Africa. Parag carries more than 25 years of experience in the IT Industry and has PMP, Oracle Hyperion and SAP Supply Chain Certifications to his credit.