Smart View and multiple pods, how can I simplify connections?

With the shift to the cloud, one of the major differences with Smart View is the shared connection url. When it was on-prem it was pointed to my production workspace servers and all of the environments connections were available to me as a shared connection. I really only needed to change it if I wanted to work in development or test.

Now that most of my clients are moving to the cloud they are struggling with connecting to environments that have multiple pods. Oracle has given us the ability to combine the web front end via Connections but that will not yet work for Smart View. Yes, clients can define multiple Private Connections within Smart View but I think that naming those connections can be challenging to end users. I really like this approach as it provides an intuitive way of identifying the connections to the end users. Here is a sample of it in action.

I know that video was very very exciting, I hope you enjoyed it! Yes, you did see me utilize a shared connection to log in only once and ad-hoc to three different pods with nice friendly names! How did I do this? I utilized an on-prem solution and converted it to the cloud. Take a look at the following from the Smart View documentation:

Accessing Shared Connections from an XML File

I used this solution and applied it to the cloud to create a friendly Shared Connection experience. Here is an example of the syntax for what you just saw with edited domain names.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<Product id="HP" name="HP-" displayVersion="version">
<Server name="PLANNING_PROD" context=""></Server>
<Product id="HP" name="HP-11.1.2" displayVersion="version">
<Server name="PLANNING_TEST" context=""></Server>
<Product id="HP" name="HP-11.1.2" displayVersion="version">
<Server name="REPORTING_TESTING" context=""></Server>
<Product id="HP" name="HP-11.1.2" displayVersion="version">
<Server name="REPORTING_UAT" context=""></Server>
<Product id="HP" name="HP-11.1.2" displayVersion="version">
<Server name="REPORTING_PROD" context=""></Server>

I then saved it as an XML file and defined a path to it in Smart View.



In the above example I am accessing it via a local file, however, clients should probably host this file in a central location on an internal web server and reference the file via URL so that everyone can get updates. I have tried hosting it in workspace but you need to login to access the file and that defeats the purpose of the connection so I would go with the URL hosting or make the file part of a deployment package.

I hope this helps clients struggling to maintain multiple pods and Smart View connections. It has saved me so much time as I have a single file for all of my clients within one shared connection profile!

Spaces, SubVars and EPM Automate

Sometimes something so simple….

Recently I was having a tough time using EPM Automate to update a substitution variable. This member name had spaces and I needed to then utilize that variable in a calculation. It did not appear to be documented in the guide so I thought I would share my solution.

I needed to set the value of a subvar to “Dyn M2 Fcst”. This was an existing piece of metadata and I did not have the luxury of changing the name.

The first time I ran EPM Automate my command looked like:

epmautomate setsubstvars ALL “AutoReportScen=Dyn M2 FCST”

This updated the variable in PBCS and I thought I was done. When I tried to use it in a calc script, of course, it did not work because Essbase thought my member name was “Dyn”.

I then tried :

epmautomate setsubstvars ALL AutoReportScen=”Dyn M2 FCST”

Again it worked successfully, but the variable displayed in PBCS as:

I was still unable to utilize the variable for anything in the application.

After a few different combinations, I finally found the correct one.

epmautomate setsubstvars ALL “AutoReportScen=””Dyn M2 FCST”””

That is correct I have 3 sets of quotation marks. Two are around the variable value and one set around the complete variable and value combination.

Here is how it looks in PBCS:

Now that I had the quotes around the member name everything downstream worked great!

Here is what the command looked like:

I hope this helps and saves you headaches!!

EPBCS Data Maps – How to improve the Headcount Transfer to Reporting

Data Maps is a great feature in PBCS that allows you to seamlessly move data between plan types and to your reporting databases. You can map smart lists to dimensions in ASO reporting cubes to convert the accounts to dimensions so that you can easily report in Smart View and Reports. It works great when you have similar dimensionality but if you really have extensive mapping you should use Data Management to move the data between cubes. As we use EPBCS, and take advantage of the out of the box content we have hit a few performance issues with data maps. Here is a recent solution we devised to resolve slow transfers of data between the Workforce cube and the ASO Workforce reporting cube.


Essbase is not great at extracting members that are tagged as dynamically calculated. You will see this if you execute a data map and all of the sudden a quick map is now taking a considerable time to run. Most likely there are dynamical calculated members recently added to your selection. Luckily you can disable dynamically calculated members in the map. To enable this option edit the Data Map and click the Options button. In the window that displays click the option to Exclude Dynamic Calc Members.

Then run the map again and it should be back to what you are use to. However you may be missing some data that you expect to be there. If you cannot discover what the dynamic calc members are, create a data export calc script with the same source point of view and the option DataExportDynamicCalc OFF. Run the script in calc manager and the log tab will inform you what members where excluded from your export. You can then investigate how you can include them in your data map as stored members.

OWP_Headcount Data for Reporting

As your plan and forecast grows you will see that this map will get slower and slower. It is created out of the box for the Workforce Planning module. Its purpose is to move the headcount data from the WFP cube to the ASO reporting cube that is supplied with the solution. The main reason this is slow is because the source of the headcount data is a dynamically calculated account.


The reporting cube and the WFP cube share the parent OWP_Total Headcount. In the WFP cube it is a dynamic calculated parent account and in the ASO cube it is a level 0 account. The data map is not optimally designed, and you cannot select the exclude dynamic calc option because no data will move over.

Here is the solution I discovered.

Step one edit the data map. Then click the red x to the right of the accounts dimension.

This will move the Account dimension to the Unmapped Dimension section. Click on the hyperlink OWP_Total Headcount and open the member selector.

Clear the current selection and the select every level 0 member under OWP_Total Headcount except OWP_Departed Headcount.

Then on the Target select the account OWP_Total Headcount.

Then click the Save and Close option. You will then get an error message that you cannot save the map because there is an invalid member OWP_Total Headcount.

This error is a defect because in the ASO cube the member is a level 0 and without a formula .

Since that member was created by WFP you cannot edit any part of it. To work around this error temporarily point the map to the account OWP_Compensation Expenses. This should let you save the map.

Now that it is saved navigate to Variables. Create a substitution variable at the All Cubes level called TARGET_HC_ACCOUNT and set the value to OWP_Total Headcount.

Click ok, and then edit the Headcount map again. Edit the account dimension on the target side of the map. Enable the Substitution Variables selector and select the substitution variable TARGET_HC_ACCOUNT.




Now when you click Save and Close the Data Map will save!!!



Take a look at some results from a client app below:

The out of the box method took almost 12 minutes mostly all extracting that dynamically calculated data. With the modifications it ran with the same results in 9 seconds!


Dynamically calculated members are great for reporting but they have no place in data exports, and obviously do not belong in Data Maps! I hope that this solution helps you with your implementation of EPBCS or even in your own custom apps.

Thanks for reading. Have a great Memorial Day Weekend and remember:
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. “ Joseph Campbell

Where is my import/export security utility???

When I first started working on Hyperion Planning, clients and consultants would call the hotline and ask how they could see their existing security because back in the 1.0 days it was not available. So I dove into the database and wrote a Microsoft Access database that enabled consultants and clients the ability to see their security. We distributed the database and instructions if people asked nicely or loudly until the feature was written into the tool.

The Oracle EPBCS/FCCS platform does not come with a nice way of exporting and importing object security the way the on-prem version of Hyperion Planning had with its command line utilities. I decided to take a stab at hopefully making it easier.


This entry will focus on exporting the current security of an application and formatting it into a csv file so you can easily edit the security or view its contents.

I am going to focus on group security since it is a best practice to apply security at a group level. You can follow this process for users as well.

The first step is to extract the current application security using the migration component of EPBCS. You can use a complete application extract or just extract the security. Below I am just extracting the group security.


Once the migration is executed download it to your machine. Unzip the file and you will find your currently assigned security in super fun XML files for each group.


Here is what it looks like in XML.


Its pretty simple XML but not great to edit. Now that you have the files I have written a Powershell script that will convert all of the files in a directory to a combined csv file. By no means am I a Powershell master but I like it because its extremely quick, and handles XML, JSON, and CSV formats extremely well. Generally you will find it installed on most new servers or clients. Here is some documentation to enable it on windows.

It can also run on your mac or linux environment.

You can download the script here. Once you download it place it in a directory where you plan to execute it from.

The script accepts two parameters. The first is the directory where the XML files are stored and the second is the name of the file you want to create. If you dont put a path the file will be saved in the same directory as where you execute the script. The parameters should be separated with a space.

Once you launch the shell navigate to the directory you have saved the script in.


Here is the command :

./sec2csv.ps1 “V:POWERSHELL/BLOG/HP-TOYS/resource/Security/Access Permissions” security.csv

Place quotes around the directory.


I have updated the script to search the whole directory and create a report combining your user access and group access.


It will look like this in the shell.


Once the script runs it will generate your export.

It has now combined all of your group files into one csv file that will look like this.


The information in this file will be very similar to what was required for the import and export utility in planning. The definition of these fields can be found here. The only one that is really different is the IsUser field. For group security this will always be N.


I hope you find this first part of this conversion helpful. I am testing the CSV to XML script now, it has been working great and I should have that up soon. I hope this helps you manage security in the cloud!!

EPBCS – Improved Smart List Lookup in Calculations

Over the last month, I had to customize almost every feature in the EPBCS workforce planning application for a client. I have much to write about that experience but this one is my favorite. Do you want your Smart Lists to be dynamic but do not want to write long if/then statements for every possible value in the lists? Well, read on…..

When I first saw the feature to build a Smart List from metadata I started to get excited about the potential to use that in a calculation. After going through the Workforce app in detail I have seen the light. If you are not familiar with that module yet it basically has three plan types. The first two BSO cubes are for the plan and another one is for the rates. When you create a TBH it performs a lookup in the rate cube to get default values. Here is a simplified example of how the functionality works so you can use it in your applications as well.

I built a 2 database application one called FINPLAN and the other called RATES.

Here is the dimensionality of the two plan types.






The idea is that a user can enter in information in the Finplan cube and the system will do a look up in the rate cube based on a region they have selected in the Smart List. Here is a quick preview of the form.


Creating the Smart List

Once the dimensionality is set up correctly you need to set up a Smart List that is based on your application metadata. I created a Smart List named REGIONS and configured it to point to the level 0 members of the regions dimension.

This creates a dynamic list based on the application metadata. Notice on the Entries tab the id for the members in the list. If you know the backend of planning this is the OBJECT_ID from the HSP_OBJECT table, planning is going to use this identifier in your calc scripts to identify the member in Essbase.

After the list is created I assign it to the account Opportunity_Region in the FINPLAN Cube.


I then built a web form against the RATES database to store the rates at the No Entity member and at the Regions.

I am just storing a monthly rate by region in this cube.


Here is a quick view of it working:


This is where the magic happens. Basically, we want to pull a value from the rate cube using the value assigned to the Smart List in the planning cube.

Here is the calculation:

Not as pretty version :

FIX (FY18,Plan,Working,USD,”No Entity”,@RELATIVE(“OPP”,0))
/*Define a variable to assign the Smart List value to*/

/*Opportunity Overhead cost, lookup in Rate cube*/
/*Assign Smart List Value*/
IF( NOT (@ISMBR (“BegBalance”) ) ) /*Only Run on Months*/
IF( (SLVAL <> #MISSING) AND (“VOLUME”->”BegBalance” <>#MISSING)) /*Check if there is a Smart List Value and a volume*/
@XREF(_RATES_,”OVERHEAD_RATE”,”No Entity”,@CONCATENATE(“HSP_ID_”, @Name(@hspnumtostring(SLVal)))); /*apply Rate cube value*/




If you look closer at the Xref formula you will notice@CONCATENATE(“HSP_ID_”, @Name(@hspnumtostring(SLVal))))

Lets break this down.

  • The SLVal was assigned from the Smart List value and it is populated with the OBJECT_ID of the member in PBCS.
  • The CDF hspnumtostring converts the numeric id to a string
  • The @Name function really makes sure its a string. Probably redundant.
  • Then its concatenated with “HSP_ID_”

Using the NY member as a value it would create a member that looks like this.


Behind the scenes Planning then can use that definition to translate it into a member that Essbase can read. I think with an alias table in Essbase.

Pretty cool!!


The Xref formula uses txt values but if you need to convert this into an Essbase member then wrap the formula around an @MEMBER like this:

@MEMBER(@CONCATENATE(“HSP_ID_”, @Name(@hspnumtostring(SLVal)))))


You will only be able to use this in calculations and not in a fix statements since you need the data value of the Smart List to drive the formula. I tried to get it to work in a member formula and was not successful, but I only spent a few minutes on it.


This is a pretty nice enhancement that is a key to understand if you need to troubleshoot or enhance Workforce in EPBCS. Plus you can utilize it in your own applications to make your scripts and applications more dynamic and focused.

Here is the LCM if you need it.