HFM Inflection Point

by | Mar 12, 2021 | Finit, OneStream

December 2021: We’ve been talking about this date for a few years, and the time is now very near. After celebrating its sixth birthday this month, premiere support for Oracle Hyperion 11.1.2.4 will come to a conclusion at the end of this year. In fall of 2020, we discussed this topic during our webinar, “Inflection Point: Roadmap Considerations for Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) Customers.” Now that we‘re well into 2021, we thought it would be helpful to revisit roadmap considerations and continue to shed light on this important milestone for the Hyperion world.

Given our history in the EPM/CPM space, we are continually asked to provide guidance on development of future solution roadmaps. Many customers don’t know where to begin, especially those that invested deeply in their Oracle-Hyperion solutions many years ago. Often, the current finance teams have largely experienced cycles of upgrades or enhancements. They are far removed from the initial selection process and are not familiar with the effort and time invested in the original implementation of the Oracle-Hyperion modules. Historically there was a strong eco-system and loyal following – many professionals even shaped their careers around the Hyperion product set. Therefore, many industry professionals, including the majority of us at Finit, have somewhat of a sentimental attachment to Hyperion. When asked, I usually start with a short educational session to provide context and to provide an understanding of the impact of the Oracle acquisition and where things stand today.

During the webinar we went into more depth on this topic, but effectively there are few key points regarding the history of Hyperion and acquisition by Oracle. Oracle acquired Hyperion in 2007. During the first 5 years there was positive momentum with respect to additional functionality, stability, and expansion of the platform. Oracle began launching their cloud solutions in 2014 and did not carry the “Hyperion” branding forward. Similar to the on-premise offering, the cloud offering is module based with separate data repositories. Several cloud modules are based on the predecessor on-premise modules. Then, at the start of FY 2017 (June 2016) Oracle made an abrupt pivot to the cloud. With the new strategic direction, the field sales organization stopped selling the EPM on-premise modules. In addition, we understand that the EPM sales organization was collapsed into the ERP sales organization, and the dedicated sales team of Hyperion SMEs was disbanded. Effectively, this was the “beginning of the end” of the Hyperion era for many of us.

Hyperion 11.1.2.4 was released in 2015. Since then there has been little innovation or update to this release. After Hyperion 11.2 was released in December 2019, there were no updates other than certification for newer releases of third-party software that support the platform and some deprecated features, such as EPMA. Oracle has indicated that there will be support for Hyperion 11.2 until 2030. 

Progression of Oracle Strategy for Hyperion / EPM

Mid-2007 to 2013

Separate organization “EPM”

Initial investment focused on updates for Oracle technology stack, then focused on adding functionality and “Suite” licensing options

Decision to continue “module” approach vs. rebuild unified solution for next generation EPM (Cloud)

2014 to Mid-2016

Innovation slowed with on-premise Hyperion platform, 11.1.2.4 launched March 2015

Began launching Cloud modules – PBCS (Feb 2014), EPRCS (2015),  ARCS EPBCS FCCS (2016)

FY 2017 (Jun 2016) – Formal pivot to Cloud EPM org. merged w/ ERP – This was effectively the end of the Hyperion brand

Mid-2016 to today

Cloud, Cloud and more Cloud!

Some argue pivot was too soon, and too abrupt

Final On-Premise release 11.2

 

Ok, so what does all of this mean?

Although there is support for Hyperion 11.2, it seems that Oracle’s direction is clearly focused on the cloud. In addition, the modules have largely remained unchanged for several years; this is more of a steady state situation. As one would expect, the talent will continue to follow market activity and strategic solutions with the brightest future. Reading between the lines, this should begin to support why we call this an “Inflection Point” for Hyperion customers. It is a good time to take a step back and evaluate options. 

Inflection Point for HFM customers

Evaluate options

Don’t assume

Gain fresh perspective

Assess customer references

Define the business case

Our observation – most customers take this opportunity to take a step back & evaluate all options vs. automatic decision to upgrade or move to Oracle Cloud

Important for HFM customers to do due diligence before making decision for the future. There are more implications than you think. Don’t assume.

Look at both financial consolidation & overall CPM requirements with fresh perspective. Don’t rely on prior history/experience or emotion.

The best evaluation step – talk to as many customer references (relevant in size & scope) as possible.

Cost constraints further complicated by the pandemic make it even more important to define the right business case to defend or support the recommended option. Do not short cut this process!

 

In regard to the roadmap topic – although some customers do pause to consider an upgrade, the discussion quickly leads to what solutions should be considered as a strategic replacement option. Naturally, organizations that are using HFM will consider Oracle’s Cloud Financial Consolidation solution. Our feedback to our clients about this option is that it needs to be reviewed and evaluated with the same level of due diligence as any other vendor option. Just because HFM worked well for your organization does not automatically mean that their cloud solution will automatically be a fit. Keep in mind that their cloud solution is not “HFM in the cloud”. Rather, this offering was built from scratch from the foundation of the Cloud Planning solution which utilizes Essbase as the data repository versus the relational database backend that was so successful with HFM.

Moving to the Oracle Cloud solution is a full re-implementation. It is not like an upgrade project. It can also be a harder transition to the Oracle Cloud solution from HFM than it is from Excel or other legacy tools. HFM was very flexible and configurable, but the Oracle Cloud solution has more pre-built functionality and guard rails. This means that if your requirements don’t fit within the context of what’s provided, it can be harder to get the solution to behave the way you want it to. In some cases, it may feel like you’re taking a step back to “fit into the box”.

For customers who manage their budget and forecast processes in HFM, moving to the cloud may require deployment of the Cloud Planning module as the Consolidation module may not support this approach. As a result, the cloud footprint required to replace HFM may be a heavier lift than expected. As part of the due diligence process, customers should seek multiple customer references that match their requirements.

Cloud considerations

Complete
re-implementation

Migration from HFM to Cloud Financial Consolidation & Close (formerly “FCCS”) is a complex re-implementation

It is not simply “HFM in the cloud”

It is a net new product

Replacement may require multiple modules

Implementation to replace a single HFM application may involve build-out of multiple modules in the Cloud

e.g. FP&A moves to planning module, separate cube for management reporting)

Could introduce more complexity & data flow

Could require a broader skill set to administer

“Parity with HFM” is subjective

Oracle has stated the Cloud solution has achieved parity with HFM, but features may look different or work differently

Organizations should define their own definition of parity then validate that key features needed meet both requirements as well expectations.

 

When asked about other options that should be considered as a replacement for HFM, we recommend that all customers investigate OneStream Software as a strategic, next generation CPM platform. Finit has been working with OneStream since it was introduced to the market in 2011 and is a market leader with 100+ clients and 275+ completed OneStream projects. Historically, Finit was recognized as one of the leading implementation providers for HFM. Over the years, we have taken our best design concepts and principles and applied them in our OneStream deployment methodology. We found that our ability to be innovative has been substantially increased by leveraging the OneStream platform, and we have been able to solve more complex requirements than in the past.

In addition, the ability to build out multiple business processes in a single application with one set of metadata is a game changer. Many of our clients that have converted from Oracle-Hyperion to OneStream have been able to go from multiple HFM/Planning/Essbase applications to a single OneStream application. This dramatically reduces maintenance time along with eliminating the need to move data from application to application. OneStream has thoughtfully built out an organization with the #1 focus of making customers successful in CPM. Our experience has been that customers are happier with the level of support and overall interaction they receive from OneStream.

In our next blog, we’ll discuss some of the benefits our customers have realized as a result of migrating from HFM to OneStream. 

Market Perspective – Why do clients choose OneStream?

Platform Approach

Company Built by Veteran Team

One Application – Not Separate Modules

Single Point of Maintenance for Metadata

Foundational Data Repository

Marketplace Solutions

Simple Subscription License Model

Commitment to Customer Success

100% Customer Success Mission

Enthusiastic Customer Base

Effective Sales Engagement Approach

Customer Success Managers

Quality Customer Support (local in US)

Art of the Possible

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