A new release of Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) code 15.08 (probably for August 2015) is just released. Users and implementers have great expectations for this cuvée so let’s have a look at what is inside this release.
Defining Valid Intersections
There is a very interesting post on Essbase Dimensional Irrelevance as described by Dan Pressman here.
With the ability to define Valid Intersections with PBCS, you are not going to resolve all issues related to Dimensional Irrelevance (performance in particular) but you will take care of the wrong data entries problem. When you define Valid Intersections with PBCS, you can make slices of data read-only, making forms easier to use.
Oracle created a great video to explain how to create Valid Intersections:
Excel Formulas in Planning
Creating Excel formulas is a dream for FP&A users and can be nightmare for consultants, opening the can of worms as we all like to say or opening Pandora’s box if you are into Greek mythology. This new feature is restricted to SmartView where you can create Excel formulas and execute it in Planning.
Again, Oracle has created a nice video to explain how to activate and use this feature, great job on the videos by the way:
I have heard about Planning Sandboxes feature for a long time: now it is real. What is it? You can create your own private version of your plan and keep it as a work in progress. Once you are done with your work on your private version, you publish your results with the regular “Working” version.
Again, thank you Oracle for the video:
Planning Forms Autosave and Undo button
This option makes the user experience more fluid: whenever a user moves from one cell to another, data is saved and values are aggregated to their parents immediately.
Affected cells turn green, there is no particular warning (like data is saved and calculation is successful) and the Undo function remains available. By the way, enabling Autosave activates the Undo function as well.
The Simplified Interface is the Interface
It is not a big surprise, now it is official: with the latest version of PBCS, the Simplified Interface is now the only standard. It is a change for developers, I still prefer to develop with the ‘Standard Interface’ but I will get used to it. From a user point of view, I think it is a million times easier to user the Simplified Interface, which is much faster and uncluttered.
With the latest release of PBCS, Internet Explorer 11 is supported on Standard Mode. IE 11 Enterprise mode should not be enabled. More importantly, IE9 is not supported anymore. You should not be worried about the lack of support of IE9 because this browser represents only represents 2.66%of users as you can see here.
The good news is PBCS works very well with Chrome, Firefox, and Safari and I think that should be all you care about. The recommended browser for PBCS is Firefox, if you want to play it safe, just go with it. I personally recommend Firefox as well because you don’t need Remote XUL Manager anymore. Remote XUL Manager worked well but it was a bit painful to deploy on a large scale.
PBCS Goes mobile
I think Oracle has the right answer for mobile use for Planning: nobody is going to enter data with a mobile phone, the screen is too small, you don’t have a physical keyboard, and it is too error-prone. This is why I think spreadsheet apps have no success on mobile phones (even MS Excel!).
With the mobile app, you can work on the process management and check calculation status (and yes, you can open spreadsheets, to look at numbers only).
You have a video, which is better than a thousand words and a hundred pictures:
One more thing!
There are actually more new features and this post concentrates to what I think are the main new features, you can find the entire list of features in the attached document: PBCS15_08_Whats_new
Update (September 7, 2015)
The transition to the Simplified Interface is now scheduled for November 2015. It is delayed to give more time for user adoption. Even though I am sure that it is a relief for many of us, it will happen anyways so be ready!