What is Oracle PBCS and why you should be using it to manage your performance?

What is Oracle PBCS and why you should be using it to manage your performance?

Published by: Lynn Sherry
Published date: 22nd Sep 2018

Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Services (PBCS) and its Enterprise variation (EPBCS) are Oracle solutions made to help companies reach world-class Planning and Budgeting Processes. They bring a full set of tools and functionalities to enable business users to be in control of data and reduce overheads and risk, while lowering traditional IT demands like change requests and SLAs.

It solves very painful everyday problems

It all starts with a simple assumption: the Planning and Budgeting process cycle involves keeping your money in actions that are inherently aligned with corporate strategy but to reach that goal “The Budget” piece should be a commitment from each manager with that very strategy. It also means that this goal should be feasible, frequently revised and adjusted according to the ever-dynamic market or even political changes; therefore most business models will need information that enables visibility and commitment from management level and also empowered driver/assumption-based simulations.

#1 Volume of information

Consequently, when you factor in all the necessary variations you end up with an enormous amount of data – i.e. main budget, monthly forecasts, actuals and variation reports, varying on different company levels, custom aggregations and classifications – some of them simply do not exist in source systems or ERP. After all, this detail must be structured in a way that is easy to query and build reports, incorporate all the manual input levels and classifications to generate a comprehensive summary and a highly detailed analysis. A traditional solution would also call for a BI or Data Mart structure to be built.

#2 The Standardisation Vs Flexibility Trade-off

On the other hand, the time frame between a good decision and a bad decision is shrinking every day due to the ever-changing market tendency and having in mind your detailed data, you need flexibility to create complete new types, classifications, rules and/or even small changes in the logic to get simulations and answers in a timely fashion. As a fully structured process tends to remove this flexibility and potentially competitive advantage, a company might feel like there is no great choice and for this reason, so few companies try to adopt traditional systems approach to their Planning and Budgeting processes.

The easy way out: Excel Spreadsheets

At the end of the day, the business still needs answers and simulations and the budget team will find a way to get it done. The simple solution: Excel Spreadsheets, and yes, I mean a whole bunch of them. That is the beginning of the solution, but also the beginning of a whole level of reference checking, formula integrity checking across files, and then re-checking numbers again…

There is a better way

Using Oracle PBCS:

  • You can decide what part of your model needs to be consistent with operational systems like the ERP (e.g. Chart of accounts and actuals) and what structures or hierarchies can be manually defined
  • You drastically reduce the amount of manual tasks with smart automations
  • You have access to your forecast rules and you can change your assumptions, formulas or even allocations
  • You control when to load data and you control data mappings without the need for IT intervention
  • Finally, you don’t lose your Excel. Besides all structured reports, a very strong integration with Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook ensure you have live and reliable data on Excel files and presentations

Other features that will help you remove your workload are:

  • Approval workflow
  • Copy, create and compare multiple versions and simulations
  • Data collection forms with personalised data consistency validation
  • Security configurations, so users can see only levels they are supposed to see – define members on any hierarchy (e.g. Cost centres, accounts or scenarios)

Oracle Performance Management solution can bring many proven benefits since it acquired Hyperion but deploying and maintaining it on-premise can also reveal itself to be relatively expensive for mid-sized companies. Hence you would only find such a solution in big corporations for decades.

The cloud can help make it possible

With PBCS it is more and more common to find mid-sized companies adopting modern approaches to their budget process and being able to get all its benefits. For the same reason the cloud is becoming a trend everywhere, Oracle PBCS makes it way simpler – you don’t have to worry about it, just use it. Oracle is responsible for all the hard work and platform support, if you need support tailored for your users and your implementation, Codec can help you.

If you already have Hyperion Planning in-house; moving to the cloud makes sense.

Some customer studies show positive returns in the first 12 months of investment. Of course, it will always depend on your current solution size, the infrastructure you have and how it is maintained. Also, in almost every implementation over 2 years old, when you move to the cloud is a good time to review designs and optimise your solution – in some cases, that means to consolidate applications and save even more on subscriptions.

If you are not sure, Codec’s specialised team can help you with a tailored cost analysis and the return on investment. And if you have plans to renew your local infrastructure soon, you should definitely look into it now.

What the E brings to the table in EPBCS?

EPBCS is PBCS + Oracle standard logic built-in. Today those modules are:

  • Financials: account and cost centre based, standard revenue and expense projections, and financial statements calculation: Income, Cash Flow and Balance Sheet
  • Workforce: payroll including benefits, taxes and other employee-based expenses
  • Capital: control your assets and calculate future depreciation, payments, and asset related expenses like insurance or maintenance.
  • Project: Prioritise project portfolio and control projects from a financial perspective including cash flow and allocation of Workforce and Capital resources into projects.

EPBCS is more expensive than PBCS, but you also get an Oracle team working on new features and evolutions for those modules every day; therefore, going for a pre-built model will only bring you the benefits if you are willing to go for a more standard budget best practices according to Oracle experience. You should study Oracle pre-built modules and roadmap and conduct a compliance study against your expectations.

We will cover EPBCS modules in more detail in future articles, if you are interested in a demonstration or a cost analysis please contact us today and we will put you in contact with one of our specialists.

Main benefits our customers found relevant

Following our customer implementations, we compiled a list of the most perceived benefits.

Business in control

  • Business Users control integration and mappings
    Total control of your data once your local systems which deliver it
  • Easy Ad-hoc reporting on multiple alternative scenarios
    Very strong integration with Excel, Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
    User-friendly for accountants and non-financial users
  • Total Access
    Users and administrators can access the functionality from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

Cost-reducing

  • Automate low-value activities
    Reducing risks and costs and freeing up time to devote to analysis and information review
  • Minimum IT demand
    Backups and data recovery are all done for you. With minimal scripting, archives can be kept locally and restored quickly
  • Seamless Updates
    Updates are rolled out often and automatically. This allows Oracle to make small improvements frequently.

Other

  • Improved Security
    Contrary to popular belief, the majority of system security failures are local. Multiple studies show cloud-based storage is actually more secure than on-premise solutions.
  • Small Local Footprint
    Although we do recommend a small VM to run automations and archive backups, a typical multi-server footprint is not required.
  • Unparalleled Support
    Every user is on the same version and testing the same updates. Oracle has a vested interest in producing bug-free software, and when issues arise, immediate patches are deployed.