Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

on Wednesday, 04 December 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

A perfect design is an enemy of a good design. Often, we strive for a perfect design by customizing our systems, with what we currently know and forget quickly that the out of the box design may not provide the best solution to a given problem but it would probably have the best chance of meeting the schedule , regulatory compliance and cost constraints with acceptable quality.

I just completed US financial services solution architecture and noticing a trend with enterprise customers towards simplicity and making sure the business is provided tools to adapt to the new out of the box functionality reality. 2014 focus seems to be on essentials, mobile and providing a responsive design to the end user.

Having been lucky enough to have implemented multiple times EBS R12, Hyperion Products, OBI and CRM projects, I share some best practices on what in my view should not be modified and other areas that should be slightly improved from a business architecture standpoint:


Architecture OBI Hyperion  EBS


One question that comes often what is each product main purpose: here is a quick 1 liner on the products.

Hyperion Financial management is Oracle’s consolidation tool and statutory reporting

Hyperion Planning is the Strategic Planning, Budgeting and forecasting tool

Hyperion Financial Data Management is a tool to map different chart of accounts between source systems (EBS and non EBS applications) and HFM

Oracle EBS R12 is the ERP that store the Financial, Project, Procurement, Supply chain transactions

OBI Oracle Business Intelligence is the BI platform that stores the OLAP analytics, provides enterprise reporting, mobile BI and different scorecards.

When implementing your enterprise software keep in mind the following best practices:

1)  Times are changing; your approach to BI must change, Mobile Users Deserve the Same Quality of Browsing Experience as on your computer, one financial services company in the US is making sure most ERP, CRM transactions can be performed by mobile or tablet. Put in place mobile responsive design architecture when designing your solution. Your competitors are probably doing it or thinking about it. Technology has become the differentiator, not the business process.

2)  Capture integration requirements, then challenge all requirements that don’t respect the out of the box functionality, always make use of the product API’s to customize your solution if required. Focus on essential requirements only.

3) All enterprise software now integratre with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft’s classic spreadsheet program, is a favorite of sales and finance teams everywhere, use it to minimize change management

4)  One that I see often, not matching the growth strategy for the company to the capabilities of the system being implemented. Make sure everyone understands your functionality/ project scope and ROI to avoid the smoking mirror syndrome were the expectations and money spent do not correlate to the required outcome. Communicate with facts and data only!

Like usual please provide your thoughts and comments on solution architecture best practices.



Comments (11)

  • Michael Simms

    Michael Simms

    05 December 2013 at 01:51 |
    Thank you for sharing great business architecture diagram. I would add we get easily distracted and we tend to over engineer the solution.Out of the box never seems to be acceptable Great post.
  • Lynda Hernandez

    Lynda Hernandez

    05 December 2013 at 01:58 |
    I am a BI specialist and your point on product API is right on, you must identify which data integration method this will allow you to prepare the data for your application in the most timely and least costly manner. Like the diagram with the business flow of data.
  • Sheetal Singh

    Sheetal Singh

    05 December 2013 at 02:09 |
    excellent points altogether, just bookmarked your site, landed on your page by Linkedin good article!
  • Thomas Vong

    Thomas Vong

    05 December 2013 at 05:25 |
    I would add two things use the Oracle OUM Methodology instead of AIM, some companies are still using the old AIM methodology where in my opinion things take longer to build and deploy than OUM.
    Use diagrams to discuss like the business flow diagram in the blog, Communicate with diagrams not text. Another excellent post!
  • Samantha Jones

    Samantha Jones

    05 December 2013 at 05:47 |
    Alex, we are a US university and the terms we use is vanilla out-of the box or when customized vanilla with sprinkles. Our project we had great success in implementing vanilla HR, Projects, OBI , and sales our only customizations was finance, where they felt we had to customize or the university would stop functioning. I am no expert but my project experience finance people on the project were quite stuck in their ways and they believed their area was so special compared to other depts. The project running gag , customize since we dont want the university to stop functioning even if we know finance and accounting is 2000 years old. Nice diagram!
  • Paul Miller

    Paul Miller

    05 December 2013 at 11:58 |
    I would add for enterprise systems, start with reporting. What reporting do you need. What detail level do you need? What are the actual desired report formats. Go all out and pull everything off the wish list for this. No one ever does this step first and it is the one cause of cautionary tales. If you do not define the lowest level of detail required for reporting, you will not be able to design the transaction input to achieve that result.
    Do not over customize , use a vanilla approach
    Try to understand current processes but don't spend too much time on this activity.
    I think 85% of the over promise is just not understanding the real needs of the end-users. Typically internal IT will try to understand end-users needs, and then try to translate that to the enterprise software company. (Remember the game of "Telephone" from your childhood?) Lots of real needs slip through the cracks here. So, again, document everything you are asking for, and spell out very specifically what is or isn't "in-scope". Good article.
  • John Hill

    John Hill

    07 December 2013 at 00:13 |
    Enjoyed the article, I would add as a best practice from my experiences, if after one or two years you are still performing powerpoints, or high level designs stop the bleeding by stopping the project, you have the wrong team delivering the project. This was spoken by Jack Welch as a speaker at a conference , where he would emphasize how most managers he mentioned 'bad' cannot see the issues and are hanging on a thin thread of possible turn around.
  • Steve Tanaka

    Steve Tanaka

    08 December 2013 at 02:40 |
    Good comments and great points, I would add at our company being theyre for 10 years we had some project failures because of groupthink and internal politics , the lessons learned from a solution architecture perspective hire recognized experts not your friends. When hiring friends for strategic roles you have a 90% chance of doing groupthink meaning fail or project stops. Upper management most of the times are not stupid they usually are able to read this approach.
    The other point determine the objectives of your architectural design, which will help you, focus on solving the right problems. Then identify the key scenarios or use cases that are most critical from your application perspective and have maximum impact on the architecture. The use cases will help in focusing on the right problems and also help in evaluating and reviewing the architecture.
  • Vijay Singh

    Vijay Singh

    08 December 2013 at 19:28 |
    I would add focus to having architectural patterns , and if you are the architect, stay as neutral as possible, organizations have been for the past years creating a more neutral group within the organization. Mostly, because of the politics of the multiple center of expertise's within every organization.
  • Sally Chambers

    Sally Chambers

    09 December 2013 at 01:19 |
    I would add put a solid governance foundation in place in your company that is independent and tracks and maintains a focus on corporations strategy.

    10 December 2013 at 09:17 |
    you need it we have it, like it. We use Oracle!

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