So it’s always exciting being very cloud focused – every month you have new toys, bug fixes, changes to read. However even for 2019 (which has had some big releases already) June 19 is a pretty big one!
I’m writing this as part of a blog hop (organised by the incredibly enthusiastic and talented Opal) around all of the changes coming in the EPM landscape. Forewarning now – this is literally hot of the press (or more accurately, while the presses are still running!) so we’re all likely to have to come back and update as more information comes through.
So what exactly has changed?
Well on Friday 31st June, the Jun-19 SAAS release notes were pushed out, and the Oracle EPM Product lineup got some new branding.
*First edit!* It got changed again on Monday!
Fundamentally, the EPM stack as a whole has been split into two separate product streams: an Enterprise level and Standard level.
What we’re hearing is that these product streams will be consolidated – so you’re purchasing a EPM license potentially across multiple products rather than purchasing separate licensing for each product (ie: FCCS, ARCS, PBCS)
This is borne out even more by an interesting bit of new functionality in EPMAutomate – the ability to change the service type of the pod between the primary service streams!
And what does this mean for Planning specifically?
Within the EPM stack PBCS\EPBCS was definitely the odd one out – containing two separately licensed products that were masquerading as one. But as a client you either purchased one or the other and generally went with that – very few people were shifting between PBCS to EPBCS or vice versa mostly because the cost and time investment to shift was pretty huge.
Now with the removal of base PBCS and moving everyone to the EPBCS code line, a lot of the functionality (groovy! hybrid! strategic planning!) is available for more custom applications. You can now cherry pick to either use some of the Oracle functionality, or alternatively roll your own.
*Edit* I’m chasing confirmation about Groovy and some of the ‘other advanced features’ – as it seems like it might not be included in the Standard edition? Yet some \ many of the modules use groovy in their default business rules so…not sure? I’ll update if I get confirmation.
For a pure PBCS build (as an awful lot of mine are) it will be very disappointing if standard doesn’t have those features – as it is a substantial price bump for no additional functionality.
And what about Clients?
This is a more interesting arc – for standard, if what we’re hearing is correct, you won’t be a Planning and Budgeting Cloud Services user anymore, instead you’ll have access across more products in the EPM Stack. Obviously it’ll depend on which products end up in which service offering, but I know personally we’ve built a lot of Planning applications across the years that would have been better suited for FCCS\HFM or Profitability\PCMCS (the old, if Planning is your hammer, every business process problem looks like a nail).
As such, if we have the ability to easily and seamlessly extend the footprint into other products without having to go back to the client and start the licensing dance again – fantastic.
This also better places EPBCS in the market. It was, more often than not, a tough sell. If a client’s needs didn’t cleanly fit into the Oracle EPBCS module offerings then it was a significantly greater expense for licensing for limited visible benefit.
“I can do anything with Groovy… except get a client to pay for it!”
The availability of EPBCS to everyone at the start – rather than having to do the dance of either justifying the additional expense of EPBCS to the client, or persuading Oracle to stop the hard upsell and sell PBCS licenses – helps a lot in reducing confusion.
The 64 Million Dollar Question
Licensing is going to be the kicker here. Obviously Oracle list price is a fairly arbitrary metric with the way sales and inventive discounts are done by the Oracle Sales group, but assuming a price bump for the additional products and flexibility – it may price small businesses out of a small PBCS-only build.
Obviously there are plenty of other EPM products available and coming into the market, so it may well be that Oracle has decided to stop chasing the small end of the market on price and focus only on mid-size and up companies where their branding and image is stronger.
Edit! We now have pricing:
So yeah – my note about pricing out a small Planning-only build is pretty apt here. You obviously get a lot of value from a Standard license, but if you’re not using ARCS \ FCCS – you’ve got significantly more expense. We’ll have to see how flexible the Pricing can be, but it definitely feels like Oracle have repriced themselves deliberately up – with the lowest price of an EPM deal effectively doubling.
Bigger than Ben Hur
Probably the biggest take-away for this change for me is that some of these builds could be enormous. An Enterprise build including FCCS \ ARCS \ Tax \ PCMCS \ Data Management \ Enterprise Planning is a cross-platform \ cross-function implementation covering almost all of the Financial functional areas with potentially 10-40 primary critical stakeholders and teams in the hundreds. Cross-skilled technical business consulting skills are going to be vital – it may not be good enough to simply be a Planning FP&A specialist anymore!
That said the way it is setup, it may be feasible to become more agile and incrementally deliver products quickly, running POC’s where needed and leveraging some of the back end and data integration setups.
So that’s it from me with the June changes – continue your educational journey by “hopping” over to the following posts to find out more about specific product updates, as well as gain different partner perspectives on the licensing, naming, and consolidation changes:
1. Opal Alapat gives an overview of the June 2019 Oracle EPM Cloud blog hop, as well as details on the product name changes, product consolidations, and new licensing: here
2. Jun Zhang does a comprehensive summary of the June updates by product: over here
3. Eric Erikson provides his perspective on FCCS: right this way
4. Jay Chapman covers the notable EPRCS (now called Narrative Reporting) June updates: right thatta way
5. Kate Helmer summarizes important EDMCS updates: in this direction
6. And finally Tony Scalese covers changes to the REST API and EPM Automate: right here!