Decoding EPM Speak: Oracle Hyperion Terms and Acronyms

Oracle EPM systems can be a bit like alphabet soup with endless acronyms and terms – we already used one in this very sentence! A lot of these terms get thrown around during a Hyperion Project and it can get quite confusing, particularly if you’re not familiar with the industry.  This post will shed a bit of light on what some of these terms are and give a real-world example of what each can mean to a finance professional or a systems administrator.



These are a few of the typical terms you’ll hear when your company is embarking on a new financial systems or EPM project.

• BI – Business Intelligence

The transformation of any business data into meaningful, accessible intelligence for decision-making purposes – applicable from the operational to the strategic level.

Taking SKU level sales data and producing a graphical trend analysis that can assist in the understanding sales seasonality.

• EPM – Enterprise Performance Management

Enterprise Performance Management involves taking a data driven and systematic approach to measuring a company’s financial performance – it can cover planning and forecasting, consolidations, external reporting, financial reporting, and business analytics

Implementing a software system, such as Hyperion, to gather raw financial data and use it to improve the financial close, planning, and/or budgeting process.

• Consolidation

In Corporate Finance terms, consolidation is the process by which a company gathers all of the financial data from its various subsidiaries/legal entities and performs any necessary conversions or adjustments for internal/external reporting.

Your company is a holding company that is comprised of four subsidiaries.  At the end of each month, the financial data from these subsidiaries are collected, converted to US Dollars (where needed) and presented in a single P&L and Balance Sheet.  

• Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting

Financial budgeting can go by a number of different names – Budgeting, Forecasting, Planning, and Strategic Planning are a few.   Regardless of what it is called in your organization, the common thread is that the process involves forecasting future financials.  Typically these forecasts are created from a mix of historical data, business drivers, and general knowledge of the business landscape.

Your company takes its previous year financial results and uses predicted growth rates to forecast its sales and costs for the next year.




Now we’ll go a level deeper with terminology.  Once your company has started down the path of launching an EPM project, there will be a number of technologies and software systems available to you to facilitate the process – one of which is industry-leading Oracle Hyperion.  The below are terms you’ll hear related to the Oracle Hyperion EPM platform. 

• HP – Hyperion Planning

This tool allows companies to create applications that help them plan or forecast their financial information. It provides a flexible platform that can be customized according to the business’ needs.

Your company uses a Hyperion Planning application to forecast employee salary and benefit costs based on drivers such as headcount and industry average salaries.  

Hyperion Planning has an underlying “engine” called Essbase, which is outlined below.

• PBCS – Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service

This is a cloud-based version of Hyperion Planning. No installation or infrastructure is required to implement this tool.

To save on infrastructure costs, your company implemented PBCS as its tool to forecast its top line sales by product category using prior year results and various growth driver metrics.  

• Essbase

Essbase is a multi-dimensional database management system that can be used for various business calculations and analytics.  This analogy isn’t doing the tool justice, but you can create Essbase applications that mirror advanced Excel models and pivot tables.  Essbase applications can be made up of “cubes” (or databases).

Essbase can be used to directly develop applications or can be used as an engine for Hyperion Planning.

A company may use Essbase to calculate and analyze product level gross margin reporting.  In addition to sales and costs, an application might include information such as customer and product level detail.  Using Essbase, you would be able to analyze and organize data in many different ways, including by top customers and best selling products.  

  •  BSO – Block Storage Option

One of the two types of Essbase cube technologies.  Without getting into the technical aspects of a BSO application, an application that is very calculation intensive typically requires BSO.

Your company might use a BSO Essbase application as a calculation engine to determine currency fluctuations. 

  • ASO – Aggregate Storage Option

The second type of Essbase cube technologies, an ASO application would typically be used a “reporting” application that contains very large amounts of detailed data.

Your company might use an ASO Essbase cube for reporting daily data across thousands of SKUs

• HFM – Hyperion Financial Management

HFM can be used to create applications to facilitate a company’s financial consolidation for reporting monthly consolidated financial results.  This tool has features such as a built in Journal Entry module, automatic currency translation, and elimination of intercompany balances to help streamline the consolidation process.  It is also possible to build custom business rules to handle things such as minority interest, allocations, or cash flow calculation.

Your company is a distributor of office supplies with sales divisions across the globe.  Your company uses HFM to collect data from all of its sales divisions, convert the data to U.S. Dollars, and book journal entries to produce U.S. GAAP financial statements on a monthly basis.

• FCM – Financial Close Manager

FCM allows users to track monthly financial close activities in a strict order and has the ability for users to sign off on task completion, add comments, attach files, etc. FCM helps with task management and account reconciliation.  In other words, it is a centralized location to be able to point a finger at the user or set of users who didn’t complete their tasks on time!

Your company uses FCM to schedule and track the tasks that need to be completed in its General Ledger and in HFM during its monthly financial close cycle instead of the monotonous email chains of who did what and when.  

• EPMA – Enterprise Performance Management Architect

EPMA is a tool to that helps manage Hyperion application structures and related settings. It is a central place where structures can be managed and even shared across HFM, HP, and Essbase applications noted above.

A company uses EPMA to build out its corporate chart of accounts and legal entity structure.  It then shares these across its HFM and Planning applications to reduce hierarchy maintenance.  

• DRM – Data Relationship Management

DRM is a separate tool used for managing application structures. DRM is conceptually similar to EPMA, but has additional features that can be used for advanced processes/automation.  One distinction to be made from EPMA is that DRM is not limited to managing structures for Hyperion applications.

Your company uses DRM to centrally manage its corporate chart of accounts, which is used in its General Ledger system, as well as its HP and HFM applications.  

• FRS – Financial Reporting Studio

FRS is a tool for building and presenting financial reports. This tool can be configured to connect to the above-mentioned Hyperion products (HFM, HP, & Essbase).
Your system administrator uses FRS to design and control the company’s standard financial reports such as its P&L or Balance Sheet. You access these reports on the web via Workspace (defined below) or can email them out to the relevant audience.  
• FDM – Financial Data Management

This application can be used to take data from a source, such as a text file, database, or General Ledger system, perform any needed transformations or mappings, and load it into Hyperion applications.

Your company uses FDM to take data from a small subsidiary that uses a different General Ledger and chart of accounts, map it into the corporate chart of accounts, and load it to HFM for consolidated reporting.  

FDM/ FDMEE are considered ETL (extract, transform, load) tools – tools that can get data from a source, manipulate it as needed, and load to target.

• FDMEE – Financial Data Management Enterprise Edition

FDMEE is a newer version of FDM with functionality similar to FDM but has an updated user interface and additional features that can be leveraged.

You use an FDMEE-only feature called “Multi-Dimensional Mapping” to map data from a subsidiary company to the corporate chart of accounts based on both the source account and source cost center.  

FDM/ FDMEE are considered ETL (extract, transform, load) tools – tools that can get data from a source, manipulate it as needed, and load to target.

• ODI – Oracle Data Integrator

ODI is another ETL tool that can be used to pull data from various sources, transform it as needed, and load to various target systems.  ODI is similar in concept to FDMEE, but they both have differing feature sets.  ODI can also connect to a number of systems outside of the Hyperion landscape and is generally used for heavily automated processes.

ODI is the tool used by your company’s IT team to pull a currency rates data file from an FTP site on an hourly basis and transform for it loading into Hyperion Planning.  

ODI is the engine that FDMEE runs on.  ODI can also be used as a standalone tool as noted above.

• Workspace

Workspace is the web-based landing pad, which end-users leverage to interact with the various Hyperion applications they are provisioned for, including Planning and HFM.  In later releases, FDMEE can also be accessed through workspace for data integration management.

You use Workspace to access your company’s HFM application and fill out roll forward schedules used in its Cash Flow calculations.


• Metadata

In reference to systems, metadata is data that provides information about other data.

In your company’s General Ledger is a record for a sale of $100.  The related metadata for this data point may include the account, legal entity that sold it, customer, product number, sale date, etc.  

• FDMEE – OIA – Open Interface Adapter

OIA is a module of FDMEE that allows you to connect directly to various source systems.

At your company the OIA feature to drill through from an EPM target application to view the data in the ERP source system.

• FDMEE – Direct Connection

In FDMEE, when an ERP or EPM source is directly connected to an EPM target.

A Direct Connection could be used to load actuals financial data to HFM from Oracle’s PeopleSoft without any intermediary steps like exporting the data to a text file.

• EA – Extended Analytics

EA is a feature of HFM that enables the export of data and metadata from HFM applications to a text file for use by other applications.

You use EA to extract data from an HFM application and load it into a separate database for supplemental reporting.  

• EAL – Essbase Analytics Link

EAL provides an interface to synchronize/move data between HFM applications and Essbase applications.

Your company uses EAL to take Journal Entry and Intercompany Elimination data from HFM application and push it to an Essbase application that contains the same base financial data. This allows both applications to reflect the same consolidated financial results.  

• EAS Console – Essbase Administration Service Console

Essbase Administration Services Console is where an administrator will manage and maintain Essbase applications and their associated properties. Typically, end-users will not access this tool.

Your system administrator uses the EAS Console to add a new account to the chart of accounts built out in your Essbase application.

• SmartView (SV)

A Microsoft add-on for the Office suite that allows a direct connection to Hyperion applications where the user can perform their necessary tasks.  Many end users will primarily use SmartView to interact with/analyze their financial data in the familiar setting of Excel.

You use SmartView in Microsoft Excel to pull financial data from your HFM application into Excel and analyze your cash flow results.

• Calc Manager

This tool can be used as a graphical user interface to create and manage the business rules (written in VB Script) that underpin the logic of their Hyperion applications.  This is an alternative to the “Classic” approach, where VB Script rules are written in a separate rules file, then loaded to the application.

Your system administrator uses Calc Manager to write business rules to automatically allocate product marketing costs among various legal entities.

While this certainly isn’t all the acronyms you’ll hear in the EPM world, it should be enough to get you started.  TY for reading, for now we GTG.  TTYL.

– The Platform Specialist Team



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