Sunday, 2 October 2011

Loading to EPMA planning applications using interface tables - Part 1

In the mass of blogs I have written about using ODI with the Hyperion adaptors there is one area I have not touched upon and that is EPMA interface tables, it is true there are no knowledge modules available to make life easier when loading to EPMA type applications but by using interface tables it certainly is achievable.

In the past I have tried to steer clear of this area due to the numerous problems with EPMA but overtime many of the major flaws have been addressed and I thought it was about time to cover off ODI and interface tables, I will be perfectly honest and say using ODI with classic planning applications is still definitely my preferred option and it offers much more flexibility.

In this series of blogs I am going to basically try and replicate the sample planning application and use interface tables to populate metadata for a number of the dimensions, I am going to try and approach it from the angle of being used to loading to planning applications with the outline loader or ODI methods to make the transition over to EPMA a little bit smoother.  It is not going to be all about ODI in fact you could substitute the ODI part for another tool of your choice.

There are a few important points to highlight before I start.

•    It is going to be based on EPM, the concept should be similar for earlier versions but I can’t guarantee it will be exactly the same.

•    The version of ODI being used will be but everything covered will be valid for earlier versions like 10g.

•    This is not a guide to EPMA and there will be an assumption you have used EPMA before or have a basic understanding of it but I will try and explain as much as possible as I go along.

•    There is going to be assumption that you are familiar with the basics of ODI.

My approach is going to be that the planning application is going to be built first and the dimensions and associations created, this is the same concept that would be undertaken if using the classic planning method as the core application would be available before loading to it. Using this approach I feel that it is much easier to grasp the concept of what is required to use interface tables.

I am not sure how many parts there will be to this blog as I am going to try and spread it out and not cram too much into each session, in this first part I am really just going to get the basic core application built in EPMA.

So to start with I am going to create the applications dimensions in the shared library, yes this is a manual process but it only needs to be done once and really does not take much time at all.

Remember it is going to be based on the sample planning application so the dimensions created will be Account, Year, Period, Entity, Currency, Version, Scenario, Segments, Alias.

I have suffixed each of the dimensions in the shared library with “_Shared”, just to point out that this is not a requirement it was just my way of highlighting they are shared dimensions. The dimensions have been simply created using File > New > Dimension and then entering the dimension name and type. 

Dimension        Type
Period_Shared        Period
Currency_Shared    Currency
Account_Shared    Account
Year_Shared        Year
Entity_Shared        Entity
Version_Shared        Version
Scenario_Shared    Scenario
Segments_Shared    Generic
Alias_Shared        Alias

I have cheated a little and manually populated the Period,Currency,Year and Alias dimensions. It is certainly possible to use interface tables to perform this step but due to the approach I am taking I need them to be available to be able to create the core sample application, also these dimensions are pretty much remain static.
The rest of the dimensions will be populated using interface tables.

The only additional steps was to create the associations (right click a dimension and select create association) for the currency dimension and between alias and all the dimensions

Hopefully this should all make sense as I did point out there was going to be an assumption of a basic understanding of EPMA.

On to creating the application, first of all make sure you have a relational schema/database created to hold the planning application.

File > New > Application

Basically I have replicated all the settings of the default sample application

All the dimensions from the Shared Library are associated with the dimensions in the application.

The properties of the sample application were replicated and then the application validated, any errors can easily to be resolved.

As “Deploy when finished” was enabled the Deploy window will display, if no Data Source has been created it can be generated at this point.

The application has been deployed successfully so in the next part I can move on to looking at interface tables.

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