Planning requires a lot of detailed information and calculations. For many organizations, therefore, smoothing the planning processes is high on their list of wishes. Do you want to improve your planning processes? OneStream currently offers 5 Specialty Planning and 3 Specialty Compliance MarketPlace solutions. All these solutions use the same core, follow the same setup and give you the same user experience. In this blog, Marc Roest, one of our OneStream experts, will take you through the functionalities, the usage, and the configuration of these solutions. You can use these solutions to plan People, Fixed Assets, Sales, and Cash but also for reporting IFRS16 contracts. With a bit of imagination, you can plan everything with these solutions.
Plan everything with Specialty Planning in OneStream MarketPlace
‘Relational Blending’ is often mentioned in OneStream publications and demos. Blending the structure of your OneStream model with large dynamic relational datasets is an excellent feature for many Planning and Compliance requirements. The OneStream Specialty Planning/Specialty Compliance MarketPlace solution is well known; at least that was what I thought. However, during the last period, I got an increasing number of questions regarding this solution, so a topic for my newest blog was born.
How the OneStream Relational Blending Framework helps your planning
The OneStream MarketPlace offers a group of applications using the OneStream Relational Blending framework. The following solutions are currently available:
- Specialty Planning
- People Planning
- Thing Planning
- Capital Planning
- Cash Planning
- Sales Planning
- Specialty Compliance
- Reporting Compliance
- Contract Compliance
- Thing Compliance
All these solutions use a relational table (called register) to collect the items intended for planning or compliance. After the collection, calculations can be applied to these Register items stored in an output table. This output table is then mapped and loaded into the OneStream cube at an aggregated level.
By leveraging the strengths of the relational model, your main cube can remain as compact as possible. At the same time, the register is utilized to store all the detailed information supporting your EPM processes. For example, employee information can sit in the register, and only aggregated employee data will be loaded into the main cube.
A great benefit of using the register to store the data is that your application’s performance will improve. Especially if this data is very sparse, which in our experience is often the case. Also, the detailed information will still be available directly from your application. You can retrieve the information from the register by using the out-of-the-box drill-down capabilities of OneStream.
The 8 offered solutions all have the same approach but differ in columns in the register and prebuilt calculations. From this point onward, I will refer to all solutions as Specialty Planning.
Functionality and usage of Specialty Planning in OneStream
Once the solution is configured, described in detail below, your users can easily access the solution via a dashboard attached to the user workflow. In the workflow, you can assign the Specialty Planning solutions to your defined process’s appropriate steps. The workflow is the place where everything comes together, resulting in a truly integrated solution.
From the solution’s home page, your users can work with the register, the plan, and the analysis tab.
On the register the source records are imported, entered, and maintained. The column setup is configured in the solution, and the user can import, add or edit as many rows as he or she likes. The register offers different statuses for which the column setup can vary. For example, different information is shown for existing employees compared to new hires. Column types can be specified or attached to parameters increasing the user-friendliness and the data quality. If, for example, you set a column as a date, a date selector is shown as a pop-out where you can select the data, or you can present a drop-down menu with pre-populated members to the user.
You can populate the register by manually entering records or importing records from an Excel template or directly from an external data source from the user interface. An Excel template can be downloaded directly from the dashboard as a starting point. Alternatively, you can copy (a part of) the register from an earlier period or another scenario as a starting point for the current period. The third option for a starting point is to export the items from the register or the plan. Once the register is finished, your users can initiate the calculation.
After the calculations have been executed, the outcome is presented to your users on the Plan tab. This tab shows the columns with the output towards the cube and the source fields and used calculations. If required, the plan can run for multiple periods. For instance, if you choose 12 months, the plan will show 12 output rows for every registration item calculation.
The Analysis tab offers a set of standard reports showing trends on a detailed and aggregated level and comparison reports between versions and scenarios.
You can use the Specialty Planning dashboard both locally and centrally. During configuration, you can define a central workflow profile that presents all register items (also those from other workflows) used by a central department. Also, you can work centrally and locally in parallel. Please note that if triggered from a local workflow, the same calculation logic is applied but only to a limited scope of records.
In the solution, you can create various allocation rules grouped into allocation methods. There are different rule types, such as simple rules (from a fixed value or a percentage of wage), custom rules (applying math to various register items using variables and business rules), and rules linked to a value in the cube.
A few calculation features to note:
- Allocation methods are grouped into a calculation plan, and calculation plans are grouped into execution lists. These execution lists are triggered using the calculation button on the user dashboard.
- On the calculation plan level, you can configure filters to limit the execution of that calculation plan to specific items in the register only.
- Global drivers (fixed for every item/ period) are included. However, it is also possible to dynamically link to drivers in the cube that can vary by period, scenario, and entity.
- A set of sample calculations is included to enable a quick start and setup, and a pull-down menu with available substitution variables is available. You can also use the substitution variables in the description to show the user the calculation details.
- The detailed outcome of the calculations can be reviewed on the plan sheet and the analysis sheet.
When finished, the user can complete the workflow (to lock it from future changes) and transform and load the data into the OneStream cube from the same dashboard. Finally, the dashboard offers a detailed Audit available showing reports and tables of all changes that have been made with the timestamp and the user information.
How to configure Specialty Planning solutions in OneStream MarketPlace
The prerequisites for these solutions are the same as many other solutions. Please read my earlier blog about the OneStream MarketPlace for a detailed description of these prerequisites.
However, the configuration inside the Specialty Planning solution is much more extensive compared to earlier described solutions. These are comprehensive solutions that allow many configuration options to reach maximum flexibility when implementing.
The starting point is the global options where you can configure accessibility settings, the number of plan periods, and central register usage. The other configuration options are described below:
- Activity types allow the creation of custom groupings to group items in the register and output.
- You can create accounts inside the solution that can be populated via the calculations and then transformed into the OneStream cube.
- Via Control lists, you can create lists of members attached to a column in the register as a pull-down menu.
- Status lists are presented to the user in the register. For each status, you can configure a specific set of columns.
- The register has a pre-defined set of columns that can be customized during the configuration. Most fields have a fixed type (e.g., dCode1 expects a date and nCode1 expects a number), but there are 12 fields (Code1 to Code12) that you can configure to a custom type (Date, Text, Number). This must be done before any data is loaded into the system.
- The register fields can be ordered in the Register Field order. This is a generic order that is not status-specific. It is essential to create a clear overview of the required columns per status during configuration and make sure the overall order is set up as needed.
The most important configuration option is the Register field list. For each status, you can configure the existing fields. Also, you can configure the following options for each field:
- Alias – Name of the column as presented to the user.
- Visible – Determines if the column is active or hidden in the register.
- Allow Updates – Sets if the user can adjust the field.
- Parameter Name – When selected, a drop-down menu is shown for this column.
- Format String – Date/ Numeric formatting on how the data is presented.
- Column Width – Width of the column.
- Default Value – Default value for this column when a new row is added.
To make the configuration more straightforward, there is a separate mass update dashboard available, enabling you to make multiple changes at once.
Customizing your OneStream MarketPlace solutions
In the early days, these MarketPlace solutions were a starting point that required many customizations to meet the organization’s requirements. Every customization increased the effort required when upgrading to a new version. Fortunately, today’s Specialty Planning solutions are more mature. The setup is much more robust and dynamic to facilitate a smoother transition when upgrading. However, it’s still strongly advised to document any changes you make to a MarketPlace solution.
How to use the custom event model in OneStream MarketPlace planning solutions?
In the MarketPlace solution, a custom event model is included. This is a separate business rule that can be triggered from the included business rules on certain moments (‘events’) in the process. For example, “Before SaveSettings” or “After CalculatePlan” has a reference to this custom event script. In the custom event script, you can add functionality via VB.net script to allow maximum flexibility.
With all our current implementations, we strongly advise limiting the changes to this custom event model to enable easy upgrades in the future. For most specialty solutions, you can achieve this quite easily. For example, only for particular requirements such as building an IFRS16 solution, adjustments to the delivered business rules are required.
The OneStream Specialty Planning and Specialty Compliance solutions offer great flexibility in configuring the solution to your wishes. With the out-of-box functionality and the specific calculations offered in each solution, you can fulfill most requirements. Utilizing the Relational Blending functionality, the cube’s data, and the custom event model’s flexibility, you can plan everything in OneStream.
Pros of OneStream Specialty Planning solutions:
+ Increasing Cube performance without reducing functionality by taking the complexity out of the cube
+ Seamlessly integrating large relational datasets into your OneStream planning model
+ Many configuration options available out of the box
+ With 8 variations available, there is always a variation that comes close to your requirements
+ Great flexibility with the custom event model, reducing the need to adjust delivered business rules
Cons of OneStream Specialty Planning solutions:
– The extensive options can be quite overwhelming when using the solution for the first time
The setup is described in detail in the documentation, but the configuration is very extensive, and setting up one of these solutions takes more than 8 hours. Therefore, I classify this solution as Minimum Viable Product. Please see my earlier post, ‘The OneStream MarketPlace in real life’ about classifications.
Let’s discover the OneStream MarketPlace together
Want to know more about the OneStream MarketPlace? In a series of blogs, we’ll delve into the details of the MarketPlace and the solutions available. In the blog ‘The One Stream MarketPlace in real life,’ you’ll find more details about the basics of the MarketPlace. And in the blog ‘How to install role-specific user interfaces in OneStream,’ you discover how the Actor Workspace improves the user experience of OneStream.
Any questions or suggestions for a MarketPlace solution you would like to read about? Don’t hesitate to contact me!
Do you prefer to discuss the details live? Finext organizes OneStream events on a regular basis. Please let me know if you’d like to receive more information about our events, and we’ll keep you updated.
Cannot wait for our live events? Don’t hesitate to contact me with your questions so we can plan a (web) session to answer any questions you have about OneStream and the MarketPlace.
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