From Assessment to Implementation: Hyperion Upgrade to Oracle EPM Cloud

It’s been said that all good things must come to an end. A global pharmaceutical company experienced this when Oracle announced that Premier Support for Hyperion Planning 11.1.2.4 would expire at the end of CY21 with no with no long-term options available for extended support. The pharma company had been successfully utilizing the Oracle solution with EPMA as its Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Master Data Management (MDM) platforms for financial planning and analysis (FP&A) and had to decide whether to upgrade to Oracle EPM Cloud or the new on-premise version of Hyperion 11.2, implement a different platform for EPM or stay on the existing platform. Two big disadvantages with the latter two options involved not investing in Oracle, the leader in the EPM Cloud space, and losing certification for browser, Microsoft Office, and security updates. To help make the decision and identify a replacement for the Hyperion solution to ensure the company was on a supported platform, some of its management team sought out assessment bids from several consulting firms. The industry knowledge and experience of Stratos Consulting was clearly evident in its proposal to the pharmaceutical leader. As one of the leaders of the company’s Financial Systems Support department explained, “The Stratos team truly understood the full scope of the project, including how we use the Hyperion solution and leverage it through multiple applications. While their competitors provided us with cookie-cutter answers to the problem we were facing, Stratos understood our potential change management challenges and gave us company-specific recommendations on how to address it.”

A Leader Among Competitors

A key challenge in the project was completing the upgrade with minimal impact to the pharma company’s busiest time of the year for FP&A, which is typically September through March. It was also essential that the company was on a supported EPM platform during the project to avoid any interruption(s) or risk(s) to key business-critical processes. Another part of the project was providing the pharma client with access to the latest functionality for enhancing business processes. They needed to implement EPMware to evolve its FP&A Master Data Management processes and replace the legacy EPMA product. EPMware also allowed for direct integrations with the financial data warehouse (FDW) and Oracle EPM Cloud. According to the Director of the Financial Systems Support department for the global pharmaceutical entity, “Stratos easily established themselves as superior to the other teams, and it was a widely-held company opinion to select them for this project. They took an objective approach to the assessment but helped us to make the decision to upgrade to Oracle EPM Cloud. It’s a world-class platform, and Oracle has been recognized by Gartner as a leader in the financial management space.” Oracle EPM Cloud will provide this pharmaceutical company with the scalability needed, especially as a shared services organization for multiple subsidiaries and affiliates. The platform will enable the business to continue to offer the same capabilities and maintain reporting hierarchies for its extensive financial dashboard solution in Tableau.

Coordinating a Multi-phase Project

Though Stratos’ assessment for this client was completed in May 2021, they were also selected to implement the new platform, a project that’s scheduled to be finished mid-year in 2022. Part of the process has included leading and managing discussions with the selected software vendors and holding meetings with the appropriate stakeholders to ensure everyone involved in the project understands its design and requirements. Another facet is sharing a detailed project plan to make sure necessary components were completed before a scheduled blackout period. This has enabled the pharmaceutical company to stay on top of any internal commitments and resource challenges emanating from its internal customer base.