This public university is part of the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center and one of the nation’s Top 10 public research universities. Since graduating its first medical students in 1960, the College has graduated more than 5,000 physicians. The college is comprised of 28 clinical and basic science departments and staffed by more than 1,400 faculty members.
For several years, the university had been using Hyperion Planning and Essbase for operating expense, tuition and revenue planning, and Hyperion Enterprise for the consolidation of actuals across multiple colleges and departments. And with each college’s unique operational requirements, many Finance users were constrained by standardized hierarchies and limited position planning capabilities utilized by the overarching university Hyperion system.
The Hyperion environment had become bloated and complex with planning applications built for more than 24 departments and tons of "shadow" Excel® spreadsheets, which compromised critical university data. They were no longer receiving support from Oracle and were experiencing some issues with performance, which includes duplicated processes. The university was ready to replace Hyperion and modernize their CPM processes.
The university met with Oracle to discuss upgrading to Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) and their cloud solutions (EPBCS and FCCS). "I’ve had extensive experience with Hyperion implementations in the past," said Associate Director FP&A. "We really liked OneStream™ Software’s unique approach to take Hyperion Enterprise, Essbase, and Planning applications, and roll those together into a single platform. We had no interest in supporting a bunch of moving parts, and with OneStream our data could live together."
Initially, the university focused on OneStream’s consolidation functionality as a replacement of Hyperion Enterprise. However, their FP&A team was impressed by what OneStream offered for budgeting, planning and forecasting. "Over the past decade, we created unique Essbase planning apps for each department to reflect the main university’s accounting needs," said the Associated Director FP&A. "Because these apps didn’t meet the individual colleges’ departmental needs, we ended up creating shadow systems in Excel® that get pitched over to Hyperion Planning. Hyperion Planning became a bloated data repository which required a lot of maintenance so we were very intrigued by OneStream’s Extensible Dimensionality®."
OneStream’s Extensible Dimensionality® would allow the university to provide multiple colleges and departments the capability to budget at hierarchal levels pertinent to them. Ultimately, the university decided to replace their Oracle Hyperion suite with OneStream and acquire the unique ability to manage both higher education and health care requirements in one platform.
Phase 1 of the implementation was a lift and shift from Hyperion Enterprise for consolidation and financial reporting. A PeopleSoft ERP shop, the university uses Excel®, Microsoft® Dynamics, and several other source systems to load different sets of data independently of each other into OneStream. This created a structured patchwork quilt of GL and operational data, allowing the university to improve the tracking of metrics for their College of Medicine, for example, including number of visits, type of patient, insurance information and more. For the universities 125+ users, OneStream provides complete confidence and control of their data at the transactional level for simplified maintenance in a more intuitive CPM platform.
In Phase 2, the university tackled actuals, budgeting and planning. Because each college requires their own unique data, a certain hierarchy had to be in place to report and plan for students and revenue aspects versus professor salaries and student tuition. Extensible Dimensionality® gave the university the ability to implement operational relevancy into their departments. The sub-cubes were aligned to each individual college with a consolidating cube to view the parent organization. This enables each individual college to go through its own consolidation, planning and budgeting activities for each period.
With OneStream, the university was also able to add needed functionality for long-term planning for 25,000 employees by leveraging OneStream’s unique technical capabilities around Relational Blending, which brings relational and multi-dimension cube data into the same unified platform.
With an extensive use of data connectors querying outside databases, the university is benefiting from robust and dynamic reporting calculations. This includes PeopleSoft, MS Dynamics and Epic for clinical data, and the university uses OneStream’s Extensible Dimensionality® for visibility into their clinical, accounting, classroom and hospital needs. The dimensionality ties together various in-depth data sources for much more timely analysis of their data—saving a lot of time. With Hyperion, the university would have to deliver and manage numerous applications to accommodate the various processes, colleges, and departments. But OneStream has allowed the university to see both a reduction in the amount of time to complete their budgets, and significant performance gains in query and reporting times.
"We budget salary and patient care revenue at the employee level, and we get a lot of requests to add new employees to the system," the Associate Director of FP&A said. "In Hyperion, we would have to take everyone out of the system, import the SQL table, and re-deploy the application. If we were adding just one employee, it would take 3.5 hours. Now with OneStream’s Metadata Manager, the process is similar, but it only takes five minutes to update the entire employee database, without removing anyone from the system."
Through the OneStream MarketPlace™, the university has gained the flexibility to add additional solutions to the OneStream platform at no additional cost. To date, the Finance teams is leveraging several MarketPlace solutions, including Data Entry 123, Diagnostics 123, Metadata Manager and Parcel Service. "The Metadata Manager is a very efficient tool which has really helped us update our data in bulk," said Application Developer Analyst, FP&A. "Best of all, we didn’t have to purchase another point solution; it was simply added from the MarketPlace which is a huge benefit in the unified OneStream platform."
The university is so comfortable and confident in OneStream that they look forward to further expanding their capabilities and functionality. They’re looking at creating multiple forecast scenarios in OneStream and have expressed the intention to extend the platform to the various colleges and departments to deliver operational relevance and eliminate the continued "shadow system" proliferation.
Implementing OneStream has been a beneficial decision from a technical perspective as well. "The upgrade efficiencies with OneStream are light years ahead of Hyperion," said Application Developer Analyst, FP&A. "Upgrading the OneStream platform takes about an hour compared to days or even an entire weekend with Hyperion."
In addition, OneStream’s dashboard functionality has enabled the university to better control the user experience. "The ability to deliver a solution that we can reuse and extend is by far the most significant value to us," the Associate Director of FP&A said. "We see the value of workspaces and workflow functionality to guide and protect the users through controlled and repeatable processes. I’ve already received requests from our other schools interested in OneStream, and we believe that our foundation is sound to accommodate future expansion."
OneStream Software provides a market-leading intelligent finance platform that reduces the complexity of financial operations. OneStream unleashes the power of finance by unifying corporate performance management (CPM) processes such as planning, financial close & consolidation, reporting and analytics through a single, extensible solution. We empower the enterprise with financial and operational insights to support faster and more informed decision-making. All in a cloud platform designed to continually evolve and scale with your organization.
OneStream’s Intelligent Finance platform can easily be extended with over 50 solutions from the OneStream MarketPlace. These downloadable solutions are fully battle-tested and optimized for the OneStream platform. They allow customers to easily extend the value of their investment to meet the changing needs of finance and operations.
For more information, please visit OneStream Software https://www.onestream.com or on Twitter @OneStream_Soft.
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