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Case Study

WindStream Oracle Hyperion Implementation

INNOVATIVE USE OF ESSBASE TO STREAMLINE AND CONNECT HYPERION FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT FOR ENHANCED FINANCIAL ANALYSIS

Windstream Communications is a publicly traded, leading provider of advanced network communications and technology solutions for consumers, businese, and carrier partners across the U.S. Windstream offers bundled services, including broadband, security solutions, voice and digital TV to consumers. The company also provides data, cloud solutions, unified communications and managed services to business and enterprise clients. Its service covers more than 8 million people in 21 states.

Windstream wanted to develop an improved planning, analysis, and reporting process to increase their analytic capabilities, generally. Windsream already had a complex Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) application, but continued to use manual processes to do analysis and planning. Two HFM applications handled over 20,000 accounts and 4,500 entities with at least 3,00 with different rollup structures. Analysis was done in HFM, then users were required to switch to different tools to launch queries of source data in order to support their analysis. In fact, data was loaded to HFM twice to show pro-forma and actuals, and, in some instances, plan data was handled in HFM. This was a manually-taxing process, and slowed FP&A analysts during their monthly forecasting cycle.

Overall, management reporting needs were difficult to handl, and drilling back into data was not efficient. With multiple Oracle Hyperion tools, Windstream needed a way to improve its analysis and reporting abilities.

Solution

MindStream was brought in to evaluate their current system. After an assessment, it was determined the HFM applications would need to be streamlined; it had too many accounts and overly complex rules (in one example, with the original setup, it was determined there was the possibility of 2 trillion combbinations for scenario modeling—for one scenario!). Hierarchies and dimensions needed to be reworked. Essbase, which allows for faster aggregation of data, was underutilized.

MindStream recognized the many opportunities for optimization on both a micro and macro level. As a result, the environment needed to be redesigned to efficiently use the breadth of Oracle Hyperion tools available. The redesign included consolidation and streamlining of accounts and dimensions, minimal Excel data loading, new Essbase cubes (utlilized as a data integration tool), and an implementation of Financial Data Quality Management (FDM, now FDMEE). The solution leveraged Oracle Essbase Analytics Link (EAL) for Hyperion Financial Management. The tool integrates and merges multiple operational data sources into a single data model, providing detailed information for analytical measurements, KPIs, and the application of advanced analytics. EAL was originally proposed in order to allow HFM and Essbase to stay in sync so that adjustments that would affect pro forma reporting would be in sync.

The use of FDM was critical for its ERPi tool, which allowed for drill back into source systems to display transactions that make up balances. MindStream took used this capability and combined it with a unique leverage of Essbase as a data integration tool. Using 2 Essbase databases to synchronize and aggregate data between HFM and Essbase, a unique EAL configuration, the solution effecitively created the ability to “drill into anything”—the solutions provided drill through capability from FDM into other sources beyond what the ERPi tool allows.

Results

With the new solution, planning could be done beyond HFM, allowing detailed drillback capabilities to drill through the general ledger Financial details. This created an enhanced environment for reporting, allowing the FP&A team to target and explain variances in their forecasting analysis, the original goal. Ulltimately, the project became an award-winning initiative. Proformative, a leading community of CFOs, recognized Windstream Corporation as the winner of its 2014 Award for Excellence for Most Effective Adoption of Technology by a Finance Organization for the project.The award recognizes finance organizations who collectively lead their company to the highest levels of performance in the arenas of risk management, cost reduction, operational efficiency, budgeting/planning and/or driving top line growth by transforming the office of the CFO. With MindStream as their guide and implementation experts, Windstream truly became a winner in data analysis and financial reporting.

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cleaver brooks

We chose MindStream because they had a strong emphasis on proactive support and monitoring inside the Hyperion applications, and will include maintenance of our existing Hyperion application artifacts. We chose a vendor who proposed both managed services and hosting, and demonstrated a productive working relationship with their hosting partner.

Brent A. Friedman
Sourcing Manager | Purchasing Services, The University of Pennsylvania

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