Extensible Dimensionality – The Secret Sauce For A Unified CPM Approach

By Darshana Sanghavi

Managing Director APAC, B-eye Solutions

Typically, organizations have a planning solution and a consolidation solution. There are two separate applications for each of these business use cases. 

Why do they have two applications? There could be many reasons and here are some of them:

  • The organization started with planning and then realized they need consolidation also. However, their planning solution could not do legal consolidation.
    How the FP&A team does planning is not the same as consolidation. Planning is more detailed by products, customers and cost centers and the view for planning is different from consolidation.

  • Planning was needed with more granularity than consolidation.

  • Similarly, data required for planning was different from consolidation.  

After doing the above, one still sees scenarios like the following:

  • Business segments handle their operational planning and reporting in spreadsheets with additional required details. Data is then summarized / aggregated and uploaded into the corporate CPM application. This may seem to be a cost-effective approach but there is additional time and manual effort involved in data collection and manipulation. This makes the data highly prone to errors.

  • Also, there may be more than one planning application for the business segments to meet segment-specific issues. There could also be different applications for various operational planning models.

  • These may also be on different point solutions for which the business segments have to prepare data for the corporate application.

Then, there is a need to compare plans / forecasts / budgets with Actuals which involves more steps and potential challenges:

  • Data needs to be moved between planning and consolidation applications.

  • The chart of accounts of the two applications are not in sync, requiring mapping logics

  • The product structures are not same, requiring placeholder products in the other system

  • The calculation logics of the two systems are not in sync

The major drawback of such a fragmented approach is that the corporate finance team loses visibility into the details such as what drivers have been used to derive the budget financials.

This also leads to the following situations:

  • Maintenance of master data for two different applications – dimensions, logics, security

  • Data reconciliations issues when moving data between applications as the master data is not connected

  • Mapping / Transformation tables to be maintained

  • No real-time access to data as it is being sourced from another application

So how can all these be avoided?

The short answer is to have both FP&A and consolidation teams not only on the same platform but also in the same application.

We have customers who have moved from multiple different EPM solutions to a single application in OneStream. In fact, this is the case for most of the OneStream customers.

The key differentiator of OneStream that allows customers to achieve this single application is Extensible Dimensionality®.

Inheriting standard dimensions from the corporate level and using Extensible Dimensionality® allows business units to extend those dimensions to meet their required processes, reporting and analytical needs. This allows for operationally significant details for the business units. At the same time, the corporate team has control of the overall process. 

The diagram below shows an example of how a certain account can be extended across business units such as a service business unit vs. a manufacturing business unit. Also, it can be extended across the Actual and Budget scenarios.

Extensible Dimensionality.jpg

Property & copyright of OneStream Software LLC

Gross Sales for Actual scenario has required details for each business. Similarly, the Gross Sales for Actual vs Budget meets the different requirements for the Services business unit.

This is how we approach it in OneStream: 

  • Extensible Dimensionality® is able to inherit Dimensions and extend them. In the example above, there are four different Account Dimensions that inherit from each other like this:

    • Corporate Accounts

      • Manufacturing Accounts (Actual)

      • Services Accounts (Actual)

        • Services Accounts (Budget)

Corporate Accounts is the main chart of accounts. Manufacturing takes that Dimension and extends it to add its own accounts. Note that what is in Corporate Accounts cannot be changed. Services also takes Corporate Accounts and extends it to meet its needs for the Actual Scenario. This is further extended to meet its need for more detail in its Budget Scenario through the Services Budget Accounts Dimension. 

  • In OneStream, there can be multiple cubes in a single application. Different Cubes can be assigned with different Dimensions. Within a Cube, Dimensions can be different for each Scenario Type. In the above example, there are three Cubes: Corporate, Manufacturing, and Services. When looking at the Corporate Cube, data from the three Cubes is all there for analysis. In Corporate, the Corporate Accounts Dimension is assigned to all Scenario Types. In Manufacturing, the  Manufacturing Accounts Dimension is assigned to all Scenario Types. In the Services Cube, the Services Accounts Dimension is assigned to every Dimension with the exception of Budget, which is where the Services Budget Accounts Dimension is assigned. 

  • The Manufacturing and Services Cubes have their own respective Entity Dimensions referenced in the Corporate Cube. The Entity Dimensions tie the data together. 

Other Dimensions such as Flow and the User Defined Dimensions can also be extended and have flexible Cube assignment. 


Extensible Workflow

There can be different Workflow Profile hierarchies per Scenario Type which is defined at the Cube Level. For example, an Actual Scenario can be a centralized data load process, where in a single workflow, data for all entities can be uploaded and Forecast data can be uploaded by each entity through their individual workflows.

Due to this unique capability in OneStream, customers have reaped benefits by having not only Planning, Consolidation in a single application but also Account Reconciliation, Lease accounting, Profitability and Cost Management, Capex planning, People Planning, Tax Provisioning all in a single application. 

To know more, please feel free to write to me or leave us a message HERE

- Darshana