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Making Sense of the Multidimensional Nature of Data

Reporting Tips and Tricks
February 22, 2014 · By Chris Chase ·

Hyperion Financial Reporting (HFR) is a powerful tool that offers the ability to reduce closing cycles, improve transparency, expedite reporting, streamline compliance, and increase efficiency. Additionally, HFR provides a platform to build hundreds of dynamic reports in a relatively short amount of time. The following are a few tips and tricks that will reduce maintenance and allow you to meet complex reporting requirements:
1. Use text functions in areas such as headers, footers and text boxes. Text functions build dynamic reports that reduce maintenance and decrease report build time. For instance, the ReportName text function in a header updates the title of the report automatically based on the saved report name. So, if the file name ever changes, you insert a header as a saved object, or you create a new report based on the template of another, the report’s header is dynamic. Also, consider using text functions in grids to call on member names and aliases so that column and row titles inside of reports dynamically update.

2. Use saved objects to build and maintain reports. Saved objects allow you to build multiple reports fairly quickly. You can save objects to the repository to leverage them in other reports; for instance, it is best practice to create a common and consistent header across all financial reports using text functions.  If you save the header as a “Saved Object”, you can then insert the header object in any report without recreating it. Another commonly saved object is a Grid Object; multiple grids are necessary when building a butterfly report with monthly data on the left and YTD data on the right. Since all row members will be the same, create one grid, save it as an object, and insert it into the same report. Then, the only changes necessary are the column dimension members.

3. Use conditional suppression to build complex conditions. Conditional suppression allows you to build complex reports with little effort. By using conditional suppression, you can suppress rows or columns based on one, or many conditions. For example, within your company, you might want to see the average salary for full-time employees. In other words, if your position dimension is not structured by full-time, part-time, and contracted, you would want to use an attribute dimension then suppress everyone who is not full-time. You can also use multiple detailed grids to feed into a summary grid that leverages conditional suppression and only displays the data that you want to see. Although conditional suppression is useful, it can put a significant amount of strain on the reports server and slow the retrieval time of reports.

4. Build most calculations in Essbase. Hyperion Financial Reporting Studio offers a number of calculation functions, but they are processed on the reporting server.  This can be taxing on the performance of a report, especially if there are functions defined for multiple rows or columns. By leveraging Essbase as the calculation engine, users will experience quicker execution times, and it will reduce any future maintenance. Building most calculations in Essbase creates one area to manage and maintain formulas and reduces strain on the report server.

5. Limit conditional formatting. Conditional formatting can be a powerful tool but it should be used sparingly. It can slow report retrieval time when used with functions or in too many cells. Furthermore, Conditional Formatting cannot be reused in templates and it increases maintenance. Other options such as restructuring the report, using custom headers, renaming aliases or using text rows/columns should be explored before using Conditional Formatting.

Tags: Hyperion Financial Reporting (HFR)

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