After having a small break from EPMA, I’m back on an EPMA-based project. I’m now re-realizing my frustrations with the tool. While it does have its pros, the tool is not intuitive or easy to navigate. In educating others on how to most effectively and efficiently use this tool, I realized some of the following tips and tricks are good to share with the general web audience.
- Set as Primary
At times you may have a shared member get loaded as the first listed instance of that member. Essbase will obviously not allow that and EPMA will catch that as an error and not allow the application to be deployed. So how can you easily set the first instance of that member to the primary instance instead of the shared? You do not need to delete the shared member then cut the primary member from the second instance and paste it into the primary location. All you need to do is right click on the first instance of the member and click “Set as Primary”. This will reset that member to the first instance and all other instances to shared.
- Selecting Top Members
If you are sharing a dimension with HFM, especially, you may have a parent member under the dimension name…so a parent with just one child. That child may not need to be in Essbase…just the child’s children (get it?). So, how can you exclude the member below the dimension name, but include all of its children? In your application in the Dimension Library, right-click on the dimension name and click “Select Top Members” and you can choose what members will roll up into the dimension name, bypassing HFM’s requirements for a top member(s) rolling up to the dimension name. You can choose whatever level or members that you would like…you are not limited to the first child’s children.
- Exclude Member
A misconception that I see often is that people think that you must use the entire hierarchy in the Shared Library in an application or you must set the dimension to a Local dimension in the application since it is only a portion of what is in the Shared Library. Nope! This is one of the strengths of EPMA – you can exclude hierarchies or members. If you have a dimension with, say, 20 members but only want to keep 4…in two different hierarchies…no problem…just select the member(s), right-click the member name(s) and choose “Exclude Member”. Voila!
- Grid Editor
Did you know you can select certain properties from a dimension and compare them/edit them? A prime example…say you are the Essbase developer on an EPMA project that is in tandem with an HFM implementation. You must bring over base currencies for each member in the Entity dimension based on the HFM currency so that you can do your own currency translations. It is VERY tedious to use the Dimension Library to go through each and every member, see what the base currency is in the Consolidation drop down of the member’s Property View then switch over to the Essbase (xSO) drop down to enter the UDA for the currency. How about this… In the Shared Library, right-click on the Entity dimension and choose “Grid Editor”. It will ask you what properties you would like to view. To follow in line with our example, choose IDescendants of the top member, choose the currency property from the Consolidation menu and choose UDA from the Essbase (xSO) drop down. When you click Finish, you will be brought to a screen where the two properties can be seen side by side. You can edit the properties directly in the Grid Editor and it saves back to the EPMA relational database. You are not limited to currencies & UDAs, you can also choose aliases, consolidation, etc. Saves lots of time!
Sometimes (understatement) EPMA can be difficult and finicky. If you are having issues deploying an application and are getting weird errors that you can’t figure out how to resolve, try running the application through EPMA Diagnostics. What is particularly nice about this option is that EPMA will offer to fix the resulting problem (if one exists) for you. To run these diagnostics, in the Application Library, right-click on the application name and choose “Diagnostics”. A screen will open with many options – I always choose to run all the tests to make sure everything is checked. If something fails, you will see a “Failed” on the screen and have the option to fix the issue.
- Dimension Order in the Dimension Library
One thing that frustrates me about loading new dimensions to the Shared Library is how EPMA just adds them to the bottom of the dimension list. Lazy. What if you have 20-30+ dimensions and need to find one dimension in the sea of dimensions that are in no particular order? At the top of the screen in the Dimension Library, choose View -> Dimension Sort Order. From here you can choose how you want to see the dimensions listed. Please note that this is a session setting and will not still be applied the next time you login to the Dimension Library.
- Dimension Folders in the Shared Library
What if you wanted to group together certain dimensions in a folder so that your Shared Library list isn’t so long? You can create folders in the Shared Library for just that reason. In the Shared Library, right-click in the white space and choose “New -> Folder”. Give your folder a name then add your dimensions to the folder. Easy organization!
Wildcard Member Searching
What if you need to do a search for a particular member but can’t remember the specific name of the member? You can use wildcard searching in the Dimension Library to search for your item. Say you want to find “Salmon” in a dimension called “FavoriteFoods” but didn’t remember that there is an “L” in salmon? You can right-click on the dimension name and choose “Find Members”, choose if you want to search by Alias or by Member Name then enter, say, “Sa*” to find “salmon” vs “samon”. You will need to choose if you want to see the members in a list on the right side of the screen or navigate to the first member with that listing. This may not be the best because the first member that could show might be “SarahsVeganBurritoBowls”. You can also place the asterisks in front of the portion of the member name you are searching for in the dimension.