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Friday, August 16, 2013

Variance Reporting - How to do it - Part I

Looking at the word Variance Reporting reminds us about the @VAR and @VARPER functions available in Essbase with which you can do variance reporting. One of my good friend wrote a blog post how to perform variance reporting Here.

I would not re-invent the wheel but rather would speak about what are the different ways of performing variance analysis. I would split this in to three parts and woudl cover the basics in Part I.

These days, Essbase applications are not used just for analysis and reporting. They are used even for Planning, Forecasting and Actuals for baseline. It so happens that you might have to do a lot of Variance Reporting and it is not just restricted to Act Vs Bud but rather a more complex and advanced way of variance reporting.

We have recently upgdraded our application from sys9 to EPM11 and we were given requirement to build pre-built reports using Hyperion Financial Reports which they are currently using in Excel and they are even doing Variance Analysis in Excel which might go wrong somewhere in reporting.

So, we have proposed that we would build Variance reporting scenarios that would help them to retrieve the data from essbase rather than performing variance analysis in Excel.

 So, The Next Questions that comes is, How many such Variance Scenarios would I need?

Well, it depends on what type of data you are loading (Actual, Plan & forecast). You can categorize the Variance Reporting as
  1. Variance Reporting across Time Periods
  2. Variance Reporting across Scenarios (Actual, Plan, Forecast)
It so happens that users might request to have [1] and [2] and Q-T-D and Y-T-D level also. So, make sure that your application can handle Q-T-D and Y-T-D Reporting.

Have a checklist prepared and write down how many Variance Reporting scenarios would you require and check with the users.
Be prepared for the worst as users might come back tomorrow and say that may be "If i have this variance reporting then it would be good. Can you do it?" 
Once you have all the elements in place, it doesn't take much time to build as per the reporting requirements. Requirements and Design are important
In the next post, I will talk about more on how many would you need and how to approach for building.