In this post, I will explore one of Oracle’s latest updates to their Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) offering, Sandboxes. With Sandboxes, you can enable multiple dynamically created versions that the planners can alter within the context of the form they are viewing. If they like what they see, they can then publish those Sandbox numbers back to the Base version. You can read the “About Sandboxes” in Oracle’s “Administering Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service Using the Simplified Interface”, https://docs.oracle.com/cloud/latest/pbcs_common/PFUSA/PFUSA.pdf.
In order to use Sandboxes you need to setup the application with this feature turned on, and it can only be used through the Simplified Interface. First, when you are creating your application within the simplified interface, you need to check the box next to “Enable Sandbox”.
When the application is created, you will notice a dimension you have never seen before, HSP_VIEW. You will also notice a member in the Version dimension named “Sandboxes”
These are created to house the sandbox data as users are entering it. The next step is to select which version will be considered the “Basis” version, or the version that all the what-if versions are based on. To do this, edit the Version and check the “Enable Sandboxes” option.
After you save this, you will notice there is now a “Sandboxes_Base” member underneath the “Basis” Version. Any user created Sandboxes will be placed under this member.
In order for the Sandbox functionality to work on a form, the Version dimension must be in the page drop down, or in the POV (as a user variable). Now when you open a form that has been setup properly, you will notice a green “+” sign to the far right of the screen, seen here on the same line as the “Base” version.
To create a Sandbox, simply press the green “+” sign, then you will be prompted to give your sandbox a name.
After supplying a name and selecting “Create” you will see the same form, but within the context of the Sandbox you just created. It may be hard to see, but “BestCase” is in bold to show that is not a standard version.
Behind the scenes, Planning has created a new version for you under the “Sandboxes_Base” member. This was dynamically created when we created the “BestCase” Sandbox.
Once you create a Sandbox, it will remain until you publish or delete it (by pressing on the “x” next to the Sandbox version name)
Adding some numbers and pressing save will illuminate the new/changed numbers in an almost dark yellow hue, which indicates the numbers that exist only in the Sandbox.
If I was to create another Sandbox of the Base version at this time, note the data entered in the BestCase Sandbox is not visible.
Note, if multiple users are working in the same area, they could both have their own Sandbox without knowing about the other. The NewBestCase Sandbox displayed above does not show the BestCase Sandbox values. However, if we were to publish the BestCase Sandbox, then you will see the BestCase numbers on the NewBestCase Sandbox.
After you publish the Sandbox, you will notice that the BestCase Sandbox is gone, and the values are now saved in the Base and NewBestCase versions.
Below are a few key considerations noted in the Oracle Sandbox documentation. I would highly recommend reading all of the documentation before implementing, but these are the most important ones to remember:
- Member formulas may be impacted by the new HSP_View dimension. To ensure that member formulas use the correct data for all versions, they must reference “ConsolidatedData”.
- When working in a sandbox, planners can add members, but those members aren’t added to the base version when the sandbox is published.
- In my examples I also had currency conversion working. Be sure to think about the business rules that are on the form before you enable this feature. It will have an impact on the users experience.
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