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Developer Secrets Revealed: The Best Methods to Import Data to Oracle EPM Cloud

When loading data from a flat file to Oracle EPM Planning Cloud, you have two options: the native “Import Data” capability or the “Data Management (DM)” solution. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, and this blog provides my recommendations on when to use which solution based on significant experience with Oracle EPM Cloud projects.


First, keep in mind we are talking strictly flat file data loads, since Import Data only works with these. If you need to load data directly from a source system, then Data Management is the solution.


Second, ask yourself if you need any of the extra functionality that Data Management provides. Import Data does one thing: it loads data. Data Management offers additional features, such as drill-through, which manipulates the data before it is loaded, as well as flexible file formats. If you need any of these things, then DM is your solution.


If you have a data file that is in the correct format for Import Data, does not need additional manipulation, and you do not need drill-through capabilities, either Import Data or Data Management is an option. To help choose which method to use, consider some pros and cons of the two methods.


Import Data Pros and Cons

Pros include:


1. Minimal configuration


Setting up an Import Data load is very easy, there are only six options to set and you are done:

Figure 1: The Import Data load easy-to-use solution.


2. Easy to run


Executing Import Data is also very easy! You can click on “Import” as soon as you configure the load, or you can save the configuration as a job and run it at later with a single click.


3. Data cannot load to the wrong period


Why this is even an issue is only apparent when we look at Data Management later, but for Import Data the data load is exactly as it appears in the file.


4. Errors are unambiguous


When a row of data fails to load, this throws an error. Again, why this is even an issue is only apparent when compared to Data Management.


Cons include:


1. Minimal log information on errors


The log messages are brief and often cryptic. Usually, you are given only an Essbase error code that you will need to research for more information. When using the Essbase file format, the load stops at the first error so you have no information on how many other errors may be in the file.


2. File format is rigid


Import Data only understands two file formats (Essbase and Planning) and the file contents must match the format exactly. There is no room for flexibility.


3. No data manipulation


Import data does one thing and one thing only: load data. The data in the file must be in a format suitable for Oracle EPM Planning Cloud or it will fail.


Data Management Pros and Cons

Pros include:


1. Flexible file format


Unlike Import Data, Data Management allows you to define your own file format.  This is particularly useful when you are using a file that you have no control over and must adapt to.


2. Data manipulation


If you are given a file and the data isn’t quite what is needed, Data Management gives you the ability to map data into a form suitable to Oracle EPM Planning Cloud. Again, very useful when you are given a file and you must make it work.


3. Informative log