Issue: Summer
2015 OAUG Insight magazine

Download the full article!



article appeared in the summer 2015 issue of
OAUG Insight magazine and is reprinted with permission.

Leveraging Oracle Hyperion EPM Technology
to Support Ongoing Growth

By Erik Torseth, HomeStreet Bank, and Leo Gonzalez, Key
Performance Ideas

HomeStreet Bank has made strategic investments in the Oracle
Hyperion EPM solution in order support ongoing growth, including the ability to
forecast expansion plans and expected financial results for one- and three-year
plans; develop a new method of forecasting production, staffing and commissions;
and provide new and improved management reporting capabilities, including
drill-through to transactional detail.

HomeStreet Bank is headquartered in Seattle, Wash., and
serves consumers and businesses in the Pacific Northwest, California and
Hawaii. The company has two primary business segments: Mortgage Banking, which
originates and purchases single family residential mortgage loans, primarily
for sale into the secondary markets; and Commercial & Consumer Banking,
including commercial real estate, commercial lending, residential construction
lending, retail banking, private banking, investment and insurance services.

The company has grown through organic growth as well as
several acquisitions. In 2013, the company acquired Fortune Bank and YNB
Financial Services Corporation and purchased two retail deposit branches and
related assets from AmercianWest Bank. Additionally, in 2015, HomeStreet Bank
merged with Simplicity Bancorp, Inc. and is now recognized as one of the
fastest growing financial services companies in the nation.

Due to the overwhelming growth, the company’s legacy
budgeting and forecasting system was extremely complicated, as illustrated in Image


The company realized it needed a new technology footprint to
manage constant change and selected Oracle’s EPM suite. HomeStreet Bank built a
three-phase plan to meet the demands of the business and users and included:

Phase 1: CEO Demands

  • Model expansion plans and expected financial results separately from “same-store”
  • Forecast complicated staffing and commissions.

Phase 2: Scenario

  • Forecast scenarios with and without acquisition by time.
  • Improve system performance.

Phase 3: BSO/ASO and

  • Drill into transactional detail. 
  • Complete new allocations.

Phase 1: CEO Demands

The CEO and the entire executive management team needed to
model expansion plans and required financial results, separate from “same-store”
growth, including allowing a split of existing (same store) vs. expansion (new
store) with the ability to report the split in the income statement. They
wanted to drive income statement accounts and results based on input from
users, i.e., percentage split for certain types of loans, runoff factors to
drive different types of loan commitments, targets and ending balances.
HomeStreet’s team leveraged Hyperion Planning and Essbase, as well as
Attributes, to support the required reporting.

The results of phase one’s Modeling Expansion plans resulted
in additional enhancements needed, as well as efficiency gains. Several over-engineered
models were simplified, including:

  • Loan production/volume entry. 
  • Number of loans calculations. 
  • Commissions model. 
  • Gain on sale model. 
  • Leverage detailed employee load to identify production volume type employees
    to support the Additional FTE and Compensation model.
  • Additional FTE and Compensation model.

Today, the CEO and executive team can report expansion plans
and expected financial results separately from “same-store” growth.  

Additionally, the acquisitions from the past years placed
extensive pressure to forecast the workforce accurately, both for the finance
team and each business unit. At the time Phase 1 began, HomeStreet Bank did not
have a human resources system in place, and the company was experiencing
several changes on how to complete commissions. Not only was the process very
complex, the estimations required new logic, Web forms and calculations.

The company leveraged the Workforce Planning module within
Hyperion Planning for a new method to forecast production, staffing and
commissions and built the solution to accommodate future employee growth. The
HomeStreet team simplified the overly complex commission model and discontinued
the old model. By removing offline, top-side adjustments previously calculated
by data owners, a new and improved process was developed designating production
volumes for employees.


Phase 2: Scenario

In phase two of the overall EPM implementation,
HomeStreet Bank wanted to create forecasting models in order to separate
acquisition scenarios. For example, if acquisition of bank A, B and C were to
occur at the same time, they needed to look at the financial impact of Bank A
vs. all three acquisitions. HomeStreet Bank was able to leverage the Hyperion
Planning and Essbase system to create forecasting reports that provided
visibility into different acquisition scenarios, as illustrated in Image 3.

Additionally, during Phase 2, HomeStreet engaged Key
Performance Ideas’ experience with Oracle EPM applications to improve the
overall system and provide users faster, real-time reporting. The experts at
Key Performance Ideas leveraged Essbase to load general ledger (GL) actuals.
This solution allows the CFO insight into financial performance during the
close process and also assists the accounting staff with the financial close

Phase 3: BSO/ASO and

The third phase of the Oracle EPM technology
implementation included the development of a block storage/aggregate storage
(BSO/ASO) hybrid reporting cube via Essbase. By implementing a BSO/ASO
solution, HomeStreet created a single platform for company-wide planning and
reporting to complete analysis needed when adding new locations. Users in every
cost center across the bank utilize the same reports, planning methodologies
and technology. This solution has streamlined and standardized the budgeting,
forecasting and reporting process. Additionally, the BSO/ASO solution simplified
the Planning application by removing all “overhead” from the month-end actuals
process and decreased down time for Planning users during month-end close cycle
maintenance. Plus, the company can now increase the frequency of GL actual
loads into Hyperion during the month-end close cycle.


illustrated in Image 4, not only did the creation of BSO/ASO via Essbase
support the integration of the EPM system, the company can now complete new
expense allocations and eliminate manual expense allocation processes completed
in the GL, as well as allocate expenses by head count and by location.
Additionally, HomeStreet now has the capability to drill into transactional
detail within the GL. Overall, the system provides better and faster reporting

Finally, Phase 3 also included the turn-key solution of
Drillbridge. Like many organizations, detail data that is consolidated and
loaded in an Essbase cube is not available to users querying the cube with
Smart View of Hyperion Planning. Drillbridge is a drill-through provider that
maps from dimensional intersections to data stored in any relational database.
It does not require changes to existing automation or administration and is
also easy to deploy. HomeStreet leveraged Drillbridge in order to provide the
ability to look up original details (such as transactions) behind summarized
data for their users.


Benefits Achieved

After years of growth, HomeStreet Bank realized it needed a
new technology footprint to manage constant change. By developing a three-phase
plan of implementing Oracle’s EPM suite of products, the company now has the
ability to forecast expansion plans and expected financial results for one- and
 three-year plans. The company developed
a new and improved method of forecasting production, staffing and commissions
and has improved management reporting capabilities, including drill-through to
transactional detail.


Lessons Learned

Several lessons were learned throughout each phase’s
implementation. Key to HomeStreet’s success was acknowledging that aligning
management expectations and development design would be difficult.  Therefore, it was critical to get all
stakeholders involved, gather all requirements and identify what the technology
could do for the entire organization. HomeStreet realized that the Oracle EPM
platform could do much more than what was initially expected, and engaging an
expert to match user demands with current investments was advantageous. Most
important, however, was executive management’s ownership of the overall
strategic investment to create a culture of accountability necessary for technology
investment realization. Finally, there is never enough communication!
Communication at all levels of the organization generated acceptance and willingness to
actively support the solution.

  • Critical to gather requirements before building

  • Alignment of management expectations and design
    difficult: Key is executive management ownership and communication!

  • Get all players involved and identify what the
    technology can do for entire organization.

  • Oracle EPM platform can do so much more than
    initially expected.

  • Engage an expert to match user demands with
    current investments.

Erik Torseth is a financial planning systems and reporting manager
at HomeStreet and is responsible for the management of all external and
internal reporting functions and Financial Planning & Analysis system.  He can be reached at
[email protected].

Leo Gonzalez  is an Oracle
Hyperion Essbase and Planning certified professional with more than 12 years of
application design, development, deployment and administration of Hyperion
Planning, Essbase, HFM, Financial Reporting, FDM and ODI.  He can be reached at
[email protected].



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