In this blog post I intend to give an introduction on Hyperion Smart List on What They Are and How They Work. This will form a series of blog posts that I am dedicating to Smart List so it is therefore important to grasp the basics prior visiting the advanced.
What are Hyperion Smart List
My definition of a Hyperion Smart Lists is as follows: A Hyperion Smart List is a custom pre-defined drop-down list of possible values that can be selected for data entry by users on Hyperion Planning Data Cells.
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so let us paint a picture to help those less familiar with Smart Lists better understand what we are talking about. As an example you may have a Smart List called ‘Project_Manager_SL’ and this is assigned to an Account dimension member called Project_Manager; below this is illustrated to help show how this is possible.
By default the possible data types are as follows: Unspecified, Currency, Non-Currency, Percentage, Smart List, Date and Text. You can see from this list that the only option to allow the restriction of a specified list is to use a Smart List. In our example if we were to allow the user to enter Project Manager details as Texts we put the system at the users control to do things properly and accurately. For example, if the user was to put a Project Manager data entry for Anakin Skywalker what format would he use (‘Skywalker, Anakin’, ‘Anakin Skywalker’ or ‘Darth Vader’) and would he confirm that Anakin Skywalker still exists as a valid Project Manager before his entry. Therefore we go back to our definition, A Hyperion Smart List is a custom pre-defined drop-down list of possible values that can be selected for data entry by users on Hyperion Planning Data Cells. We would recommend text types for areas where a user will be inputting information in a commentary style format that is not pre-defined or controlled.
How do Hyperion Smart Lists work?
As you may or may not know Hyperion Planning uses both a relational database and a multi-dimensional database. The relational database predominately hosts product configuration, security definitions, application metadata and settings and the multi-dimensional database hosts the data. Smart Lists function with a bit of both, to explain let us illustrate how this works.
In the above example, a User may select Anakin as the Project Manager in the form, but the value will be stored as 1 in Essbase. This demonstrates the power of Smart List and Hyperion Planning in general from a backend perspective in using the capability of both the Relational and the Multi-Dimensional Essbase to achieve best useability of the Product for users.
You can see from above why this is such a powerful feature especially when users want to work and apply logic on information that is pre-defined and in format the user can easily use.
TIP / HINT: if you create a Smart List and it does not appear in Planning Forms or Smart View, check / update the evaluation order; remember the dimension order determines the precedence when multiple data types intersect. Data types associated with the first dimension in the list take precedence over data types associated with subsequent dimensions.
In the next few blogs I will be covering more in-depth concepts in the Smart List space, till then, happy learnings and the force is with you….