Want to hire me? For availability and scheduling please email info@arcepm.com

07 October 2011

Oracle Advisors for every purse and purpose

Introduction

You may have gathered that Oracle Support are doing some really exciting things around gathering their vast number of technical documents and organizing them into constantly updated guides into what Oracle calls their Advisors series.  I’ve highlighted the Essbase Advisor here and it is truly awesome stuff.  If you haven’t read that post, check it out and take a gander at the depth and scope of the articles.  I guarantee you there’s valuable information in there.

Want proof?  Check out Doug Burke of the ODTUG Hyperion SIG’s comment:

Thank you for sharing this valuable information. Very helpful!
Can you now find me the time to read it all?


Yep, it’s a little overwhelming, but in oh such a good way.  What?  You don’t like tested, quality, high value information?  Right, thought you did.

Be prepared for more overwhelming goodness

The Essbase Overview Advisor was good.  No, it wasn’t good, it was great.  Yes, I rather liked it.

What would you say (oh, I do love how I get to write leading questions) if I told you there was an Overview Advisor for:
Essbase (yes, I know, I already wrote about it, this is a bonus mention):  Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Essbase [ID 1344571.2]
Planning:  Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Planning [ID 1349181.2]
HFM:  Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Financial Management [ID 1344975.2]
FDM:  Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management [ID 1347925.2]
DRM:  Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management [ID 1354621.2]
Crystal Ball:  Overview Advisor: Oracle Crystal Ball [ID 1356689.2]
Strategic Finance:  Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance [ID 1357224.2]

“Thanks, Oracle Support,” comes to mind.  :)

Let the numbers do the talking

The large count of articles within these Advisors precludes highlighting individual articles.  Instead, let me give you a feeling for the scope of information the Advisors offer and see if that piques your interest:
AdvisorArticle count
Essbase128
Planning64
HFM94
FDM69
HSF65
Crystal Ball57
Total526


Over 500 articles full of tested and proven information from the vendor.  Yes, some of them are repeats across products, such as Internet Explorer (IE7, IE8 and IE9) Recommended Settings for Oracle Hyperion Products, because it relates to so many of the product suites.  Regardless, there is lots and lots and lots of good stuff in there.  

NB – I left Upgrade Advisor: Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) System Upgrade from 11.1.1.3 to 11.1.2.1 [ID 324.1] off of the above list because it isn’t so much a collection of articles but more a good practices guide for the upgrade of 11.1.1.3 to 11.1.2.1.

Where Oracle Support is going

Warning:  This is Cameron’s Speculation – I have no inside line as to what Support is going to do tomorrow, next week, or for the rest of time, or why they did or will do it, whatever “it” is.  The best way to find out what Oracle’s really thinking is to, well, contact Oracle.  If you’re interested in a semi-educated series of guesses and speculations, then read on, otherwise jump to the error handler and exit (oooh, a programming joke, scary).

My speculation hat is set firmly on my head

The problem

Support knew that they had lots of good information but customers and partners couldn’t find said information easily.  This meant that questions that had already been answered were getting asked again and again.  From an Oracle and customer/partner perspective this was silly and expensive.  Oracle has to pay Support people to answer the question, the customers/partners have to wait for a Service Request to make its way through the system, and all the time the answer is in a published Support article.  Why?

The solution(s)

Oracle then came up with a three-pronged approach to getting this information out to us:  Master Note Indexes, Advisors, and putting a human face to Support.

Master Note Indexes

Master Notes Indexes (Indicies?  Indexes?  I never get this one right) are collections of deep technical troubleshooting guides.  I wrote about them here.  They are Good Stuff.

Advisors

Advisors you’re reading about right now and are more organized around good practices, how-to, troubleshooting, installation and configuration, upgrade, certification, and performance guides.  There is some overlap with the Master Note Indices (Hah! I used the alternate word!), but not much.

Outreach

And then Support is really reaching out to the Oracle community through conferences such as ODTUG KScope and Oracle Open World.  This isn’t as direct as the above two initiatives, but in some ways is more interesting.  What I think Support is doing is trying to find out what customers and partners aren’t getting out of Support, why that’s happening, and what Support should offer.  They were at KScope11 in a big way with a Support panel session (nervously moderated by yr. obdnt. srvnt.), a Support genius bar where anyone could just walk up and ask some of the big Support guns any technical question under the sun, and participated in a couple of sessions (I understand that when My Man in California, Glenn Schwartzberg, saw Carol Crider of Essbase Support fame in the audience for his presentation, he just about had a heart attack.  Star Power at work as I know it takes quite a bit for Glenn to do more than his left-eyebrow-raised-when-oh-my-God-you-said-something-really-stupid-Cameron look.).

What does it all mean?

Support has moved in a new direction.  Where before Support was content (okay, I don’t know about contentment as that speaks to motive, but let me say that it looked like they were content) to let customers and partners find answers in the vast universe of support articles if they could, Support has now moved to a proactive approach where you are guided to the right answer.

What’s not to like?  That guidance means you find out as quickly as possible the right way to do something, fix a problem, or figure out the next steps that maybe means you really and truly do need to open a Service Request.

You may have noticed that Oracle’s EPM products aren’t becoming simpler over time.  Support has realized this and also figured out that they were sitting on a treasure trove of useful technical information that can help alleviate the complexity of the EPM platform.  We all benefit from their new approach.  

Don’t forget to let Oracle Support know that you’re happy with what they’re doing.  :)  I will.

No comments: