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28 August 2011

More cool free stuff from Oracle -- Essbase advisors

Introduction

Can anyone picture me as Hannibal Smith, late of the A-Team?  No?  Why ever not?  I do so love it when a plan comes together.  

What’s the Plan, Stan?  Unless you are a New Zealander, that link isn’t going to be terribly helpful.

Nope, the plan is to have people (you know who you are, and thanks) send me material for this blog so I don’t have to strain my brain trying to come up with interesting content.  And oh, this one is interesting.

More cool free (so long as you are a customer or partner) stuff from Oracle #3

Oracle Support has always had a lot of good Essbase information buried in its vaults – knowledge base articles that:  highlight the most common and popular product questions, list resources, illustrate good practices, highlight troubleshooting tips, cover the seemingly never ending installation and configuration issues that clog up OTN and Network54, review upgrade steps, figure out what release of what works with what, and generally advise on how to get the most out of Essbase.  It’s all in there, but scattered amongst many documents.

The solution

Oracle has brought all of the above into a new document, Overview Advisor: Oracle Hyperion Essbase [ID 1344571.2].

This is pretty awesome stuff, as that advisor, in addition to its great information also links to:

No more complaints about not being able to find cool Essbase information in a central location, right?

Let’s sample just one of the links

There’s way too much good information going on here for me to try more than one – and get this – the content changes as new information comes in so any attempt by me to list it all would be quickly out of date.  

Regardless, to give you a flavor of this, I’m going to cover the articles by topic in just the Troubleshoot Advisor.

Troubleshoot Notes


Problem Solution Documents


Reference Articles


Diagnostics


Popular Solution Documents


Troubleshoot Community



The above is approximately 15% of the content available in the Essbase Advisor.  That yearly maintenance fee doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?  :)  

Conclusion

We really owe the folks at Support a big thank you for this – they’ve identified the most important and popular links and brought them all together in one spot.  That means you spend more time learning and solving problems and less time searching.  What’s not to love?  I can hardly wait for the Planning and ODI advisors.

20 August 2011

Quand Le Monde Parlait Essbase en Francais

When the world spoke Essbase in French

Introduction

With apologies to Marc Fumaroli, did you know that French was once the world’s, ahem, lingua franqua?

French?  Cameron?  Mais bien sûr.  Have you ever gazed upon my Gallic nose?  Am I not the modern Jean Gabin of Essbase?  Non?  C'est juste trop mauvais.  

Okay, enough with my French ancestry (all-American mutt at your service) and my love of French cinema – why am I going on and on about this?   

An exciting new book

I won’t admit to how long ago I stopped my French lessons – let’s just say it was a long time ago.  And that’s a pity, not just because it highlights my ignorance, but because I can’t read an exciting new book titled Oracle Hyperion Essbase:  Master the world of analysis and performance management.  That link takes you to the translated version, here’s the real deal.  The printed copy is €51.30, the electronic copy is €43.20.

An important note – those Euros you see next to the book are not because I’ve upped sticks and moved back to Europe – this book is in French and you better be able to read it without recourse to a French/English dictionary.  It’s going after the not inconsiderable Franocphone market.  And remember, in the Old World, people aren’t completely monolingual like we Yanks, so the market is somewhat greater than the former French Empire.

Who wrote it?

Network54’s very own  Sébastien Roux, along with coauthors Wojtex Janeczek, Antoine Dinimant, and Laetita Terlutte.  

What’s it all about?

From the back cover


This book about Oracle Hyperion Essbase (addressing versions 6, 7, 9 and 11) is intended for all people in the world of analysis and BI: for IT professionals on the one hand, for business people on the other (finance, FPM, analysts, and so on), without any pre-requisite IT or accounting skill. Essbase original technology, based on multidimensional (OLAP) modeling, eliminates the gap between IT and business people and places them on a similar level. The book thus starts from a beginner level, let the reader come in where he wants, and drives him throughout the software to an advanced level.


The approach is resolutely educational and is based on examples and case studies. Each chapter, designed as a course, presents Essbase various features through examples. A dozen workshops, spread at chapter endings, gives some practice with the chapter’s key notions. All exercises have detailed answers, with not only the key but also the reasoning. Exercise files are available for download from www.editions-eni.fr.


This book walks you round the whole Essbase solution, from designing a model common to users and techies, to the most advanced features of version 11.


The four authors, who have experienced very different educations, are recognized Essbase specialists, each of them being (or having been) consultant as well as trainer; which ensures the dual technical and educational expertise necessary for such a book. The variety of their professional and educational experiences reflects the versatility of Essbase and allows them to encompass all aspects of a very rich software.


The table of contents (in English, remember, this book is in French)

  • Foreword
  • Introduction: Essbase and BI systems
  • Part One: BSO architecture and use
    • Modelize an Essbase cube (Workshop: modelize a cube from users’ reportings)
    • Create the Essbase cube (Workshop: create the Country dimension with alternate hierarchies and Shared Members)
    • Automatic dimension building (Workshop: build dimensions, alternate hierarchy and alias table)
    • Data Import (Workshop: load free-form, load with DLR)
    • View Data with the Excel Add-in (Workshop: common errors, create reports with mouse only, use Member Selector)
    • Other Excel tools (QD, Smart View, Visual Explorer)
    • Advanced Export and Reporting (Report Scripts, DATAEXPORT, etc.)
  • Part Two: BSO calculation
    • Dense and Sparse
    • Dynamic Calculation and Formulas (Workshop: moving periods with years outside Time dimension)
    • Calc scripts (Workshop: sample budget planning)
    • Calculation commands, operators and functions
    • Advanced outline features (Workshop: Varying Attributes)
    • Currency conversion
  • Part Three: ASO cubes
    • Create and modelize an ASO cube (Workshop: migrate our sample cube from BSO to ASO)
    • The MDX language in Essbase (Workshop: drills on formulas and queries)
    • Parameter and optimize an ASO application
  • Part Four: Essbase administration
    • Administer, copy and backup cubes
    • Essbase native security and security filters (Workshop: filters vs access levels, Essbase styles, Metaread)
    • Security with Shared Services
    • Partitions
    • Optimisations
  • Part Five: Program Essbase
    • Administration languages : MaxL and ESSCMD
    • Essbase and Visual Basic (Spreadsheet Toolkit, API – workshops : one button to refresh all tabs, custom VB form)
    • Essbase and Java (JAPI, CDF)
  • Appendices
    • Install Essbase on your computer
    • Essbase Studio
    • The Oracle Hyperion suite
    • Third-party tools and applications
    • Application Manager: Essbase 6 administration console
    • References


Conclusion

It’s a clever approach:  write it from beginner to expert so readers can pick what they want, use examples and case studies via workshops, have exercise files available for download, and approach it from multiple levels and perspectives courtesy of the different experiences of the authors.  It’s quite an accomplishment and knowing Sebastien as I do, it can only be good for those of you lucky enough to read French.

And oh yes, any book that shows you how to keep on using the beloved Application Manager has got to be awesome.

One more thing:  Sebastien knew I’d give a good review when he described me as “expert Essbase et Planning et gros contributeur des forums”.   :)

11 August 2011

My take on the most awesome conference, anywhere, ever, ban none

Yeah, I liked it

The one or two regular readers of this blog who aren’t my direct relation may have wondered why I’ve not written about my quaint and curious experiences at that most excellent of all Oracle conferences, KScope11.

In fact I did write about it, quite a bit actually, on the flight back from Long Beach.  As I am not in the President’s or Admiral’s Club (Naval rank for an airline’s frequent travelers lounge is something I’ve never understood unless the plane has one of these Fly Navy signs on the side.  Were it labeled the Air Commodore’s Club it would at least be the right Service.  Such are the mysteries of marketing to a moderately-logical geek.) I was in steerage and didn’t even try to take out my laptop in the cramped confines of an airline seat.  Once home, I was just too darn tired to type in what I wrote out on foolscap, other blog posts came up, and although I intended to get around to writing it up for this blog, I just procrastinated.  Why try to dissemble?

But I was called to task by Mike Riley, Oracle ACE, President of ODTUG and all around nice guy when he asked for a paragraph from each member of the board re their impressions of KScope.  As per usual, once started I was a perpetual motion machine.  Without any further preamble, read it and weep at the ODTUG blog right here