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27 May 2014

I need your help to put Oracle EPM on the spot at Kscope14

Why help out?  

This year, Thursday at Kscope14 is going to be different than years past.   What do I mean by that?  Simply that instead of the normal fare of technical session after technical session, ODTUG is trying something different this year on the last (sob) day of the conference – deep dives into technology.  These are longer and different in focus sessions that allow you, the Kscope14 attendee, to really get to the very heart of whatever tool or track tickles your geek fancy.

What that means is that there are sessions on:

And a panel session on Good ‘Ol Planning consisting of the Planning and Essbase product managers, hosted by none other than yr. obt. svt.

What’s it all about, Cameron?

I am so glad you asked – the Planning Deep Dive is your chance to ask direct, possibly slightly painful, and definitely interesting questions to both Gabby Rubin, Essbase product manager, and Shankar Viswanathan, Planning product manager.  

Huh, you say (you do say this, right?), what’s the Essbase product manager doing at a Planning deep dive session?  Remember, Essbase is at the heart of Planning, so asking why Planning does this or that without asking why and how Essbase does the same thing is all a bit pointless.

Gabby and Shankar graciously accepted the chance to be mercilessly grilled by you.  What I mean is that this is a panel of two (Gabby and Shankar) with me as moderator, and you get to lob questions, hopefully difficult and maybe a little painful, directly to them.  Oracle of course has the option to grin or grimace at you and then refuse to answer your question but I have found that typically Oracle are quite open.  It at least ought to be entertaining.

What I plan on asking them

As you will see, I am not exactly pulling my punches.  These are items of intense interest to me, and I suspect many in the Hyperion Planning world:
  1. When will Hybrid Essbase be certified for Planning?
  2. Why can’t we report on attribute dimensions via Planning data connections; this is especially puzzling in the light of ASO Planning and ASO Essbase’s superior attribute performance.
  3. Why is ASO Planning not an Essbase data source?  Again, attribute dimensions work so much better in ASO than BSO – it is very puzzling.
  4. Planning seems to be the engine that drives Essbase sales, yet Essbase functionality appears to be influenced by OBIEE.  Why?  How is Planning impacting Essbase’s future direction?  What about other tools?  Will Essbase retain its EPM focus or become just another component of the Oracle database?
  5. ASO Planning allows (by Planning standards) huge databases, yet Planning’s administrative performance cannot keep place, e.g., extraordinarily long dimension build (and even longer delete) times, slow refreshes, and poor form execution.  How will Planning’s performance improve?  When?
  6. Planning and Essbase have at least seven (EPMA, EAS, Studio, Classic Planning, Outlineload, ODI, BIFS, and I’ve likely forgot a few) ways to build dimensionality and load data.  Each method has its merits, each has its weaknesses.  Why isn’t there a single optimized metadata and data management tool?  Or at least fewer ones.
  7. Documentation for the EPM schemas stopped with 11.1.2.1.  Are there any plans for releasing new schema maps or is that someone’s KScope15 session?
  8. When, when, when will SQL be used to read and write Essbase data and metadata aka when do Load Rules die?
  9. When will BSO Essbase perform the following using the Hybrid engine:  Attributes, Time Balance, Cross dimensional references, and add all of the Calc Script functions?
  10. It appears as though many aspects of Essbase (Exalytics-only functions) and Planning (tied more and more closely to EBS and Fusion) are losing their technology-agnostic nature, historically one of the benefits of the Oracle Hyperion EPM technology stack.  Are we looking at a future in which the EPM suite only works on Oracle hardware and with Oracle back-end software?

But those are just my questions.  I don’t actually expect to get answers to all of the above (I think they alone could fill our two allotted hours but I am a firm believer in over-preparing), but you now have an insight of the EPM Mind of Cameron.  It’s not too scary, is it?

Shankar and Gabby didn’t actually agree to me as Privy Councilor for a Planning-themed Star Chamber.  The Planning Deep Dive is your opportunity to ask your questions to the very people who define the future of Planning and Essbase.  

How you will ask questions before and during the Deep Dive

I have a sneaking suspicion that you will have many, many, many questions and I want to give everyone a fair chance at them.

While I will be taking questions in the normal way during the session, i.e., you raise your hand, ask the question, I repeat it, and maybe Oracle answer it, that approach single threads the Q&A process and doesn’t necessarily let the best ones bubble to the surface.  

To try to get round that, I am asking that you send your questions now, yes right now, to the following Twitter hashtag:  #PlanningDeepDive.  Before the conference, I will monitor that tag for your oh so valuable questions.  During the Deep Dive session I (or more likely a “lucky” volunteer as I cannot walk and chew gum at the same time) will monitor the same.  I (we?  confusing isn’t it?) will see if they share common themes and guide the discussion around those lines.

And that’s it

I think this will be a lot of fun, perhaps even for two very brave (and very generous) Oracle EPM product managers.

Yes, there are lots of other cool things going on at the same time (as always, I wish there was a way to attend, oh, the Planning, Essbase, Business Intelligence, EPM Foundations, and BI/EPM Reporting Deep Dive sessions all at the same time but of course that just can’t be) but I think what the Planning track has on offer simply isn’t matched anywhere else on Thursday.  

If you don’t show up, I will of course be crushed, but then again I will have two rather hard to reach Oracle PMs at my mercy to ask, whine, and beseech about the future of the two tools that have come to define my (and very likely your) career.

This will of course be more meaningful if you do attend – you will have insights, concerns, and questions that I could never come up with.  Your participation is key to the success of this session.

In case you can’t tell, I am tremendously excited by this opportunity as I think this will be a dynamic, exciting, and educational session like no other at Kscope and one that will be driven by you, the audience member.

Join us, won’t you?

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