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09 February 2015

ODI, Planning, Essbase, and the power of petitions

Update

Chris tells me that this support is now OFFICIAL.  Check out My Oracle Support document ID 1969035.1 for the real, honest-to-goodness, it's from Oracle statement of direction.  

Introduction
This is a guest post by Chris Rothermel, a very talented and passionate Oracle Data Integrator geek.  

Chris’ passion led him to (politely) take on Oracle Product Management and win.  That takes a fair amount of bravery and an awful lot of cheek.  Chris led, and Oracle listened.

As I’ve written before, I’m often pleasantly surprised at how an absolutely humungous multinational corporation actually listens to the opinions of its users and developers.  We’re lucky that Oracle has that culture.

With that, Chris take it away.

Victory!

I just closed this petition on Change.org requesting Oracle announce support for the Hyperion KMs for Oracle 12c.  The purpose of this guest blog is to share a little more of the history of our little grass roots movement.

It all started at KScope14 on Sunday June 21, 2014 in a large conference room in the Seattle Conference center.  In this large room I reconnected with clients, former colleagues, and several other people I’ve gotten to know through Network54, OTN, or ODTUG.  I was great to renew friendships in person and for the first time meet in person people I only know virtually like Cameron Lackpour.

Oracle’s PowerPoint presentation began with a slide declaring safe harbor.  They let us know they’re about to tell us some things about the direction of the EPM products but don’t bank on it or consider this conversation legally binding.  They talked about DRM, HFM, and Planning and there seem to be no great revelations or surprises.   

Next came the surprise statement, which went something like this:  “The Hyperion Planning and Hyperion Financial Management Knowledge Modules for ODI will not be supported in the next release of ODI.  However the Essbase Knowledge modules will definitely be available as it’s a key component used by BI for Essbase.”

Shock and awe, but mostly shock

I wondered how can this be?!  It seemed like just yesterday I read the product announcement for Oracle 11g which highlighted the adapters for Hyperion Planning, Financial Management, and Essbase.  What about Oracle’s statement that ODI is “a best-of-breed data integration platform focused on fast bulk data movement and handling complex data transformations.”  What ever happened to this talk that ODI is the integration tool of choice for Oracle products?  

Now have we been wrong to tell our customers to use it?  Let’s answer that for our customers:  No we have not been wrong as it really was the only choice Oracle had for classic Hyperion Planning.  It was the choice that was bundled with the product.  How can you make the wrong choice of integration tool if this is what the application solution provided for integration?

ODI and Planning’s history

Let’s now have a brief history of integration options for Hyperion Planning starting in with version 9.3.1 circa 2007.

  • Hyperion Application Link (HAL), a product by Vignette licensed and branded by Hyperion Solutions.
    • July 2009 HAL was removed from Oracle premium support
    • June 2010 HAL was removed from Oracle Support

  • Data Integration Management (DIM) aka Informatica’s PowerCenter rebranded by Hyperion before Oracle acquired Hyperion
    • This goes quickly out of fashion after Oracle acquired Hyperion and after Oracle buys Sunopsis

EPMA for Hyperion had some challenges in the early days and many people reverted back to Classic administration and used ODI with Classic.  The Hyperion ODI adapters can’t be used with EPMA, they’re designed just for classic.   

What is the frequency, Kenneth?

There are other products and frankly Oracle’s EPM Integration strategy has been very confusing.


Dismay, despair, and then hope

When we heard the Hyperion Planning Adapters would no longer be supported that added to the confusion and the frustration of the ever changing integration choice for Hyperion.  After the open session one of my clients approached me and said, “What will happen to all of the integrations you developed for us just a few months ago now that the Hyperion Planning Adapter is going away?”  I wondered the same and thought what a waste for clients like these who have invested the time to develop, test, and use ODI for their Hyperion operations.

I attended many sessions at KScope that week and connected with customers using ODI, consultants who use it, and even old friends from Oracle.  After one session the presenter and I talked about the disappointing news and other attendees got into the conversation.  We though maybe Oracle was not aware of the in depth use of the product and we should tell them.  So I collected some business cards from clients and also asked consultants which of their clients used the products and would be negatively impacted.  

Armed with the list of clients that would be impacted I let Oracle know that these clients would be dissatisfied.  I also joked that I would start a petition on Change.org.

Petition for redress

One day I got asked the question, “Where is the petition? We can’t find it.”  So maybe there was a need.  I created the petition with the deadline of December 31, 2014.  We got over 100 votes and generated some excitement with the comments.  

Our friends in Brazil, Rodrigo Radtke and Ricardo Giampoli, supported this petition in their blog DEVEPM.com.  They also discovered how to port the Hyperion Planning KMs to Oracle 12c.  

This taught us that having the Planning KMs in 12c wasn’t a technical issue.  So what’s the reason?  One issue is Oracle’s great interest in Cloud at the exclusion of others.  Another is Oracle’s lack of visibility to the product’s use because it is packaged as a limited use license with Hyperion.  Another is the excellent work that has been done with the OutlineLoadUtility (command line and web).  

Still it seems odd to have the KMs for Hyperion Planning and not for Hyperion Essbase.  Perhaps because Planning and Essbase are managed by two different departments each department made a different decision.  Furthermore ODI is in a different department as well.   To say Oracle has a lot of products would be an understatement.

I closed it because we just may have success for Hyperion Planning.  Here’s what I wrote earlier this month:


Hope for the future

I’m not Oracle and it will be interested to see exactly when this comes to fruition or if it does at all.  

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Cameron for encouraging me to pursue this and for this guest blog opportunity.   As Cameron says, “Be seeing you.”  More specifically I hope to see you at ODTUG’s KScope15.  Last year was my first KScope and I was blown away.

So where do we go from here?

It’s awfully gratifying to be the platform for this announcement.  ODI is a great tool and I’m very glad that it will remain part of the EPM toolkit.

Chris Rothermel, Oracle ACE

As for yr. obt. svt.’s role in this, I think Chris is giving me entirely too much credit.  He came up with the idea, he organized it, and he brought it to Oracle’s attention.  Chris worked for you, oh Best and Brightest.  Personally, I think this kind of advocacy is the kind of act that suggests that Chris is Oracle ACE material.  Yes, Chris, I know, you’re a modest guy.  Don’t be, at least in this case.  I wouldn’t write this if I didn’t think you were more than qualified to be an ACE.

Chris used a petition as a way to get Oracle to listen.  Can we use the comments section of this blog to get OTN to listen?  If you agree, leave your vote below and I’ll forward it to the relevant person.  No guarantees of course as the decision is entirely Oracle’s, but part of my job as an ACED is to identify Oracle’s advocates and evangelists and I think Chris is a fantastic candidate.

Chris, try not to blush.  :)

Be seeing you.

2 comments:

Rodrigo Radtke said...

Hi Cameron/Chris!

Great post about this awesome initiative! Chris more than deserves the Oracle ACE nomination since he is a perfect example of how an Oracle ACE should be: he listened to the community, he gathered all the information around “the problem” and he took the banner of the cause to Oracle’s headquarters and they listened!

You have more than my vote, you have my gratitude! Thanks Chris! Hope to see you and Cameron at Kscope15!!! Great job!!!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the kind words, your editing, and the opportunity to guest blog.