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31 March 2013

Out of the Past


You’re all Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas fans, right? And all film noir fans, too? No? You really should give this film a try. To say that they don’t make ‘em like they used to is putting it mildly. I will spare you my rant on the vast empty wasteland that is modern entertainment and instead take you on a different journey into the past. One that, if you have knocked around the Essbase world long enough, may cause pangs of longing. What oh what could this be?

Remember me?

Sob, yes, it is Essbase Application Manager. Oh, AppMan, how I miss your consistent keyboard driven functionality, your easy copy and paste into Excel for hierarchy, your easy to read outlines with nice clean and easy to read text, and your simple and easy installation. And in your place, we have…EAS Console. Sigh.

I know that I am not the only one that misses AppMan. What Cameron, more of your delusional thinking? Nope, I took that screen shot from the desktop of one of my current clients. Yep, Essbase and a rather smart Hyperion admin realizes that she can better understand Essbase when viewing BSO databases through AppMan than when using EAS. Oracle, are you listening? AppMan = 1992 technology, and yet your customers prefer it. This isn’t the first one that I’ve bumped up against that has kept a copy of Application Manager around to make Essbase easier to understand.

I wish I had an old copy of AppMan.exe kicking around. Like a fool, I dumped Essbase 6.5.x’s binaries as fast as I could. Maybe I shouldn’t have been quite so impatient to embrace the future.

Parting shot

Here’s another picture to make you go all weak in the knees.

AppMan makes even Sample.Basic look good. Or in old Essbase-speak, Sample:Basic. Remember the colons instead of the periods as delimiters?

That does it, I’m doing my next automation project in Esscmd instead of MaxL, just because I still can. Okay, maybe I won’t do that, but I am going to look at old CDs and see if maybe I really did keep a copy of My Very Favorite Essbase Editor In The Whole Wide World.

Be seeing you, maybe in the past.

21 March 2013

Where in the world is Cameron, day 5, Australasian edition

Not the beginning of the end, but perhaps the end of the beginning

I’m not one to quibble with WSRC, but the ODTUG SP Australia conference is at day two of two and that means that I am finally coming to the end of Cameron’s Most Excellent Australasian Conference Adventure. It figures that my body is finally sort of, kind of, used to the time zone difference because I will be jetting away tomorrow. It took me a week to get used to the time here and I expect another week of sleepiness when I get home to the States. OTOH, I have lots of real Cadbury chocolate (see yesterday’s rant on the stupidity of US chocolate manufacturing practices – Something Must Be Done), I have really had a great time here, and learnt quite a bit about BI and EPM.

But none of the above really matters – what does matter is: did the conference attendees get value for money? Given the depth and breadth of the sessions, the passion that the presenters brought to their sessions, and the high technical level of the presentations (despite protestations to the contrary re “being technical”), I’d argue that yes, the attendees got their money’s worth, and more.

I was a little apprehensive about helping select sessions (read: beg Oracle Australia, James & Monroe, M-Power, Bambi Price, and just about anyone I knew in Australia to help put together the speaker list – oh dear, I am now on the hook for repaying favors but it is all worthwhile) as the Australian market differs somewhat from the US of A’s. Yes, the market details are different, but at the end of the day we are all trying to solve the same problems with Oracle’s BI and EPM tools. The attendee survey will tell the tale (how could a BI/EPM conference not try to wrap metrics around an event?), but based on conversations I’ve had, I think it will be a solid win.

Taking OBIEE to the Next Level, Maneesh Disawal, 9:00 am to 10 am, ACDT

Maneesh is taking us through a definitely-not-standard approach to making OBIEE more useful. It’s nice to know that hacks aren’t just an EPM-only approach. And besides, a good hack isn’t a hack at all, but instead is Just Really Cool.

It’s interesting to see how much OBIEE overlaps with EPM – yes, yes, I get it, Oracle are bringing the two together, but still, it’s interesting to actually observe it. Most ODTUG conferences have me running round like a chicken with its head cut off. I am really enjoying actually being able to sit back and listen.

Another thing I am noticing about OBIEE is how IT-oriented it is. This isn’t a bad thing but it is evidence (if it were needed) that there is still quite the gap between the BI and EPM worlds. Their eventual merger will be interesting to watch.

Essbase ASO – A Brave New World in Australia but not for the Rest of the World, Steve Hitchman, 10:15 am to 11:15 am, ACDT

This session hasn’t occurred yet, but it’s up next. m-power worked with my buddy Dan Pressman and utilized his Rules of ASO Essbase. I’m very excited to see what they have on offer. Update – The session is in progress right now.

Oh, this is embarrassing, but kind of awesome at the same time. Dan Pressman, ASO wizard extraordinaire, just had a slide devoted to him and His Really Big Brain. What else was part of the slide? Why an advertisement for Developing Essbase Applications. Yes, it is a good book, and internationally loved.

Steve is going through the ASO design principles Dan has tried to hammer into my head:

  • No formulas, unless you must
  • Stored instead of dynamic hierarchies, or at least Multiple hierarchies enabled
  • No more + and - operators, instead just + and flip the data signs to get round the dynamic hierarchy
  • Gary Crisci’s MDX chapter in Developing Essbase Applications just got mentioned as well as a resource (Are Gary and Dan soon to become Australian citizens? Could be.)
  • Do the simple stuff in MDX, do the complex logic in BSO and import results into ASO
  • Alternate YTD hierarchies to come up with YTD values through ASO’s aggregation capabilities
  • Solve order to handle variances

Oracle BI and Oracle Essbase: Today and Tomorrow, Stephane Roman, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm, ACDT

Stephane is taking us all on a journey through Essbase and OBIEE integration in the next release of the OBIEE stack. They are To Become One.

Stephane is reviewing Sample.Basic aka My Very Favorite Essbase Database In The Whole Wide World (MVFEDITWWW). It’s nice to know that The Beverage Company’s business continues forward. Who wants to bet that when Sample.Basic was created that a bunch of Arbor Software developers sat round and said, “Eh, a good first effort, but we have to replace that with something better, but soon.” Soon never came.

Watching Stephane’s presentation, I realize that I have a career decision to make – am I going to jump on the OBIEE bandwagon to get a leg up on the tool or just passively wait for the Bus Named OBIEE to run me over. Maybe getting flattened will be pleasurable? Probably not. So much to do, so little time.

One thing that is funny about OBIEE (and why I personally think things aren’t quite there yet wrt product convergence) – it takes an Essbase database in all of its Essbase awesomeness and turns it into a logical star schema. That is…odd looking. I realize this is how OBIEE federates data but it is still a little jarring for an Essbase developer to see.

Slay the Evil of Bad Data in Essbase with ODI, Cameron Lackpour, 1:30 pm to 2:30 ACDT

This is the same presentation I gave at NZOUG 2013 and I always enjoy a chance to spread the ODI gospel. My solution doesn’t exactly use standard ODI functionality but one of the great things about ODI is that, to quote one of the attendees at ODTUG SP Australia likes to say, “There’s always a way round a problem”. ODI is great at enabling those ways around issues. I am a super fan of the tool.

Growing with Business Analytics - Keeping Updated and Informed, Paul Anderson, 2:45 pm to 3:45 pm ACDT

I finally get to meet Paul – I’ve seen his posts on the Business Analytics – Proactive Support web site.

Oracle Support are doing great things with making the support of the not-exactly-simple EPM tools. They are trying to preempt problems before they occur. One might argue that they are trying to put themselves out of business. I think that isn’t likely to happen any time soon but it is beyond great to know that Oracle understands the importance of fixing problems asap and maybe even preventing the issues before they even occur.

Master Notes, feedback, Advisor Webcasts, patches, product certification, social media/My Oracle Support Communities (hint, use this in lieu of Service Requests when your problem doesn’t involve fully-engulfed-in-flames Essbase servers), product version certifications, patch communities, product specific communities (HFCM and Endeca), Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA), whew, you get the idea. Oracle Support are doing a lot of interesting things.

Closing Panel, Richard Philipson and Cameron Lackpour, 3:45 pm to 4:30 pm

This is an anything-goes, hit us with your best shot session. They are a lot of fun at Kscope and I am hoping that this will be more of the same. However some topics like do you like wheat or white toast are beyond the pale. Okay, I kid, I kid, wheat every time. Rye vs. wheat will have to remain a secret. Everything else is fair game. :)

Keep tuned

Almost done – I will put in my final thoughts when the party’s over.

Be seeing you.

20 March 2013

Where in the world is Cameron, days 3 and 4, Australasian edition

Wait, what happened to day three?

What happened was:

  1. I woke up really early
  2. I flew in a New Zealand Air plane to Melbourne
  3. I saw Bambi Price’s house and cruised round Melbourne in a jeep with Bambi’s husband, Fred Price
  4. I bought lots of real Cadbury’s chocolate (what we get in the States looks like Cadbury, but it is a Cruel Joke upon the tasting) to take home
  5. Laid down on the hotel bed “for a minute” before I went out for a beer and woke up the next morning

Okay, so what about day four?

I helped Bambi and Fred set up the conference room at Swineburne University (exciting pictures to be inserted as soon as I can find my boat anchor of a phone), had a flat white, and then proved that Cameron and Fred Do Not Do Networking as we tried, somewhat fruitlessly, to try to connect to the wireless network. Yes, you are reading this, so we are not hopelessly bad at this.

Here we are setting the room up. Oracle Ace Directors do it all, including moving furniture as required.

And all of this was for…

The ODTUG Seriously Practical Australia conference, natch. Yes, that link you see (go on, click on it and be surprised, and maybe just a little sad that you aren’t here) is the agenda, and yes, this is Exciting Stuff. We are bringing the same great focus and depth to Australia as we do to Kscope in the States.

Babar Jan Haleem, What’s Coming in Oracle BI and EPM, 9:00 am, Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT)

Babar is giving the same (well, the same if you were at NZOUG 2013) session he gave at, wait for it, NZOUG 2013, but as that universe is pretty darn small, it is a fresh presentation to most.

My take away – I can’t wait to get EPM into the cloud at a client – I do it all the time from a development/self-training/generally mucking about perspective but that’s a completely different thing than actually running an EPM implementation in the cloud. Let there be no more missed implementation schedules because of install problems!

Debra Lilley, Fusion Applications and Your BI/EPM Investment, 9:30 am to 10:30 am ACDT

Debra just said that Hyperion (aka EPM) is “exciting” and that therefore, I am exciting. She also says that she is not technical. Hmm.

And what is the calculation engine behind Fusion? Why, it’s Essbase. And it’s transactional. You know, the thing that we Essbase developers were Never To Do. Could these be “headless” ASO Essbase databases? Could be.

Debra’s getting a bunch of questions – I’m really glad to see this interaction although she might feel a bit like a trooper serving under General Custer at the moment. What am I talking about, she can more than handle herself. Not technical? Hmm.

Fusion Reporting and Analytics – Oracle Transactional BI (OBTI), Oracle BI Applications (OBIA), and Specialized Analytics. The last bit is all built on Essbase – Essbase is the aggregation engine. How cool is that?

Charles Pinda, Delivering Your Financial Results Better with Oracle EPM, 10:45 am to 11:45 am ACDT

Charles does a great job – the functionality that I wish was in “normal” Planning was Decision Management. It’s part of PSPB (Public Sector Planning and Budgeting) and is, in a word, awesome. I can’t even find it documented although I’m sure that exists. It’s a way to collect all of the text, comments, justification, etc. around a budget. It is So Cool.

Endeca Information Discovery, Stephen Weingartner, 12:45 pm to 1:45 pm ACDT

A small world, indeed – I am working (you may or may not be surprised to note that this week is not a normal work week for me) at a client in St. Paul, MN. And Stephen is from…Minneapolis, MN. If you’ve heard of the Twin Cities, you’ll know that St. Paul and Minneapolis are practically one city. As the saying goes, what are the chances?

Beyond odd coincidences, Stephen is here to talk about Endeca. The more I hear about this tool, the more interested I become. Or maybe I finally understand the value of unstructured data and how it might be analyzed. It sure isn’t Essbase, although Essbase can be fodder for Endeca. It’s ability to comb through public data and make sense out of it all is intriguing.

Stephan showed a Twitter data source analysis (Dan O’Brien at NZOUG 2013 did much the same but on #NZOUG and #NZOUG2013 hastags) based on the political turmoil here (I barely understand American politics so look up Gillard and Abbott on your own, I pick no sides) – all public data, all real time, all Real Cool.

Richard Philipson, Exploring Oracle BI Apps: How Does it Work and What Do I Get, 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ACDT

Richard is fielding questions about why Informatica is used instead of ODI. Always a fun moment when one has to defend Oracle’s product decisions, but of course he’s doing fine. For the record, everyone wants ODI (but of course) and expects that it will come soon.
Overall, the BI Apps are pretty cool although certainly not simple. OTOH, they hook into the Oracle applications with a moderate amount of pain and complexity. There is a lot of functionality and flexibility in-built to the tools.
And oh btw, slowly changing attributes, the semi-holy grail of Essbase that is kind of, sort of there, is easily displayed in BI Apps.

Christine Aird, Thoughts from the Frontline – Issues and Opportunities Faced When Implementing or Upgrading HFM Applications, 3:15 pm to 4:15 pm ACDT

Another presenter who claims he (or I suppose she) “isn’t the least bit technical”.  I wonder if Australian English (almost as painful a term as American English) defines technical as “more than the Septics would do”.  She’s a geekette, but just doesn’t know it.  Or maybe that is admit it.  Why do I say this?  Because what she describes as her project work is what I do, and I think I’m technical.  I could be wrong about what I do – it wouldn’t be the first time.

Christine is taking us through the various stages of project implementation, what HFM is good for versus Planning, and general good practices around HFM implementations.

Yr. Obdnt. Srvnt., The spreadsheet management system known as Dodeca, 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm ACDT

I get to talk about my very favorite Essbase front end in the whole wide world.  Talking about Essbase is always a good thing.  Talking about Dodeca is always a good thing.  Talking about both is just perfect.

Would someone in Australia please buy this thing?  No, I don’t want the work, I just want Dodeca to plant its flag on yet another continent.  After all, trade follows the flag.

And after me, the bar

At Beer DeLuxe – what a nice way to end a long and useful ODTUG Seriously Practical first conference day.

Keep tuned
There’s more to come, including my Brush With Celebrity, but that is most definitely a case of “If there aren’t any pictures, it didn’t happen.” Oh yes it did happen and yeah, I have the photos as you can see below. I think we all know who this is.

Stanely looks like he’s been through a lot. He’s also a bit smelly. But then if you read his adventures and travails at his very own blog, it all makes sense. And yes, that is my brush with fame. Also, yes, that is a bullet hole, but Stanley marches on. He is made of Stern Stuff.

Goosebumps is the only way to describe how I feel. :)

Be seeing you.

18 March 2013

Where in the world is Cameron, day 2, Australasian edition

Day 2, 19 March 2013, 8:55 am NZDST

It’s a good thing I am, seemingly, beyond embarrassment, as I feel asleep last night during dinner.

Actually, it’s a bit worse than that, as I actually fell asleep after the quite excellent NZOUG 2013 dinner, during the music quiz, in a room full of screaming people. With a live DJ. OTOH, I have never in my life awoken to the strains of “Wake up, Little Susie” sung just for me, so there is that. And before you go, “Ah, sloshed again. Get that geek dried out, asap,” I knew Cameron + tiredness + alcohol was a bad combination and very purposely held back from the truly excellent Mac’s Bitter. All to no effect – I might have well had more of that beer than I did for all the good it did me. I will plead the excuse that when I finally walked back to the hotel I was able to figure out that in fact, Cameron-time, it was about 4 am and I had just spent the entire night awake. My buddy Bambi Price, keeps on telling me, “Don’t think about what time it really is”, and my conscious mind doesn’t, but I fear that my body does.

Yr. Obdnt. Srvnt., Slay the evil of bad data in Essbase with ODI, 9:30 am to 10:20 am, NZDST

I really enjoy doing this presentation as I am a huge fan of ODI and of good data in Essbase databases. It is a surprising and mildly shocking fact that many, many, many Essbase/Planning implementations do not handle data quality at all, or rely on 100% manual data validation to tie out numbers.

I am writing this update a half hour before the presentation, so I have no idea what turnout will be. Also, it is quite possible that after yesterday’s Dodeca presentation the word has spread and I will be facing the New Zealand equivalent of a ghost town.

Update – nope, I had a decent number of people show up a wee bit late – was everyone toasting the sleepy American or just out partying? They aren’t telling me and I’m not asking. :)

Charles Naslund, Infrastructure Preparations for Hyperion EPM, 10:40 am to 11:30 am, NZDST

Many things in life elude me: why do we vote for politicians that lie to us and they know that we know that they are lying and yet we vote for them again and again; why, really, do all the things that taste so good end up being so bad for us; why is Oracle EPM infrastructure so hard?

Well, lying politicians (as far as I can tell this is true for all parties and all countries) and fattening-yet-delicious food will be with us (and me) forever, but could there be hope when it comes to the complex concept known as EPM infrastructure? Regular readers of this blog know that EPM infrastructure is a continuing challenge for me so I have great hopes for Charles’ session. Maybe my limited knowledge can be expanded. Maybe.

Charles (yea!, fellow Septic) is going through the architecture topology in nice simple to understand terms. Keep it simple Charles, please.

Now we’re onto the topic of virtualization – yup, it’s the same story as in the States – real boxes for Essbase, virtualize everything else, and it would be a really good idea if you went with Oracle VM.

SLAs (Service Level Agreements) – ah, these tend to be somewhat more honored in the breach than in the than the observance. This one particularly frosts my cookies when the Essbase or Planning server (or servers) go KABOOM and no one but no one in IT seems to own the servers.

  • Packet size – pre compression. Now I know why Smart View is faster than IE when it comes to forms. Here are the average network bandwidth requirements on a per form basis:
  • HFM 64 to 128 k
  • Planning 32 to 64 kb
  • Smart View 28k This is pretty darn amazing – the SV team has done some magic here.

SANs – Every client I’ve had in the last five years has wanted to run Essbase (and everything else) off of a SAN. Essbase needs fast disk to perform well, memory and CPUs be damned. How to do this – sort of be virtualized, sort of not, by using dedicated LUNs, CPUs, and memory. The data (PAG/IND or tablespace) is on the dedicated LUN – everything else can be on shared SAN resources. This strategy gives you a 20 to 25 percent performance boost.
All in all, a nice session. Maybe if I attend enough of these some infrastructure wisdom will rub off on me. Maybe.

Richard Philipson, EPM Case Study: Rank Group, 2:00 pm to 2:50 pm

Richard as always does an excellent job. Quite how he does Essbase, Planning, HFM, BI, infrastructure, etc., etc., etc. is a bit beyond me. Did I mention that he’s a talented graphic artist. <insert envy> Or maybe I’m just stuck in rut.

This is an interesting app – it’s architected so that the private equity firm (Rank Group) can bring in/drop companies really quickly. Unlike most other corporate systems, and because their business is so dynamic, they have both full public internet access (definitely not the norm) and four environments: dev, qual, prod, and archive. The last environment is used to snapshot their business at a given time so they can have a baseline to compare against. Again, that is not the way HFM is typically set up, to put it mildly.

The Teaser

This blog will be updated throughout the day (although looking at my laptop clock I realize it’s 9:30 pm EDST so how much bated-breath refreshing of this blog there may be is open to question) so stay tuned.

Be seeing you.

17 March 2013

Where in the world is Cameron, day 1, New Zealand edition


Over the next few days (where I am, it’s Monday, so that’s a hint) I’m going to use my blog to highlight my travels through Australasia. This series is basically my take on Where In The World is Cameron (some wonder where I am, intellectually, all of the time, let alone when I’m on the other side of the world) for the next week. Hopefully for those of us not from the Antipodes, this will give you an American’s/Yank’s/Septic Tank’s/Seppo’s (yeah, the nicknames get less and less loving from left to right) take on what user groups are like in other countries. At the end of the day, we all speak Oracle, and the really awesome and cool (ahem) amongst us speak Oracle EPM, so I am looking forward to seeing how things differ from the US of A.

Day 1, NZOUG 2013, 18 March 2013

The kickoff, 9:30 am NZDST

Would you believe that New Zealand is a long way from the East coast of the States? Well, it is, but I’m here, somehow, and I am writing this in the kick off session of NZOUG (btw, last night I was lectured, and then tested, quite closely, on my ability to say “N-Zed-O-U-G” – I am happy to report that a lifetime of watching Trevor Howard and John Mills movies about Splendid English Chaps and Beastly Everyone Else well prepared me for this linguistic challenge) 2013.

This morning I’ve listened to man-without-a-country NZOUG president Francisco Munoz kick off the conference, Peter Idoine the NZ Oracle MD welcome everyone to New Zealand’s once-every-18-months conference, and now Stuart Speers the Platinum Sponsor talk about the cloud. As all seven or eight of you that follow this blog know, I am a huge fan of the cloud and use it all the time for EPM. No need to sell me on the cloud Stuart, I am 100% on board with the message. :) Okay, he’s not speaking to me, but I am a huge proponent of cloud functionality. It is The Way of The Future.

The keynote

The leadup

So this is a bit embarrassing as someone who makes his living off from Oracle products. I have never listened to Tom Kyte speak – I suspect that fellow Essbase Hackers (again, all seven or eight including my Mum) of you are also likely similarly ignorant of probably the biggest name in the Oracle database world. This is a function of Oracle-is-bigger-than-the-sun and the siloing of many of the products, or maybe the siloing of my technical knowledge. No matter, I haven’t seen him speak and I am really looking forward to it.

The Tom Kyte update, 10:15 NZDST, 18 March 2013

OMG, this guy I like – “I dream in SQL”. Yup, that is my kind of guy. He loves SQL as much as I love Essbase – maybe more, which is saying something.
Perspective is a funny thing – for an EPM guy, I like to flatter myself that I have a decent basic understanding of SQL and have used that SQL hacking (sort of like my Essbase hacking) for fun and profit. I am not 100% deluded as I have always realized that I’m just scratching the surface with my knowledge level. Having said that, OMG yet again – nothing like a reminder of how basic basic really is when one bumps up against a master at a technology. No surprise to the rest of the world, Tom really knows what he’s talking about.

There is a lot of buzz around 12c and to quote Tom, it is “coming out soon”.

The break, 10:50 am to 11:10 am

Just like Kscope, between sessions there’s the ability to walk the vendor booths. And of course the really important stuff is just below:
Flat blacks (Americanos, sort of), flat whites (cafĂ© au laits, sort of), espresso, mmmmm. What was I here for again? Oh, right, NZOUG. And here’s the user group booth.

Babar Jan-Haleem, BI Futures, 11:10 am to 12:00 pm, NZDST

I begged, harangued, and bothered Bambi Price, and Erica Harris, and Kay Galbraith, and Babar Jan-Haleem himself to come to NZOUG and talk BI futures. Perhaps they all realized I wasn’t going to go away until he said “Yes”. And I quite happy to say that he is here, and is talking about BI futures. But what is this talk about Exalytics being anything more than the biggest and baddest Essbase box in the world? There’s more to life than Essbase? Apparently so.

Charles Pinda, Financial Results with EPM, 12:10 pm to 1:00 pm, NZDST

Ah, Oracle presales, but I like him. :) I kid, I kid. These guys are great – I have *tried* to do it and good grief is that hard to do (I might add that I ran away from it as fast as my little legs would take me). Implementation geeks like me cannot exist (or at least cannot earn a living) without guys like Charles and the sales reps he supports. And to be fair to them, they tend to have a much broader view of the tools, needs, the market, etc. than Essbase/Planning/ODI/whatever hackers tend to have. They have to speak to multiple products, multiple industries, and multiple customers, all at the same time.

So what’s this session all about? Smart View, for sure. And from an Essbase geek’s perspective, the fact that has reached parity with the add-in, well…that’s it for me from a tool perspective now that I can seamlessly use Planning with Excel.

Project Financial Planning – the prebuilt colossus known as PFP (there is some really cool BSO and ASO integration behind the scense). Personally, from a Capex and even Workforce perspective, this has to be the future (no, that is not official Oracle-speak, just what appears to be obvious to me and of course I could be wrong). It’s focus is long term projects and yes, I have tried to do this in “normal” Planning and it is sort of a pain to do. Given its name, it isn’t super surprising that PFP is a better fit for this kind of Planning. Btw, this may either make you sad or jump for joy (I tend to be in the latter camp) – no EPMA.

Charles just talked about Decision Management – this is really cool – it’s a summary of budget requests with narrative justification and supporting detail. This is a new feature of Public Sector Planning and Budgeting aka PSPB as of I don’t do PSPB but this is something that really ought to be in “normal” Planning IMHO.

Richard Philipson, Exploring Oracle BI Apps: How does it work and what do I get ?, 2:30 pm to 3:20 pm, NZDST

I know Richard from multiple Kscopes – now I’m sitting in on his BI Applications suite session. There are multiple apps around Sales, Financials, HR, Marketing, Procurement & Spend, Supply Chain – who knew? Not me. And that is why I come to conferences like this – the world I need to learn is large, the amount of information I actually know is really pretty small, something has to bridge the gap, ergo user conferences like NZOUG 2013.

And what makes up BI Apps? An ETL tool, a central console to manage anything, built in ETL adaptors, a unified data model, and reports – ta da, BI Apps.

Richard’s presentation is showing Informatica (I think that this is actually as the BI Apps packages are sold from Oracle which is a bit confusing although I could have it wrong) as the ETL tool, but ODI can be part of this as well, and that’s how the BI Apps hook into the transactional system. A data warehouse is at the center (hmm, should that be centre or is that just too twee for words?). Just like ODI, OBIEE has physical and logical layers hung off the DW to come up with reporting.

(Hmm, there’s a Q&A going on right now about the Informatica vs. ODI issue – it sounds like Informatica is the historical solution but the future is likely to be ODI.)

Yr. Obdnt. Srvnt., The spreadsheet management system known as Dodeca, 3:40 pm to 4:30 pm, NZDST

Hmm, tough to say if this was a success or not. Most of the presentations here tend not to be super technical, at least in the BI/EPM track. This presentation was pretty technical, and I’m not 100% sure I hit the mark with this one. OTOH, I did see people furiously scribbling down notes (although I have to wonder if they were writing down what needs to be related to the NZ Ministry of Health as I could be a hazard to the public when I am at full chat) as I ranted and raved (in a positive way) about Dodeca so maybe it wasn’t so bad. You decide – I’ve stuck the full presentation right here. This presentation is pretty big (34 megabytes) because of the embedded movies – You Have Been Warned.

Dan O’Brien, Oracle Business Intelligence: Model First, Build Later, 4:40 pm to 5:30 pm NZDST

High concept – Agile development with OBIEE.

Everything else concept – multiple techniques to quickly model business processes to OBIEE applications without going through a complex bottom-up build process.

This is pretty interesting stuff as Dan is talking about a bunch of different strategies about how to get round the formal, inflexible, “normal” way of developing OBI applications. Really the issues he’s talking about apply equally to EPM.

NB – One really funny comment in his presentation – “spreadmarts”. This is totally in line with my Dodeca presentation – you know your system/implementation/company is in trouble when really big spreadsheets become data marts. Spread + mart = spreadmart.

The end of today

Well, not really the end, but the end of what I’m going to blog for now. There’s a NZOUG event tonight at 7 pm and I hope to get a good sleep tonight. I have really totally given up trying to figure out what time it is, or what time my body thinks it is, and just think about strategies for blissful rest.

And that’s where I’m going to end this post.

Be seeing you.