Why I created a blog

Its been four years since I first created this blog. It has remained true to Essbase and related information over those years. Hopefully it has answered questions and given you insight over those years. I will continue to provide my observations and comments on the ever changing world of EPM. Don't be surprised if the scope of the blog changes and brings in other Hyperion topics.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kaleidoscope wrap up

Well I just got back from Kaleidoscope and am still on a sleep deprived high. I don’t think I got to sleep before 2 am any night thanks to the special midnight madness (ask the expert panel) and getting sucked into games of Werewolf. On Wed night we had over 70 people playing or watching multiple games. But the conference was not about game playing, it was about knowledge.

I presented at two sessions, 10 Optimization tips you (probably) never heard before and Little used features of Essbase. My first session was a 60 minute session and I went 75 minutes and hardly anyone left the room. (sorry guys, I didn’t realize I was running so long). For my next session(back to back with the first(arg), I had someone with cue cards telling me how much time I had left. This was a 90 minute session and I never made it to the last two topics reference cubes and Data mining. I put these as the last topics because I think they will be the least used, but many were disappointed that I didn’t talk about data mining. Frankly, I think this is really better done in relational with larger sets of detailed data anyway.

The pre-conference started on Sunday with a symposium put on by the Oracle Project managers. They discussed the road map, new products and solicited feedback. A lot of what was in the presentations we were asked to not blog about. For me the best presentation of the day was from Toufic Walkim the new Smart view product manager. Toufic has been around a long time and has helped me with numerous things (I believe he wrote the original jExport cdf). He talked about changing the Data connection manager (as he said, trying to get it right for the 4th time) The direction they are going looks like the right way. He also talked about a bunch of new functionality like context specific menus (so if you are in Essbase you only have Essbase options) and a lot of other things. In the Middle of the day Robert Gersten talked at a high level where things are going. It looks like they are putting a lot of R&D into the products.

Sunday night was a reception for all attendees, it was well attended and the food was good. I was in the interRel booth most of the time, so afterwards we went and grabbed a bite of food on our own. I’m not sure if I can call the interRel booth a booth. There were couches and comfy chairs in front of a TV playing the best movies (Princess Bride, Goonies, Lord of the Rings and space balls were some of the offerings during the week). There were also video games and Rock Band going most of the time.

Monday started with a keynote from John Kopcke. It was an interesting discussion on using EPM and management excellence. I think it might have been lost on some of the apex and other developer tracks in the group, but it was a good talk sprinkled with humor. We then went into sessions. The first session I was in was Calc scripts for mere mortals by Gary Crisi and Edward Roske. I was the ambassador for the session so I introduced them. I have heard the presentation before from Edward, but it is always good to get a refresher. I always seem to come away with something new or that I had forgotten about. At the same time there were two other presentations going on and a hands on lab. I think at the lab, people almost came to blows trying to get in. You had to pre-signup for it and it filled very quickly. People tried to crash the party, but when there is no room there is no room. We have talked about trying to expand the labs next year, but as a reminder next year sign up as soon as the schedule is open.

Next I sat in on a presentation from Matt Milella on top 5 Essbase CDFs. It was a good presentation which he said he was putting on the Essbaselabs Blog. They have a library of over 300 cdfs that they are trying to find a home for. If you need something, ask them and they have probably already created it. Matt did a very good job and I can see a lot of use for his CDFs.
After that were vendor sponsored presentations. They were the only sponsored sessions of the week. I heard good things about all of them. They were less Ad like than one would expect and all offered technical content. I was asked to sit in on the one interRel offered on implementing HFM in less than 6 months. I’m not an HFM guy but Tracy McMullen did a good job. It was really more on managing this type of project to get it done than the product itself. But this is what is so important in this type of project.

For the last session of the day, I sat in on Driver based forecasting by Ron Moore. He had good content, but I was pulled away by some work issues and did not get to see the entire presentation. bummer

The day ended late with a special caffeine and chocolate 10:00 to midnight aske the experts session. It was better attended than I expected with over 60 people there asking a panel various questions. I don’t think the panel got stumped at all. A rare occurrence. After the panel, some people got together to play werewolf. I’ll not tell you much about it, but it’s a chance to kill off your friends, coworkers, etc. For more info go to http://www.eblong.com/zarf/werewolf.html
All I can say about Tuesday is ASO, ASO, ASO. I sat through two presentations from Rudy Zuca on Designing your way out of BSO with ASO and ASO Fundimentals (These two were out of order due to an oversight), then Querying ASO with MDX from Mike Nadar and Gary Crisi, followed by I knew how it do it in BSO, how do I do it in ASO. This was followed by Optimizing MDX in ASO and Optimizing ASO both given by Steve Libermensch. All I can say is wow. While there was some overlap in content, if you didn’t know ASO before the sessions, by the end of the day you were an quasi-expert. The best thing I learned in the day was from Steve. If an ASO formula says in the log it is calculating in cell mode, it means it is too complicated for Essbase to handle efficiently. Create new members in the cube and have intermediate calculations that your formula calls. Even though these still have to be evaluated dynamically, it is more efficient for the ASO formula optimizer.

Tuesday evening was a sundown session with the Oracle Ace directors, Time Tow, Edward Roske, Tracy McMullen and Mark Rittman. There was interesting discussion during the presentation, but not any one thing that sticks in my mind to talk about. After the session, was a reception, then I was off to the Oracle Ace dinner and afterwards, an appearance at the Hyperion SIG mixer, then more werewolf.

I was very busy Wednesday as I was asked to sit in on an optimization session for moral support from Scot Marin from cash America. Scot did a fine job and I just talked a little on some more arcane questions. After that were my two sessions. As I stated before I think they went pretty well. I missed the session on How Essbase thinks. I really wanted to go to that as Tom Tortolani and Edward Roske were speaking. Tom helped create Essbase long ago. I got called and had to do real work. Bummer. I was able to attend the 64 bit optimization session. It reminded me, I have to rethink and retest when going to 64 bit as the rules change a lot. In some cases you throw away the optimizations you did for 32 bit. For my last session of the day I was involved in an optimization round table. There were a ton of good questions. Wednesday night was the Kaleidoscope event, dinner and a comedian. Both were very good. Kaleidoscope does not skimp on its food budget. There was variety at every meal and all was tasty. After the comedian, there was a DJ for dancing. Since I have two left feet, I went with a group for the last werewolf game. It was a lot of fun.

Thursday morning came very early and fast. The first session I was going to attend, through some sort of mix-up, the speaker did not show up, so I have conversations with a number of others in the room. Then I listened to Cameron Lackpour talk about MaxL using variables, error handling encryption and finally putting it all together to do something that Planning currently can’t do, use metaread filter. It was a very good presentation. I watched the first half of automating with Perl by Angie Wilcox, but had to leave early and hit the road for a long drive home.

In about 90 days the presentations will be on the ODTUG website. If you were not able to make the conference, look for them there. I would recommend start putting a bug in your boss’s ears for next year. I’m sorry for those who could not attend, you missed a lot.

Oh I forgot to mention the new ODTUG Hyperion Sig board was announced. Elected were (in random order)
Edward Roske
Angie Wilcox
Natalie DelemarJeff McAhren
Doug Bliss
Gary Crisi
Cameron Lackpour
Quinlan Eddy
John Weimar

Please give them your support and offer assistance. You don’t have to be on the board to help.

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