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, September 24, 2010

Oracle Open World Day 4

I’m actually awake and in a session at 9:00 am. My first session (maybe my only) is on Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management.(HPCM). The presentation was very good, but went quickly and I’ll try to hit the highlights from it.

HPCM is is an application that allows you to allocate costs to customers based on drivers. IT has multiple components including relational and Essbase.

  Multiple skill sets necessary to build HPCM

  • Tool knowledge
  • Business Analysis for determining methodology
  • ETL skills
  • EPMA
  • Essbase skills

What is a allocation methodology

A defined process to Allocate costs

  • Cost Object
  • Basis of allocation – Drivers
  • Assignment – logic for assignment

 

It is important to have a Allocation Methodology before you start. Standardize the methodology as much as possible. You need internal agreement of business requirements before you start. .

 

Model Design

Defined as turning a logical design into a physical environment

  • Stages (where you are bringing data in
  • Drivers
  • Assignments

Model Design is a iterative process.

  • Many different approaches
  • Determining factor 
  • importance and priority of “things”

Rules

Leverage the underlying Essbase database to do the heavy lifting.

  • One rule can do multiple allocations
  • Ease of development, maintenance and understanding
  • Consistency of applied logic
  • Dramatic performance improvement

Some overlooked gems.

HPCM provides staging tables where you can

  • import dimensions
  • Driver data
  • dimensions
  • Cost data
  • per existing  model definitions

aids in assignment process. Importing to getting up running quickly. Pre-apply consistent logic to speed up allocations.

Testing

  • Out of the box validation reports are indispensable. Use them to validate your model.  (My note, This is an important differentiator. The logging and traceability of calculations; the next bullet point,is something not easily done in Essbase or many other products)
  • Graphical tracing maps use as a development aid to verify your model(must load data to take advantage of graphical maps)
  • Dense sparse settings can be used for impacting performance but requires knowing your data.

Training

  • Take HPCM training early
  • Best training is hands on testing/ parallel testing
  • Focus on functionality not mechanics
  • Develop initial reports for end user then educate on metadata
    • remember end users care more for reports than the model that produces the reports
    • In the users mind good reports translate into good model
  •  Leave enough time to test

My session on LCM is us soon, so I’ll spend a little time reviewing the slides.

I just finished my session on LCM. For those of you who missed it, I believe it will be on the interRel webcast series in October. It was a small but interested group. I had the best timeslot. Thursday after the concert, after lunch. I was actually amazed when people came to the session.

After my session, it was a dash to the airport. I really do like the Bart system. It is fairly efficient and reasonably priced. I made it with plenty of time. So I bid a fond farewell to Oracle Open World  2010. It will probably take me the full year to recover and prepare for next year.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oracle Open World Day 3 (Part 2)

Financial Reporting 11.1.2 tips, Tricks and New Features presentation.

Tip 1. Create a rolling report. Use Range and Relative member functions along with CurrentPOV. Not a new tip, but useful none the less. It uses the Range of first period to the current period for then current year and current period to last period for prior year (or offset from the current period) for something other than a 13 month rolling report

Tip 2. Use conditional formatting to suppress rows or columns.

Feature Annotations. Users have the ability to create. reply to and remove annotations. Supports administration. IT is also available from Workspace. It uses a little icon to show the annotations and similar to Linked reporting objects it pops up a dialog to create or manage them. It was also told that Cell Text from HFM and LROs from Essbase are available as read only.

I’m afraid I had to leave part way through the session to meet with a client so I can’t comment more in it.

The rest of the day was spent meeting with people. If noting else Open world is a great place to connect with people.

This is the first year I actually attended the customer appreciation event. It was really interesting. Where else would you see Berlin, Black Eyed Peas, The Steve Miller Band and Montgomery Gentry on the Same Bill. The event was held on Treasure Island with an indoor and outdoor stage. Black Eyed Peas was definitely the main attraction with SRO. While it is really not my taste in music, if was an energetic and interesting show.  IT really is more a show tan a concert. In addition to the concerts there was food. I have to admit that that part was not my favorite. hot dogs are not my favorite food. 

I left back to my hotel around 11:30 and it took aver an hour to get there on the shuttle bus. Traffic getting off the island was jammed. I want to go to a 9:00 session in the morning. I hope I make it!

Oracle Open World Day 2

Tuesday at Open world was a blur. I don’t know if it was because I was so tired from the prior two days or worried about my presentation. I present all the time, why do I still get nervous?

I was in and out of sessions during the day and have additional information on patches. It turns out the 11.1.1.4 (11.1.1.3 ps1?) will not be out till later next year. I think they are trying to get people to upgrade to 11.1.2.

My session was one I have done before “Top 10 optimization hints to give you 99% improvement”. It was in the Develop track sessions and had nothing in it that said Hyperion. So it was difficult for people to find. Because of that I had a small group. It got smaller when I actually started talking about what I was going to talk about. The people who did stay got some good information and I had some good conversations after the session. It is amazing how much consulting I give away for free at these sessions.   I had a client Stephanie Shrake from Care first who had done a great job with Edward Roske on a presentation “What is Essbase and why do I care” in the session. I’m not sure if she was there for moral support or to see if I actually knew anything. but it was nice to have her listen in. 

Between sessions, I spent time meeting customers and potential customers at the interRel booth.

The evening was spent at events and meeting with people. I read that there are over 41,000 people at the conference and it infuses over $100M into the local economy. The way vendors were giving parties and wooing clients I can believe it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Open World Day 1

This morning I spend as few minutes as possible walking through one of the vendor pavilions. Like last night’s keynote, the theme for the conference seems to be Cloud computing. There are so many companies talking about clouds you would there it was a meteorologist convention.  The second theme is iPad. Every vendor seems to want to get your attention by exchanging your contact information for a chance to win one. The will also give you junk to fill your suitcase to take home to give your children, decorate your cubical or throw into a drawer to never be seen again.

I did spend some time working with and for a couple of clients and spent a bit of time in the interRel Kiosk. It’s nice, the Kiosks are right outside of the Hyperion session rooms and we don’t have the pain of being on the main floor talking to people who have no interest or knowledge of Hyperion.

The first session I sat in on was “Introduction to Oracle's Hyperion Performance Management Applications” In the session the integration of different products was discussed including disclosure management and HPCM. I have to admit I did not pay as close attention as I should have as the discussion was mainly on 11.1.2 features and not the roadmap, but it was a good presentation.

Next I was sitting in the Planning features session and just heard the 11.1.2 patch will not be out until January (“December if we are lucky”) so for those of you waiting for the patch to be able to upgrade current applications. There was so much content, the speakers spoke so quickly, I could not capture much of the roadmap. But some things I heard were in the 11.1.2.1 (Now called 11.1.2 PS1) you can  upgrade from 9.3.1, 9.2.0  9.3.3, 11.1.1.3, 11.1.2 but if you want to upgrade from from 9.3.0 you have to first upgrade to 9.3.1. Other features I saw were better display in text on forms, new roles, dynamic owner assignment,  and more that I could not get. 11.1.2 PS2 will include an approvals dashboard. Sorry guys it was the end of the session and the speaker zoomed through the slides.

OK, today seems to be roadmap day. The last session I sat in on was features of Hyperion Applications. There is so much overlap in these roadmap sessions. I think everything I heard was talked about in prior sessions of the day. Big changes to Task management in Planning, Essbase application link for HFM to planning cubes, The ability to spin an ASO cube from Planning with text measures becoming dimensions, Oh wait, something new, HCPM micro allocation. The ability to do allocations down to a extremely low level in HCPM. The example was cost of doing business brought down to the customer/product level. I am sitting through a HPCM session later in the week. Hopefully I’ll hear more about this. 

In between sessions, I worked at the interRel booth answering questions and meeting customers and people looking for clarification and answers. At the end of the day, I went to a joint client appreciation reception between interRel and our friends at Star Analytics and Dodeca. Two companies that truly have innovative products for the Hyperion community.  It was nice to talk with customers I’ve met before or had the chance to meet. NExt I went to the OTN (Oracle Technical Network) appreciation event. In the crowd of people I actually met people I knew and we had an interesting discussion of the ODTUG elections that now underway. I won’t bore you with the details(oh wait, if you read this far , you are already bored) The discussion was around the real need to have a balanced board and that means getting Hyperion people on the board. This was from a non-Hyperion person. I couldn’t agree more as you can tell from prior blog posts.

After that a ride back to my hotel on the bart where I quickly fell to sleep from fatigue of all of the events from the prior two days.

Tomorrow round three.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Oracle Open world Day 0

I made it to Open World 2010 and promised to let you know what is going on. You may ask why I say Day zero. Well, Sunday is typically sessions sponsored by different user groups. I started out early with the Hyperion Customer Advisory Board (CAB)  meeting starting at 9:00. Since I’m too cheap to spend a lot of money on a hotel, I stayed by the airport. I was going to take the BART into the city, but surprise. It’s Sunday and they don’t start early. So I had to cab it in. (Is still save money!). The CAB meeting was interesting, but I don’t know that I’m allowed to talk about what was said. So I’ll not say anything except, I was impressed. The number of development team members at some points outnumbered the participants. They were not just sitting there either, they were actively asking questions and probing every comment and recommendation we had. I truly believe they cared about what we have to say.

I left the meeting just a little early as I had a presentation to do. My first presentation was “An introduction to Essbase Studio”  MY biggest problem is trying to fit hours worth of content into 1 hour. I think I did pretty well. I  started with about 125 people in the room and while there was some attrition, I would guess at the end there were about 100 left. I guess they were being nice or they were the ones still asleep. Well maybe not as there were a number of good questions. Since most of you have not heard this presentation, I will ask Danielle to get it on the list of interRel webcasts.

After my session, I walked from the Moscone Center to the Hilton to visit my Develop and Java World friends for some adult beverages  (Ok you got me, you know I don’t have friends and I don’t drink much) but The appetizers were good and I stood watching one of the Keynotes.  It was supposed to be Larry Ellison, but most of what I saw was a dog and pony shoe from HP. (can you tell I was not interested?) I do find it interesting that HP participated in an Oracle conference now that Oracle bought Sun and competes with them on Hardware.  They talked about their Cloud Computing offerings.

Larry’s presentation started with a video of the Americas cup race. Larry started out talking about Cloud computing and what it is.  Many companies are rebranding their old technology Cloud computing. He want through a list of things it might be. He touted Amazon’s Elastic Cloud as the most accurate description. A virtual environment.

Why is he talking about clouds. Because he just announced the Exalogic Elastic Cloud computer from Oracle of course. 30 Servers , 360 cores, VMs, Storage , 40 gigabit and all of the middleware all in the box the size of a refrigerator. To patch the system you download a single file. This box has no single points of failure.  If I were HP I would be really mad. They spend a half hour talking about all of there great cloud offerings then Larry comes in

Well I’m off to an Oracle Ace event so so much for day 0

Thursday, September 16, 2010

ODTUG News

I received notification that the ODTUG board elections have opened. There are 14 candidates, 5of which are from the Hyperion community all for 4 open positions. Currently, there is no one on the board representing the Hyperion space, so in order to get our voices heard, we need you to vote for 4 of the Hyperion candidates. The 5
Hyperion candidates are:

Eduardo Quiroz

Angela Wilcox

Cameron Lackpour

Tim Tow

Juan Porter

The elections go until Nov 2, 2010. In order to vote you have to be a paid ODTUG member. What you are not a member, well have I got a deal for you. During Open World (Sep 20 –23) individual memberships have been discounted to $99 That is a $76 dollar discount off of the normal rate. (BLOG CORRECTION. I was informed by Edward that you Save $150 on Kscope registration.  Even better) Just go to the website ODTUG website and sign up during that time frame. In addition to discounts on the Kscope conference (you basically get your membership fee reimbursed) , ODTUG membership offers you the technical journal, multiple conference opportunities, Webcasts and past presentations. It is well worth the price.

Make sure the Hyperion voice is heard on the board. Vote early and vote often (Ok you can only vote once).

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oracle Open World is fast approaching

I just finalized my schedule for Oracle open World (OOW).  I will be blogging on the sessions I attend for those of you who won’t be there. In addition to  attending sessions, I’ll be doing a number of other things. On Sunday, I’ll be attending the Essbase Customer Advisory Board meeting as well as other events. I’ll make occasional appearances at the interRel Booth to help out when I’m not doing other activities.    When I signed up to go to OOW, I was just going to go as a participant, but I then picked up a session to speak on. Today I found out I have two more sessions I’m speaking at. If you are going to be at OOW stop by my sessions and say hi. Below is where you will find me. (why do I always get last day late sessions? ). My schedule is quickly filling up, I think I’ll be busier that I first anticipated, It is typically a very long week.

       
Sunday 4:00pm-5:00pm Introduction to the New Oracle Essbase Studio Moscone West L2, Room 2008
Tuesday 2:30pm-3:30pm Top 10 Oracle Essbase Optimization Tips That Give You 99% Improvement Hotel Nikko, Bay View
Thursday 1:30pm-2:30pm Implementing Effective Configuration Management on Oracle EPM’s Platform Intercontinental San Francisco, Ballroom C