BI & Warehousing

Webcast: Using Oracle OLAP data in multiple BI clients. Feb. 5 at 9:00 PST

Keith Laker - Tue, 2013-01-29 11:35

Want to learn how to connect multiple BI clients such as SAP BusinessObjects Analysis, Cognos and Microsoft Excel to Oracle OLAP, quickly and easily, using the XMLA version of the MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP?  Check out the Oracle webcast on February 5 at 9:00 AM PST.

You will see how it works and how customers in different industries are using this solution.

Just sign up here and join us on February 5th.
Categories: BI & Warehousing

Webinar: Using XMLA with Cognos and Oracle OLAP Cubes

Keith Laker - Mon, 2012-12-10 10:01
When:  Thursday, Dec 13, 2012 at 9:00am PST / 12:00pm EST / 6:00pm CET.

To attend:    Sign up here.
 
 
If you use a business intelligence tool such as IBM Cognos, Microstrategy or SPA BusinessObjects Analysis that uses XMLA to connect to multidimensional data sources, check out a free webinar by Simba Technologies which offers a "sneak peak" of the Simba XMLA Provider for Oracle OLAP.  The Simba XMLA Provider for Oracle OLAP is an XMLA version for the Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP, the gold standard in MDX connectivity to Oracle OLAP.   (The Simba MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP allows MDX based clients such as Microsoft Excel PivotTables to query Oracle OLAP cubes.  The XMLA version allows clients that use XMLA rather than ODBO to connect to Oracle OLAP.)

Simba will demonstrate using IBM Cognos using the XMLA provider to query Oracle OLAP cubes.  Here's a brief outline of the session.

See how:
  • Familiar business intelligence applications such as IBM Cognos can connect to an Oracle OLAP cube.
  • Ad-hoc querying and data analysis can be performed directly in IBM Cognos on your OLAP data.
  • The most advanced application that responds to XMLA requests available enables users to interactively build reports, drill into details and slice and dice data
  • Connectivity can be established without the need to install any software on the client machine.
    Simply connect to the XMLA service and everything works!
See you there!


Categories: BI & Warehousing

Whatever Happened to Edward Roske?

Look Smarter Than You Are - Sun, 2012-09-09 19:23
Where have I been for 8 months?
Answering that could take a while.  Suffice to say, it's been a busy year.  The largest amount of time beyond my normal job was spent being Conference Chair for the last two years for ODTUG's Kscope conference.  If anyone ever offers to let you chair a conference and then tells you "it's mostly a symbolic position that doesn't require much work," they're lying.  Run away quickly.  Chairing these things is a lot of work, and I am happy to say that my replacement as Conference Chair, Mike Riley, will doubtless put my conference chairing to shame as he carries on the good I did and takes it up a notch from good to great.

While running Kscope was an amazing lot of work, it was definitely worth it.  I encourage every one of you to make it to Kscope13 in New Orleans, LA from June 23-27 in 2013.  Kscope13 will continue to be the home for Hyperion, Essbase, Oracle EPM & BI (in addition to ApEx, Oracle RDBMS, Fusion, and lots more) and it's adding content in those areas including entirely new tracks around EPM.  Side note: abstract submission is open through October 15, so if you want to get a free pass to Kscope13, now's your chance: http://bit.ly/Content13.

Kscope kept me busy from early in 2010 until the summer of 2012.  I then took a month off to recuperate (in other words, focus on my actual duties at interRel which apparently include CEO: who knew?) and now I'm back to blogging.  I'm sure you're shedding a single tear right now and I'm choosing to believe it's because you're so choked up with emotion.

The next few weeks are going to be filled with a great deal of travel as I'm presenting at several conferences.  I'm hoping to be able to blog from a few of these conferences.  If you're at any of them, be sure to find me either up on stage somewhere speaking or at our booth.  If you want to know more about any of these conferences, you can always send an e-mail over to the intelligent, beautiful, and obscenely overworked Danielle White at info@interrel.com.

September 11
Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to Denver
Oracle and interRel put on a series of free, multi-track training days around North America each year.  We have one on September 11 at the Grand Hyatt in Denver and like most of the Roadshows we do, it's open to both current and prospective customers of Oracle EPM & BI.  I'm giving three sessions at this conference including the keynote on the future of Oracle EPM (11.1.2.2 and beyond).  If you're anywhere near Denver (or could fly there easily), there's a great half-day agenda followed by free tickets to a Colorado Rockies game afterwards (they're playing the San Francisco Giants).  My good buddy, Glenn Schwartzberg, will also be presenting along with a few Oracle speakers talking in detail about 11.1.2.2.

September 30 to October 4Oracle OpenWorld
San Francisco, California
If you don't want to miss your annual chance to hear Oracle talk about Oracle, you'll want to come to a city vaguely resembling San Francisco during the first week of quarter close for most companies.  That's right: in what is, I'm sure, not a big "sod off" to finance and accounting users everywhere, Oracle has decided to hold their annual Oracle awesomeness conference during the first week of October.

To be completely honest, I actually like being able to hear once per year directly from Oracle their stance on recent releases and future plans. While it's huge, overcrowded, 90%+ marketing, and expensive, there are great networking and educational opportunities to be found if you know where to look.  Word of advice, though: don't ever try to stand in a cab line; you'll be there for 2 hours and it's probably quicker to just walk wherever you're headed.

I've got 3 or 4 sessions at this year's conference including a non-Hyperion one on the Fusion User Experience.  Most of my sessions will be part of the ODTUG's EPM Symposium at Moscone West in room 2008 on Sunday afternoon.  interRel also has a kiosk in the Hyperion Pavilion on the 5th floor of the Intercontinental Hotel.  Make sure you stop by and see us at one of those locations.

Pearl Jam and Kings of Leon will be performing at the Wednesday night party on Treasure Island, so bare minimum, you can get in touch with your alternative side.  There's also free booze, so ya, you got that going for you.

October 16Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to Seattle
This conference is similar to the one in Denver except for three important differences:
  1. It's in Bellevue, Washington on a different date.
  2. The keynote speaker is the VP of Oracle EPM Development, Matt Bradley.  He's a great speaker and this is an excellent opportunity to hear from development themselves about all the great things they have planned for the next year.
  3. The after event is at Lucky Strike instead of at a baseball park, because let's face it: there's no way in Hell that the Seattle Mariners will still be playing baseball in mid-October.
This event, like the other road trips, is free.  You just have to get yourself to Seattle (and not be a competitor, obviously).

October 23Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to Phoenix
This time, we're heading down South to Phoenix, Arizona.  The agenda will be very similar to the Denver event above and there will be great fun in the evening after, so join us for education and networking all for free.  Just to prove that geography is not our strong suit, in this exact same week, we'll be traveling to:

October 25Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to Calgary
I'm told that Canadians are very scary and intimidating, but I'm hoping they'll be nice as we take our first road trip North of the border.  Expect a similar agenda to the others but with a dash of vegetarian back bacon.  I'm looking forward to the Calgary Flames game after the day's education is complete because apparently hockey is trying to become a major sport, and this is my one chance to learn something about it (red line? blue line? icing?).  Jenny, our business coordinator at interRel, is from Canada and she assures me that if hockey doesn't take off, at least curling will.

      October 30Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to Los Angeles
      The agenda for this event is quite different.  Among other things, it's a full-day instead of a half-day and it has 3 full tracks instead of 2.  It's basically a one-day, free Hyperion conference.  This year, it'll be at the Hilton inside Universal Studios and our after event will be at Jillian's on the Universal City Walk.  Here's the complete agenda:
      Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to
      Southern California
      8:30 AM       
      Check In & Registration
      9:00 AM
      Keynote: Analytics-Led Business Innovation, Matt Bradley, Oracle

      Experience the Future of Oracle EPM 11.1.2.2
      Live Demos Included!
      The World of
      Hyperion Applications
      The Foundations of Business Intelligence: Oracle Essbase & OBIEE
      10:00 AM
      Taking Control of Your Hierarchies with
      DRM 11.1.2.2
      Introduction to
      Integrated Business Planning
      BI Foundation Suite:
      Integrating Oracle Essbase & The New OBIEE 11.1.1.6
      11:00 AM
      The Next Evolution
      in Forecasting:
      Hyperion Planning 11.1.2.2
      Reducing Your Close Cycle:
      Financial Close & Account Reconciliation Management
      Oracle Essbase
      Worst Practices:
      Lessons from a Moron
      11:50 PM
      Lunch
      12:20 PM
      Ask a Guru Panel Session
      1:30 PM
      Managing Your
      Project Budgets:
      Introduction to the
      New Hyperion Planning Project Module
      Best Practices for Your Strategic Oracle EPM Road Map: Building Your 3 Year Plan
      Extending the Value of Oracle eBusiness Suite with Oracle EPM
      2:30 PM
      Hyperion Financial Management 11.1.2.2: Unlimited Dimensionality & Financial Management Analytics
      Optimizing Your Oracle Hyperion Planning & Oracle Essbase Outlines
      Exalytics: In-Memory Business Intelligence for Oracle Essbase & OBIEE
      3:20 PM
      Break
      3:50 PM
      Breaking Away from the Excel Add-In:
      Welcome to
      Smart View 11.1.2.2 
      Integrating Hyperion Financial Management & Hyperion Planning
       What’s New in
      OBIEE 11.1.1.6:
      Oracle on Your iPhone & Other Cool Things
      4:40 PM
      Drawings / Networking
      5:30 PM
      Dinner/Drinks/Entertainment at Jillian’s at Universal Studios City Walk


      November 5-6
      OAUG Connection Point - EPM&BI
      Orlando, Florida
      Each year, OAUG puts on a 2-day Oracle EPM&BI focused conference.  It has nowhere near as many sessions on Hyperion as Kscope, but it's by far the second-best conference out there.  It has around 50 sessions and this year, interRel is giving 6 of them.  I'm giving a session on Exalytics and other interRel speakers will include Glenn Schwartzberg on Smart View 11.1.2.2, Tracy McMullen on multiple topics, and  Dr. Troy Seguin talking on Predictive Analytics.  We will also have a booth there with our newest 11.1.2.2 books.

      Unlike the Road Trips mentioned above, this conference isn't free.  That said, it's a lot cheaper than OpenWorld with far better targeted content.  If you're in the Southeastern United States, I strongly encourage you to make it to Connection Point at the Peabody Hotel.



      November 15-16ODTUG Seriously Practical - EPM&BI
      Auckland, New Zealand
      ODTUG is putting on two 2-day conferences in Australia and New Zealand in November.  This is the first of those conferences.  There's a charge for them, but it's minimal for the content you get over 2 days. Cameron Lackpour (ACE Director and all-around decent human being) and I are the featured speakers.

      There are actually two tracks: one is focused on Hyperion and Oracle EPM.  The other track is focused on Oracle BI.  I'm giving sessions in both rooms as well as some excellent local speakers and Oracle luminaries.  Make sure you visit the ODTUG website closer to the date for more details.


      November 19-20ODTUG Seriously Practical - EPM&BI
      Melbourne, AustraliaThis is basically the same 2-day, 2-room itinerary as the event in Auckland.  I have presented at the InSync conference in Melbourne before and I love the city.  If you can't make it to Auckland, I'm hoping you can fly down to Melbourne.  They have koalas.

      After this, I hope to return back to the good ole US-of-A with a month to spare before TEOTWAWKI.  I have some final things I need to take care of before December 21.  Among other things, I'm hoping to clean out my Inbox, because my mother always told me that you don't want to face an apocalypse unless you have a clean Inbox.

      Oh, is that all?Seriously?!?  That's the busiest conference schedule I've ever had with the exception of the 3-week multi-continent trip last year with some of the Oracle ACE Directors from the Oracle Technology Network.  I'm hoping that with all those travel dates over the next 2 months, I'll run into some of you in-person.  If you're anywhere near, please try to stop by.  I'm also hoping that all this travel will give me time to blog on airplanes.

      It's good to be back.

      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Creating Oracle BI Presentation Layers from Oracle Cubes

      Keith Laker - Thu, 2012-06-14 15:52
      Beginning with Oracle BI 11.1.1.5, the Oracle BI Administration tool has the ability to import Oracle cubes, dimensions and hierarchies into the Physical layer of the Oracle BI repository.  This provides an alternative to the Oracle BI plug-in for Analytic Workspace Manager.  Each method works somewhat differently and each has certain advantages that might make it the best choice for different situations.

      The Oracle BI plug-in for Analytic Workspace Manager pushes metadata into the  Oracle BI repository using UDML code.  The result is a ready to use subject area with the Physical, Business Model and Presentation layers fully built for you.  It creates hierarchies in the Business Model layer, but it does not add hierarchical columns to the Presentation layer.  You can easily add hierarchical columns to the Physical layer by dragging hierarchies from the Business Model layer.

      Hierarchical column in the channel dimension.
      The Oracle BI plug-in for Analytic Workspace Manager creates a Physical layer that maps to hierarchy and cube views (these views make the dimensions, hierarchies and cubes look like a star schema to SQL).  In the Business Model, it assigns the SUM aggregation operator to measures selected from the cube view.  This approach allows SQL to aggregate data above the cube.  This is useful for queries that first filter and then aggregate and attribute break outs.  For example:

      • Report by Year where Quarter of Year is 3 and 4.  Data at the Year level will be the aggregate of child quarters 3 and 4. 
      • Report by Year, Color and Size where Color and Size are attributes of Item.  Oracle will SELECT year, color, size, SUM(sales) .... GROUP BY year, color, size.

      In both cases, Oracle BI will get the highest aggregate level data it can from the cube and do some additional aggregation in SQL.

      When cubes are imported using the Oracle BI Administration tool the Physical layer is mapped directly to the cube and dimensions, bypassing the cube and hierarchy views.  The SQL created in this case selects from the OLAP_TABLE table function.  Oracle BI has optimized this SQL to take advantage of some features in OLAP_TABLE, which offers better query performance with hierarchical columns in some situations.

      When the cube is imported with the Oracle BI Administration tool, aggregation is set to 'External Aggregation'.  This will disable the ability to create queries that require aggregation above the cube.  This is good in that it prevents users creating queries that might not work as they expect in some cases, but it prevents filter before aggregate and attribute break out queries.

      Also, the import method only creates the Physical layer.  It does not create the Business Model and Presentation layers.  You do that by dragging the Physical layer to the Business Model layer and then dragging the Business Model to the Presentation layer.  That's all quick and easy, but there will be some things you will want to update in the Business Model and Presentation layers.  For example, deleting some columns you don't really need and arranging columns in hierarchical order.  I've posted the paper Creating an Oracle BI Presentation Layer from Oracle Cubes on OTN.  This paper will walk you through the process of refining the Business Model and Presentation layers.

      My recommendation is to try each method, learn about the strengths of each and choose which is best for any particular application.  Since all the data comes from the same cube, there's nothing wrong with using both methods.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Introduction to Oracle OLAP Web Presentation Series

      Keith Laker - Tue, 2012-05-22 10:08
      I've posted a series of three videos introducing Oracle OLAP.  This is a great series for people how are interested in learning about what Oracle OLAP is and what it's used for.  I suggest starting viewing these in order.  Here are the links:

      Oracle OLAP Overview:  Part 1 - Architecture
      Oracle OLAP Overview:  Part 2 - Key Features
      Oracle OLAP Overview:  Part 3 - Use Cases
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Creating Custom (Calculated) Members

      Keith Laker - Mon, 2012-05-14 16:22
      If you have ever wanted to report on the total of two or more dimension members you have probably done so using in SQL using SUM ... GROUP BY. 

      Let's look at an example using the OLAPTRAIN schema.  Suppose you want the total of the states in the northeastern United States.  In OLAPTRAIN, that would include Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York and Pennsylvania..

      If you did this with SQL, it might look something like this.

      SELECT t.calendar_year_long_descr AS calendar_year,
        g.country_long_description      AS country,
        p.all_products_long_descri      AS all_products,
        c.all_channels_long_descri      AS all_channels,
        SUM(f.sales)
      FROM time_calendar_view t,
        product_standard_view p,
        geography_regional_view g,
        channel_sales_channel_view c,
        sales_cube_view f
      WHERE t.dim_key                 = f.time
      AND p.dim_key                   = f.product
      AND g.dim_key                   = f.geography
      AND c.dim_key                   = f.channel
      AND t.level_name                = 'CALENDAR_YEAR'
      AND p.level_name                = 'ALL_PRODUCTS'
      AND c.level_name                = 'ALL_CHANNELS'
      AND g.level_name                = 'STATE_PROVINCE'
      AND g.state_province_long_desc IN ('Massachusetts','Rhode Island','New York', 'Pennsylvania')
      AND t.calendar_year_long_descr  = 'CY2009'
      AND g.country_long_description  = 'United States'
      GROUP BY t.calendar_year_long_descr,
        g.country_long_description,
        p.all_products_long_descri,
        c.all_channels_long_descri;

      And the query would return as

      CY2009    United States    All Products    All Channels    10828869.07

      A different way to approach this is to create a custom member that is the aggregate of other members.  In this case, the custom member is added to the dimension and can be used just like any other dimension member.  The only real difference is that a custom member is not within a hierarchy and does not belong to a level.  The advantages are that the custom member is available to all users (unless you control access, more on that later), they work with all of the cube's aggregation rules (e.g., first, last, hierarchical weighted average and so on), they work seamlessly with calculated measures and they are available in all tools (e.g., Excel PivotTables).

      Custom aggregates are created using the dbms_cube.import program.  Note that the dimension keys are numeric in OLAPTRAIN.  (Sorry for posting this sample as an image ... blogger wasn't happy about displaying XML.  To view the full example option the image in a new tab or window).




      I can view custom members in the dimension or hierarchy view with a query such as this:

      SELECT * FROM geography_view WHERE member_type = 'C';

      I can query the cube view with a simplified query (note the lack of SUM ... GROUP BY).

      SELECT t.long_description AS time,
        g.long_description      AS geog,
        p.long_description      AS product,
        c.long_description      AS channel,
        f.sales
      FROM time_calendar_view t,
        product_standard_view p,
        geography_regional_view g,
        channel_sales_channel_view c,
        sales_cube_view f
      WHERE t.dim_key                 = f.time
      AND p.dim_key                   = f.product
      AND g.dim_key                   = f.geography
      AND c.dim_key                   = f.channel
      AND t.level_name                = 'CALENDAR_YEAR'
      AND p.level_name                = 'ALL_PRODUCTS'
      AND c.level_name                = 'ALL_CHANNELS'
      AND g.long_description          = 'Northeast US'
      AND t.calendar_year_long_descr  = 'CY2009';

      And the query returns Northeast US rather than a modified version of United States.

      CY2009    Northeast US    All Products    All Channels    10828869.07

      If it is appropriate for the custom members to be visable to all users, there's nothing else to do.  If you want to control access to custom member, Virtual Private Database is probably a good choice.  

      If you would like a sample script that creates a few custom members and sets up a VPD policy to control access, send me an email at william.endress@oracle.com.







      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Fine Tuning Incremental Updates using LOAD PRUNE

      Keith Laker - Fri, 2012-04-13 10:57
      If you are like most people, you probably use the LOAD_AND_AGGREGATE cube script that is automatically created by Analytic Workspace Manager. Fine tuning the update process simply involves filtering the fact table for new or changed rows.

      With a little bit of effort, you can improve update times by writing your own cube processing script. You can also use MV log tables to automatically captured changes made to the fact table and use them as the data sources to cube updates.

      AWM defines and makes the LOAD_AND_AGGREGATE script the default script of the cube. If you don’t specify a different script, LOAD_AND_AGGREGATE is automatically used as shown in the following example (note that the script references the OLAPTRAIN.SALES_CUBE but does not including the USING clause).

      BEGIN
      DBMS_CUBE.BUILD('OLAPTRAIN.SALES_CUBE','C',false,4,true,true,false);
      END;
      /

      This script will run the LOAD PARALLEL and SOLVE PARALLEL commands. What this means is that for each partition, the database will LOAD data from the fact table/view and then SOLVE (aggregate) data. If you have specified a value for parallel that is greater than 1, partitions will be processed in parallel (in the example above, 4 processes). AWM also provides the ability to set the refresh method (C, or complete, in the above example).

      LOAD_AND_AGGREGATE is a good choice for a full build, but it might not be the best choice for an incremental update. If you are simply updating the cube with changes within a few recent partitions (e.g., yesterday or this month), the LOAD PRUNE command is probably better than LOAD PARALLEL.

      LOAD PRUNE will first query the fact table or view to first determine which partition will have new data using a SELECT DISTINCT. It will then only generate LOAD commands for those partitions that will have records loaded into them.
      Let’s run through an update scenario. Make the following assumptions:

      * The time dimension has months for 2008 through 2012 and the cube is partitioned by month. The cube will have 60 partitions.

      * You have loaded data into the cube for January 2008 through March 2012.

      * It’s now time to load data for April 2012. This data has been inserted into the fact table.

      * You have mapped the cube to a view. For the April 2012 update, you have added a filter to the view so that it returns data only for April.

      If you use the LOAD_AND_AGGREGATE script and choose the FAST SOLVE refresh method, the database will really to the following:

      BEGIN
      DBMS_CUBE.BUILD('OLAPTRAIN.SALES_CUBE USING (LOAD PARALLEL, SOLVE PARALLEL)','S',false,4,true,true,false);
      END;
      /

      With LOAD PARALLEL, the database will process the LOAD command for each partition (all 60). Since it’s selecting from a view that’s filtered out all but April 2012, 59 partitions will have no new or changed data. Although it doesn’t take a long time to load 0 rows and figure out that a SOLVE is not required, it still adds up if there are a lot of partitions.

      With LOAD PRUNE, the database will determine that a LOAD is only required for April 2012. The LOAD step is skipped for all other partitions. While you will still see the SOLVE for all partitions, it doesn’t really do any work because no rows were loaded into the partition. An example using LOAD PRUNE follows.

      BEGIN
      DBMS_CUBE.BUILD('OLAPTRAIN.SALES_CUBE USING (LOAD PRUNE, SOLVE PARALLEL)','S',false,2,true,true,false);
      END;
      /

      If you would like a script that walked through a complete example using the OLAPTRAIN schema, including the use of an MV log table to automatically capture changes to the fact table, send me an email william.endress@oracle.com with a link to this posting.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Excel and OLAP: ODBC vs. MDX

      Keith Laker - Tue, 2012-04-03 11:42
      A question that I often get is "what is the difference between using ODBC and the MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP (from Simba Technologies) to query Oracle cubes"? Given that the Oracle cube is easily queried with SQL, it's a reasonable question.
      The answer really boils down to leveraging meta data and automatic query generation.
      With ODBC, it's up to the Excel user to write a SQL query to fetch data from the cube. Data can be returned in tabular format or a pivot table. When the data is viewed in a pivot table Excel will aggregate data, sometimes with unexpected results. For example Excel might choose to aggregate a measure such as Sales with COUNT or might try to SUM a measure such as Sales YTD Percent Change. Neither make any sense. It's up to the user to get it right.
      With the MDX Provider, Excel understands what all the columns mean. It understands dimensions, hierarchies and levels. It's understand the difference between a key and a label. It knows what a measure is. It allows the server to calculate the data. Query generation is automatic. Business users just choose hierarchies and measures and the MDX Provider does the rest.
      Here's a list of some of the advantages of using the MDX Provider for Oracle OLAP as compared to using ODBC and writing your own SQL.


      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Oracle OLAP Exadata Performance Demonstration

      Keith Laker - Mon, 2012-04-02 08:39
      For a great paper on Oracle OLAP running on Exadata, see:

      http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/database/options/olap/olap-exadata-x2-2-performance-1429042.pdf

      The Executive Overview section of this paper provides an introduction:

      This paper describes a performance demonstration of the OLAP Option to the Oracle Database running on an X2-2 Exadata Database Machine half rack. It shows how Oracle OLAP cubes can be used to enhance the performance and analytic content of the data warehouse and business intelligence solutions, supporting a demanding user community with ultrafast query and rich analytic content.

      The demonstration represents users of a business intelligence application using SQL to query an Oracle OLAP cube that has been enhanced with a variety of analytic measures. The cube contains data loaded from a fact table with more than 1 billion rows.

      Utilizing Exadata features such as Smart Flash Cache, Oracle Database supported a community of 50 concurrent users querying the cube with queries that are typical of those executed from a business intelligence tool such as Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

      With each user querying the database non-stop (without waits between queries) with median query times ranged from .03 to .58 seconds, average query times ranged from .26 to 2.32 seconds, and 95 percent of queries returned in 1.5 to 5.5 seconds, depending on the type of query.

      Query performance can be attributed to highly optimized data types and Exadata Smart Flash Cache. Cubes are designed for fast access to random data points, using features such as array-based storage, cost-based aggregation, and joined cube scans. Exadata Smart Flash Cache contributes significantly to cube query performance, virtually eliminating IO wait for the high volume, random IO typically seen with cube queries.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Kscope12 - Schedule is Published

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Mon, 2012-01-23 01:08
      Waterpark at the JW Marriott Hill Country2012 will be my final year as conference chair for the Kscope conference.  In case you haven't heard elsewhere, in 2012, it's June 24-28 in San Antonio, TX at the gorgeous JW Marriott Hill Country.  The schedule has been finalized, published, and (I'll humbly admit this since I really had very little to do with it) it's the best schedule I've seen for a conference in my memory.  Yes, historians, the schedule is better than the last Hyperion Solutions conference because there are no marketing sessions (beyond one timeslot for clearly marked vendor sessions) and the content is deep and not just broad.

      It's also not dominated by the software vendor (unlike Solutions).  When the maker of the software speaks (Oracle, in our case), it's because they're asked to speak and on topics we care about.  On the subject of Hyperion, for instance, Oracle is hosting an entire day-long symposium on what's going to be released in the future for Hyperion, Essbase, and OBIEE.  It's led by product development and not the Oracle product marketing guys.

      One of the expansion areas this year is that in the areas of BI and EPM, they're adding more business and introductory content.  Here are all the dedicated BI/EPM tracks for Kscope12 amounting to over 150 sessions (click on the name of each to get a page about each track):
      - Business Intelligence.  This track is led by some of the best OBIEE (and other Oracle BI product areas) people in the business.  The track has been expanded this year as the importance of BI has grown tremendously within Oracle.
      - Essbase.  They have over 50 sessions all on Essbase this year.  This is more than any other conference in the world.  This track will cover intermediate to advanced Essbase sessions you won't get at conferences like Collaborate, Connection Point, or OpenWorld.
      - Essbase Beginner.  This is a new track that allows people who are just getting started in the world of Hyperion to get some introductory training from the best in the business.
      - Hyperion Applications. Hyperion Planning, HFM (Hyperion Financial Management), Hyperion Strategic Finance, and all the other Hyperion applications finally get a track of their own... and it has over 50 sessions dedicated to the Hyperion applications.  Like the Essbase track, this makes it the largest Hyperion application track of any conference in the world.
      - Hyperion Business Content. For the first time in 2012, we are adding a track devoted to the business users.  If you're a director, manager, VP, controller, power user, or any type of person who primarily uses or manages Hyperion/Essbase instead of implementing it, you finally have a place to turn.  Since Solutions ended in 2007, a true Hyperion or EPM business-specific user didn't have dedicated content at any conference.  Collaborate tried (and no offense, failed).  OpenWorld missed dramatically by assuming most users were either CFO's or users with hard-core IT backgrounds.  Business people, welcome to Kscope.

      In addition to those 150+ sessions on Business Intelligence and Enterprise Performance Management, there are other tracks serving the non BI/EPM community:

      If you haven't registered for the conference yet, I will save you $100.  If you've already registered, it's too late.  When you register, put in promo code IRC (it stands for interRel Consulting) and it'll take $100 off whatever the prevailing rate is.  Consider that my gift for you reading this far in the blog (for which $100 is not nearly enough, I'm sure you're thinking).
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Hyperion Solutions Roadshow to Denver

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Fri, 2012-01-13 13:07
      Hyperion Solutions Roadshow to Denver - AgendaI just finished booking my travel to Denver for the big Hyperion event on the 24th at the Hyatt Regency (downtown by the convention center).  It's the closest Denver has come to a HUG (Hyperion User Group) meeting since Hyperion got acquired 5 years ago (wow, it's hard to believe Hyperion was acquired in 2007).  Oracle and interRel are putting on a 5+ hour event split across two educational tracks.


      The first track is an introductory track that introduces some products and also covers what's new in Oracle EPM/BI 11.1.2:
      • What’s New in Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 and OBIEE 11g: A Customer Story with Catholic Health Initiatives
      • Taking Control of Your Hierarchies with Data Relationship Management 
      • Quick Start to Hyperion Financial Close Solutions
      The second track is for people that have more intermediate to advanced experience with Hyperion:
      • Hyperion Financial Reporting: Top 10 Tips & Tricks
      • Thinking Outside the Cube: Non-Financial Applications of Oracle Essbase
      • 10 Reasons Why You Don’t Have to ‘Code’ or ‘Customize’ Hyperion Planning
      I will be giving some of the sessions, Essbase expert and fellow Oracle ACE Director, Glenn Schwartzberg, will be delivering some others, and Oracle and Catholic Health will be splitting the rest.  I'm most excited that Toufic Wakim (one of the greatest Product Development guys in the EPM/BI business unit at Oracle) will be delivering the keynote to start off the day.  He'll be talking about the future of Hyperion in an interactive discussion.  Among other things, Toufic is responsible for development of Smart View and the classic Essbase Excel Add-In, and you've seen how much those products have evolved recently under Toufic's tutelage.  For anyone that's had a chance to hear Toufic speak, his sessions are always hugely attended, hilarious, and full of information.  I will actually be attending his keynote and taking notes (and hopefully, blogging whatever we're allowed to publicly restate).  


      Throughout the day, we'll be having networking time and at the end of the day we're going to have a group dinner and then go to the Colorado Avalanche game after.  I think the Avs play hockey (it's a Canadian ice sport played with sticks, I think), but I'm primarily going to the game to meet the local rocky mountain Hyperion users.  It's time that the users get back together and form a community.  If you're an Oracle client and can fly in on January 24th, send an e-mail to Danielle White and she'll send you more information on registering.  Flights in and out of Denver are cheap and the event is free, so I hope to see you there.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Exalytics - Pricing Has Been Announced

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Thu, 2012-01-12 13:24
      The official catchy Oracle name is "Exalytics In-Memory Machine X2-4" which come to think of it is not very catchy but does sound techie.  Larry Ellison announced Exalytics at OpenWorld 2011 to great fanfare and little details.  In a nutshell, it's Essbase, OBIEE, and TimesTen running in-memory on a really powerful server.  How powerful?  40 Intel cores (4 Intel Xeon E7-4800 processors with 10 cores each), a terabyte of RAM, an InfiniBand backbone (40 GB/s when talking to Exadata), two 10 GB/s ethernet ports for connecting to non-Exadata sources, and 3.6 TB of hard drive.  Imagine Essbase running fully in memory with ethernet speeds so powerful it's like you're running Essbase locally (subject to the speed of your actual corporate network, of course).

      It's an exciting development for those people who want to make BI virtually real-time.  There's even a slightly modified front-end on the OBIEE side of things to make queries a more interactive "speed of thought" activity.  If you want to make Essbase even faster, this is the solution for you.  Early benchmarks have been all over the map (I've seen 5 times improvement all the way up to 80 times improvement) but suffice to say, that once you've tuned your Essbase cubes for running in-memory, you'll be looking at five-fold improvement at the bare minimum.  If you want to learn more, Oracle has an in-depth whitepaper at:

      Various rumors have leaked out on the pricing for Exalytics, but it's now been finalized and posted on the Oracle website. While there are a few places where you can find this on the web this morning (including the actual PDF of the pricing from Oracle), the best summary I've read comes from Chris Kanaracus at IDG.

      Here are the pricing highlights:
      • Hardware: $135,000
      • Processor Licenses of TimesTen: $34,500
      • Named User Licenses of TimesTen: $300
      • Processor Licenses of BI Foundation Suite: $450,000
      • Named User Licenses of BI Foundation Suite: $3,675
      Some additional points:
      • Annual Maintenance is the typical 22% of net.
      • Licenses of TimesTen and BI Foundation Suite must be equal (if I'm reading a footnote on page 8 of the price list correctly).
      • BI Foundation Suite includes Essbase, OBIEE, and Oracle Strategy & Scorecard Management.  The pricing above is the current pricing for BI Foundation Suite (technology price list, page 5).
      • Processors must be licensed for every core meaning full list at processor licensing for every core on the box is almost $20,000,000 (though the article points out that Oracle would probably drop that as much as 70%). That's still a lot of money so I foresee most companies going with the named user license.
      • Oracle will probably discount named users as well. Assume ~50% discount on these (though Chris Kanaracus points out that it can go as much as 70% for large deals). Hardware, following Oracle traditional appliance discounting, will discount at most 25%.
      Following the math, list price for 100 users (the minimum you're allowed to buy) would be about:
      • Hardware: $135,000
      • Software: $397,500
      • List Total: $532,500
      • Discount: $232,500 (25% hardware, 50% software)
      • Net Total: $300,000
      • Maintenance: $66,000 (due on signing for 1st year)
      It's expensive, to say the least, but keep in mind that list for 100 users of just Essbase is $290,000 and this gives you some great hardware, Essbase, OBIEE, and TimesTen with everything pre-installed and configured (reducing your infrastructure costs).  I don't know what Oracle will do if you already own licenses of BI Foundation Suite.  My guess is (and I don't work for Oracle) that they won't make you pay for it again, but you'll at least have to pay for the full hardware and TimesTen.



      Before I leave the subject of Exalytics, I have to point out just how worried SAP is about Exalytics competing with their HANA solution.  SAP's Sanjay Poonen (President, Corporate Officer of Global Solutions at SAP) wrote one of the worst attack pieces I've ever read right after Exalytics was announced.  To summarize his point, Essbase is an old dying OLAP technology that's been around for 20 years and is therefore worthless.  First of all Sanjay, the relational database has been around a lot longer than that and no one is saying that RDBMS' are going away.  But my main problem with his article is that if you take him at face value, he has no idea about Essbase beyond 10 year old bad competitive intelligence information.  To quote from his article he paid to post on Forbes.com:
      Essbase even with all its “optimization” cannot efficiently run in-memory – you still have to do pre-calculations and pre-aggregates, with no ability to do calculations on the fly. You’d have to limit how far the Essbase calculations propagate to ensure performance doesn’t blow up, and insert operations force the indexes in the database to be rebuilt, thus ruining performance...
      Um, not to imply that no one fact checked your essay Mr. Poonen, but you're talking about Essbase Block Storage (the 20 year old technology which most would think means it's more reliable than something released in the last 2 years).  Essbase Aggregate Storage (created about 6 years ago) was created to solve all these problems.  It's a fundamentally different architecture than Essbase block storage: it doesn't need to be aggregated, it doesn't need to be pre-calculated, and it does all formulas and calculations on the fly.  There is no separate index that needs to be rebuilt.  Basically, all your problems you're listing (forgetting that there are many things the Essbase Block Storage does better than any OLAP technology out there), are for the Essbase Block Storage technology.

      I would forgive Sanjay Poonen for just using out-dated information under the excuse that he doesn't have access to Essbase directly, but a simple Google search takes you to the Essbase Wikipedia page where it defines Essbase Aggregate Storage:
      Although block storage effectively minimizes storage requirements without impacting retrieval time, it has limitations in its treatment of aggregate data in large applications, motivating the introduction of a second storage engine, named Aggregate Storage Option (Essbase ASO) or more recently, Enterprise Analytics. This storage option makes the database behave much more similarly to OLAP databases like SQL Server Analysis Services.  Following a data load, Essbase ASO does not store any aggregate values, but instead calculates them on demand.

      That text has been on Essbase's Wikipedia page for a few years, so the only conclusion I can draw is that either Sanjay doesn't know how to use Google, or he was blatantly ignoring the facts.  Assuming he's not a moron, SAP must be very afraid of Exalytics to put this piece together and hope no one pointed out how fundamentally errant the whole discussion is.  I don't have time to point out every one of the wrong things in his article, but if you wish to comment on his article, visit here, and feel free to correct anything you disagree with.

      And just in case Sanjay thinks I'm not willing to stand behind what I write, I challenge him to a cube build-off.  Let's get together and put whatever cube technology SAP is pushing today (SAP BW?  SAP BIW?  Business Objects?  HANA?) up against Essbase.  You and I can jointly benchmark cube build time, query time, calculation time, whatever you want, and we'll both jointly publish the results.  If you're not afraid of how the results will come out, call my office at 01-972-735-8716.  Ask for Edward Roske and say it's Sanjay Poonen calling.  I'll make sure my receptionist knows to forward your call to my cell anywhere I am in the world.  I look forward to hearing from you.

      When does Exalytics release?
      Exalytics should be generally available soon, but it has to wait until, among other things, Essbase 11.1.2.2 comes out since they're tweaking Essbase to run better in-memory.  If I had to guess, I'd say before the end of Oracle's fiscal year (May 2012).  Exalytics will continue to make Oracle Essbase and OBIEE a factor to be reckoned with going forward.  I'm told there's a waiting list for the first Exalytics boxes to come off the line, so call your Oracle rep now if you're interested.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Blogs - EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Sun, 2011-11-27 15:37
      Blog Seeking Blogs
      Hello, all.  I wanted to wait to do a new blog posting until after the holidays.  Originally, I meant Easter which turned into Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Father's Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Black Friday Continued, Cyber Monday Pre-Sale, and a whole lot of other very important holidays.  Rather than wait until Christmas, I thought I would do a very brief blog entry.


      Since I started this blog a few years ago, many blogs have sprung up that have excellent information.  I'm sure I don't know about all of them, so I'd like your help in linking to the great Oracle EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase blogs I may be missing.  Have a look at the scroll on the right (if you're reading this through RSS, go to http://looksmarter.blogspot.com/ and look on the right).  If there's something it seems like I'm missing, comment on this entry and I'll add it.


      My only criteria is that the blog not be a wholly self-serving marketing blog designed to drive traffic to that person's company's website.  For instance, readers of my blog historically find it difficult to find out what company I actually work for (it's interRel, by the way).  This is because I believe one should be educated first and if they like what you're sharing, they'll seek you out for work.


      Calc Script Class on December 8
      Now that I've said that, allow me to be slightly hypocritical for a second and mention that I am teaching one of my once a year "Advanced Essbase: Calc Scripts for Mere Mortals" day-long classes.  I do this once a year and it's about the only time I ever teach a paid class.  Unlike previous years, it's a virtual class, so you can take it from anywhere in the world.  If you want to learn about writing Essbase BSO (and ASO) calc scripts, the class is December 8 and it's open to customers of Oracle and partners as well.  The class is $995 USD and at last check, there were a couple of spots open (awesomeness of the virtual classes).  For more info, visit http://www.interrel.com/currenttraining.aspx.  To register, send an e-mail to Danielle White.


      Returning to my original point, if you know of some great blogs I'm missing, comment on the blog with the new address (and yes, it's fine to mention your own blog).
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      OTBI vs. OBIA

      Dylan Wan - Thu, 2011-10-06 14:49
      Several people are curious about what are OTBI and OBIA, and what are the differences between OTBI and OBIA. I will discuss these in this article.OTBI stands for Oracle Transactional Buisness Intelligence. OBIA stands for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications.Let’s start with OBIA. OBIA is the pre-packaged BI Apps that Oracle has provided for several years. It is the data warehouse based solution. It is based on the universal data warehouse design with different prebuilt adapters that can connect to various source application to bring the data into the data warehouse. It allows you to conslidate the data from various sources and bring them together. It provides a library of metrics that help you measure your business. It also provides a set of predefined reports and dashboards. OBIA works for multiple sources, including E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JDE, SAP, and Fusion Applications.OTBI is different. First of all, it is a real time BI. There is no data warehouse or ETL process for OTBI. Second, it is for Fusion Apps only. OTBI is leveraging the advanced technologies from both BI platform and ADF to enable the online BI queries agains the Fusion Applications database directly. In addition, in some area, such as Financial, you can also connect to the Essbase cubes. Unlike OBIA, OTBI does not have a lot of prebuilt dashboards and reports. The reason is that for some advanced analysis, the data need to be prepared. You cannot get eveything you can get from the OBIA data warehouse in OTBI. Both OTBI and OBIA are available from the same metadata repository. Some of the repository objects are shared between OTBI and OBIA. It was designed to allow you have the following configurations: OTBI Only OBIA only OTBI and OBIA coexistIf you implement Fusion Apps, you can enable OTBI. You can use the BI EE Answer to access the prebuild metadata and metrics those are built against the Fusion Apps. You may not get the full powerful prebuild dashboard and repost and prebuilt navigation workflow. However, you can start experiencing what the BI EE based reports look like. You can start bring the data out from your OLTP system. You can provide training to the users to get familar with the subject areas, some of which are shared with OBIA. If you enjoy OTBI and want to further get OBIA with a data warehouse based solution. You can implement OBIA later. Some of the OTBI reports maybe switched to run against OBIA. Some of OTBI reports can continue connecting to Fusion Apps directly. They can coexist in a single BI server and a single BI answer client.Both OTBI and OBIA are accessing Fusion Apps via the ADF. This is a more advanced topic.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Independence

      David Aldridge - Wed, 2011-04-13 05:10
      From slashdot I see that there is once again a new language in town. Now then, there are a great many Java developers who have preached the benefits of implementing data logic (what they call business logic) in the application so-as to create RDBMS-independent code, including James Gosling who apparantly leads the pack in “not […]
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 is Available

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Thu, 2011-04-07 15:20
      Gentlemen, begin your upgrades.  Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 has finally shipped.  Those who've been waiting for the migration (and slightly more stable) releases of Essbase, Hyperion Planning, HFM, and the rest for around a year can finally get real lives.


      I know: I'm shocked it's out too.  It's not on edelivery.oracle.com yet (at least as of 4:15PM Eastern on April 7, 2011) but it is available for download on download.oracle.com.  I made a bit.ly link to the exact page:
      Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1


      Tell everyone and impress your friends.


      UPDATE: As of April 8, 2011, EPM 11.1.2.1 is now available in nice Media Packs on eDelivery.oracle.com for the following operating systems:

      • HP-UX (Itanium)
      • IBM AIX (64-bit)
      • Linux (32-bit and 64-bit)
      • Solaris (64-bit only)
      • Windows (32-bit and 64-bit)

      As mentioned before, the EPM docs (including all the new features and yes, there are some new features) on 11.1.2.1 can also be found here:
      http://download.oracle.com/docs/cd/E17236_01/index.htm
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 - Releasing No Sooner Than April 10

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Fri, 2011-04-01 11:25
      In a posting back in February, I relayed that development was virtually promising that Oracle EPM 11.1.2.1 would be out sometime in March. I then padded that to be sometime by March 31. Here's what I was told from multiple sources (not one of which is Glenn Schwartzberg): apparently, development discovered two bugs during testing just this week. They are being immediately corrected and then the patch should release to manufacturing (meaning it can be bundled up and posted on edelivery.oracle.com).

      This jibes with a public announcement that Oracle made during a Customer Advisory Board meeting in Copenhagen this week. A customer that was there told me that Oracle announced they were releasing 11.1.1.2 to edelivery on April 10. This is the first time I've ever heard of an exact date spoken in a semi-public forum.

      No I think that the more likely date is April 11 (which is a Monday and as such, a lot more likely than Sunday). That said, the earliest I would expect it is April 11 since, well how do I put it gently, Oracle has been working this for around a year now and has lost pretty much all credibility with estimating patch release dates.

      To add to the bad news, it looks like support for other application servers (like WebSphere) will NOT be in this patch. Looks like it will be delayed until to 11.1.2.2 (and who really believes that will really release by year-end?).

      Keep watching here and I'll let you know when 11.1.2.1 gets posted for downloading.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      Why we do not use PowerConnect to access PeopleSoft Tree

      Dylan Wan - Wed, 2011-03-16 12:51

      1. It does not allow you to use parameters to the PeopleSoft connect. It may be changed later. However, it was a big issue when we try to address customer issues.

      2. It requires EFFDT as an option.It expect that people change the EFFDT using Mapping Editor. How can a business user does that every month?

      3. It asks for a Tree Name. Many PeopleSoft tree structure supports multiple trees. Tree is just a header of the hierarchy. Whenever you add a new Tree, you need to create a new mapping!!

      It does not make sense to use PowerConnect due to the customer demands. All requirements are from customers.

      We have no choice but stop using it.

      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      ISA Consulting Bought by E&Y

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Wed, 2011-03-16 01:52
      And so the consulting company acquisitions continue.  I haven't written about this in over a year mostly because these acquisition entries take so many hours to research (cry me a river, Edward), so let's bury the lead by first covering all the major acquisitions that have occurred since my last entry:


      November 24, 2009: PWC acquires Paragon
      Those in the Oracle EPM areas in Europe & Asia knew of Paragon.  With close to 100 employees, they were a significant player in the UK, Turkey, and Singapore markets.  It's not known how many of Paragon's employees made the transition to PWC, but press releases seem to reflect around 40.


      March 29, 2010: Perficient acquires Kerdock
      Kerdock was a major, long-standing Oracle BI/EPM vendor dating back to roughly 2002.  Based out of Houston, they had close to 65 employees at their peak.  When they were bought last year by Perficient (a public-traded company - NASDAQ: PRFT - with about 1,400 employees), they had roughly 45 employees and about $8MM in annual revenue.  They were bought for $6MM (of which $3.4MM was in cash and $2.6MM in PRFT stock).


      May 4, 2010: Idhasoft acquires TLC Technologies
      TLC is a long-time Oracle EPM partner based out of Pennsylvania.  Though they dated back to the late 90's, they were never that large.  Last year, a controlling interest in TLC was acquired by Idhasoft (through their Prism Informatica subsidiary) for an undisclosed sum.
      If you hadn't heard of Meridian when Edgewater acquired them, you weren't alone.  They were only a few years old (and they were pretty small) but they had begun developing a reputation as a Hyperion Strategic Finance implementer that was able to compete with the focused expertise of BlueStone.  We'll never know if they would have fulfilled that promise of HSF experience, though, because they were acquired too early on by Edgewater.  They did have several former Alcar executives (the company that became HSF) on their leadership team (including Alcar's former head of services, Ricardo Rasche), so their acquisition was significant.


      August 31, 2010: E&Y acquires Global Analytics
      Global Analytics, as you may recall, bought Narratus (the former "Data into Action") a couple of years ago and in 2010, they were gobbled up themselves.  Largely through the strengths of Hyperion installation expert, Bill Beach, Global Analytics had developed a reputation in the Hyperion infrastructure world.  For a time, they were one of only 5 companies (interRel was one of the others) with a significant infrastructure practice around Hyperion which included them subcontracting to other larger global systems integrators.  They had several areas outside of Hyperion, and my guess is that's why  E&Y bought them in 2010.  The small size of their Hyperion practice doesn't seem like it would have warranted E&Y's attention.  Though maybe this should have been a predictor of the acquisition of ISA?


      October 21, 2010: IBM acquires Clarity
      In my opinion, this was the most significant acquisition in the Oracle EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase world in 2010.  Clarity Systems out of Canada (same place my high school girlfriend lived, by the way) was the first substantial partner to build a pre-packaged budgeting solution on top of Essbase that way pre-dated Hyperion Planning.  Originally a consulting partner at Arbor, Clarity turned their spreadsheet-based front-end to Essbase eventually into a full-featured financial planning, consolidation and reporting product.  What was once a fairly pleasant working relationship got contentious for a number of reasons including alleged licensing violations and what later turned into a compete between Clarity and Hyperion's own Planning and Financial Management products.  As Clarity began to score some competitive wins over Hyperion at companies like Southwest Airlines and Alcon Labs, the relationship took a turn for the downright hostile.


      Eventually, Clarity started integrating with non-Hyperion products as they continued their expansion.  Interestingly, when IBM bought them last year, IBM made no secrets about their intentions to kill off most of the Clarity suite (including the planning and financial consolidation functionality).  This actually makes complete sense since they already have the Cognos and TM/1 products doing virtually the same functions.  So why did they acquire them?  Consultant bodies to implement BI/EPM at IBM's consulting clients? Clarity's client list? Just to eliminate a competitor.  None of the above.  Apparently, IBM noticed a weakness in their XBRL reporting and one component of Clarity handled this functionality.  Seems like overkill to me, but then I'm not a company the size of IBM.


      Throughout 2010: Palladium founders leave to form other firms
      As disastrous as the Hyperion/Arbor merger was back in 1998, there are many who feel that the merger of Balanced Scorecard Collaborative, Painted Word, and ThinkFast into Palladium was even worse.  While I'm not one to judge, it has definitely been true that  Palladium has been bleeding talent (in the Hyperion/EPM world, at least) since their founding.  The last 15 months have been particularly harsh with three major group personnel departures:
      • Painted Word executives including Scot MacGillivray, Jim Leavitt, Chris Boulanger, and Peter Graham all left to found Cervello.  All of these people were founders and/or executives at Painted Word when it became part of Palladium.  They stuck it out for a few years and then left as a group to create Cervello which seems to be doing Oracle BI and EPM consulting.  I can't vouch for that personally, because I haven't run into them at all, but their departure from Palladium was definitely a blow.
      • Tom Phelps left Palladium to start up ClearLine Group.  Tom Phelps was the original founder of the company that later became ThinkFast (one of the three components of Palladium).  Tom and his brother, Marty, founded a company that appears to be doing Oracle EPM consulting (but again, like Cervello, I haven't run into them yet).  With Tom Phelps departing and the Painted Words executives departing, the only founders of the component companies that are still part of Palladium are the Balanced Scorecard guys.
      • Palladium Pace team members including Dean Tarpley, Michael Wright, Carolyn Sieben, and a few others left to join Alvarez and Marsal in August, 2010.  The Pace product hadn't been selling anywhere near what its creators expected and this was the final nail in the coffin of the product.  While Pace is still mentioned on Palladium's website, it doesn't seem that there's anyone left at Palladium still working on the product.  Palladium had been shopping around for a buyer of their Pace business unit for a while, so it's unclear as to if Palladium sold the developers to Alvarez or if they simply were hired en masse.  Since there wasn't any sort of "predatory workpractices" lawsuit, I'm concluding that it was a purchase of the talent and Alvarez didn't want Pace at all.


      March 15+ 2011: Ernst & Young acquires ISA
      Well, I'd love to point to a press release on this, but there isn't one simply because it's not been announced yet. [Editor's Note: it is now public.  Scroll to the end of the story for more.]  Normally, I wouldn't do a blog entry on this until it was official, but this is the least stealthy acquisition in history.  I have heard about it from no fewer than three sources at three different companies, and since offers have already been extended to the employees that are going to get them at ISA Consulting, the affected people already know.  Keep watching Ernst & Young and ISA's news pages and I'm sure something will be up in the next week or two.


      ISA is based out of Pennsylvania and is a very large player in the Oracle BI and EPM space.  Though they do other products, ISA is still considered by many to be a primarily Hyperion partner.  Based on what I've been told, E&Y is acquiring ISA primarily for their consulting expertise.  While they're letting almost all the sales and back office staff go (Mitch Rubin and Cliff Matthews being notable exceptions), most all of the consultants seem to be getting offers to join E&Y.  The partners at ISA do seem to be coming on as either partners or close to it at E&Y.


      Even though E&Y is one of the 10 largest privately held companies in the USA, this is a significant acquisition because ISA does appear to have well over 100 people focused around BI, EPM, and data warehousing.  Whether they end up putting ISA in the BI & Data Warehousing group or into financial transformation (or split them between them), this acquisition will significantly increase the number of individuals in those areas. If E&Y does manage to hold on to the talent from ISA, they will now be able to much more directly compete with Deloitte on the BI & EPM front.


      I haven't heard terms of the acquisition, but since E&Y doesn't need ISA's client list or sales expertise but rather just wants the consulting bodies, the dollars are presumably based on a multiple of EBITDA. Based on other similar deals in the last year, I expect the multiple is 6.5 times 12-month EBITDA (give or take a factor of 1.5).  If anyone knows any different, by all means, either shoot me an e-mail (I'll keep you anonymous) or post it in the comments to this entry.


      Who's Next?
      If you go way back to my posting from January 5, 2009, I offered up this list of potential targets for acquisition: 
      One could speculate that it might be interRel, PII, Kerdock, Global Analytics, US-Analytics, Analytic Vision, HCG, TopDown, or even the Hyperion arm of Palladium, but it could just as likely be some other tiny Hyperion vendor that's not on anyone's radar screen right now. Heck, it might even expand beyond the consulting world to one of the Hyperion software partners like Applied OLAP or Star Analytics.I then went on to say that interRel could be removed from the list.  Well, I was right on Kerdock, Global Analytics, and the Hyperion arm of Palladium, so that leaves PII, US-Analytics, Analytic Vision, HCG, TopDown, Applied OLAP, and Star Analytics.  I guess I would add MarketSphere to that list too even though they're obviously in areas beyond Oracle EPM.  While many of these companies are too small to attract the attention of Deloitte, IBM, E&Y, and Oracle, don't be shocked if one or more of them is gobbled up in the next year by an off-shore consulting firm looking to fill in the EPM/BI gaps in their offerings.


      It's now almost 2AM and I have to present to the HUG group in Minneapolis in a few hours, so I'm going to post and then sleep.  If I've stated anything incorrectly above, feel free to comment and please assume I wasn't trying to be malicious.  It's just been a long day and this entry (essay?) was almost 1,800 words.


      UPDATE April 5, 2011: E&Y Officially Buys ISA Consulting
      It took a week into April, but E&Y finalized the ISA deal and announced the deal publicly.  The press release states that ISA had 130 employees (I'd speculated 100+) and financial terms were not disclosed.  Read more about it here.
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

      I'm Totally Lost: Which Conference Do I Go To for Hyperion and Oracle EPM/BI Content?

      Look Smarter Than You Are - Mon, 2011-02-28 17:02
      The final Hyperion Solutions conference (the great big conference Hyperion used to put on with non-stop Hyperion content and over 4,000 attendees) was in the spring of 2007.  Back then, everyone knew which conference to attend, because there was only one national conference (Solutions) and then a whole lot of regional HUG (Hyperion User Group) meetings.  But then Oracle bought Hyperion and immediately disbanded the conference leaving the user community in disarray.


      There are now several options depending on what you're looking for.  While I could attempt to make some sense out of the whole conference jumble in a blog post, I decided it would be better explained in a webcast.  To that end, I'm devoting two webcasts this week to the question “Now that the Hyperion Solutions conference is gone, which conference should I attend?”


      I'm going to compare the benefits of the better known 2011 conferences:


      I'm in a unique position to do this, because I don't work for Oracle and I have some ties to every one of these events (so you could say that while I'm biased, I realize the value each one can bring to the right audience).  Usually, our webcasts are only open to Oracle customers (not partners) but in this case, I want everyone to know why you'd want to go to each of the conferences so they don't find themselves wasting money at a conference that's totally not right for them.


      Click on the links below to sign up for either Tuesday or Wednesday's webcast:



      I will spend around 45 minutes covering all the conferences and then take questions from the audience.  Before you sign up for one of the conferences, devote 45 minutes of your life to making sure you won't find yourself trapped in the 7th circle of hell (otherwise known as stuck at a conference you hate).
      Categories: BI & Warehousing

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