December 11, 2007

Hyperion Town Hall - Houston

I'm at the Alden Hotel in Houston, Texas today attending an Oracle sponsored event called "Hyperion Town Hall."  Basically, they're supposed to talk about the Oracle acquisition of Hyperion.  Here's the agenda:

- Welcome

- Integration Strategy & Roadmap

- Customer Speaker (University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston)

- Question and Answer

- Networking Session

There is some networking time before the agenda above.  From what I can tell, most of the crowd is either Oracle (former Hyperion) or partners.  Every partner has at least two people (we have three including me).  Having a one-to-one ratio of partners and clients makes for some odd networking situations.  There's a lot of partners talking to partners about partnering.  Observing the forced niceties is making giggle on the inside.

                "Hi, My Dreaded Competition.  What's a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?"

                "Well as I live and breathe, if isn't That Guy I Hate With A Passion!  How the heck have you been?  Hope you haven't lost your arms in a trash compactor accident!"

                "No, of course not, I made sure to stand way back as I pushed your mother in.  I'm kidding of course."

                "Oh, you always were the quick wit.  Well, I guess I better move on and talk to someone with a personality, um, I mean the potential to get me revenue."

                "I completely understand: you're not getting any younger, you know."

The main speaker was Ken Hohenstein, RVP of Southern EPM (over John Hernandez who's the regional EPM manager over Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas).  I get along pretty well with Ken on a personal level, but he can be kind of a dry presenter (though that may be due to the dryness of the material too).  He could crack a joke once in a while.

Most of the presentation was pretty dry: the same slides I've seen before.  There's an interesting point on retention post-acquisition: 98% of the development staff joined Oracle and 95% of sales, support, and consulting made the move as well.  I'm thrilled about the development retention.  Consulting?  Not so much.

He talked some about the leadership of the EPM/BI Leadership.  John Kopcke is now SVP of Performance Management and Business Intelligence.  Rich Clayton is now VP of BI and Performance Management Marketing.   Both of those guys are in Product Strategy.  Robert Gersten is in Product Development as SVP of Development of Performance Management and BI.  I think they just said that he's now in charge of 2,000 developers.  Wow.

Ken talked about support for a bit.  One of the more surprising things is that all standard-level and Enterprise-level support clients have been migrated (at apparently, no charge) to Oracle Premier Support on December 1, 2007.  This means that if a Hyperion client was on standard support (meaning only 8 hours per day support, 5 days per week).

One of Mr. Hohenstein's final slides was on the conferences replacing Hyperion Solutions (may she rest in peace).  COLLABORATE 2008 is in Denver from April 13-17.  This is the one put on by the user groups.  They're trying to get more Hyperion presentations at COLLABORATE, and I think it should have 50-100 Hyperion presentations.  OpenWorld 2008 is September 21-25th.  God, I hope they improve the Hyperion content, but I guess I've written about that one to death.

Jay White, President of the South Texas Hyperion User's Group (STxHUG), got up to speak next.  He thanked Oracle for picking up his valet parking and US-Analytics for bribing people (or as Jay put it "donating the door prizes").  He spoke for about 15 minutes, but none is much relevant to those outside of Houston, so I won't repeat it.  At the conclusion of his section, he did comment on interRel's "Hyperion Solutions Road Trip to the South" we held back in August.  He praised our game show (as he put it "Business Intelligence Jeopardy") and said that we must have more money than Oracle to put that event on.  I thought that was pretty darned funny.

The next speaker was Rich Clayton, VP of stuff (see above), talking about the EPM Product Strategy and Roadmap.  He started off by mentioning that Smart View is being placed on top of Hyperion Enterprise which is interesting, because I thought that Enterprise wasn't long for this world.  I'm still not convinced it's staying around, but this is at least a sign that it's not dead already.

Rich had a lot of slides that again, I've seen before on the growth in reporting, analytics, and such.  I'd blog them, but I'm worried that while typing in the content of the slides, I might bore myself into a coma.  Some of the content (specifically around Essbase) was the same as the Future of Essbase presentation from OpenWorld.  Here's what's new:

·         HFM will have enhanced XBRL support.  HFM will also allow journals and adjustments to go back into the underlying ERP (too cool).

·         Financial Reporting will allow annotations to be added to a report.  This could be quite helpful for variance analysis ("you missed your budget: explain yourself, man!").

·         Hyperion will be linked to Oracle E-Business Suite to allow drill-down and account analysis to underlying ERP data (in PeopleSoft, Oracle financial ledgers, etc.) via Hyperion Financial Data Quality Management. 

·         Planning will have a new module to do "Strategic Operational Planning."  I think that means more detail-oriented planning beyond the financial space (like manufacturing detail).

·         Hyperion Profitability Management is being released sometime in 2008.  I haven't seen a demo of this, so I don't know much more beyond the title.  It's apparently going to let a user look at a Profit & Loss statement and have visibility to where all the numbers came from (which were direct and which were allocated).  When I actually see this one live, I'll write more on it.

·         Calculation Manager is the integrated method for writing calculations across all Hyperion products.  It should be in 9.5, but he admits that it will take 2 or 3 releases to get all the kinks worked out.

·         Simplified installation and configuration should be coming in 9.5 (formerly known as Kennedy).

·         Lifecycle Management Services in 9.5 allows administrators to move Hyperion applications from development to production.  It's a retooling of the old Hyperion Hub product, from what I can tell.

·         There are about 75 new features in 9.5 in the old BI+ products (Interactive Reporting, Web Analysis, Financial Reporting, SQR Production Reporting).   The only one that I was able to read (in 3 point font) was that Interactive Reporting in 9.5 will have prettier charts.

·         Visual Explorer will have predictive visualization sometime in 2008.

He said that 9.5 is scheduled for release in May of 2008.  Well, that's targeted, but officially it's sometime in 2008.  Knowing what I know about the beta schedule for 9.5, I think that May-June of 2008 is realistic.

The chairs they have us sitting in are horrible.  I may take a Blog Break so I don't get deep vein thrombosis.  I lost feeling in my legs about an hour ago…

The customer presentation from Jerry Jackson of UTMB (Univ. Texas Medical Branch) was about how they converted an Essbase cube from block storage to aggregate storage.  Considering how marketing-oriented the earlier material was, the technical nature of this presentation was jarring.  Also, the speaker's microphone was set at zero, so no one could hear him.  I was in the back row, so not could I not hear him: I was too far away to read lips.  I did read his slides.  One slide I did enjoy the title of said "18 Dimensions is Not Enough" which explained why they needed to expand from 18 to 24 dimensions to do their financial reporting.  I find this shocking since the dimensionality on financial reporting cubes tends to be much smaller (in the 5-9 dimension range).

Jerry's presentation wasn't nearly as, um, technical as the second presentation from one of the IT people at UTMB.  The topic was "Accessing Stored Procedures [in Oracle] Using Interactive Reporting."  I found the looks on the sales people comical when he started showing stored procedure code.

At the conclusion of the event was some drawing of door prizes.  I may be mistaken, but I think all three prizes were won by employees of UTMB.  This is not surprising since UTMB brought the largest contingent (I guess, because they were speaking?).

I am supposed to go to the Hyperion Town Hall in Dallas tomorrow.  Based on the assumption that tomorrow's content will be quite similar to today's, I think I'm going to skip it.


1 comment:

David Vandiver said...

In your opinion, what type of presentation would fit best with this group (STxHUG)?

Technical, Functional, Sales?