April 14, 2008

In the middle of another "vision for blah, blah, blah" slide, Paul mentioned that Planning is being enhanced (made into an "integrated planning framework") to allow adding modules for cash flow planning, long-range strategic planning, and strategic operational planning. No word on when these are coming.

The first guy just walked out. Everyone else is waiting with baited (abated?) breath.

Ah, Paul claims to be about to present on the "EPMS Product Strategy & Roadmap." I'm giddy as a schoolgirl on Ritalin.

To sum up Oracle's EPM Strategy in 4 bullets or less: Extend market position, lower customer TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), increase competitive differentiation, and support/migrate existing customers. Paul has a bullet under "Lower customer TCO" that says "New functionality to reduce complexity." In other words, adding more stuff to the applications makes things simpler. There must be something deep there, because on the surface, that comment comes across as nutty.

Four more people gone. Quitters. I have a presentation at 9, so I may end up in the "quitter" category, myself. Hurry, Paul, hurry! We need new features and release dates (that you won't make any attempt to stick to)!

Ah, an "EPMS Release Roadmap" slide. He just said that Kennedy (11.1.1) will be a Windows-release only. This is shocking. Other platform support will be coming out "later in 2008." Hyperion NEVER (well, with the exception of Linux and 64-bit) released a new edition not supported across all platforms.

Hyperion is being localized to 13+ languages later in 2008.

For the next part, Paul has separated the 2008 initiatives into a few different themes.

The first theme for 2008 is "Reduced TCO." In the upcoming release, EPM Architect will be enhanced to include an integrated "Calc Manager" that will be used to build calculations across ALL Hyperion applications in a visual fashion. This means that you can write rules that work for Planning and HFM without having to do Essbase calc language for Planning and VBScript for HFM (though you still can, if you'd like, for performance/control reasons).

A "Lifecycle Management" capability will be added to Shared Services to allow ease of migrating apps from dev to QA to prod. This has been a remarkably difficult, manual process for years, so I'm glad they're addressing it.

Oracle also has committed to simplified installation and configuration (which Paul acknowledges has been a problem area under System 9) for 11.1.1. (Kennedy). There will also be diagnostic information added to verify configuration and status, detect non-functioning components, and generate a diagnostic display. Also under the "Reduced TCO" them, the key new feature in Essbase 11 will be "Essbase Studio." It's a single graphical UI that spans all Essbase apps. It looks like EIS (Essbase Integration Studio) sort of combined with EAS (Essbase Administration Services).

Under the "Improved Integration" theme, Oracle will be linking EPM to Oracle E-Business Suite (Oracle Financials and what not) through FDM. In other words, FDM will allow direct drill-down into the financial side (and the BI side) of Oracle. This is going to be done through "Oracle EBS Source Adapters." The intention is also to do this for SAP in the future as well.

Crystal Ball ("Predictive Planning") will be integrated with Strategic Finance to perform scenario analysis using Monte Carlo simulations. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but if it's based on gambling, I'm in.

Essbase is now a source for OBIEE+ as of OBIEE In the upcoming release, OBIEE will be a source for Essbase. This confuses me more than anything. Shouldn't one of these support the other and not have them both supporting each other?

Oracle will be integrating with other Oracle products like Oracle Enterprise Manager (oh, I'm thrilled), Patch Installer, Lifecycle Management, Application Server, Internet Directory, Virtual Directory, and Identity Manager.

Under the "Transparency and Alignment" theme, there will be a new application released in 2008 called "Profitability & Cost Management." I've written about this before since they've been promising it for more than a year now.

In Financial Reporting 11.1, users will be able to annotate directly on a report (for things like variances) including adding textual commentary, file attachments, and URLs. Notations can be a single comment or full-fledged threaded discussions.

Under the "Pervasiveness" theme, OBIEE dashboards will be exposed in EPM Workspace (formerly Hyperion Workspace). Smart View will have personalized data slices (make a cube look like a smaller cube with fewer dimensions for specific users) and stylized output (formatted tables and charts and multiple sources on one page which lets you make something dashboard like in Microsoft Office).

Paul mentioned Smart Space even though it's already released. They're "desktop gadgets" that let a user access data sources pervasively (always on). I should probably do another entry on this since not that many people know about Smart Space. Tim Tow probably has a lot to say on this, because I know Applied OLAP has been doing some Smart Space development. I'll ask him later.