April 14, 2008

It's a brand-new day, and I'm up entirely too early. It's 8AM, and I'm sitting in the back of an 8AM presentation "Strategy for Hyperion EPM Products." It's supposed to be a detailed roadmap presentation of what's coming in the next year or two with Hyperion. It's put on by Paul Burrin (VP of EPM/BI Software Development rolling up through Robert Gersten, I presume). The room is entirely packed. Every seat is filled, people are standing two deep all around the outside of the room, and there are even people sitting on the aisle. We're definitely violating fire codes. Fred Richards and I both plugged this session during the Hyperion SIG yesterday, so if everyone dies in a fiery tragedy, I think Fred is at least partly to blame (I was just following Fred's lead).

It's starting with a general disclaimer that this is all basic product direction and Oracle isn't committed to actually doing a single thing they think they might want to do.

Paul is starting off by talking about Oracle's EPM Vision. You know, I've seen these slides tons of times (yesterday at the Hyperion SIG, for instance) and though I could lip sync along with the presenter, I still really can't articulate Oracle's EPM Vision. Why? Because it's frakin' confusing. They've got Oracle OLAP, Siebel Analytics, Essbase, OBIEE (which includes a bunch of other products including some of the Siebel stuff) and a ton of other applications that seem to overlap, and that's just in the Business Intelligence area. Rather than admit that they have multiple products that do the same thing, they've got some convoluted series of diagrams that try to explain why they're all helpful and necessary. Essbase seems to be a key tool, but I'm tired of hearing that "Essbase isn't a database: it's an OLAP Server." What Dr. Codd put together (the OLAP category of databases), let no marketing group rip asunder.

This doesn't even begin to cover the confusion that occurs on the other side of EPM: the end user-oriented applications like Hyperion Planning, Financial Management, Strategic Finance, and so on. Again, Oracle makes multiple products that do the same thing. At least on the front-end side, they seem to be directing people away from products like OFA (Oracle Financial Analyzer) and PeopleSoft EPM and towards the Hyperion apps.

If Paul doesn't get to the actual roadmap soon, there's going to be a revolt. I must commend the people around me for all wearing plentiful deodorant. That may postpone the coming revolution for an extra 5 minutes, but the temperature is definitely rising in here. No one has walked out as of 8:18AM, but people are starting to swoon (i.e., check watches and fiddle with papers).