September 25, 2008

OpenWorld - Thursday, Sep. 25

3:59PM - What's New in OBIEE+

It was my understanding that this presentation would mention some of what's changing in Web Analysis, Financial Reporting, and the other parts of the "plus" part of OBIEE+.  Instead, I just sat through an hour-long sales pitch of "Oracle BI Standard Edition One" which is all about Oracle BI Publisher, Interactive Dashboards, and Answers.  They didn't talk about the former Hyperion products at all.  There was a point where I began wondering if they switched rooms and maybe my topic was being held elsewhere.  I honestly went out on the web to see if they had many any schedule changes.

No, I was in the right room just receiving the wrong content.  The room holds about 100, so I wonder if others were as confused as I am.  Several people walked out.

I'm leaving now to go meet someone in the Marriott lobby.  No, this isn't my last OpenWorld blog entry, so tune in later.

2:45PM - Roske on Hyperion Planning Optimization

That presentation was a lot less full.  It was right next door at Moscone West 3024.  it held 200 or so but was only about 1/4 full.  I guess people are headed to the airport (and there was also a competing Planning tips presentation at the same time).  Everyone seemed interested in the content which is good, because I wasn't at my funniest.

I started off by telling everyone that the #1 way to speed up Planning is to speed up Essbase.  I also told them not to optimize Essbase under Planning the same way one optimizes stand-alone Essbase cubes.  Why?  Because normal Essbase optimization focuses on optimizing data loads and big, batch calcs.  Planning optimizations focus on user experience: speeding up form retrievals, form submissions, and running small/targeted calcs.

Once I went through the Essbase tips that one should consider when optimizing Hyperion Planning, I covered how to optimize Planning web forms themselves.  I covered optimized calculations briefly and also gave some infrastructure tips.  There was just too much content for 1 hour, because there are so many different tips/tricks for Hyperion Planning.  I only got to spend about 15 minutes on tips for improving user experience (basically, user interface tips) and that topic alone needs an hour to do it justice.

A few people stirred when I told them NOT to use Planning's built-in currency capabilities but rather to create a Planning app as non-multi-currency and then add the capability manually.  The reasons for this are both performance based and for usability.  I would have presumed by now that no one was using the Planning multi-currency, but several people seemed shocked when I said that, so apparently, they been getting bad consulting advice (or worse: they got design advice from their Planning Bootcamp instructor).

If you want a copy of the slides for this presentation (assuming you're not a competitor :), send an e-mail to info(at)  For that matter, if you want a copy of any of the ones I've delivered at this year's OpenWorld, send an e-mail specifying which of the 4 presentations you actually want and Danielle will be happy to send you a copy:

  • How Essbase Thinks (both BSO and ASO)
  • Essbase Outline Tuning and Optimization
  • Smart View Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
  • Hyperion Planning Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices
While I love public speaking (something's wrong in my brain, I know), I'm glad my presentation work here at OpenWorld is over, because I still worry about my presentations until I've delivered them.  My voice hurts and while I have a few more things to attend to, I don't have to stress about any more presenting.

I have to race now all the way back to the Marriott (this conference is too big) to attend a presentation on what's new in the old Hyperion BI+ tools.  Glad I brought my running shoes...

1:14PM - Roske and XTO on Smart View Tips

The Smart View Tips and Tricks presentation took place in 3022 in Moscone West.  It started at noon, and I got there from the Marriott with only about 10 minutes to spare.  The room held 300 and was more than 80% full.

Bob from XTO Energy started off the presentation by talking about his experiences using Hyperion at XTO.  He told the audience about how he started with a different consulting company than interRel that did a horrible job (thankfully, he didn't mention the name), threw them out, tried to do it themselves, and eventually called interRel for help.  He did mention that we were able to reduce his calculation time from 8-12 hours down to under 20 minutes, so that was a unexpected plug for our Hyperion tuning practice.

He then talked some about their experiences with Smart View specifically.  He gave an interesting tip that you don't tend to hear in most Smart View tricks presentations: consider using the HSGetValue() function (with anchored cell references so you can formula fill it after you've added it once).  Most people say not to use it for speed reasons, but Bob rightly pointed out that it does give you a ton of flexibility in reporting that you don't get when using the simple grid approach.

After about 10 minutes, he turned it over to me.  I talked for about 50 minutes on ways to better your usage of Smart View with Essbase, Planning, Financial Reporting, and Web Analysis.  For a lot of my tips, I had to say, "here's the really complicated way of doing it under System 9, but under 11x, there's this really cool way to do it."  I will be so happy when 11x is stable, so I can recommend that our clients upgrade to it.

About 100 people came up afterwards to give me their business cards and ask questions.  One lady actually came up and asked if interRel could please come out to her company and rescue her Planning implementation that [a consulting firm based out of the East Coast of the USA] screwed up.  It's always good when people realize that you don't actually just talk about Hyperion but you actually implement it as well.

I now have a huge walk to my next presentation which is all the way over at Moscone West, room 3024.  I think that's to the west of where I am now in Moscone West, room 3022.

11:25AM - What's New in Oracle BI Applications

This room at the Marriott is huge.  According to the scanner lady at the door, the room holds almost 1,100 people.  That said, the room is a ghost town.  There are only about 75 people here.  It's as empty as a Texas Rangers day game in August.  Jake Krakauer, Senior Director of BI Apps for Oracle, was the opening speaker.  Why am I here?  To hear about future integration between the BI Apps and the former Hyperion products.  I'm not sure there is any, but I hope to find out.

Jake started off by talking about how BI Apps are part of the EPM System at Oracle. Jake talked briefly about the importance of BI Apps to "achieving management excellence."  Now I know what "Management Excellence" is because I've heard Kopcke speak and been reading the EPM literature for the last few months.  The majority of the room has no idea what Jake meant, though, when he said 'Management Excellence."  A bit of terminology definition would have been nice.

There are around 35 pre-built BI apps like sales pipeline analysis, market basket analysis, and procurement analysis.  Jake's talking about how most of their effort on developing BI Apps goes into the behind scenes things like ETL, security, warehouse design, and under the covers modeling rather than on the front-end.  While that's greatly inspiring, isn't the primary forwarding facing view of the BI Apps the user interface?  Would I still drive a BMW 650 if it looked on the outside like a Ford Pinto?  If I'm going to be paying a ton of money for something, I want it to look nice when I have to look at it.

Jake's been talking about the new Oracle BI Apps 11g that's coming (eventually).  Their goal is to link BI Apps into Fusion Middleware and OBIEE Answers+.

New content in the BI Apps 11g will include:

  • US Federal Financial Analytics.  This is a special version of Financial Analytics for federal agencies.
  • ODI Integration.  Phase 1 of the BI Apps and ODI integration will have Oracle eBS 11.5.10as the only supported source and Oracle database as the only target. That seems limiting.  They'll be expanding more in the future, apparently.
  • Fixed Assets Analytics
  • Project Analytics
  • HR Functional area
  • Data Lineage Console
While those items are pretty definite (because they're already under development), here is what may be released in a beyond 12 month timeframe:

  • Procurement & Spend Analytics
  • Marketing Loyalty Analytics
  • PeopleSoft adapters for P&Spend Analytics and Projects Analytics
  • JDEdwards adapters for financials, order management, and P&Spend
  • Communications/procewsses focused analytics (industry)
  • EBS Manufacturing - OPM and Discrete enhancements
  • EBS GRI Sustainability dashboard
  • CxO Dashboard/Scorecard
  • ODI Phase 2.  Additional Oracle, Siebel, PeopleSoft, JDE sources.  Additional targets to include DB2, MS SQL Server, and Teradata.
Jake just started talking about "integrating the Hyperion applications with the BI Applications so data can be used both ways."  Basically, they're working on sharing data between Hyperion apps (like Planning and HFM) and the BI Apps.

On integrating the BI Apps and Essbase, he said that they're focusing on integrating OBIEE and Essbase.  "Today, Essbase can be a source for the Business Analytics Warehouse for use by dashboards.  Essbase can also be a target so if you're doing analysis in your function, you can spin off an Essbase cube and do some deeper analysis."  That all seems really vague.  As of this moment, no one has announced BI Apps sitting directly on Essbase.

On integrating HFM and the BI App for Financial Analysis, Jake basically said that they're complimentary applications.  He then showed a PowerPoint slide that could double as an eye chart.  "HFM is for inter-period reporting, but FInancial Analytics is for intra-period reporting."  Um, okay.

Several people have been walking out, so the room's down to less than 50 people.

They want to integrate Hyperion Planning and HR Analytics so Workforce Planning can feed and pull from HR Analytics.  I don't think from what he's said that it's there yet.

Michael Siebert, the guy from from Ingersoll Rand, came out at about 11AM.  He offered some insight on what Ingersoll Rand has been doing with the BI Apps and what they will be doing.  Mike's basically giving a customer success story which isn't amazingly relevant to most of the audience.  Other people are leaving.

I have a presentation at 12PM in Moscone West on Smart View Tips and Tricks.  I expect the room will be mostly empty, because:
  1. Most of our clients are in Hyperion customer advisory boards.
  2. A number of people have already left for the airport.
  3. It's being held during lunch.  Nice timing, Oracle.

9:00AM - Meeting with the Press

I'm about to meet with a reportor from an industry trade magazine.  Apparently, they're really impressed with all the press interRel (my company) has received this week.  While I do the interview, I'll ask Eduardo to post a quick separate entry listing all the press releases with our name in them this week so it doesn't clutter up my live blogging.  It's been a very good week to be interRel (though my feet are killing me).

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