September 29, 2009

Oracle Buys HyperRoll

... well, at least they bought some of HyperRoll, and frankly, it's about time. It all started back in the day when HyperRoll found a better way to roll-up Essbase data. Originally, there was scuttlebutt about Hyperion buying HyperRoll, but (so the story goes), the price was too high. So instead, Hyperion decided to create ASO which bore eerie similarities to HyperRoll. There was a nasty lawsuit involving Hyperion infringing on HyperRoll's patent that got settled eventually for millions.

By that time, though, Hyperion had ASO firmly entrenched in Essbase customers world-wide and HyperRoll somewhat disappeared from the Hyperion landscape. They made a reappearance recently with their LiveLink technology that essentially let you build Essbase cubes from HFM data really, really fast. In some cases, it was almost real-time. I saw a demo of it where a user made an elimination entry in HFM and it was visible in an Essbase cube literally 3 seconds later.

So what exactly did Oracle buy? It's unclear at the moment. HyperRoll's website proudly proclaims "Oracle Buys HyperRoll." Oracle's release is a bit more coy on what exactly they purchased:

On September 29, 2009, Oracle announced it has agreed to acquire certain assets of HyperRoll. HyperRoll is a leading provider of financial reporting acceleration solutions with interactive reporting capability to support complex data calculation requirements. Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) already enables rapid, accurate and secure financial consolidation and reporting. With the addition of HyperRoll's reporting acceleration technology, customers are expected to be able to execute a faster financial close.

HyperRoll's employees are expected to join Oracle, and will bring domain expertise in multi-dimensional technologies and algorithms for large scale financial and business intelligence systems.

In other words, they're definitely buying the parts of HyperRoll that matter to us Oracle EPM (Hyperion) junkies including the LiveLink technology mentioned above. What I can't figure out is what they're leaving behind at HyperRoll. Either way, the good news is it will all be rolled into the Oracle EPM product suite. It also mentions under the HyperRoll acquisition FAQ (scroll down to page 3) that Oracle will be increasing the R&D around the HyperRoll products.

I did find the best source of details on what Oracle is buying can be found in this 10-page presentation. It even shows where HyperRoll will be fitting in the EPM suite:

September 18, 2009

Essbase 11 and Smart View Books On Amazon Kindle

Amazon Printed and On-Line
I mentioned back in June that you could get our Oracle Essbase 11 and Smart View 11 books from our publisher directly. At the time, many of you wondered when they'd be on Wait no more:

On a very cool note, our two newest 11x books are also available in an Amazon Kindle edition. So if you want to always have Essbase or Smart View material available at your fingertips or if you just love saving trees, get a Kindle copy here:

Direct from interRel Press
Now, of course, I would still prefer you buy them from our publisher because we get to keep more of the revenue, but I understand why some prefer Amazon. If you want to help us starving authors get higher royalties (and get your shipment faster too, generally), please visit:

As always, if you want to buy 5 or more copies of one of our books, please e-mail dwhite(at) and she'll be happy to arrange 30% off the list price. Now your entire finance department can afford a copy of the end user book!

Look Smarter Than You Are with Hyperion Planning
Finally, as an update, our next book will be released before OpenWorld. Stay tuned to this blog if you're a user of Hyperion Planning who's been waiting patiently for a book to refer to.

EPM Is Available (patches & new features) Released in August
On August 6, Oracle stealthily released
Oracle EPM System, Fusion Edition version While it will come as a shock to no one that the version was released with the fanfare normally reserved for when an iPhone drops a call, what will shock many is that this was not just a patch release. That is, there's functionality added in this version too.

Drill-Through to Underlying Data
The Best Co-Author Ever, Tracy McMullen, prepared a great PowerPoint to explain to the interRel consultants all the new features. While her PPT summarized a ton of documentation, I'm going to further summarize that. The most prevalent theme throughout is the concept of drilling through to anywhere. When Oracle bought Hyperion back in 2007, they promised more seamless integration between Oracle's various products (like eBusiness Suite and PeopleSoft) and the Hyperion products (Essbase, Planning, HFM, FDM, etc.). While the Oracle ERPi project definitely adds some of this capability, adds even more.

For instance, it's now possible to set up drill-through from Essbase to a URL using several different methods without using EIS or Essbase Studio (or even FDM, if you don't want to). While you can use the API and the documentation implies you must, it seems you can set up the URL drill-through from Essbase just using MaxL. Several examples using at least 4 different methods can be found here:

In addition to the new drill-through capabilities of Essbase (see above), the other major improvement to Essbase is that Calc Manager now supports it. For the moment, it only will write Essbase BSO calcs, but assuming that ASO will one day allow parameterized "calc scripts", then Calc Manager should too. In the mean time, Calc Manager now becomes an option for deploying calculations to Hyperion Planning, HFM, and now, Essbase BSO.

There are some other improvements to Calc Manager including enhancements to templates, printing, zoom mode, variable saving and the formula grids. Run-time prompts are still a problem, but it looks like Calc Manager is getting there slowly but surely.

Planning and HFM
Both products can now drill to/through FDM from the web interface, Smart View, and Financial Reporting (very cool, by the way). This makes building applications that drill through to general ledger detail (like down to the journal entry) a whole lot easier and it's more intuitive for the users too.

Planning also has some improvements to the command-line utilities allowing one to load driver members through a CSV and create/load exchange rate tables. HFM has improvements including automated consolidation journals and some HFM-specific Calc Manager improvements the most notable of which is the ability to import VBScript files as graphical models in Calc Manager.

Financial Data Quality Management is extremely enhanced in In addition from more products being able to access FDM drills from more places, There's a new "module" within FDM called ERPi (ERP Integrator) that ties both data and metadata from some source GL's into the EPM applications.

Right now ERPi supports PeopleSoft 9.0 as well as Oracle eBusiness Suite 11.5.10CU2, 12.0.6, and 12.1.1. To way oversummarize this functionality, there is a new ERPi landing page that displays the GL accounts along with hyperlinked balances. When you click on the hyperlinks, you'll be taken to the source system data to view the associated journal entries for the selected account.

Smart View
As mentioned above, Smart View has enhanced drill-through capabilities. Smart View also allows a user to import metadata into a sheet which solves some of the problems people have had with copying over a worksheet in Excel and losing some of the properties. The new Import Metadata feature can be used in adhoc mode, data forms, functions, Reporting & Analysis documents, and even Smart Slices but for the moment, can't be used with Report Designer. Smart View also adds some more helpful VBA functions to the Smart View toolkit.

Though there are still a couple of things that the old Essbase Excel Add-In can do that Smart View can't, there are so many areas in which Smart View beats the old Add-In, that I would go with Smart View in 95% of new implementation cases.

EPM Architect just keeps getting better. [Yes, considering where it started, I know that's not that difficult.] It was finally ready for prime-time with EPMA 11.1.1 and every patch seems to add new functionality. adds enhancements to interface tables allowing admins to filter dimensions/members during imports. The batch client adds about 14 new capabilities including copying, inserting, excluding, renaming, and moving members. They've also fixed one of my pet peeves by finally allowing an easy way to purge the transaction history from the EPMA database.

Bugs Fixed
While I've mostly focused on the new features of, that's because I knew Oracle probably would forget to announce them in a format anyone could easily find. Of course, the best part about dot releases is that they fix bugs (AKA "known issues") and this patch fixes a bunch of them. Literally, there are pages of known issues resolved in this release. If you're not up to 11x yet, go straight to this version. If you're on 11 (especially 11.1.1), make sure you install this patch immediately:

September 17, 2009

ODTUG Hyperion SIG - Elections

During Kaleidoscope, elections were held for the new ODTUG Hyperion SIG board. The winners (well, we're all winners, as my 3rd grade Physical Education teacher taught me) are:
  • Al Marciante, Oracle (advisory board member)
  • Angie Wilcox, JCPenney
  • Cameron Lackpour, interRel Consulting
  • Doug Bliss, ACE Cash Express
  • Edward Roske, interRel Consulting
  • Gary Crisci, Morgan Stanley
  • Jeff McAhren, Health Markets
  • John Weimar, Kerdock
  • Natalie Delemar, Randstad
  • Quinlan Eddy, Star Analytics
  • Tim Tow, Applied OLAP (de facto board member)
It's a nice mix of users and vendors with almost exactly even numbers of each. It's a large board, to be sure, but it works.

As many of you know, I was the President of the ODTUG Hyperion SIG until after these elections were held. The first order of business for the newly elected board was to decide on an elected President (since I was president by proclamation more than anything). Gary Crisci successfully overthrew me in a bloodless coup, so I'd like to congratulate Gary on becoming the new ODTUG Hyperion SIG President. I'm still on the board so I still get to attend the bi-weekly calls: Gary has been doing a great job of keeping the board in line.

If you want to join the ODTUG Hyperion SIG, all it takes is joining their Linked In group:

September 16, 2009

ODTUG Kaleidoscope - Final Thoughts

The ODTUG Kaleidoscope conference in Monterey, California was magnificent. Attendance was up over last year making it one of only two conferences I'm aware of that went up since last year (the other has to do with Blackberries). There's a good high-level review of K'Scope from my friend, Prashanth Prasanna, at

The Hyperion hands-on labs were packed to the gills. The 3 Hyperion track rooms in most cases weren't standing room only, so next year has room to grow in terms of attendance. The Hyperion Developer's Symposium on Sunday went very well as Al Marciante from Oracle brought a great cast of Product Managers to talk about the future of the various Hyperion, Essbase, and Oracle EPM tools and applications. I personally enjoyed most the keynote from Robert Gersten, because I enjoy his off-the-cuff, absent-minded professor style of speaking. Robert seemed to enjoy speaking to a crowd of a couple of hundred Hyperion fans too.

There were two unexpected highlights of the week. The first was the Hyperion Midnight Madness event. The "Ask a Guru" panel went from 10PM-midnight on Monday and there were 100+ people there eating chocolate, drinking caffeine, and asking questions. Attendance kept growing over the two hours and at midnight, our moderator, Tim Tow, finally had to cut off the questions or we were going to be there all night. The panel consisted of all the Oracle ACEs and ACE Directors for Hyperion/EPM at Kaleidoscope as well as a couple of guests from the Hyperion SIG board just to keep it lively.

Speaking of lively, the other hit of the week outside the normal conference fare was a bluffing/detection/strategy/party game called Werewolf. The first night of Werewolf (go to for a copy of the game) was held right after midnight madness. Moderated by interRel's CFO, Stephanie Kelleher, about 13 people stuck around just to see what people were talking about.

On Tuesday night, everyone requested we play it again (which we did until about 3 AM) and we increased to 25 players. On Wednesday, the groundswell continued and we went up to 45+ people playing until almost dawn. While it ruined any chance of sleeping I might have thought I was going to get, it made for one of the most fun conferences I've ever attended. Apparently, Werewolf is sweeping the software conferences of the world:

Was the conference perfect? No, but my gripes are minor compared to the things they did right. The food wasn't as good as Kaleidoscope 2008 and there weren't as many vegetarian options. The internet at the hotel was horrendous making it so on several occasions I couldn't even get a connection. The location was too far from the local city so you had to drive to the local restaurants for nightlife. I would have liked to see even more Hyperion attendees, but considering that Collaborate Hyperion attendance was down 40-60%, I guess Kaleidoscope should be happy that they saw any growth at all.

Still, Kaleidoscope was the best conference I attended in 2009 and I can't wait for 2010. Keep watching this blog because as I get official confirmation of the days and location for next year, I'll be posting it here.

September 14, 2009

An Official Apology to My Readers

I'm sorry for ignoring you. My name is Edward and it's been 2+ months since my last posting. In the last entry, I was about to start the Kaleidoscope conference. And then... nothing. I essentially fell into the ether. While I could claim that it was because I've been really busy (which I have), it's really that overwhelming sense I get sometimes that with the plethora of blogs out there these days, that one more really doesn't matter.

About 18 months ago and someone came up to me at a conference and said, "Dude, it's been weeks since your last posting. I'm just sayin' [apparently, that phrase was popular then], you need to update more." Once I realized that I had at least one fan (whom I've nicknamed "Glutton for Punishment"), I figured I'd better update.

What happened over this summer is that I realized while there was a time when I was one of 5 or fewer blogs on Hyperion, Essbase, or Oracle EPM, there are now 30+ blogs on the topic. In other words, I figured that people were getting their news from a lot of different sources, so it wasn't that particularly important if I posted. Yes, some of you did write and harangue me for falling off planet Earth, so I'm not begging for feedback here. Also, I track the hits and even with no postings, I get 1,000 hits per week on this blog. What I really mean is that surely those 30+ sources would cover the things I wanted to talk about.

What I've realized, though, is that even with the volume of blogs and forums out there, they're not reaching the things I wanted to reach. I've now accumulated more than 10 topics that I consider important enough to the community to write about that have either been marginally touched on or completely ignored.

So my apologies in advance if they seem dated, but I'm going to have a flood of postings leading up to Oracle OpenWorld in October. I'm hoping you'll find the content interesting. If not, at least my conscience is clear that I've done my (remarkably) little part to share what I've found out.

Prepare yourself, mom and my other loyal reader, for the onslaught.