Thursday, January 15, 2009

Technology Trends (According to Accountants)

Most people reading my blog probably don't realize that I am also a Certified Public Accountant, or "CPA". It has been tremendously helpful in my Hyperion-oriented career as I understand the needs of financial software users. When people find out I am a CPA, usually the first question they ask is "Do you do your own taxes?" I don't.

As a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, or "AICPA", I do try to keep up with all of the information they send out to members and this morning I saw something that I thought I would share here. The "InfoTech Update" newsletter had a section entitled "Six important emerging technologies for accounting". Interestingly enough, three of the six items have quite a bit of relevence in the Hyperion world:
  • Portals
  • Virtualization
  • Cloud Computing

Portals have been part of the Hyperion world for a number of years now so they really aren't emerging, so to speak, in our market.

Virtualization has been a hot topic over the past couple of years. For those of you who don't know, virtualization is a technology where a 'virtual machine' runs an operating system separate from the 'base' operating system. One of the leaders in the virtualization market is VMWare which has had products on the market for many years. Competition is hot and even Oracle introduced the "Oracle VM" product with quite a bit of splash a couple of years ago. We have some customers who have had Essbase on VMWare for over five years but it is really just coming into the mainstream now.

We use VMWare daily in our company. We support Dodeca on every version of Essbase from 6.5.3 through We have a library of VM's targeting each Essbase version and a couple of quad-core servers running them so our developers can easily access any Essbase version with minimal effort. In fact, it takes less than a minute to change a connection from pointing to 6.5.3 and instead point it to, say, 9.3.1.

I expect the virtualization trend to continue. My hope is that Oracle starts delivering a version of the Oracle VM with the Oracle EPM stack preinstalled.

Cloud Computing takes virtualization to a new level where not only the Operating System is 'virtualized' but the hardware is virtualized as well. This is typically accomplished by having the VM running on hardware accessible via the web. Amazon has opened business in this arena and Microsoft is following suit with its Azure platform which is a Windows OS hosted somewhere on the web. When I first read about Azure and requirements for applications running on the platform, it sounded to me like Microsoft had created the OS with Dodeca in mind!

At ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2009, we have scheduled a presentation on Cloud Computing with Essbase. I plan to do a separate post in the near future on that topic.


Anonymous said...

What's difference between CPA and CFA?

Tim Tow said...

A Certified Public Accountant, or CPA, is someone who has trained as an accountant and been certified to audit financial statements and attest to their reasonableness. When I got my CPA certification, I had to have a bachelors degree with a major in Accounting, take a 19+ hour test administered over 2 1/2 days and have two years experience in a CPA firm. Most, if not all, states in the US now require the equivilent of a Masters degree in Accounting to sit for the exam.

The Certified Financial Analyst, or CFA, is aimed at those interested in financial analysis. From what I read, a person doesn't need any specific degree but must have sufficient expertise and experience in the area to pass the exam.