Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Accounting Jobs and Software

I got an email recently from another blogger, Hunter Richards, who manages the site at http://www.softwareadvice.com/accounting/.  He recently published a study on accounting-related technical skills sought by employers.  I got my start as an accountant, so I found this study very interesting.  I started out my technical career doing international consolidations in spreadsheets.  At the time, I was using Supercalc 5 on a Unix workstation with a 640K DOS partition and 2 diskette drives.  The consolidation macros I wrote prompted me to change diskettes twice for the Balance Sheet and twice for the Income Statement.  Later, I was involved in both an Oracle Financials project and an SAP project at the same company.  I also got really good at Excel and ended up writing Excel books.

Technology certainly made it possible to get me from my accounting background to where I am today.  That being said, the time I spent in accounting was also extremely important as it gave me domain experience in a given field and I use that experience nearly every day. Lesson from it all?  If you an accountant and you learn a technology, you end up an Oracle ACE Director and blog on your experiences?  Well, you never know!

Here is a link to the blog entry.  Enjoy!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Goodbye to Microsoft Analysis Services? Part 2

I got a follow up email from a friend who asked if I had seen a follow-on post to the original blog entry.  I had not, but here is is:


It sounds a little like back pedaling from Microsoft but, if you read the comments, it doesn't look like the Microsoft crowd feels very comfortable.   My favorite comments posted there is this one.

"Well, it looks like Microsoft talked to you and and wants to “assure” everyone that all is well. Yeah, just like ProClarity, right? I think that a new technology direction is a good thing. But not when you push the timeline out many years to get a good stable solution. Long term, this is probably a good thing, but short term, msft will see a loss in market share….. When the client tools AND server techonology are in flux, how many customers will want to invest in that dream? Check back with msft in about 5 years and they will be winners."

And it isn't that Essbase customers have been immune as there was much uncertainty after the Oracle acquisition.  As I am someone who, more than anyone I know, is all in for Essbase, it is very comforting that storm has passed and Essbase is becoming a featured component deep in the heart of the Oracle Fusion strategy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Goodbye to Microsoft Analysis Services?

In a series of recent Twitter tweets, fellow Oracle ACE Director Mark Rittman posted the following (pasted/edited) statement referring to a post by a Microsoft BI person at http://cwebbbi.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/pass-summit-day-2/:

"History repeating itself. MS doing to MSAS what Oracle did to Express Server .  So with MS abandoning AS and MDX, will Oracle (through Essbase) be the main sponsor and supporter of MDX going forward? Oh the irony."
Ironic?  Certainly..  I was actually there at the initial XML for Analysis Advisory Council meeting when Microsoft announced to the world that MDX would be the foundation of the XML/A standard.  It had already been discussed with Hyperion but, as it was 9/11, yes, that 9/11, I was the only "Hyperion" representative in the room as the entire Hyperion team was grounded by the terrorist attacks.  In the past 9 years, it  has now come full circle that Oracle, apparently, will be the standard-bearer for MDX.

Maybe it is my good fortune, then, that I haven't worked extensively with MDX, not that I didn't have the opportunity.  I remember exactly when I got my first copy of the precursor to Analysis Services.  I was at my first Arbor Dimensions conference in Santa Clara in the fall of 1996.  I remember being invited to a private Arbor executives party at the hotel and hearing the rumor about Microsoft buying an Israeli company that was an Arbor competitor.  Little did anyone at the party know that I had an alpha version of the software in my computer bag.  But, you know what?  I never installed it.  I am a loyal Essbase fan to the core and, despite the fact that the consulting firm I worked for at the time actually wrote most of the interface that Microsoft shipped, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Over the years, a number of our competitors went off and re-wrote their interfaces to use XML/A so they could expose their products to other databases.  When they did that, they were forced to stop supporting some of the features that make Essbase magic.  You don't hear about most of them anymore.  Proclarity anyone?  Purchased by Microsoft and now on the trash heap.  Temtec?  Acquired by IBM where, apparently, software goes to die (remember Lotus 1-2-3?  Alphablox?); Clarity recently joined them at IBM which means, strategically, their days in the Essbase world are numbered.

If you read through the comments at the end of the blog post referenced above, it looks like Microsoft is positioning Excel PowerPivot to be the ultimate BI user interface..  That is great for spreadsheet jockeys, but will lose many, many users who don't want, or need, to look through the raw data for their summarizations.

After reading all of this, I am thankful for a few things.  I am thankful we:
  • Are exclusively focused on Essbase and that Essbase is very well tied in with the Oracle Fusion strategy and will continue to grow.
  • Invested heavily in Dodeca.
  • Focused Dodeca on the end user.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ODTUG Election - Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who trusted me with their vote for the ODTUG Board of Directors.  I will continue to work hard for the whole Oracle development community and, especially, for my fellow Hyperion professionals.

When you have ideas you believe can help the Hyperion user community as a whole, please don't hesitate to contact me or fellow ODTUG Board-electee, and old friend, Cameron Lackpour.  Serving on the Board of Directors provides us direct contact with Oracle management on behalf of the user community and we are here to serve you.

Thank you again for the honor.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Off Hours: The Southeast Climbers Coalition Entry in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge

As many of you know, one of my other passions (besides Essbase) is rock climbing.  I have been a member of Southeast Climbers Coalition since it was formed.  Further, a number of other Applied OLAP employees are also climbers and members of the SCC.

This month, the SCC is competing in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge.  Winning this challenge would give the SCC the resources necessary to continue our mission of conservation and access and I am asking for your help.  First, watch the video we entered for the contest: http://www.refresheverything.com/seclimbers.  Then vote for our idea at this site.

On the video, be sure to watch for 2 shots of me and one of Applied OLAP installation guru Derek Hill.   Here is Derek at the 0:05 mark in the video at the first crux of Rave at Sandrock, AL.  Rave is the *only* 5.12 rated climb that I have climbed cleanly.  That rating is the very beginning of the expert level and it took me 6 months of work to get this climb:

I am at the far left of this picture, taken at the Little River Canyon near Ft. Payne, AL, at the 0:41 mark in the video:

I am also in the film of the Yellow Bluff ribbon cutting at 2:19.  Yellow Bluff is 16 miles from my house and I climb there often.  In fact, I was there yesterday.

If you can spare a few minutes, please visit the Pepsi Refresh Challenge site and vote.   You can vote once per day for the next 30 days; you can bet I will be!