Saturday, September 28, 2013

The New / Free Tools Access

My team has been hard at work getting our new website out the door, and we feel that it will make for a better experience all-around for our users and the users of the free OLAPUnderground utilities.  To help make the experience better, we have implemented a new download process.  Previously, users who wished to download files selected the files they wished to download and then provided their email address.  Our server then sent an email with temporary links for the download.  The email process sometimes caused issues with email filters or incorrect emails, so we decided to work to provide a better experience by using an off-the-shelf software release component.  As a result of this change, we are now requiring users to have a user account to download software.  Fortunately, the user account is free and you can create your own account in about a minute.

On the new site, all of the free downloads are available from the 'Downloads' section under 'Resources.'

If you are not logged in and you attempt to access the 'Downloads' section of the site, you will be prompted to login or register:

If you already have a account, you can go ahead and login using your existing credentials, but if you don't, simply click the 'Register' button and fill out the registration form that pops up.

Once you have filled out the required information and pressed 'Register', a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the address provided on the registration form.

Click 'OK' and check your inbox for the confirmation e-mail.  Once you click the activation link, all you need to do is login to the site and you will have full access to the 'Downloads' section.  If you are a Dodeca user, we will provide you access to the 'Dodeca' downloads page, but as a free registered user, you will have access to the OLAPUnderground tools, as well as the Next Generation Outline Extractor.

Note:  Your Applied OLAP account username will always be the
e-mail address you used when you registered your account.

Go back to the 'Downloads' section after you log in to access the OLAPUnderground Utilities, as well as the Next Generation Outline Extractor.

We hope you find the new Applied OLAP website informative and easy-to-use.  While you are there, be sure to check out all of the new information about the Dodeca Spreadsheet Management System and sign up for a free, personalized web demo so you can learn how Dodeca can help you.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Oracle Open World 2013 General Session: Empowering Modern Enterprise Performance Management

Here at Oracle Open World 2013, I attended the general session entitled "Empowering Modern Enterprise Performance Management" which was led by Balaji Yelamanchili, Oracle Senior Vice President for Analytics and Performance Management Products.  His keynote focused on the development priorities within the Oracle EPM group.  Those priorities are:

  • Continued Investment in Existing Modules
  • EPM Applications in the Cloud
  • Continued Innovation in New Modules

There are a number of things planned in the area of continued investment in existing modules.  The investment areas include:

  • HFM platform work to make HFM cross platform and to improve performance.  In addition, these changes allow HFM to run on Exalytics which puts massive computing power under HFM.  For example, testing of HFM on Exalytics has shown that virtual close becomes a possibility even in complex consolidations.  One test that had 31,000 accounts, 2,000 legal entities and 66 currencies showed a reduction of consolidation time from 7+ hours down to less than 30 minutes.  This type of performance increase, if borne out in the real world, could have a real effect on how and when companies do their consolidations.
  • Optimization of Hyperion Planning and Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management for Exalytics.  This scalability allows for implementations that spread further in the company (i.e. more users), but also allow companies to consolidate their applications onto fewer physical machines.
  • Packaged OBI Analytics for Hyperion Planning.  The packaged analytics make it easier and faster to deploy Hyperion Planning with an added benefit of reduced consulting costs.

Oracle is continuing its move into the cloud arena with 2 services.

  • The Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service ("OPBCS") has been in customer and partner preview for a few months now and is nearly general availability.  Oracle is stressing that this isn't just moving the software to a managed service running on the cloud, but rather is a fundamental new paradigm for planning that focuses on self-serve models that have not existing since the inception of the classic, on-premise Hyperion Planning.  Because OPBCS must run without the need for IT interaction, users must be able to quickly and easily configure what they need from the service.  That being said, Oracle is taking a very conservative strategic approach with their Cloud Planning application as they are not trying to displace traditional on-premise Planning applications and move them to the cloud.  Rather, they are emphasizing the cloud for use in quick-to-deploy departmental applications or as a development platform that can be used to build an application for on-premise deployment.  Oracle expects to make the OPBCS available later this calendar year.
  • A new service that was announced at Open World 2013 is the new Financial Reporting Cloud Service.  Based on the slides and the comments made during the presentation, this isn't simply moving the classic Hyperion Financial Reporting application to the cloud, but rather they have imagined and created an application that appears to be targeted for statutory reporting.  How it appears to work is that the developer/administrator creates a framework for the reporting package which may be, for example, a corporate annual report and can assign responsibilities for different parts of the report to team members.  The editing of different components can be completed either via refreshing of data from the corporate data stores for items like a balance sheet or income statement, or edited in Word for things like the management discussion.  The product tracks workflow and approvals and, when complete, produces a PDF of the completed document.  It looks quite different than what we see today in HFR.
For innovation in new modules, Oracle is focused pretty heavily on mobile.  As of now, the focus on mobile has been on information consumption but Oracle plans to work towards full user functionality in the future.  They are using the 90/90 rule as a guide for their mobile effort by focusing on the functionality used by 90% of users 90% of the time.  In addition, they have created some purpose-specific applications such as the new EPM Workflow Mobile App that was created specifically for approval workflows for Planning and Financial Close.

Oracle has been working hard on the EPM Suite, but notice I didn't really say anything about my beloved Essbase.  Balaji did not say much about Essbase in his session, but rather left that for the Essbase Roadmap session that I also attended.  I will work on a blog post on that session soon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Essbase Meetup in San Francisco This Tuesday!

As you may or may not know, this week is the annual mega-conference Oracle Open World and, in conjunction with the conference, I am hosting, with fellow Oracle ACE Director Cameron Lackpour, an Essbase Meetup this Tuesday evening in San Francisco.  Unlike most events during the week of Open World, our Essbase meetup is open to both Open World attendees and non-attendees, so if you are in the San Francisco area, make your plans to attend.  Last year, we had several Oracle ACEs, ACE Directors, and Oracle product managers who attended; several of the same people have confirmed their attendance this year as well.

The meetup is at Specchio, a great Italian restaurant in the Mission District.  Specchio is co-owned by one of my friends, chef Gino Assaf, and has had some notable guests in the past couple of years including numerous NBA teams and one of my favorite rock bands, The Who.  Specchio is located at 2331 Mission Street in San Francisco.

If possible, please RSVP for the meetup at so we can get a count for the restaurant.  I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kscope13 Top Speaker Award

I thought I would post a quick picture of the award I earned at Kscope13 as one of the Top 5 Speakers at Kscope13 for my presentation entitled "Introducing the Outline Extractor NG (Next Generation)".   The Next Generation Outline Extractor is a complete rewrite of the popular Outline Extractor.  The original extractor was written in VB which hasn't been supported by Microsoft for many years; the new extractor is written in Java.  You can download my slides, and the next generation outline extractor, from our website at

I was honored to earn the award which is based on some secret formula combining feedback scores from attendees and number of attendees.  I did have a couple of hundred or so attendees at my presentation which, in my opinion, speaks to the popularity of the outline extractor and not to the popularity of me having anything to say... <BigGrin>

Here is a picture of the nice award sent by ODTUG.