October 20, 2010

Kscope11 - Abstracts Due

I know it's hard to believe it's already that time, but your abstracts for the ODTUG Kscope11 conference are due in only a week (on October 26).  If you want to attend Kscope11 from June 26-30, 2011, this is your chance to attend for free.  The Kscope conference is looking for presentations in the following areas of Oracle EPM and BI:
  • Financial Management Solutions
    • HFM
    • FDM
    • Disclosure Management
    • Financial Close Management
  • Planning Solutions
    • Hyperion Planning
    • Strategic Finance
    • EPMA
    • Integrated Operational Planning
  • Essbase Solutions
    • Oracle Essbase
    • ASO (Aggregate Storage)
    • Essbase Studio
    • Java API
    • HPCM
  • OBIEE Administration
    • OBIEE RPD Modeling
    • OBIEE Architecture & Administration
    • OBIEE Tuning & Optimization
    • Migration to OBIEE
    • Oracle BI Applications
  • Reporting Solutions
    • BI Publisher
    • Smart View
    • Financial Reporting
    • Answers
    • Dashboards
    • Scorecards
    • Publisher
    • Visual Explorer
    • Action Framework
  • Keeping It All Running
    • Utilities
    • Tips & Tricks
    • Tuning & Optimization
    • ODI (Oracle Data Integrator)
    • MDX
    • Scripting (Perl, JavaScript, MaxL, VBScript, PowerShell, etc.)
As you can see, if you can conceive of a presentation in the areas of Oracle BI and EPM, you should submit it by October 26th.  Whether it's sessions for developers, administrators, users, managers, or executives, there will be a great place for it at Kscope11.  There's less than a week left, so visit http://www.technicalconferencesolutions.com/pls/caat/caat_abstracts_upd.main?conference_id=81 and submit a couple of possible presentations for consideration before it's too late.

Can't wait to see you at the front of a session in 8 months in Long Beach!  It will not only be the greatest educational opportunity you'll see next year, I have it on good authority that it will be one hell of a party (erm, I mean "an excellent networking opportunity").

October 19, 2010

ODTUG - Board Elections

Many of you know ODTUG as the home for BI, EPM, and Hyperion content as part of their annual Kscope conference.  ODTUG also hosts other content at Kscope like Fusion Middleware, MySQL, Application Express, and more but those aren't as relevant to readers of this blog. What many of you may not know is that there isn't currently a long-term Hyperion evangelist on the board.  Luckily, we have an opportunity to correct this by the end of the month because ODTUG is having their annual elections to their Board of Directors.  There are 4 open positions and luckily, there are several Hyperion fans running for the board.

If you're a full member of ODTUG, drop what you're doing, visit https://www.odtug.com/apex/f?p=500:250:0,and cast your vote for at least some of the following four people (you're allowed to vote for up to 4 people):

  • Cameron Lackpour (long-time ODTUG cheerleader)
  • Eduardo Quiroz, interRel Consulting (co-founder of interRel)
  • Tim Tow, AppliedOLAP (co-founder of the ODTUG Hyperion SIG)
  • Angie Wilcox, JCPenney (current President of the ODTUG Hyperion SIG)
All of those individuals have 10+ years of allegiance to the Hyperion community.  If you have one more vote, may I suggest you cast it for the person who truly embraced the Essbase crowd into Kaleidoscope in the first place.  Mike Riley, current ODTUG President, is running for re-election.  I first met Mike 3 years ago when he reached out to offer Kscope as a place for Essbase groupies to congregate following the demise of the Hyperion Solutions conference.  Ever since, he has been supporting the Essbase/Hyperion/EPM/BI community in any way he can.

The deadline is only about two weeks away, so if you have a vote, go use it now.  The future depends on it.

September 24, 2010

Becoming an Oracle Essbase Guru

I give presentations at conferences around the world including over 100 sessions in the last year throughout North America, South America, Europe, and Australia. So it may come as a shock that I don't actually teach that many classes anymore. Usually, it's once or twice a year and they tend to be on advanced topics (unlike my sessions at conferences which tend to be more intermediate and beginner level). It's time for that once or twice a year for me to teach the advanced classes.

I have two classes coming up and both are in November. To register for either, e-mail Danielle White at interRel and I strongly suggest you hurry since seating is very limited. That's not marketing hype. The first one of the classes is literally limited to 12 students. The other one has slightly more capacity since it's more seminar style and less hands-on, but it's limited too.

Becoming an Oracle Essbase BSO Calc Scripts Guru on November 12
This is a virtual class (meaning you can take it from anywhere in the world) and price is $750 for the day. It's designed to teach you all the major points of Essbase Calc Scripts and BSO member formulas in a single day. We'll start off with the basics but we will get to more advanced topics like allocations, goal seeking, multi-pass calcs, and so on. We close the day with an hour of calc script optimization.

The class format is part me teaching and part hands-on labs using the interRel cloud. It will have tons of real world examples (because if it can be done in an Essbase calc script or member formula, I've probably done it) and lots of interactive Q&A as well. As. I mentioned above, because this class will have exercises throughout the day, we are limiting it to 12 students. In other words, drop what you're doing and register now because it'll probably be full by month-end.

I don't know if this is a motivator for anyone, but attendees will all get a copy of the newest Look Smarter Than You Are with Essbase book autographed by the two authors (one of whom is actually a really nice person and looks great in a dress). If you've ever wanted to learn calc scripts or you've wanted to take your knowledge of member formulas to an advanced level, this is the class for you.

Becoming an Essbase Optimization Guru on November 15
This is a class I've been wanting to offer for years. Basically, we'll spend an entire day focusing on designing and optimizing Essbase cubes. It will span both ASO and BSO cubes. It is going to be seminar format so mostly lecturing from me with lots of Q&A by you. Cost is only $375 (that's the good part) but you'll have to attend in real life (IRL, for those who only know text acronyms). The class will be taught at interRel's headquarters at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX. Lunch will be included for attendees, so it's a pretty darned good deal. And we're only 15 minutes from DFW Airport and only 20 from Dallas Love Field (for those Southwest Airlines junkies).

The seminar will cover every aspect of optimization and to a far greater level than your standard one hour optimization presentation at a conference. Among other things, we'll cover data loading, dimension building, dimension ordering, outline tuning, caches, config settings, ASO specific tips, BSO calc script tips, and 64-bit optimization too. We'll even cover how cube design and optimization changes when you get to the Essbase 11x world.

I will be using various examples of cubes I've optimized in the past, but iI'm also willing to use attendees' cubes for examples too. As such, if you sign up before the end of October and send me your outline, database settings, and calc scripts, I may use them (sanitized so no one knows it's your company) as examples in the class. In other words, you may be getting free Essbase optimization consulting as part of your $375 too which makes it potentially an even better deal. Even if you don't send in your application, there will be lots of time for questions throughout the day.

Oh, and to spice up the day, i will be sprinkling several of my "Hacking Essbase" tips throughout the class. These are the undocumented, unsupported, void your warranty things I've come up with over the last 15 plus years. I can't put them in writing for fear of being sued but we'll be covering the tricks (both helpful and shocking) whenever we have a break in the class.

There is a good thing about scheduling this for November 15th. Many of you will be coming to Dallas for the EPM Connection Point conference on November 16-17. Since this class will be from 10am-5pm on the 15th, you can just come in a day early and learn some advanced Essbase content before the 2-day conference. And if you do register for EPM Connection Point, make sure you use the InterRel promo code of "interrelclient" so you get invited to our super-blowout party on the night of the 16th.

Hurry and email Danielle at interRel to save your spot because I won't be offering either of these classes again until 2011 (and that's if I ever get a chance to offer them again at all). I can't wait to see many of you at one of the two classes!

September 15, 2010

OpenWorld 2010

I'm getting ready to leave for Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) and I'm mentally preparing myself the same way one would prepare oneself for, say, storming a beach under a steady barrage of heavy machine gun fire: by trying to pretend that my memories of the last time I survived this experience couldn't possibly be as bad as the real thing. No, I'm not a fan of Oracle OpenWorld. It's too many people spread across too many venues with too few hotels and buses to handle them all.

So that probably makes you wonder: why am I going? Because everyone else is, basically. Last year had something like 45,000 attendees and with the addition of the Java users, this year should be more like 50,000 to 55,000. A lot of Hyperion/EPM/BI attendees have stopped going to OOW, so I was hoping my schedule for this year would be lighter. We just finished putting together the interRel Customer Guide for this year (helping our customers with things they might want to see or do), and on the contrary, it actually seems to busier than in prior years. I'm giving four presentations and hosting a Hyperion day on Sunday. Glenn Schwartzberg is giving another 4 sessions, and Eduardo Quiroz (co-founder of interRel, among other things) is giving a session too.

About the only thing cut out from this year is that I'm doing a book signing. We had 2 of the Top 20 best selling books at the OOW bookstore last year, so they asked Tracy McMullen (Best. Co-author. Ever.) and I to do another booksigning. Since Tracy's not going this year due to some family obligations, I just didn't think it'd be the same signing books all by myself. There will still be lots of our books on sale, though.

Like last year, there will be a "Hyperion Pavilion" on the 5th floor of the Intercontinental hotel next to Moscone West. We will have a booth right by the entrance in case you want to come by and say hi to one of the members of the interRel team (Danielle White will be giving away an iPad, so make sure you find her and give her a business card).

In case you want to stalk me (what better way to show you really care?), here's my schedule for the next week:

September 13, 2010

ODTUG and OAUG - New Board Members

Over the summer, the two major Hyperion SIG (Special Interest Groups) held elections to their Boards of Directors (I think I got that pluralization right). Since it's sometimes hard to find out about these elections (making it difficult to congratulate the winners), I thought I'd compile them all here.

This is the SIG associated with ODTUG and the Kscope conference. This SIG has 9+ members of their board but there are only two named positions on their board. Their newest members are:
- Joe Aultman, AutoTrader.com
- Alice Lawrence, LSG Sky Chefs
- Glenn Schwartzberg, interRel Consulting
- Brian Suter, Dell Inc.

Glenn is a founding member of the SIG who went away for a year, missed us, and came back to the fold. The other three members are new. As for why 3 of the 4 new people are from customers of Hyperion and not partners, it's actually written into the ODTUG Hyperion SIG bylaws that over half of the members of the board must not be from vendors, partners, or suppliers. It keeps the consulting companies from overrunning what should be fundamentally a user group.

As for those two named positions, Angie Wilcox (from JCPenney) is the new SIG President and Alice Lawrence is the new SIG Secretary. Angie replaces the well-respected, highly regarded, and never duplicated Gary Crisci (though Gary will be staying on the SIG Board). Alice takes Angie in the Secretary role as Angie steps up to wield the Grand Poobah's gavel.

This is the SIG that basically took over the regional HUGs (Hyperion User Groups). It's closely aligned with Collaborate though as that conference has turned out not to be a good home for the Hyperion community, this SIG has become the driving force behind the regional EPM Connection Point conferences. The winners of their summer elections are:
- SIG President: Andy Jorgenson
- Geo/SIG Liaison: Suzanne Hoffman, Simba Technologies
- Partner Liaison: Darren Grogan, Guidant
- Communication Coordinator: Colleen Pietrobono

Andy Jorgenson (co-founder of Pinnacle who is at the moment enjoying his retirement by skiing damned near every run on planet Earth) is taking over as SIG President from Kristin Newman. We'll all miss Kristin who accomplished a great deal during her tenure including organizing the first of the OAUG Connection Point EPM (AKA "EPM Connection") conferences in New Jersey in early 2010. Andy will fill her shoes well as he is a long-time friend to the Hyperion community and he is also an Oracle ACE for Hyperion.

The OAUG Hyperion SIG has two major organizational differences from the ODTUG Hyperion SIG. First, people run for specific positions on their SIG board. That's why each of the people listed above is listed with a specific position they won. The other difference is that the OAUG Hyperion SIG board doesn't limit their ratio of customers-to-vendors, so they tend to be a bit more partner-heavy.

As of the date of this posting, the Leadership page for the OAUG Hyperion SIG isn't updated with these new positions, but I assume it will be as soon as they appoint a new person to watch over their website.

Send your congratulations over to all the new board members of both groups. I'm extremely glad that there are people who take time out of personal lives to help better educate the rest of us. Thank you!

September 6, 2010

Kaleidoscope 2010 - Wrap Up

I'd like to dedicate this Labor Day blog post to Glenn Schwartzberg. He's been pining for a posting for 3 months now and after his Chinese-water-torture-esque never-ending requests to see something other than John Heffron's face at the top of my blog, Glenn buddy, this one's for you.

Yes, I know it's a bit weird to see some highlights 2 months after conference end, but it's been a busy two months.

Attendance was amazing. They improved the paid attendance more than 50% from the year before. Considering Kaleidoscope 2009 was one of only two Oracle conferences I know of that grew from 2008 already, 50+% growth in 2010 was pleasantly shocking. The largest growth seemed to be in the EPM/Hyperion and Application Express areas. Those two areas alone accounted for easily over half the conference.

No question about it, this was definitely the largest gathering of Oracle EPM, Hyperion, and Essbase folks I saw at any national conference this year. Hyperion attendance easily surpassed Collaborate and it beat OpenWorld too. As for the regional EPM Connection Point conferences, there were around 3 times as many Hyperion types at Kaleidoscope as at the last NJ Connection Point conference. It's clear that this is the place to be if you live and breathe Hyperion (and I'm saying that from an unbiased standpoint though I am going to be biased in the future which you'll see a little later in this post).

They expanded all the content this year (around 200 presentations total) and the EPM/BI content was over 75 sessions plus hands-on labs and a day-long symposium on the future of Hyperion by the developers at Oracle. There was even a new track devoted to MySQL now that Oracle owns them too.

Overall, I think the breadth of content increased, but there were some definitely areas for improvement in 2011. On the EPM side of the house, there was a need for more sessions geared to financial users. Now that finance users have given up on Collaborate as a possible source of Hyperion content, they're gravitating to Kscope. As such, Kscope has to expand to give more educational presentations to those users.

To that end, next year's conference is retooling around specific product focuses such as Financial Solutions and Budgeting & Planning. There will still be the sessions that the intermediate and advanced Essbase and Hyperion users want to see, but they'll be adding tracks to continue to fill the needs of the non-technical users. Go here for a complete listing of the tracks and type of content they're looking for at Kscope11:

On that note, submissions are already being accepted to present at Kscope11. Deadline is October 26, and I have it on really good authority that they won't extend the deadline for papers like all the other conferences do. If you want a free pass to the conference so you can be part of over 250 sessions, click on that abstract link above and submit something (or multiple somethings) now. Seriously, do it while you're thinking about before you forget that really good idea. They don't come around that often.

Washington, DC has a number of good things going for it: it's easy to get to from anywhere on the East Coast by train or commuter flight, anywhere else in the USA from a jet through Reagan National, and anywhere else in the world from a jumbojet through Dulles. There's a wealth of things to do there when the conference gets boring and they're all easy to get to due to the cleanest subway system in the USA (that I've seen, at least).

Therein lies a problem, though. Because there's so much to do and it's only a subway ride away, people kept disappearing to the National Mall as soon as the sessions were over each night. This led to a busy conference during the day but a feeling of being in a partially full hotel at night. For example, attendance at the Hyperion Monday Madness event was flat from last year even with 50% more people at the conference.

Speaking of Monday Madness, we did an EPM Jeopardy game this year. Glenn Schwartzberg played the role of Don Pardo and Cameron Lackpour helped out as a judge. We did multiple rounds and while we had many great champions along the way, the final Jeopardy winner by a long shot was Australian Hyperion Savant, Ben White. He was impressive with his neverending stream of mostly useless Hyperion trivia that he could recall at the press of a buzzer.

We started the week off with Rock Band during an opening reception in the exhibit hall. We had non-stop participation from the opening band (made up of some ODTUG Board members) through to the end when they finally kicked us out of the room. Eduardo Quiroz and I hosted the Battle of the Rock Bands and everyone seemed to be having a great time either playing instruments or mocking the people playing instruments.

As the evening went on and people had lots of tasty beverages in them, more and more participants started braving harder and harder songs to wildly varying levels of success. On an interesting note, the evaluations of the event were all over the place as it relates to the volume of the music. A large number said that the music wasn't loud enough while many said it was too loud for conversing. I guess it depends on if you were looking for a rock concert or a wine&cheese reception.

Werewolf was on the schedule every single night. There were some nights where so many people wanted to play that they ended up running simultaneous games. We'll definitely be playing Werewolf again next year. There's just something about offing your fellow conference-goers at 3AM that makes for a rollicking good time. On the last night, John Heffron (comedian extraordinaire) came and joined in for some Werewolf and even gave a couple of his new DVD's to the winners of a couple of games.

Speaking of John Heffron, the Wednesday night event was amazing. For the 600+ people who didn't leave for the monuments around town, they laughed constantly through his entire set. I've seen him before on Last Comic Standing, but he's even funnier in person as his jokes build on themselves throughout his act. It was definitely money well spent. Danielle White was the one who really insisted on John for the comedy portion of the night, and I while I normally try to disagree with her on just about everything, I have to grudgingly admit she was 110% correct in this case.

After John Heffron finished up, there was a major rush for the exits. Considering that the 80-90's cover band was tone deaf, this was the smart strategy. I'm not quite sure what went wrong with the band that night. I had actually gone out to Right Food Red's website ahead of time to listen to them, and they're much better in studio. It wasn't so much the fault of the guys playing the instruments as it was the vocalist. He truly was horrendous, and my advice to him in the future is to sing with the auto-tune turned on or the reverb turned way, way up. Next year, we'll make sure we screen the people in-person before booking them.

Next Year: June 26-30, 2011
In case anyone didn't read the note on any other blogs out there, the conference chair for Kaleidoscope is me, Edward Roske. I'm extremely honored to be selected and I'm going to focus next year on improving and growing the conference to make it not only the home for Hyperion but the other Oracle Developer products as well. My content chair is former ODTUG Volunteer Award Winner, Monty Latiolais, and my co-chair is the eternally awesome Danielle White.

The first thing I changed was to shorten the conference name to Kscope11 simply because no one could never remember how to spell Kaleidoscope and people also kept confusing it with Collaborate. So if you're looking for information on next year's conference, just visit Kscope11.com.

When I was announced as conference chair, I jokingly threw out some proposed conference slogans for Kscope11 and asked the attendees at the General Session to vote on them via text message. My personal favorite not-very-serious suggestion was "Where all the cool kids would be if they understood what the hell we were talking about" but it turned out to be too long to print on all the marketing material so it was shortened to "Where the cool kids are." Much easier to fit on a business card, that's for sure.

The conference next year will be June 26-30, 2011 in Long Beach, California. There are two advantages to these dates versus some conferences in the past: it's the week after Father's Day in the USA so no families get upset by daddy being gone and it's over before month end close so no companies get upset by finance being gone. It will start bright and early Sunday morning, so I'd advise everyone to fly in Saturday night and not plan to fly out until later in the afternoon on Thursday.
The presentations will be held at the Long Beach Convention Center. The host hotels will be the Hyatt Regency and the Renaissance. The Hyperion Midnight Madness event (and many sessions of Werewolf) is most likely going to be held at the Renaissance, so I'm guessing that will turn the Renaissance into the default host hotel for the Hyperion attendees (Kscope rate is the same at both).

Both hotels are less than 2 minutes walk from the Convention Center. Attendees can also easily stay at the Westin or the Courtyard, but they're more like a 5 minute walk, and if you're like me, exercise is something best left to those already in shape. My advice would be to book the Renaissance (especially if you're a Hyperion attendee) and the Hyatt soon before they fill up, but I've seen the Westin and Courtyard and they're both very nice hotels too. I'm also excited to announce that if you're staying under the Kscope code, internet is included in the room rate. Hurray for free high-speed downloading of totally not inappropriate things at 3AM!

The Wednesday night closing event will be held on the Queen Mary. What we'll be doing on the boat is a surprise, but I'll definitely let you know as we get closer to the conference. I'm particularly excited about having our event on the Queen Mary, since it fulfills my life-long dream of having a party on a big boat for more than 1,200 of my closest friends. As this will take one more item off my bucket list, Kscope11 will mean I'm one step closer to dying (and a cheer goes up from the crowd).

Submit a Paper Now
So the cheapest way to join us at Kscope11 is by submitting a presentation since speakers get in for the low, low price of free. As I mentioned above, the deadline to submit an abstract is October 26, and speaking as conference chair, it will not be extended. If you want the possibility of a free pass, start by visiting the abstract page to get an idea of what we're looking for and then go the submission page to put in your title, abstract, and so forth. With budgets ever tighter these days, it makes a much more convincing conference pitch to your boss when you point out that the biggest cost, the conference admission, is already paid for.

Even if you don't want to speak at Kscope11, make sure you put money into your 2011 budget now for attending the conference. I look forward to seeing every one of you and several (both?) of your friends at Kscope11. It'll be the most fun and educational thing you do in 2011 while remaining completely clothed. You can quote me on that (although it's not legally binding, of course, since I actually know very little about your personal life and what you consider to be both fun and educational).

June 4, 2010

ODTUG Kaleidoscope Scores John Heffron (and other social events)

There's a ton of new social news for ODTUG Kaleidoscope this year, but let's not bury the lead:

I don't know about you, but after the nature-assisted disaster that was Collaborate's "Beach Party Except In a Ballroom" event, I'm glad to see someone step up and spend some money on some A-list talent. John Heffron, winner of the second season of Last Comic Standing (and in my opinion, the funniest winner by far with only Alonzo Bodden coming close), will be the featured act at Wednesday night's closing celebration.

While John Heffron isn't quite Aerosmith, he's the biggest name I've seen performing at a conference in a while outside of OpenWorld. I'm about to make myself sound pretentious by saying that I liked John Heffron since back before he skyrocketed to fame on Last Comic Standing. He did a lot of college campuses. Ya, I'm basically trying to say I knew (of) him way back when he was a nobody. Trust me: if you like geeky humor, if you've ever gone to school, or you've ever been married, you'll love him. Beware: you may laugh so hard you wet yourself.

My company did agree to foot part of the bill to afford him, so I'm hoping to get a decent seat. If you're coming to Kaleidoscope, make sure you get to the event early or you'll be standing in the way back. If you haven't signed up yet, the advance rate expires on June 9th, so hurry up. Attendance is up more than 40% over last year and rumor has it that the hotel is almost booked up. If the hotel is booked up by the time you sign up, the good news is that the Marriott Wardman Park is right on the Metro line so lots of other hotels are a nice subway stop away.

There's also an awesome band playing before and after John. They're covering '80s and '90s songs so there will doubtless be much dancing and signing along too before the party breaks up to play all-night games of Werewolf. Wednesday's fun (not including Werewolf) is from 6:30-10PM.

For anyone who doesn't know (which probably means you live in the USA and think soccer is a horrible sport because it can end in a fraking tie), the FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa from June 11 - July 11. That means the final 16 teams will be vying for the World Cup right smack in the middle of Kaleidoscope. The schedule is at http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/kostage.html.

Rather than ignore the hooligans cheering on their countries (did I mention that Team America is so much better at soccering stuff than your stupid fill in your country here banana republic?), Kaleidoscope will be embracing them. That's right: they'll be showing all the games during the week on large-screens and then assuming the right team wins, they'll be replaying the games too. In all seriousness, wear your favorite team's jersey all week and watch the games live and just a little bit later than live (if you want to actually attend the sessions).

I don't think they have the World Cup screening location announced yet, but there will definitely be some World Cup action being broadcast at the conference. America, f*@% ya! U-S-A...U-S-A... Note that I find it highly unlikely that the USA will still be playing at that point, but I figured I'd practice my chanting just in case.

If you're already planning on playing lots of rock music during your opening night reception, what are two ways to possibly improve? Easy: add technology and the potential for major public humiliation. That's right, we're playing Rock Band on the PS3 on stages high above the exhibit hall floor and everyone is invited to participate and cheer along. Here's the description from the ODTUG website:
We’ll be rocking while talking...

Traditionally, opening receptions at conferences have string quartets or jazz trios soothing you to sleep with every note. ODTUG Kaleidoscope 2010 will bring you non-stop rock brought to you by… you. That’s right, we have two Rock Band PS3 setups on stages high above the reception crowd and the exhibit hall floor. Participants will be able to choose from hundreds of downloaded songs from Rock Band and Rock Band 2 as bands, made up of Kaleidoscope attendees, go head-to-head on drums, guitar, bass, and vocals. We only have one rule: the vocalist picks the song, but beyond that, anything goes as long as it won’t get us arrested.

Rockers wearing appropriate concert attire (still have your ’87 Guns ‘N Roses black tee lying around?) will be given preference as we form lines to rock out in front of God, country, and your fellow K’Scopers. Prizes will be awarded to the best performers, which are far more about impressing the crowd than it is playing the right notes, since we’ll have “No Fail Mode” turned on. Come one and all as you wow us with your rock and roll acumen, and yes, our amps do go all the way to 11. If you wish to sign up for your place in rock history ahead of others getting talked into it on-site, e-mail events@odtug.com. We who are about to rock, salute you.

Yes, that's a picture of me above playing Rock Band at the interRel booth at Kaleidoscope 2009 and I'm wearing a totally inappropriate interRel shirt. Who rocks out wearing a polo? Make sure you bring some good rock concert t-shirt apparel to the Sunday event. You don't want to be the only one wearing a suit when you're in the rocking out in the presence of rock gods. My good friend, Gary Crisci, and I are agreeing to go in full KISS makeup if we can get two people to join us, so bring your camera phones too.

If you want to sign up ahead of time to get your place in line, e-mail events@odtug.com with your name, your song you want (so we can make sure to have it downloaded), and what instrument (guitar, bass, drums, or mic) you want to play. We'll make sure to put you in a band.

I know what you're thinking: how could they possibly cram anymore fun, ODTUGy goodness into one week? By starting some activities at midnight and going until dawn. That's right: Werewolf, which swept the conference last year and is becoming the biggest thing since the iPad in the tech world, makes it on to the official schedule this time around.

For anyone that doesn't know, Werewolf (the "game of mob rule") is a party game for 8-68 players. It's done in a circle and basically, you have a few werewolves and a whole lot of villagers. Each night during the game (a day typically lasts 10-15 minutes), the werewolves pick a villager to devour (at which point, that villager is out of the game). Each day, the villagers try to figure out who in their group is not really a villager but is actually a dirty, stinking werewolf. Once they've picked someone out, they vote to lynch the person at which time we find out if he was really a werewolf or just a villager looking suspicious.

The majority of the time, the villagers are wrong, so they lynch one of their own and then go to sleep so the werewolves can pick off another villager. The villagers win if they find all the werewolves and the wolves win if they eat all the villagers. That's the big picture in a nutshell.

So what makes it so fun? Simply put, watching the werewolves lie through their teeth while the villagers try to decipher the lies makes for a fascinatingly hilarious look into human psychology. It's quick to learn and really fun to play. Games will be held every single night of the conference starting at midnight for those who think sleep is something best saved until you're dead. Oh, and we're holding a beginner game a little earlier on Sunday night for those who haven't played before but want to learn without the experienced people eating them alive.

Oh, if anyone wants a copy of the game, there are a ton of editions out there. My personal favorite is made by my Facebook friend, Ted Alspach. It's called "Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition" (Ted has a flair for marketing) and it's the best version I've seen bar none.

Party on, Edward.
This is probably my last Kaleidoscope update before the conference. As I've said above, attendance is way up over last year, so if you haven't already signed up, make sure to do so by June 9th. It's a huge educational opportunity for those in the Hyperion/EPM community and beyond, but it's also gore fun than a barrel of werewolves. Hope to see you in a few weeks!

April 29, 2010

EPM Connection - Dallas in November

Per Doreen Fox-Dwyer from the OAUG Hyperion SIG, the dates (and location) have been announced for the next EPM Connection conference. It's going to be November 16 & 17 in Frisco, Texas at the Westin Stonebriar.

While I'm thrilled to see it's going to be in the DFW area (where I live), I'm not thrilled to see it will be held in Frisco. It's more than 20 miles from either DFW international airport or Dallas Love Field airport. Basically, it's up in the upper-Northeast corner of the Dallas area, so it's not really close to most people living in Dallas. That said, I think most people will be planning on staying at the hotel overnight (it has 300+ rooms), so I guess commute doesn't matter. On a personal note, it's really close to my house (I live in the middle of nowhere), so I'll be happy and bright-eyed during the conference! The Westin Stonebriar is a nice new property (with an attached 18-hole golf course).
I think that the event will go quite well. There's a vibrant user community in North Texas (though they're used to getting their Hyperion content at user groups for free) and it's cheap for people to fly into DFW. If they add an Essbase track (maybe replacing some of the Enterprise and Strategic Finance presentations), they'll have attendance mirroring what they saw at the well-organized event in New Jersey (thank you, Kristin Newman!).

Keep an eye out here and I'll announce as they put out their call for papers and start allowing registrations.

Papers are being accepted through July 30, 2011 at:

Also, registrations are now being accepted on the EPM Connection (also known as OAUG Connection Point EPM) website. Prices vary wildly depending on when you register, whether you're staying for both days, and if you're an OAUG member. The lowest price of $275 is for a one-day, OAUG member who signs up by October 9th. If you're not an OAUG member and you wait to sign up for both days on-site, the price skyrockets to $695. In other words, if you plan on going, don't wait. Go here now and don't forget to use interRel's promo code (interrelclient) if you want to be invited to our client appreciation event on Tuesday night:

April 28, 2010

Oracle EPM 11.1.2 - New Financial Close Applications

Part of the awesomeness that is EPM 11.1.2 includes the release of some new stand-alone applications particularly Hyperion Financial Close Management (HFCM) and Hyperion Disclosure Management (HDM). These products are designed to improve financial close and reporting capabilities. Note that unlike Hyperion Public Sector Budgeting (which is really just a new module for Hyperion Planning), these new applications are exactly that: new applications. They don't require any existing applications to run them.

That last sentence may surprise some people who thought that these two new applications would end up being modules inside of HFM (Hyperion Financial Management). On the contrary, Disclosure and Financial Close Management do not need HFM at all (though they do integrate with HFM). This means you'll see, say, Oracle PeopleSoft clients with Disclosure Management that don't even own any other Hyperion products.

Frankly, I'm thrilled to see the Hyperion name in these two brand-new products. It shows that not only is Oracle not killing the Hyperion name, they're realizing its brand recognition in the financial community.

Quite simply, Hyperion Disclose Management makes it far simpler to generate XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) files which are basically XML files with some business-specific information in them. As standards and organizations like IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) and our very own American SEC start requiring more and more information in XBRL format, we're going to need help generating all those XBRL-tagged files.

Enter, Hyperion Disclosure Management. Using Microsoft Word (interesting idea, by the way), it helps apply XBRL tags/taxonomies to financial reports. Further, the tagging can be done at the report-level (which is to be expected) but it can also be done at the application level. For instance, let's say you tagged an account with a certain type. Then any report accessing that account automatically picks up that taxonomy. The product also does a nice job of validating your XBRL taxonomy before you finalize it.

While there's an Oracle webpage on Disclosure Management, there's a lot more detail in an Oracle whitepaper if you're looking for greater information. For instance, this whitepaper mentions the direct integration of HDM with Hyperion Financial Reporting and Smart View (which I didn't see mentioned elsewhere).

The point of Hyperion Financial Close Management is to convert all those lists of tasks that have to be done every month to close the books into dashboards where we can monitor the close process throughout the close cycle. It lets you track (and manage) activities such as:
  • entity-level close of ledgers and subledgers
  • data transformation
  • data collection and loading
  • consolidating the books
  • reconcilations
  • creating and publishing reports
  • just about any other financial close-related activity you can imagine
And while the dashboards & calendars are nice for letting you see what's going on, the nicest part of HFCM is that you can automate and track many activities that used to be manual. If you want more information, go to Oracle.com for a nice HFCM whitepaper.

April 27, 2010

Oracle EPM 11.1.2 Is Available - But You Can't Get There From Here

Well, this is interesting. I've been critical in the past of Oracle releasing a version of EPM, Hyperion, or Essbase (like for instance) to edelivery.oracle.com and then not letting anyone know. It was weeks after was released before Oracle finally acknowledged it's existence.

Fast forward to Oracle EPM 11.1.2 (AKA the most significant release feature-wise to the former Hyperion products since the Oracle acquisition back in 2007). In this case, Oracle was kind enough to issue press releases, webcasts, and briefings about the wonderousness of 11.1.2 back at the start of April... and then didn't post the programs for download until the 21st of April. A couple of people (Mark Rittman and Tim Tow, among others) have already mentioned the release, but I'd like to take some time to deep-dive into the new features (and concerns) with 11.1.2.

I've also complained in the past about Oracle releasing a version for Windows before releasing the versions for other operating systems. Not so in 11.1.2: there are versions out there for Windows (32-bit and 64-bit), HP-UX, AIX, Linux (32-bit and 64-bit), and Solaris. This is also an international version (that is, it's not an "English Only" release) that can be used in over 15 languages (depending on the product because some aren't quite as international as others).

To be clear, don't install this release for production. It's been out for less than a week. While this version was in beta for around a year (at interRel, we first started testing it in the summer of 2009), you need to wait for the first service pack to work some of the known issues out of the system. Based on what the Oracle speakers at last week's Collaborate conference were saying, EPM 11.1.2sp1 will be out in either Summer or Fall. I have heard in the past June or July, but the "could be fall timeframe" wording for the patch is new. It might be delayed because of the need to add migration functionality to the service pack (more on that in a bit).

Note that one the only supported Web Application Server supported in this release is Oracle WebLogic Server (10.3.2, specifically). Sorry, Tomcat and WebSphere users, for the moment you're out of luck. That said, Oracle is being kind enough to give out a limited use copy of WebLogic for use with all the EPM products that need an application server.

If you're going to try to install all the Oracle EPM 11.1.2 products, be aware that three products have their own installer (rather than using the common installer):
  • Smart View
  • Essbase Excel Add-in (yes, there is a version 11.1.2 of the add-in)
  • Disclosure Management (one of the new applications)
Can't Upgrade to 11.1.2
Now for the really bad news. This release (for the moment) is not supported as a migration from an existing release. That's any release (, System 9, anything). If you are an existing customer of Oracle's EPM products, then 11.1.2 can be installed on a development server, but you can't move your existing release to 11.1.2 in development. In case you don't believe me (I was shocked when I first heard, frankly), here's the exact quote from the 11.1.2 EPM System Installation Read Me (epm_1112000_readme.pdf):
This release is intended for new deployments only. Upgrading or migrating from previous EPM System releases is not supported. In addition, products from this release are not compatible with products and applications from previous releases.
In other words, new customers, have a ball. Existing customers, wait for fall when they get the migration patch out there. I do have my infrastructure consulting team seeing if they can do manual export and imports to get around this, but even if they do, it won't be officially supported.

Watch This Blog
Over the next few days, I'll be posting additional entries around specific products rather than try to mention them all in one entry. There are over 25 product-specific Read Me files I have to make it through and that's before I ever try installing everything and playing with it live. It'll be fun!