Monthly Archives: August 2016

Higher Education Budgeting, Forecasting and Planning in the Cloud: It’s Here to Stay, Despite What the Pundits Say

August 31, 2016

Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects

According to The Campus Computing Project’s “2015 Campus Computing Survey,” “Less than a fifth of institutions expect to be running mission-critical finance…systems on the Cloud by fall 2020” and cloud and/or software-as-a-service (SaaS) technologies didn’t even make Gartner’s “top 10” strategic technologies for higher education list in 2016!

Despite what the pundits said earlier this year, the Performance Architects team is seeing incredible adoption of cloud-based or SaaS budgeting, forecasting and planning solutions with real business impact.

The most commonly-cited reasons our clients adopt these solutions include:

  • Business control of the planning application. The Finance and Accounting teams no longer have to depend on the IT team to make changes to dimensions, hierarchies, etc. that are central to how the organization budgets and forecasts.
  • Increased efficiency and reduction in errors, leading to better business decisions. An automated system prevents many of the “mis-keys” we all see in an Excel-based planning system, and being able to systematically modify drivers without having to manually change dozens or hundreds of individual work sheets means that institutions can react much more quickly to changing business climates.

Don’t believe us?  Check out this list of case studies (webinars and slide decks) from select Performance Architects higher ed customers who have recently implemented SaaS budgeting and forecasting solutions (note: you’ll need to sign up for a free account at Performance Architects’ Learning Center to access the full content):

If you’re interested in talking with us to learn more, please email communications@performancearchitects.com and we’d be happy to set up a time to talk.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Guest Blog: Oracle EPM Cloud in Focus at OpenWorld 2016

August 23, 2016

Author: Jennifer Toomey, Sr. Principal Product Marketing Director, Oracle 

Oracle OpenWorld San Francisco (September 18 – 22, 2016) offers more Oracle EPM content and expert experience than any other conference in the world. It features more than 60 EPM conference sessions, a dedicated EPM Showcase area for demos, three hands-on labs, plus presentations from multiple customers, partners, and Oracle staff.

Whether you already have, or are considering, an Oracle EPM solution, Oracle OpenWorld is the place to be.

Cloud: With multiple new cloud offerings released this year, EPM Cloud is in the spotlight with sessions featuring Oracle EPM Cloud customers, products, and strategy, as well as roadmap. Attendees will have the opportunity to get a closer look at these new cloud solutions. In addition, a number of customers will share their experiences and results from using Oracle EPM Cloud.

On Premises: There will also be sessions covering on-premises Oracle EPM products, including customers’ case studies, what’s new, and what’s coming.

EPM Showcase: This year we have created an area specifically for EPM that will be located on the second floor of Moscone West. Attendees can take advantage of this opportunity to meet with EPM prospects and customers in a central location that integrates conference sponsors, exhibitors, and demos.

Recommended Sessions

  • Oracle EPM General Session: Executive Briefing on Oracle’s EPM Strategy and Roadmap [GEN6336]
  • Customers Present: Oracle EPM and ERP Cloud Together [CON7514]
  • Customers Present: EPM Cloud for Midsize Customers [CON7515]
  • Application Integration: EPM, ERP, Cloud and On-premises – All the Options Explained [CON7497]
  • Product Development Panel Q&A: Oracle Hyperion EPM Applications [CON7538]

Customers: Watch for these customers who are speaking: Barnes & Noble, Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians, Mattel, CIMA, JC Penney, Virginia Commonwealth University, Babcock & Wilcox, Lexington-Fayette Urban County, Meredith Corporation, SNC-Lavalin, and many more.

Get More Details: Use this link to find out everything about Oracle EPM and OpenWorld 2016. And, don’t forget the Customer Appreciation Event at AT&T Park on Wednesday evening, September 21.

Have fun and learn at Oracle OpenWorld 2016. We look forward to seeing you in San Francisco!

Jennifer Toomey is Senior Product Marketing Director at Oracle Corporation, where she focuses on enterprise performance management (EPM) and cloud.  In this role, she is responsible for developing messaging and go-to-market strategies for Oracle’s EPM Cloud and Oracle Hyperion applications.  Jennifer is a frequent speaker at Office of Finance events and has more than 20 years experience in the high tech and services industries.  She joined Oracle from PeopleSoft, where she was responsible for marketing PeopleSoft’s Financials, Analytics, and Corporate Compliance product lines.  Jennifer has a BA degree from Harvard University and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Twitter:  @jenn_toomey
LinkedIn URL:  www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-toomey-8401b0


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Inside Scoop on Special Performance Architects Events and Happenings at Oracle OpenWorld 2016

August 23, 2016

Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects

Oracle OpenWorld (OOW) (Oracle’s annual conference that draws close to 60,000 attendees to learn about Oracle products and services) is a little over a month away, and the Performance Architects team wants to make sure that you’re up to speed on what we think are some of the “can’t miss” events and sessions at the conference!

If you’re arriving over the weekend, make sure to attend some of the great Special Interest Group (SIG) and regional group sessions from key Oracle associations such as Oracle Application Users Group (OAUG), Oracle Developer Tools Users Group (ODTUG), and Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG).  The Performance Architects team is heavily involved in facilitating many of these meetings.  For example, I’ll be leading the “OAUG Endeca Special Interest Group Meeting [SIG1528]” from 1:00 – 1:45 PM and Performance Architects’ Chuck Persky will be leading the “OAUG Hyperion Special Interest Group Meeting [SIG1093]” from 2:00 – 2:45 PM.  We are also heavily involved in coordinating the “New England OAUG Meeting [SIG1715]” from 10:30 – 11:15 AM, although unfortunately Mel Mathews (who sits on the board) can’t make it out to San Francisco this year!  As an aside, the Endeca SIG is running a webinar on September 7th at 3 PM EDT entitled, “Endeca Insider’s Guide to Oracle OpenWorld 2016” which might be of interest.

We also highly recommend attending the EPM and BI roadmap sessions presented by Oracle at the conference, as OpenWorld is the time of year that Oracle makes all of its major product announcements.  Oracle has done a good job this year of dividing the content into tracks that you can use to sort sessions. If you’re an active reader of this blog, I’m guessing you’ll probably be most interested in the “Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Oracle Hyperion;” “Business Intelligence;” “Big Data;” and “Business Analytics (BI and EPM).”

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Performance Architects’ presentations at the conference!  Join us for a discussion of our implementation of Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) with Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) entitled, “Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service: Virginia Commonwealth University Case Study [UGF3798]” on Sunday, September 18th at 8:00 AM.  I’m also presenting, “Avoid Frankenstein: Optimize Business Analytics Environments for the Cloud and On Premises [CAS3874]” on Wednesday, September 21st at 12:15 PM.

Finally, Performance Architects is hosting a special, invite-only event at the conference! If you’re interested in catching up with us in person, please send us a note at communications@performancearchitects.com and we’ll send you more information.

Safe travels and see you soon!

 


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

How to Generate, Populate and Integrate an Essbase Cube into an OBIEE 12c Environment Using the Essbase Business Intelligence Acceleration Wizard

August 17, 2016

Author: Doug Ross, Performance Architects

One of the lesser known and (mostly) undocumented features of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) 12c is the Essbase Business Intelligence Acceleration Wizard.  This new component provides a very simple way to generate, populate, and integrate an Essbase cube into an OBIEE environment to boost query performance through aggregate redirection.  Utilizing the Essbase server that can be optionally installed with OBIEE, a wizard interface walks a developer through the steps of selecting the measures and dimension levels to aggregate and deploy.

A video showing an example of using the wizard is included at the end of this blog post.

For this example, a basic analysis is built using the Sample Application in OBIEE 12c.  The analysis shows “Revenue by Year.”

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To ensure that the cache is not used when the query is executed, the DISABLE_CACHE_HIT variable is set to 1 on the Advanced tab.  The LOGLEVEL variable is set to 3 to capture details about the query execution in the session log.

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The results are then displayed.

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Examining the session log shows that the query is accessing the XML data files to return the results.

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This then demonstrates how the Essbase BI Acceleration Wizard is utilized to generate an aggregate cube for query redirection.  Using the URL servername:port/cds/view, a login page is displayed. After entering the OBIEE credentials, the wizard’s main screen will display.   The CDS in the URL is intended to stand for “Cube Deployment Service.”

Begin the aggregate creation process by clicking on the “Launch Essbase BI Acceleration Wizard” link:

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The wizard accesses the online RPD for the OBIEE environment.  The first step in the process is to select the “OBIEE Business Model” that will be used as the source for the cube.  Click on the “Populate Business Models” dropdown to show the list of business models.

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Then, choose a business model from the list.

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Next, select the connection information for an existing Essbase server or enter the name of a new application.

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The next step in the wizard will present a list of all the available fact tables in the business model.  Choose the appropriate fact table and then select the measures that will be aggregated in the cube.

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In this example, we aggregate the “Revenue” metric only.

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Next, the list of associated dimensions for the metric(s) chosen are displayed.   Choose one or more dimensions to use in the aggregate and move them to the “Selected Dimensions” box.  In this example, we only select the “Time” dimension and then move on to the next step in the wizard.

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The list of levels in the selected dimensions will be displayed.  From this screen, you can select which levels to aggregate.   Note the selected dimension cannot be a ragged hierarchy.  In this example, we only roll up at the year level.

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The final step of the wizard provides some advanced options, but they are not well-documented at this time.

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Leave the “Run in Background” option checked and click on the “Deploy” button to begin the process of creating the aggregate cube and wiring it into the online RPD.

Returning to the main screen of the BI Acceleration Wizard allows for monitoring the progress of the cube deployment.  Click on the “Actions” dropdown on the left side and select “Refresh.”

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The new application is displayed in the list on the left.  Click on the application name to show the details of the cube deployment.  The four steps in the process will be displayed and can be expanded to see the details of the execution.   The steps are: “Clear RPD” (if there was an existing application); “Deploy Cube;” “Load Metadata;” and “Load Data.”

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Once the cube is deployed successfully, we then return to the analysis we built earlier and re-execute it.  The results should be exactly the same.

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Now, we will examine the new session log generated for this query and see that the query has been redirected to access the new Essbase cube.

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Finally, we can open the RPD in online mode to see what has been modified by the Essbase cube deployment service.  On the “Physical Layer,” the new Essbase cube has been configured in the co-located Essbase server.

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In the “Business Model and Mapping Layer,” a new “Logical Table Source” or “LTS” has been added to the logical fact table.  This LTS points to the Essbase cube and will have the mapping for the “Revenue” metric to the cube measure column.

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In summary, the Essbase BI Acceleration Wizard offers a very simple interface to improve query performance using Essbase cubes with minimal configuration effort.

The entire process of generating the cube can be seen in the video below:

 


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Webinar Preview: Leadership Essentials in Successful Business Intelligence (BI) Programs

August 8, 2016

Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects

I discussed this topic earlier this year at the COLLABORATE conference, and it was such a hot topic that I’m now running webinars for both Oracle Application Users Group (OAUG) and Oracle Developer Tools Users Group (ODTUG) to expand upon this discussion.  If you want to join me live to dive deeper into the content outlined below, you can register for the OAUG webinar to be held on August 10, 2016 at 3:00 PM EDT here or the ODTUG webinar on August 11, 2016 at 12 PM EDT here.

All too often, the organizational change impact is underestimated in BI programs and projects. Specific leadership techniques are essential to successful change management activities, such as: conducting assessments; communicating effectively; leveraging influence relationships; and planning and achieving user adoption. If these techniques are adopted and applied appropriately, they result in much higher success rates in BI programs.

Leadership versus Management

Leadership and management can be approached from the perspective of WHAT work is completed and HOW that work is completed.  The “what” of leadership is vision and the “how” of leadership is “inspiration,” while the “what” of management is execution and the “how” of management is control.  The detailed differences between these areas include:

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These concepts overlap, however, in that both leaders and managers still need to get important stuff done!

 

Applying Leadership Styles to BI Initiatives: Lessons from Star Wars

We use a matrix with quadrants associated with our favorite Star Wars characters to illustrate leadership / management styles; as you can see, the strengths in one quadrant are often the weakness in the mirror quadrant (similar to the dark and light sides of “the Force” in Star Wars!):

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How to Structure Your BI Initiative Based on Leadership Principles

These leadership principles can be applied to a real-life customer example:

  • The company. A business-to-business company needed to get visibility into sales forecasts versus actual performance in a tight economy
  • The audience. Sales, Finance & Accounting, and senior management
  • The issues. Data lived in multiple systems (e.g., CRM, GL, email) and was pulled together in spreadsheets for “snapshot” reports on an infrequent basis…which meant that sales didn’t know how it was performing towards goals, and management had no idea what overall corporate performance was going to be!
  • The need. Create an environment where people could see information appropriate to their role, in a more real-time, accurate, and comprehensive fashion

We followed an iterative project process based on these leadership principles:

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The result was a happy customer, with outcomes including:

  • Implemented a data mart and new reporting and analysis solution that provides both dashboards and reports
  • Improved data governance
  • Improved business processes for data entry (as a result of data quality issues found in the source data)
  • Created a multi-phase roadmap with future goals and objectives beyond sales reporting and analysis
  • Developed ongoing conversations about the future performance management inside the customer’s organization and they’re considering enterprise-wide rollout of a BI solution!

How we applied leadership principles during the project:

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© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS): Living with the New and Improved Simplified Interface

August 3, 2016

Author: Andy Tauro, Performance Architects

It has been over a week now since Oracle rolled out the 16.07 update to Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service (PBCS) in their customer’s production instances, and the reaction has been mixed because customers need to get used to doing things a little bit differently.  In other words, the functionality is the same, just organized differently. A “few” enhancements were thrown in as well.

Those who are willing to give it a try with an open mind will find that the interface has improved to a point that it is now possible to completely “give up” the old interface, and new users will not miss it at all. Now why the quotes for “give up?” That’s because the old interface hasn’t really gone away, as you will soon find out.

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As soon as the user logs in to the new interface, he or she will see a “to-do” list that shows what tasks are pending, allowing access to assigned tasks quickly and without needing to jump through multiple screens (fans of task lists rejoice!).

Another notable change is the addition of the icon to the left of the “Oracle” logo, which is the replacement to the “Navigate” button in EPM Workspace.

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A click on this icon brings up a whole host of menu items, especially many administrative tasks. This is what was earlier referred to as a “doing things differently.”  In other words, commonly used tasks can all be found here, you just go to a different place to find them.

My favorite thing about this patch is that all of this functionality can now be accessed through popular browsers like Google Chrome. So you can now work on your tasks on your Chromebooks, tablets, smartphones and/or Macs without missing a beat.

Need to submit those numbers while on the train? No need to pull out your laptop and to tether your phone, just pull out your smartphone (or phablet) and open the application in the web browser to complete your work. Being able to update or reprocess mappings and/or to kickoff jobs in “Data Management,” on your phone, while on the bus, just makes life that much easier!

We will be exploring a few of these in the next few posts, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you have used this interface and have some questions about it, or have some comments, feel free to drop a note.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.