I just made it back from the Mardi Gras celebration and my decision to blog at this point may not be my smartest decision ever but I feel like it’s now or never so here it goes.
Tom's Top Twelve Things About the Latest Generation of Database Technology
Started the morning with Tom Kyte and his session on Oracle 12C. Say what you want about Oracle, but they keep innovating and improving their database platform. There are a lot of features that we’ve been waiting for a long time (like defaulting to a sequence, default if null, etc) and being able to embed PL/SQL inline in an SQL is way cool. But I was blown away with the new Row Pattern Matching functionality, and the Pluggable Database options will be very valuable to cloud providers and other companies who like to consolidate databases onto shared hardware and offer database as a service to the company. Download the deck and get familiar with the new features.
OBIEE and Essbase Integration with BI Foundation Suite 220.127.116.11
Who knew Mark Rittman was from the UK?! Anyway he had a great presentation about how to integrate Essbase with OBI, what kinds of problems you might run into, and what works well as well as what doesn’t. Most of this stuff has been blogged about on the Rittman Mead blog so if you missed the session don’t worry.
What I heard was that BI Foundation 18.104.22.168 was just released back in April, but it has a lot of features that may make it work upgrading to. Smartview can now report from the OBI logical model. A lot of the Essbase integration wasn’t all that new (we’ve been able to plug Essbase into OBI’s semantic layer for some time), but with 22.214.171.124 Oracle has aligned the security managers. This allowed Oracle to get past some technical challenges around the integration and now the Essbase workspace can run inside of OBI. It’s cool that Financial Reports can also run within this workspace so we’re getting closer to an integrated reporting view.
There’s also a developer preview where you can spin an Essbase cube off of OBI content. It doesn’t have a lot of options, but it works and automates most of the steps that previously would have been manual. Good stuff.
Beyond the Import Metadata Wizard
John continued with the Essbase/OBI integration theme, but he was coming from the OBI side and had some great slides about how the Essbase and OBI disciplines were different. I’m not an expert in either one, but what I heard that the data warehouse (OBI) discipline is all about star schemas and the Kimball methodology. Essbase is all about how accountants think about their financial data and data is stored in hierarchies at the intersection of dimensions. I might have heard him say that OBI can outperform Essbase. Unfortunately I had to duck out for a conference call and to avoid a fistfight that had broken out but I do plan to download the slides just to see what I may have missed.
Streamline your Financial Close with an Integrated Tax Provision
New Orleans can be a crazy place, and after a night on Bourbon Street I thought I had seen it all. Then I went to the HFM Integrated Tax Provision session. Wow.
Ok, I shouldn’t give the tax accountants a hard time. Heck, I doubt if any are actually at this conference since most of the audience (the ones wearing clothes anyway) were Hyperion admins. But something about the topic had everybody in a party mood.
What happens in the Integrated Tax Provision session stays in the Integrated Tax Provision session, but I’m going to bend the code a bit to tell you something about this new application from Oracle. First, it’s all built on top of HFM. And why not? HFM is the perfect platform to leverage the dimensionality, complex business rules and robust reporting needed to deliver nice tax provision functionality.
So it’s deployed as a separate HFM-on-steroids application. It has to be kept in sync with HFM which can be done through EPMA, which is more than you can say for CorpTax or your spreadsheets. This is an initial release, but the speaker seemed confident that all of the bells and whistles needed were there and the system is rock solid. There’s even a Financial Management Analytics Module that will let you do some awesome tax reports and dashboards.
On the down side, you have to buy a new license and pay maintenance on it (buzz kill), and the analytics module would be yet another license and maintenance (major buzz kill).
This is part of Oracle’s close manager, which automates your end-to-end close process and helps you build a world-class close process. And that's enough to make accountants want to P A R T Y!!!