More business content, mobile interest highlight Kscope12

Mark Wilson from TopDown Consulting examines some of the better sessions from Kscope12, the Oracle Development Tools User Group conference.

SAN ANTONIO -- Kscope12, the annual Oracle Development Tools User Group conference, was highlighted this year by several trends, including more business content, interest in mobile applications and discussions around new versions of Oracle Hyperion, Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Essbase.

Overall, the ODTUG conference was better than last year’s. While it continues to focus on technical aspects of enterprise performance management (EPM) implementations, this year it also included more business content, which appealed to finance executives, more of whom were in attendance.

Keynote speakers also seemed to show more confidence in recommending latest versions of many products. Highlights include:

  • OBIEE. Essbase integration is solid as of 11.1.1.6 and getting better with each release.
  • EPM Architect. The latest version is much more stable.
  • Essbase Studio. The latest release is workable.

OBIEE, mobile interest, and deployment options

Attendees and presenters also focused on several interesting topics. The Hyperion community (and not just the people from the business intelligence companies) is fully embracing and talking at length about OBIEE. Mobile interest continues, as was evidenced by multiple presentations on the subject; an important theme across the presentations was how the move to mobile changes what data is presented and how. Mobile devices are pushing a trend toward showing less but highly relevant and actionable data.

Multiple deployment options were another topic with the proliferation of options ranging from on-site physical servers to complete cloud-base deployments from Oracle and its partners. And as to be expected, more organizations are looking and actually selecting the hosted and cloud-based options as the value proposition improves.

Finally, as more and more customers of all sizes are deploying EPM as a suite as opposed to point solutions, integration and management of data and metadata have become important topics to a larger set of users, and this translated into multiple sessions on the various aspects of integration.

Popular EPM features 

While there are always a lot of cool products and features to talk about, the buzz at Kscope12 was all on Oracle Hyperion 11.1.2.2. Overall, the Hyperion Enterprise crowd were listening for products and features in the Hyperion Financial Management (HFM) sessions that would help ease the transition. For many, support will be ending soon and there are company initiatives to update operating systems and adopt new features.

In the EPM applications, the most popular HFM feature is Unlimited Dimensions. Specialized rolling forecast forms that leverage dynamic time columns using new variables was the most discussed new feature in Hyperion Planning. There was also interest in Predictive Planning -- a great feature based on the Crystal Ball product -- and how it can help companies with their forecasting and drillable charts and grid composites (we’re entering dashboard territory).

Kscope12 attendees also spent time discussing the number of performance improvements to Essbase Block Storage Option (BSO) around parallel calcs, restructures and exports. While Oracle Exalytics drove these improvements, it turns out they will also help non-Exalytics customers. The new model sync, multiple user-interface improvements and OBIEE enhancements in Essbase Studio were also positively received.

Best Sessions at Kscope12

One of the best sessions was Oracle’s “Essbase 11.1.2.2 New Features” -- an in-depth review that included the best ways to leverage the product.

Another favorite, and hence the winner of the best speaker award in the Hyperion Applications Track, was “HFM vs. Essbase BSO: A Comparative Anatomy” by Keith Berry. It compared, behind the scenes, how Essbase and HFM do similar things. Given how the two products have very different architectures and HFM is very “black box,” it was both interesting and informative.

The most interesting comment at the conference had to be, “I was not aware you could drill to a Java program with Essbase Studio. That could be powerful.”

See you next year in New Orleans for Kscope13.

About the author:
Mark Wilson is vice president of Services for TopDown Consulting. He has over 16 years experience in the EPM space. He is also a board member of the Silicon Valley Chapter of The Data Warehouse Institute.

This was first published in July 2012

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