Book Review: The Definitive Guide to FDMEE

My friend Tony Scalese released his very own book earlier this year! Entitled The Definitive Guide to FDMEE, I believe it’s the only book out there that focuses on the Oracle FDMEE technology. Tony is one of the foremost authorties on FDMEE – he’s an Oracle ACE and he speaks regularly on FDMEE at conferences, especially ODTUG Kscope.

Tony gave me a free copy of his book in exchange for an honest review. Before we start, I should tell you that I’m a beginner to the FDMEE technology. My experience revolves greatly around Data Management (the cloud tool that comes bundled with PBCS, EPBCS, and FCCS, at a minimum), as well as high-level knowledge about the FDMEE integration with Essbase and Planning.

Strengths

  • Very comprehensive technically. There were sections in this book that filled in gaps for me after reading Oracle’s Data Management online documentation (check rules, format masks, workbench, and security to name a few)
  • Screenshots galore – I’m a big fan of visual learning to supplement text
  • Best practices were dotted throughout the book
  • Thorough index
  • Well edited. Now that I’ve taken the book writing journey myself, I have a much better appreciation for the editing process. I’m not sure that I noticed  more than a couple of writing errors.
  • There are a few mentions of how FDMEE varies from FDM classic. Although this does not apply to me directly and my line of work, I feel that this might be a bonus for other FDMEE enthusiasts.
  • The section entitled “Mapping Design – the Science and the Art” – very well done!
  • Chapter 5: FDMEE Scripts – I’ve never written an FDMEE script before since is an on-prem activity only. However, I feel better equipped to handle it. Multiple examples were given and there was a good mix of introductory and intermediate concepts given.
  • Chapters 1-5 level set the core application components. Chapters 6+ transitioned into the real world usage of the technology. I liked this set up.
  • The fact that there’s a “Troubleshooting and Log Analysis” chapter. Troubleshooting is so critical to any technology. It’s great that Tony gave practical advice on this.

Areas for Improvement

  • Chapter 1 just jumps right in technically, although there is some great context and history in the opening sections. I wish there were more of a narrative throughout. Early on in the book it can sometimes feel like a robotic list of technical terms that need something more to connect the dots.
  • I would have preferred a Chapter 1 that went through the overall business case and technical overview of the technologies involved with FDMEE – something more to set the stage.
  • This book focuses heavily on the HFM integration. There are mentions of Essbase, but I did not see Planning. Oracle has been stating for years that FDMEE is the strategic direction for Planning, therefore, I feel that this integration is more necessary in the FDMEE resource material that I read. For instance, the “Data Protection” section on page 33 talks about HFM dimensionality and subcubes. There is an assumption that you already know what these concepts are. I think going into a more high level explanation of the related technologies would make this book even stronger.
  • This is picky, but the header styles are confusing. The font sizes and colors are a bit too similar and I had trouble understanding which section was a subsection of which. For me personally, header styles help me organize it all inside my head.

Other Comments

  • This is not a direct criticism of this book but more what’s available to the Oracle EPM world at large. It clearly states in the book that it assumes that you have prior knowledge. Therefore, it’s not written for those brand new to FDMEE. With the advent of Data Management in the Oracle EPM cloud solution set, it would be awesome if a book were available for newbies.
  • This book is full of technical tidbits. I don’t presume to be an expert in FDMEE after reading it once. I expect to read it several more times to be able to put it all into practice. However, it will be a great reference manual in the meantime.

 

One of the questions that I would ask when reading another person’s book review is: is this book worth the price? YES, most definitely. $50 is way cheaper than any training class. In addition, this book has been instrumental in helping me to translate the Data Management online documentation. I had a number of issues understanding Data Management when I first started implementing data integration with Oracle EPM cloud products and the information in this book supplements that well.

Tony, congratulations on releasing your first book! Well done and I can’t wait to see more from you!

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