OOW16: Day 2 – The Education Continues

Yikes! It’s starting to get really difficult to catch up on blog posts…I find myself blogging during sessions and hoping for the best!

Swim in the Bay

This morning I continued my social exercise activities with the #SQLDev community. As the last part of their “OOW Triathlon” we all went and swam in the ocean. And yes, it was crazy, and yes, it was cold. But due to the unexpected warm weather over the past few days it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. We started out with an obligatory picture – this photo op included multiple takes of us jumping. Then we jumped right into the cold water. Note that most of us chose not to “swim” but did kind of a “dip”.

(Photo taken by Cornelia Rost)

Then a group of us decided to warm up on the beach with an abbreviated chigung, led by the awesome Kent Graziano. This was both a breathing and strength exercise and it did help to put some color back into our toes.

(Photo taken by a Cornelia Rost)

After getting cleaned up, I set out for my full day of booth duty mixed with several fantastic EPM/BI Cloud sessions.

DVD session with Mike Durran and Stewart Bryson

The first session I attended focused on Data Visualation – mostly the Data Visualization Desktop tool with some DVCS (Data Visualization Cloud Service) thrown in. Mike demonstrated how simple the DVCS/DVD tools are to use (which I agree with – I’m presenting my own DVCS efforts later this week and it took less than a day to spin up all of the visualization screens), using Rugby as the entertaining example.


(Mike presenting)

It was standing room only for this session and we got quite crowded in the back. The recent wave of data visualization cloud tools (BICS and DVCS) have pretty common use cases that apply to a wide range of customers. I wasn’t surprised to see the full room.

Some items learned from this session:

  • BI is stronger than ever
  • One advantage of BI is that it goes against both databases (via spreadsheets, etc.) and curated content
  • Download the PPT – there were some great tips from Mike on resource recommendations for visualization design
  • Something to think about: where does storytelling take over and where does BI take over?
  • BI helps to figure out what the question is and help anticipate what users want to know

Lunch

After some booth duty, it was time for lunch. For the record, I was told to avoid the OOW food. But I was curious. How do you feed 50,000+ people? I heard that there would be an estimated 80,000 at OOW this year so I wanted to sample the quality of the food. The food is located way into the entrails of Moscone North. They have tents and water stations with multiple boxed lunch options setup. In addition, a live band.


Since the weather was decent, most folks sat out at tables in the sun. I found a bench seat in the shade and took stock of my first OOW lunch.

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So what was the verdict? To feed tens of thousands of people, there must be a compromise on quality. It is what it is.

Intro to PCMCS with Don Bean and Deloitte

PCMCS is an Oracle EPM cloud product that has yet to be released. It is now showing on the Oracle cloud website, but it’s listed as “coming soon”. PCMCS is the sister cloud product to HPCM and is a lift and shift of the on-prem Management Ledger module. I have not worked with either product yet and am curious about how they fit into the EPM landscape. Here are some notes that I took from this session:

Types of common allocation-based business processes:

  • Product, customer, channel profitability
  • Management allocations
  • IT Service costing and chargeback
  • Shared Service allocations
  • Cost transparency
  • Operational

Typical approaches:

  • Excel (the biggest competitor), but this is slow & time consuming and lacks controls and governance
  • ERP, but this lacks transparency and can’t be owned by the business
  • Custom built, but this lacks transparency and it’s difficult to change the logic and becomes unwieldy over time
  • PCMCS is a complete platform that solves  all of those problems with built-in intelligence, transparency, and security

Reporting capability is built in

  • Simple to configure dashboards
  • Specialized profitability intelligence analysis screens
  • Features Financial Reports engine

Pre-built analysis options

  • POV controls
  • Export to Excel tables generated
  • Intelligence example – profit curve

Dashboards

  • “Point and click” pre-built charts
  • Link to analysis view

Integration and Automation

  • Data Management
  • PCMCS to PBCS, EPBCS, and FCCS
  • Combine with FDMEE for on-prem GL integrations

FDM Data Load workbench

  • File mapping rules/jobs
  • Manual or EPM Automate

Tracy McMullen is a big fan of HPCM and is working with the tool currently on an engagement. We can’t wait to see the cloud version.

Interview with Nigel Youell

Some time after that session, I had my very first interview with Nigel Youell. Nigel is the Senior Director of Product Marketing for EPM. We did a very quick video interview on EPRCS. The video will be released after OOW.

Customers Present: FCCS with Chad Briggs, Flamel, New Flyer

The next session I attended was a Customer Panel on FCCS and featured 2 customers, including one of interRel’s. FCCS is an interesting product – it is a cloud-only solution with no on-prem sister product. It is an enterprise-class consolidations solution built upon the EPBCS platform. Both customers went into the reasons why they chose FCCS as their solution. I always try to assess the customer landscape when I hear these types of presentations to see what common conclusions can be drawn.

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(Jerson from New Flyer presenting)

Why did Flamel choose FCCS?

  • They grew quickly but the technology lagged behind and they were in Excel
  • Desired cloud-based solution (due to cost)
  • History and familiarity with Oracle/Hyperion
  • Desire for semi-automation
  • Process standardization and governance
  • Need for basic reporting
  • Scale and growth

Project timeline

  • Needed to be fully live by 10/31
  • About 11 weeks

Observations by Flamel

  • Many aspects look and feel like (or better than) FCCS
  • Several processes and functionality continue to be ironed out with FCCS
  • Do not underestimate the time necessary for data validation
  • Confident that FCCS will be a “fantastic tool that will meet our needs”

Flamel’s Wish List

  • Automated currency scenarios
  • Enhanced application management functionality (task and process automation)
  • Additional custom dimensions
  • Automated rounding function

In addition, New Flyer talked about their experience with FCCS. New Flyer is interRel’s customer and we’ve had a team out there assisting with this implementation. Notes from that part of the presentation:

Why did New Flyer choose FCCS?

  • Help them reduce their close cycle time
  • More accurate and timely financial statements
  • Seamless integration of future business acquisition to the system
  • New Flyer finance process and systems will be world class

The New Flyer FCCS implementation is still currently underway.

Introduction to Essbase Cloud with Gabby Rubin

The next session I attended was Gabby’s latest Intro to Essbase Cloud (EssCS). I’ve seen this session a bunch of times already, but it’s always interesting to see what changes get put into the presentation, especially since EssCS hasn’t been released yet. I once asked Steve Liebermensch if they actually update the slides between sessions and he explained their methodology behind the madness: intentionally vague but specific enough to keep you wanting more. (Sigh)

(Gabby presenting)

Some important high-level notes from this session:

  • LCM is available to fully migrate on-prem Essbase cubes to cloud
  • They have made many Essbase kernel optimizations
  • Performance: what you see on-prem should not be different in the cloud
  • Performance of BICS integrated with EssCS: on par or better than on-prem

I will have more notes around EssCS later in the week, as it is one of the sessions that our team is presenting.

General Session: Executive Briefing

The final session I attended was a general session on EPM. All of the key EPM Product Management heads presented and I was impressed at what I saw and learned. Some of what was shown had only been theoretical directional statements until this point.

The first part, presented by Deloitte, talked about the digital disruptions to the office of the CFO. Cerebral topics like cognitive computing (artificial intelligence) and in-memory computing were discussed.

Then Matt Bradley presented “EPM Today”. This is a great session that I’ve seen before that talks about the state of EPM and what customers are focusing on.

The standout portion of this session was what Hari and the EPM Product Management team presented. This included showcasing a pre-recorded demo of an EPM Cloud solution of the future. Note that many of the elements shown exist today, but there were a few new impressive curveballs thrown into the mix.

What was shown is a vision of EPM Cloud that I’ve been envisioning and hoping for. It was an integrated suite of solutions that work together from a single interface. This vision in its totality is not available right now, but the outstanding components will be revealed piece by piece over time.

Notes from Marc Seewald’s pre-recorded demo

  • One source to find everything
  • EPRCS will be directly integrated with several EPM Cloud solutions (namely EPBCS and FCCS)
  • Showed off Strategic Modeling – a new HSF-like module that will eventually roll out with EPBCS
  • Talked about using PCMCS in relation to common business allocations
  • SWFP – Strategic Workforce Planning. This is a new concept for legacy Hyperion Planning folks. A module of its kind doesn’t exist in the on-prem world. It’s focused on talent acquisition and management. The SWFP component currently exists in EPBCS and is part of the Workforce framework.


(An integrated EPM Vision!)

The rest of my night was filled with various social engagements and important networking. I stayed out way too late. At one point I competed against fellow interRelites in a jumbo version of Jenga.

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(Photo courtesy of Wayne Van Sluys. Laughing way too hard at Edward’s attempts to thwart my next move. Note that I ended up winning.)

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