OOW16: Day 3 – Adventures in Conferencing

2MTT Video

This day started off with a 2 Minute Tech Tip (“2MTT”) video for OTN. This was my first one and I chose to give tips about best practices for logging Oracle EPM Cloud support cases. The video should be released after OOW.

If you’ve never heard of them before, these 2MTT videos are quick monologues by Oracle ACE’s that last up to 2 minutes long. They are run by Bob Rhubart (an icon in the Oracle Technology Network – OTN) and posted to YouTube. They provide an efficient way to quickly consume valuable tidbits of knowledge. The OTN YouTube channel where these videos are published can be found here.


Did you all know that ODTUG has a kiosk each year at OOW? Unfortunately, it was a bit hard to find. Veronica and Angelina kept it manned during the week and they promoted our great user group community and Kscope17.

Essbase Cloud In-depth Look and Product Feedback

In the afternoon, myself, Glenn Schwartzberg, and Cameron Lackpour went over to the Essbase Cloud demo pod to meet with Kumar and Victor about the newest developments in Essbase Cloud (EssCS). A small group of us have been working with Gabby Rubin’s team since January on the soon-to-be-released Essbase Cloud solution. They have asked us for our feedback on the product’s direction and it has been a fun ride.

We specifically got a look at the latest updates to the spreadsheet-to-cube functionality, as well as the UI for metadata management. Neither of us are shy about giving our opinions, so the meeting was quite productive and we were there for a couple of hours. In addition, much of what we saw was available in pre-recorded videos at the booth and could be viewed by any demo pod attendees.

What’a New, What’s Next: Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service with Marc Seewald

I actually did attend a couple of sessions this day. The first one covered the latest developments in Enterprise Planning Cloud, which is the umbrella name for both PBCS and EPBCS. There has been much confusion about the correct product name for the Planning cloud line. Marc kindly confirmed for us that “Enterprise Planning Cloud” is the correct name, although the EPC term is hardly ever used by Product Management.

I attended this session because I was very interested in learning more about the new but yet to be released Strategic Modeling component of EPBCS. Here are the notes that I took from this part of the session:

Strategic Modeling Features

  • Allows for alignment of long range plans with bottom up forecasts
  • What-if scenarios can be created for every model
  • Cash flow impact analysis
  • On the fly scenario models
  • Instant in-memory calculations
  • Offline modeling
  • Out of the Box reporting
  • Free style reports with Excel charting
  • Create charts and grids through native Excel and then render them in the web grid

There were some other interesting updates to the EPC suite that were also mentioned. Here are my notes from those slides:

Cloud to Cloud Navigation

  • Cross pod integration
  • Navigate across both EPM and ERP services
  • Mash up of the UI across services

Predictive Analytics

  • Focused on charting and predictions
  • Add/remove scenario from chart
  • Statistical reporting
  • Support for ad hoc

Predictive Analytics Value Proposition

  • Statistical-based time series predictions
  • Easy to set and understand
  • Takes the emotional component out of forecasting
  • Allows for consistent variance analysis

Ad hoc on the Web

  • Add members to dimension editor
  • Update members on ad-hoc grids on the fly
  • Free form ad-hoc update
  • Charts on the fly

Smart Forms and the Web

  • Edit and resave
  • Variables support
  • Cross cube function support in smart forms
  • Charting support in excel

SUI Dimension Editor

  • What was demo’ed was  in the current interface
  • Excel type interaction
  • Ad hoc features
  • Customer property display
  • Copy paste from excel

Intro and Update: Oracle Enterprise Planning Cloud with CHC

The last session that I attended was in support for one of my customers, CHC. Marc Seewald kicked things off by giving an overview of EPBCS. I appreciated this slide from his section of the session, which covers at a high level what is configurable within the EPBCS framework.

Bill Mowle is a great customer presenter and he discussed his experiences with this 1st implementation of EPBCS. It was a quick 6-week implementation of the Income Statement portion of the Financials module. What’s interesting is that Bill is now a cloud customer for life. He was originally not convinced that cloud was the way to go and now he’s one of its biggest supporters.

Here are some notes about the CHC story:

  • CHC had an existing footprint with Essbase and OBIEE for reporting and dashboarding purposes
  • Their forecasting occurred in Excel and took 5 weeks a quarter to maintain and complete
  • They chose to go with EPBCS

Reasons for going with EPBCS:

  • They needed to be up and running fast
  • They wanted a flexible solution and saw this with the pre-built content
  • Wanted to skip as much development as possible and leverage the best practices created by Oracle

ROI realized:

  • 5 week process cut down to 5 hours
  • Ability to move from quarterly to monthly forecasting
  • They can reforecast by the 7th business day
  • They wanted an automated, driver-based model
  • They can capture real-time assumption changes and reforecast while meeting with key stakeholders
  • Integration with on-prem Essbase cubes and OBIEE dashboards

Lessons learned:

  • Spend time to understand where you can customize and change within the tool
  • Build within the framework to leverage the prebuilt content
  • Know your design for your forecasting process but be open and flexible to adjust within the EPBCS framework
  • Question old approaches and leverage the many new agile options you have available

Tim & Cameron’s Most Excellent EPM Meetup

Each year Tim and Cameron sponsor their own EPM meetup at the Hyatt Regency. The Hyatt Regency is carefully selected because: a) they’re awesome, but more importantly b) because there is a Dodecahedron sculpture in the lobby, which has special meaning for Tim’s software Dodeca.

The meetup was cool and many kudos to Tim and Cameron for footing the bill and being great hosts. The food was fantastic, there were many EPM folks in attendance, and the hotel had amazing servers.


Next, I went to the APEX meetup. This annual event is famous within ODTUG at OOW. It always starts in the basement of Foley’s, which is where the dueling pianos are. Then they move the late night party goers to High Tide, a dive bar with money taped to the walls and ceilings.

I always talk about this, but the APEX community is hands-down AWESOME. Their spirit and passion are worn on their sleeves and they like to have a great time. I’ll skip over most of the details, but the night was late, full of great music, dancing, and networking with APEX and non-APEX folks alike.

(Me and Joel Kallman and the infamous APEX shrimp. Word of advice: don’t touch that shrimp!)

Kudos to David Peake and Joel Kallman for throwing a fantastic party and footing the bills!

I’ll just let the following pictures and videos speak for the night…

(Even Lumpy made an appearance on top of one of the dueling pianos!)

(Joel doing the honors of adding the ODTUG dollar to High Tide’s ceiling)

At one point in the night Natalie and I were marveling at the ODTUG love in the room. In the end, there were something like 2 APEX people, 2 BI people, 3 Database people, and 2 EPM people having fun like old friends. This is exactly why I love ODTUG.

And ODTUG (and APEX) is formally memorialized at High Tide.

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