The times they are a-changin’

Collaborate ’16 has come and gone. I was fortunate enough to be able to join in on Monday of the conference for the OAUG Hyperion SIG meeting. As part of the conference, I was able to join a couple of road map sessions and speak directly with Oracle EPM marketing folks; it is clear that we are in the midst of change.

To be clear, I do not mean to directly equate today’s technological shift with the political, social, and cultural upheavals of the early 1960s. To do so would be a slap in the face to the many heroes of the time, especially those that gave their lives for equality. Bob Dylan created an anthem of change and expressed his feelings in generalities that can fit many circumstances. That is what makes his song relevant for so many even today.

I was recently watching a webcast replay by Joe Aultman, a guy who I really respect and consider a friend, about Essbase and whether it belongs under the control of IT or the business. Joe gave this presentation live during KScope 15 for those lucky enough to be there. During the presentation, Joe went through an excellent history of Essbase.  He spoke about how it started as a tool that was sold to Finance and sat on a server under someone’s desk at many companies. How exciting those early days were.

I have been working with Hyperion directly for more than ten years. Before that, I worked closely with the Hyperion Enterprise administrator and he showed me a few things so I could back him up. We ran Enterprise on a Citrix server, but we pretty much had full control of the box with very little IT intervention at all. It was fantastic! Thankfully we didn’t ever need a whole lot of help with that environment.

About a year later when I started with Essbase, a co-worker showed me how to install Essbase 6.5.4 on my desktop so that I could play with an outline to replace that old Enterprise application. Our installation in production was version 9.3.1, though. We had IT to manage our servers now. I had to practically beg to get a batch script scheduled on the server for nightly backups of our data.

With the complexities of the EPM System today it’s hard to imagine anyone implementing Essbase without IT support. With Oracle’s EPM and BI Cloud Services, what’s old is new again. Departmental applications can once again flourish as the Enterprise Planning Cloud and the upcoming Essbase Cloud Service offerings reduce the rigidity of IT and allow the business to control their applications.

There is no doubt that Oracle is making a strong push for customers to join the cloud revolution. That push is strong enough to make infrastructure consultants like me who are heavily reliant on the on-premises software model take notice. So, what is an infrastructure person to do? Diversify.

Luckily, I started in Hyperion with an application background. I learned Essbase inside and out at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, then I went into consulting and learned Planning, FDM, ODI, infrastructure, OBIEE, enough to be dangerous in HFM, FDMEE, etc. I think the real sweet spot for developers like me is in data integration. The technology will keep changing, but we are always going to need to move data from one application into another.

As the underlying technology changes, this blog must also change to reflect the current trends and hopefully help anyone who stumbles across this site. Honestly, this blog was never about one particular thing. While I have primarily focused on infrastructure, there are a lot of areas in the EPM and BI world to be explored.

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

-Bob Dylan, The Times They Are a-Changin’, 1964


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