Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.
Friday, October 5, 2012
By the final day of Oracle Open World, it is hard to muster a lot of brain power – even if you skipped the big Pearl Jam concert
like I did... Which is too bad, really, because the last day contains
some of the most interesting presentations. I was discussing this with
my colleague while watching one of the strangest spectacles I think I've
ever seen (more on that later) – without a doubt the most practical
content falls on Sunday (user group day) and Thursday (all the senior
executives – Oracle and not – have gone home). Perhaps it is because the
other days are so busy that it can be like finding a needle in a
After an early conference call to the East Coast, I hustled down the hill just in time for the start of the morning keynote: "See More, Act Faster: Oracle Business Analytics."
first part of the demo was based around simulating an event in Chicago
and using Endeca to analyze social media, police incidents, etc.,
including spatial overlays and lots of dynamic visualizations. It was a
neat idea, but more than a little clumsy in the execution. There is no
question that the products are exciting, though once an integrator
always an integration – how much work would it take to configure the
dashboard they were showing?
I won't lie – after an hour I headed to Mel's Diner. But the YouTube replay is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-X_SxnoEXU
At 11:15 I attended an interesting session called "MetLife’s Roadmap for an Integrated BI and EPM Environment"
talked about many initiatives related to an operational excellence and
technology rationalization effort at MetLife. They have really
standardized on OBIEE and Hyperion (EPM, HFM, Essbase), moving away from
a heterogenous environment that included Cognos, Actuate, and the old
PS EPM product (among others). The clearest takeaway for me was their
definition of the core domains of a BI Center of Excellence:
- Design authority – they may not build everything, but they have authority (I like the word) for adherence to standards and best practices
- Delivery management
- Training and advocacy
- Application Administration and Support
I was also pleased to learn that they followed exactly the same
methodology we are advancing now at Harvard – going "on the road" to
sell the benefits to stakeholders. Although the product may speak for
itself... people need to see it to hear its voice!
My next session was a fun one for the the geek lurking inside me... Stewart Bryson (Rittman Mead) on "Report Against Transactional Schemas with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g"
His slide deck was crazyily ambitious. The basic purpose of this
session was to dispel the "myth that OBIEE only works with star schemas"
by demonstrating OBIEE models against a third-normal form transactional
database as well as a flattened (single-table) database such as log
data. It was a deep-dive, with screenshots from each step in the process
of building dimensions and "factless facts" in the OBIEE Business
Mapping and Modeling layer. I think I actually got it, though can't
really imagine a situation in which, given my official duties, I might
put it to use.
And finally, a session called "Cut Costs by as Much as 90 Percent with Accounts Payable Automation"
focused on the integration between Oracle WebCenter and E-Business
Suite. We will be pursuing an imaging/workflow solution in the second
half of this year, so this was a very helpful meeting with both Oracle
product management and a real case study presented by a client. It is
always helpful to hear lessons learned (and outstanding defects) rather
than straight sales. Overall, it looked like a good fit but I can't make
heads or tails of the licensing.
With that, OOW ended... Except for yet another event in the Buena
Vista Gardens. Without a doubt, the most surreal scene of this long
event was the front-man of Swedish rock band The Hives
obviously not fluent in the details of OOW or its crowd, urging the
crowd of DBAs and programmers to come closer, jump, yell, and conduct
acts inappropriate to name in this blog. I wonder what Larry Ellison
would have thought about the band's creative use of his brand name!