Examining the ongoing challenges of delivering high-quality, value-added ERP services in Higher Education.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Oracle Open World 2012 Day 5 Recap

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 haystack.

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." The 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" that 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
  • Governance
  • 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" which 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!


<< Home