Monday, June 15, 2009

Going to Kalediscope 2009

Next week is Kalediscope 2009, last year I learned a ton of great info. This year has even more content, and I'm looking forward to seeing some old Essbasers. I will blog some of the things I take away from the conference. If you are around shoot me an email.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to go end-to-end in Business Intelligence in 1 week

Going from beginning to end in Business Intelligence in 1 week, these are the steps I would take. This could all happen in 1 week if you have the environment setup and data available to use.

0. Start--Gather requirements quickly and then rapidly Prototype.
1. Secure the data--If you have no data, then you have no system.
2. Understand the data--How does it work, what nuances do you need to be aware of?
3. Build the star schema--Keep it simple, find 11-13 total possible dimensions max for your first run.
4. Load Using EIS--It's a simple tool to load using Hyperion EIS, that can take your star schema into a workable protype model.
5. Build your Essbase cube from EIS--Dont' worry too much about calculations, etc
6. Repeat steps 3-5 until you come close to a point where showing a business user could add some insight and create some depth.
7. Finish the prototype and start the steps over with more detailed requirements. I've even finished whole reporting systems in 1 week before :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

More on How to be an Essbase Guru

1. Take the Oracle Training Course--this can be helpful in getting an initial idea of how things work, but if you don't use these skills then you will lose them.

2. Contextual Learning--Learn by doing. By working on a project with seasoned developers you can start to learn why they are doing things.

3. Take a business course if you're too technical--you will need to understand how businesses work, and specifically the business where you are working.

4. Buy the latest version of Edward Roske's book, now they are on version 11.

5. Build an experimental cube, and go through all the pieces that you will need to know. Data Loading, Outline building, Calc scripts, filters, Temporary Variables, etc.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How could you learn about essbase?

A friend of mine just asked me--How could you learn to be an Essbase Developer/guru?

I would recommend doing several things.

1. Read Look Smarter than you are:
Sign up for an essbase class, talk with Oracle, and get them to show you their demos of essbase.

2. Make sure that you understand business processes and functions. Form a partnership with business groups, and truly undertand what they are doing.

3. Make sure that you understand technology well. You'll have to understand how to implement ETL, SQL, star schema, and essbase technologies.

4. Make sure that you understand project management. When you're on a project you need to be able to play all roles, Project Manager, Tester, Requirements gatherer, designer, etc..

5. Start using the tool, and get on a project that uses it. Learn by working with others who can teach you the nuances, in a lot of ways Essbase is an art form.

6. Come to my conference speaking session in Orlando IOUG. I will be going over some tips over how to successfully develop and mitigate risks.

Speaking at IOUG Conference in May in Orlando

Exciting Times! I'm speaking at the IOUG Conference in May, my presentation is called "Financial Planning Risk Management and Automation". I'm speaking from 3:15-4:14pm on May 6th, which is on Wednesday, so I hope that you can attend.

Here is an abstract of what I'm talking about:

When building a financial planning system, it is important to use strategies of risk management and plan out ways to automate system maintenance. These strategies include dealing with the problems of data reconciliation, system maintenance, business process mapping, and people issues. These strategies can be used not only on new systems, but also on existing systems, to help ensure the long-term success of the financial planning system.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Business Intelligence--the real value 5 key measures

How do you capture true value in business intelligence?

You need to be open to changing how you think about business practices. Take a step back, assess your business processes, and implement new ideas to make your company a success.

5 Key ways to measure value using business intelligence:

1. Cash Flow--how does your cash position look, are your receivables coming in too slowly, can you extend your accounts payable.

2. Expenditures--are you spending money on worthwhile things? Plan and fund all expenses as you need them, and keep aside reserve money in case you hit rough times. I have heard several stories of companies going out of business or bankrupt because they paid too much money in rent. Clients do not care about your office space, they care about what you can bring to the table. Telecommuting saves companies money and can result in companies lowering rent, utilities, and other infrastructure costs.

3. Return on Investment for Projects--when you spend money, do you see the payback? Also, how do you measure payback? Is it productivity based, revenue generating based, analytically based, etc. Not every project is going to generate additional revenue for the company, but that does not mean that it is not worthwhile.

4. People management--turnover rates and employee satisfaction. People are the greatest asset to organizations and yet they are frequently underutilized. Seek out employee feedback then setup meetings to review and implement change.

5. Customer satisfaction--are you pleasing your customers? What could you do better? Does the customer come to you because you are the only choice or because of what you do? Ask the customer what they are looking for--you'll be surprised to what that can lead to.

So, how would you capture these in a business intelligence tool? That's where the technical knowledge and ability comes into play. It would not be hard to imagine a balanced scorecard/dashboard that had these key metrics available to senior executives, so that they could take action and correct issues when needed.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Blog Entry #1 02/2009

JS Business Intelligence, LLC has officially started now and I am going to make a concentrated effort to update the blog section of this site as frequently as possible.
I'll start off here with some thoughts on what makes Business Intelligence successful.
1. Backing of the Customer
If the client is not behind the solution then the system will not work because they have not invested themselves in the success of the system.
2. Support from up High
If Senior Executives don't make a push, then don't expect anyone to automatically embrace your system, just for the sake of it.
3. Good Data--or at least reasonable data
If your data is bad, then your system will usually be bad as well. Put another way, with garbage into a system, it is very difficult to have something useful come out.
4. Customers that will actually use the system
If at the end of the day a great system has been built, but no one wants to use it. It could be that the client is too focused on doing their transactional job and cannot take the time to look at the bigger picture. Or it could be that the company is not ready yet for it.
At this time, I recommend convincing the client that your system is valuable. Tell them that in time with their help and continued development it can become something that will help them be successful.