Tuesday, February 6, 2018

EPMware Is Not An Ugly Baby

Sometimes, being an independent contractor has its benefits. You get a chance to meet people you otherwise may have never crossed paths with. Many consultants that are working full time in a corporate consulting firm have narrow vision and would never consider stepping outside of their namesake. As an independent, I stepped out from Oracle, my namesake, and straight into EPMware

How It All Started:
As soon as I changed my status (LinkedIn) from being a full-time employee to being an independent consultant, EPMware reached out to me. I have years of experience working with ETL tools and many different Oracle tools, but they were specifically interesting in my DRM experience. EPMware felt like they had a tool that was not only equal too but, actually better than DRM. I was skeptical at first, because lets face it, everyone thinks that their baby is the most beautiful baby in the world. If we are honest with ourselves, there are some ugly babies out there. You know the ones I’m talking about, “Ohhhh yeeeaah sooo cute.”

Accepting their LinkedIn request felt like I was flirting with the enemy but, I was willing to give them a chance. I accepted the request, met with them, and my view on Metadata Governance tools was changed forever. By the end of the first call, I was speechless. Most of the things that we have been asking Oracle to do with DRM, EPMware had already done. It was amazing! EPMware not only had a baby but, it was actually pretty dang cute. To see a product so well put together that works seamlessly with Oracle products and not be an Oracle product was a thing of beauty.

Ugly Baby

Not An Ugly Baby

So let's talk a little bit about EPMware, besides the fact that it is not an ugly baby.

EPMware was developed by a few individuals that were tired of using DRM because of all its issues and shortcomings that we, as developers, would hit along the way. One of the big issues with DRM is the ability to seed the Hierarchies from the existing Oracle applications that the client has. EPMware is able to simplify this intensive process every time by creating adapters. These adapters will reach out to the source and the target systems then just pull in the information it needs. Doing the pull from the source and target alone saves about two weeks of multiple resources. Why do I say two weeks? Because that is the average time it takes, for us developers, to find someone, convince them we need a file, have them create the file, then format the file to a DRM loadable file. Once you’ve done all that, DRM is really quick about pulling the file. However, it is not smart enough to know what properties to populate. Yes, you can argue that as good developers, we take templates where ever we go and can make DRM smarter then what it is, but think about this from someone that has never used DRM before. EPMware IS smart enough to automagically know what properties to populate, no prior experience needed. Did I mention that they do all this without a single file involved? Now that is fancy!

Shows the simple setup needed to create an adapter for import
One Click importing does the rest of the work

EPMware has really cleaned up the way governance is displayed. As a business user, when I change a node within the hierarchy in EPMware, it’s made very clear what you will affect when you make a change. For example, if I have a downstream of ASO and a downstream of a BSO cube, they are normally at different levels. If I make a change to a node in the ASO cube, then I need to make sure that the node in the BSO cube is changed as well. When the business user requests a change, EPMware is smart enough to automatically include two lines in their governance process. This dual line entry will make sure that you know if you change this particular member it will affect another downstream application. Just because I’m using the example of two lines does not mean that they are restricted to just displaying two lines. If you have 50 downsteams and this one node you wanted to edit was in all 50, you would get 50 lines. Of course if you have 50 downstream applications then you should definitely talk to EPMware about getting a demo.

Shows multi-line governance automatically created

I saved the best for last. 

EPMware has Unlimited Members. 

As I mentioned above, I have been doing this for years and you know what is the main issue that I hit more then anything? Restriction on node count. There have been countless times my clients and I have had to get very creative when designing governance applications due to member count licensing. This makes it very expensive to put other governance tools in place. We are talking millions of dollars. A common question I often get is “Why am I spending so much money for something that is at an equal value to me as the other applications that I have in place?” Here’s why. You are sold that there is no other option. You look at the namesake of the other products that you have implemented and say well I got a discount on a package deal. Here is the reality. There are other tools out there that can not only give you the governance solution you need but brings governance to the next level your company so desperately needs. 

Don't forget that EPMware is in the cloud and on prem. Thay have been interfacing with Oracle cloud products since EPMware was released. They also have been know to be the governance tool on top of DRM negating the need of DRG. SO if you are keeping track that is seemless integration with all Cloud and on prem. I tip my governance hat to the guys behind EPMware for building such a great application. I strongly feel you are doing your company a huge disservice by not considering EPMWare. There is so much more I like about this application and I’ll be writing about it very soon. Look forward to educating you more about EPMware. 

We are specializing in EPMware, the future of Governance tools. Please reach out to Applied Governance for a demo or more information. Don't forget to check out our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Like, Follow, and subscribe for updates. 

Brian Dandeneau 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

If DRM Were A Super Hero.

What would DRM look like if it were a Super Hero. Maybe a little like this?

It’s time that we look to at Oracle Data Relationship Management (DRM) as a management tool, not just a place to enter random information or as another point of pain. DRM is a super hero of corporate hierarchy management. 

With Oracle Cloud, it is extremely important that companies see the value that DRM has always held. 

Here is what troubles me and the drive behind this post. I see people writing that DRM is NOW important because of the Cloud, when the truth is it has been important all along. They are just showing their immaturity with the product. Not only has it been important all along, it has been tried and true for many years. I started working with it back in 2006, it was called Razza. 

Quick History Lesson: It was BankOne HCS/CCS, Mazio (briefly), Razza, then MDM, now DRM. 

Through all those name changes and enhancements one thing never changed, whatever it was called, it was a central place to manage all your corporate metadata. How much better can it get? Well, actually, a lot better. Most people don’t know this but DRM is agnostic. Oh! Agnostic such a fancy word! What does that mean? Must mean that DRM can do everything, I bet it can even make my coffee. All agnostic means that the DRM was written to interface with anything, but let's be real, there are some limitations, but making your coffee may not be off the list. I think with the advanced coffee makers out there I could invoke a command to at least start the brewing process, just a thought. If your company has any of the Oracle on-prem tools, Cloud and/or even if they are still on MainFrame, DRM can send standardized hierarchies to that system. Yes I have done DRM to Mainframe and no I'm not dating myself in physical age, just technical age. 

Let's say that agnostic is a common super hero power....It would be Super Strength. 

We have agnostic as one super power, but it doesn’t stop there. 

The other super power of DRM is the fact that it can let the business govern the changes made to the hierarchies, with rules around the changes to foster the integrity of the process that YOU design. Data Relationship Governance (DRG) is now a part of DRM, well it has been for a while, but now since the newest release I would say that it has hit maturity. By the way, if you think that your company is unique or that there's not a tool out there that can help you govern your hierarchies, you are actually the perfect candidate for DRM and DRG. You see this tool comes with only a few objects, the rest is 100% custom. Multi-level approvals and email notifications, even a section to tell you who is slacking on approvals. Don't let 100% custom scare you. We have templates! If you've been around the block a few times, like me, you bring some standards that can easily be uploaded through DRM's migration utility. Unlock the power of your business users, turn them loose in a safe environment. Let them help them help you. 

We have independence/governance as the other superpower. That would make this superpower Bulletproof

I feel like an infomercial…But wait! There's more!! ……Call now and we will throw in auditing free of charge! 

DRM and DRG sits on top of THE BEST audit trail repositories, yes, that's right, it comes standard with all purchases folks. Ok, infomercial over. 

DRM also has See Thru Vision as a super hero power. DRM can see thru the non-sense and tell you what's going on in the application. Not only will it track the changes you make to the hierarchy, it will track when jobs are run, when someone logs in or out, everything. Pro Note: This is customizable system setting (drop down option) to give as much or little information as you need. Also, the same for the DRG portion of the tool as well. It tracks when someone makes a request, who, what, where, and why. Best part about this super hero power is that you can share it with anyone that wants it. When the auditors question you about the W’s, you can have a pre-made report ready for them. You have this pre-made report because you sat down with the auditor for coffee and you asked them what they needed to be successful. You took their requirements and created a export in DRM that would give them the everything, the same way, every time. Pro Tip: You can automate these jobs with batch script. Yes, even define the date range. Now the auditor is off your back and you have a new friend. Not all auditors are bad people, most of the time they are frustrated. Auditors just want to be successful with what they have been given. 

To recap……DRM is a Super Hero with many super hero strengths. It's a Super Hero because it’s agnostic, gives independence/governance, and has comprehensive auditing.

DRM/DRG will only get better when the Cloud version called DMCS comes out. Look forward to seeing this new Super Hero come to the team soon.

Friday, March 17, 2017

OAC Metadata Management

Welcome to the Cloud family OAC!!! Now lets talk about Metadata. Actually before I do that it would be horrible of me to not mention my friends that are a part of a Blog Hop.

To continue learning about OAC, check out the blog hop participant posts below! What is a blog hop? A blog hop is a group of bloggers who all get together to blog on a particular topic. We share each others blog posts in an attempt to share a lot of great information in one place. Enjoy!

OK. Where did I leave off.....Oh yeah.....Tell a Story.....It starts like this....

Back in the day, you had to have a few people on hand just to build a cube and manage it especially in a large corporate setting. I can remember discovering, when I worked at a large bank, that we were managing a single cube for a single person. We called this person “The Lonely Analyst”. He would come into the weekly meeting we had for project updates and plead for us to not turn off his cube. Unfortunately for him his cube did get shut down because it was deemed not a high enough priority to keep going. I did feel bad because the Analyst knew that Essbase was the right tool for the job. However, when I wasn’t getting paged every night because of some sort of failure that sorry-ness went away quickly.

OAC would have been his blessing…His saving grace…He would have been able to take the business users holy grail “The Spreadsheet” and turn that into his own personal cube.
For information on how build from the Holy Grail please visit the Opal's Blog Post which is given below.

Once the boring stuff is done now it’s time to manage the metadata, which our "Lonely Analyst" could have also done on his own and rather quickly.

What good is a cube if we don’t update it? Not good at all.

Using a template from the exiting application that you were able to easily create from Opal’s blog you can extract the metadata right from OAC - Essbase.

First you need to get on the OAC - Essbase
Once logged in simply click on the Home Icon. Easy to Spot because well it looks like a Home at the top right of the screen.

Navigate to the Database that you would like to export.
Click on the vertical ellipsis to show the options that you can select from. One of those options it Export. 

ProNote: If you don’t have that little green circle that means that the app isn’t running and you won’t have the export option.

The next Screen that you will see is

Click on the Show Advanced checkbox.

By checking the Show Advanced we now see the screen above.
Notice that I have Add Data Sheet check, it is not checked by default.

I also have the Set Build Method for all dimensions set to Parent-Child.

As you look at the Customer and Regions Dimension I have manually changed those to Generation. Generation was selected just to show you what it looks like in the file once we exported the metadata out.

Click Export Metadata

This will produce an Excel file that has multiple tabs.

Within the tabs you will see the Dimensions that we selected to be parent-child are in that particular format like Products above. Below is an example of the Regions as you can see it is in Generation format.

Since we did have the Add Data Sheet checked we also have an extra tab for Data.

This Data sheet could be valuable if you plan on creating new cube, might as well take the data too. Might also be helpful if doing a replace when importing rather than a merge.

Well that’s getting the metadata out, but now we need to make some changes can get those changes back in.

Let’s go into the spreadsheet that you created in the steps above and make some changes.
We’ll use the Metric Dimension for example. It’s small and compact so it easy to show.
Metric child member has a Storage of O which is Label Only

We really needed this member to be Dynamic Calc. So we enter X which means Dynamic Calc. We also added a member to the hierarchy % Deals < 50K. This gives us a Property change and a Member change. 

ProNote: You could also add a Formula field to the file if you needed to add formulas to the members. Just add a header called FORMULA and use the Cube Designer Ribbon to create the formula.

Now need to go back to Essbase Cloud to import the metadata.
Find the import Button. It is located at the bottom left of your screen.

This will bring up a new dialog box.

Navigate to the file that you updated. It will make mouse pointer do something cool. Then in red it will say either that the Cube you are trying to update exists or it doesn’t and it will create a new cube on the fly.

ProNote: If you update the first tab with a new cube name it will automatically go into create mode. If you forget to change the cube name, no sweat, just change it right in the dialog box, just go to Cube then type away.
Extra ProTip: If you click the Show Advanced toggle you can pick and choose what dimensions you want to update. It also shows you if the dimensions are spares or dense.

Now do I expect you to download and open up spreadsheets all day to make changes no. Look for the next blog post to take you through a higher level metadata management over multiple Cloud and On Prem products.

If you want a good laugh about all this jargen they call the Cloud Visit my YouTube Channel.

To Look Smarter Than You Are Visit interRel's Youtube Channel.