Game on! A record number of abstracts were submitted for Kscpoe12, and here are 3 presentations you will want to check out.
We will always be asked to do more with less. Finance is asked to produce more and better analytics with less people. Sales people are asked to produce more in a weakening economy with less marketing dollars, and yes, groups that manage Essbase environments are asked to produce and manage more data/applications with shrinking resources.
Back in the Day
In a prior life, I used to manage a group responsible for managing the Essbase environment used to produce all the reporting for the group. It generated about 70% of the revenue for Bank One (now Chase). We delivered all the reporting, budgeting, and forecasting applications. It included nearly 2 TB of data (pre ASO) on four servers that included more than 50 databases. All the typical technologies were employed. A large number of filters existed to maintain security. Many of the applications were linked together with several types of partitions. Data was loaded daily, weekly, and monthly. SQL Server was used for all the ETL processes, and we completed the development and performed all the maintenance with four people.
The only way the group could be effective in developing and enhancing applications, was to eliminate our effort spent on typical production activities. With the number of applications and the frequency they were updated (daily, weekly, or monthly), communicating this information to the more than 250 users was also a large time commitment.
The newest release of Smart View (Release 184.108.40.206.102) includes many helpful, long-awaited features sure to both enhance the end-user experience and increase productivity. Many of the new features are examined below while a complete list and their descriptions can be found here.
Ad Hoc Operations in Multiple Cells
Previous versions of Smart View limited users to cell level ad-hoc operations. For example; say you wanted to ‘Zoom In’ on a member, Smart View limited this action to a single cell (single member). The newest version allows users to select a range of cells before performing an action allowing for quicker answers. Multi-cell actions such as Zoom In, Zoom Out, Keep Only and Remove Only are now permitted.
Think about how many emails you delete without reading. Your inbox gets cluttered with specials from your favorite stores that you requested to be sent. You just but didn’t realize a new email would show up every other day. Everyone has the friend who sends emails that he or she thinks is so funny that aren’t. There’s also the person who seems to update his status multiple times a day and “checks in” at the grocery store, work, dinner, etc. Sometimes it’s your system administrator sending you updates about every aspect of the system that you delete. Then you think, Wait, I am the administrator. My emails are always read! Right?
There are times when planning and forecasting databases grow for apparently no reason at all. The static data (YTD actuals) that is loaded hasn’t changed and the users say they aren’t doing anything different.
If you load budgets or forecasts to Essbase, you probably do what I’m about to tell you. If you are a systems administrator and have never seen how finance does a budget or forecast, this might be an education.
There are several ways to export data from Essbase on a large scale. Pulling it via Excel (Smart View or the Essbase Add-In) is not the best way to get large amounts of data when the goal is to move the data somewhere else, so this option will not be covered.
The easiest method is to export all the data from a database by exporting the database. This can be done in EAS. This method is easy to automate with Maxl, but has little flexibility with formatting and the only option is to export all the data. It can be exported in column format so the data can easily be loaded into another data repository. If the data needs to be queried, or manipulated, this is a good option.
When developing it’s always best to avoid “recreating the wheel” and the same concept applies when building reports in Hyperion Financial Reporting. An important step in the design phase centers on report row and column sets; these are simply the groups of members which display in the rows and columns of each report. Any reports that “share” groups of members, whether in rows or columns, provide an excellent opportunity for creating Hyperion Row and/or Column Templates. These templates can then be referenced in additional reports, resulting in decreased development effort and less maintenance.
Benefits: When needing to create multiple reports which have similar or identical row and column sets, the user can save time by creating one standardized row and column set, saving it as an object in the repository, and reusing it for multiple reports. The user also has the ability to modify a row/column template at any point and resave it into the repository which automatically updates all grids linked to the template.
Whether you play a technical role or are a financial analyst, Excel is likely a major asset in your toolbox. Whether it is the SUM function, the VLOOKUP function, or one of the many others, we have all used Excel functions for a plethora of reasons.
There is a lot of potential hidden in Excel that you may not be aware of. Excel offers the ability to create your own user defined functions, and it’s not hard to create them. With a little ingenuity and strategic thinking, custom Excel functions can be a huge asset.
I attended many Hyperion Solutions conferences back in the day. I really enjoyed the experience, but after the first couple of years, I didn’t feel like I was getting my money’s worth. I started to wonder if I knew all there was to know about Essbase, as every presentation I attended seemed very basic. Was I that good? Did the benefit of attending these conferences shift from knowledge gain to networking? I decided to stop attending.