OpenWorld 2019, day 4, but in fact not even then

Why do I even bother?

At the beginning of conferences I am filled with fresh will and enthusiasm, sure that this time I really and truly will keep you, Gentle Reader, as informed as informed can be when it comes to this conference; any conference really. And I don’t. Ah, a man’s reach must exceed his grasp else what’s a heaven for?

Having firmly established the fact that I am either a fool (almost certainly), unreliable (the evidence speaks for itself), or simply unduly optimistic in my estimation of how hard I’m really going to try to do this (this is what I choose to believe although I think there’s something about the road to Hell and pavement in the form of good intentions), and before I get to the main plate of delicious geeky information, allow me to give you some impressions of what OpenWorld was like this year. And oh yeah, day four of the conference finds me on an aeroplane on the way back to the Right Coast, so all of the cool EPM stuff that Oracle cruelly scheduled for Thursday – missed the whole thing. Argh. Disirregardless of my poor timing (next year I’ll stay through Thursday if I go), I’d like to first describe my impressions of the conference.

Subjectivity is my middle name (actually it’s Thomas but if it isn’t it should be)

Smaller or is it? No.

It’s huge but didn’t feel as big as in the past. The foot traffic was (is I suppose as I’m typing this bit of the blog post on the way home) just as crazy, Moscone West and South were just as crowded, and yet it felt smaller. Perhaps I’m jaded after (gasp) 25 years of conferences? Somewhere I have a notepad from Comshare’s 1992 European conference in Brighton. Eeek. Actually, I can’t even manage subtraction: it’s 27 years. Double Eeek. What I can be sure of is that the usual Oracle plane, boat, and closed down street in front of Moscone weren’t there.

Or, I could actually do some research and see that this year’s conference has the same as 2013’s. Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?

Changes and continuity

I suppose there are other differences, real or imagined, as well. People are changing jobs, careers even, and technologies as well as family exigencies so comrades in arms like John Booth, Jessica Cordova, and Celvin Kattookaran were keenly missed. Conferences are more than just sessions and (mostly) useless booth swag – it’s about the people. Of course, besties Natalie Delemar and Tim German were there and equally of course My Man In California Glenn Schwartzberg was there as well (although only briefly glimpsed – c’mon Glenn, I bathe on a regular basis: every Saturday night, whether I need it or not so it’s not B.O.) so it isn’t like Yr. Obt. Svt. was all alone in his profound and painful social awkwardness effortless bonhomie and hail fellow well met demeanor, but regardless these are absences keenly felt. Sorry to prattle on about this but the personal is part of the conference experience.

Welcome Matt

Another source of personal oddness for me was the fact that I was, um, away for two years from the Oracle space in general and three (I believe – I can’t remember but it was whenever Oracle no longer carried the tariff for ACE Directors) from OpenWorld. I’m not going to go into the why (it does not, no matter how much you would like it, involve the HM Slade, Interpol, or someone who looks like Inspector Clouseau and a felony conviction) as most of you can guess that but it was a very odd feeling to be back at Oracle’s own conference. I kept on thinking to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here, I never thought I would.” It is ever so likely that I bored my said besties with that line as it just kept popping up again and again; probably I bored fellow pedestrians but no matter. The point behind all of this is that it felt different and why shouldn’t it given my moves around the EPM product space?

I fear that I thought Oracle product and development management would look askance at the Prodigal Son but in that regard, I was happily wrong. I don’t know if all is forgiven (I have a feeling that I’m putting more import into this than necessary but this tardy post is after all about the conference) but their professionalism and generosity came to the fore and I felt completely welcome. I don’t know how often these guys get a public thanks for something they do unconsciously, but thank you Prasad Kulkarni, Shankar Viswanathan (I got a hug from him – seriously touching stuff and apparently a world first), Toufic Wakim, Al Marciante, Mark Rinaldi (Hah! See, I got your given name right this time – Mike != Mark), as well as Jennifer Nicholson of the ACE program and many others who I am simply too tired/lazy/hopeless to recall. I won’t say I wasn’t apprehensive; I think that was me underestimating their grace.

Essbase and a heartfelt whine

Going away and immersing yourself in another technology and then returning has provided perspective I didn’t have from all of the years in Essbase’s tender loving arms. For one I can see what hasn’t changed: Essbase which remains largely the same as it did in 2017. Yes, it’s now part of the Database product team instead of Analytics in the form of OAC, and yes it’s now coming out for on premises, and yes of course it is still awesome – would I have written books about it if it wasn’t? — but I think where the real Essbase innovation is today is in the way it’s the core of so many EPM products. Good grief, it’s everywhere, powering everything as the core calculation engine. Yup, another mostly worthless opinion.

Having said that, Essbase 19c did come out the 14th of September so just two or so weeks ago. I blogged about it here and you can read what I believe to be the first public announcement here. It’s BYOL (Bring Your Own License) which I have been led to understand means an on-premises license). And yes, there are new features which are strangely not in the documentation beyond this. If you want to know more about what Essbase 19c can do, have a read of some of the blogs out there. Tim Faitch’s Everyday Essbase blog is an excellent place to start.

Lest anyone think I’m taking potshots at Oracle, please know that I love Essbase and I want it to be used. I simply can’t find out enough about it, cf. two years in another technology. Send comments to this blog showing how very wrong I am with links that explain all. Like Alfred Doolittle, I’m willing to hear you, I’m wanting to hear you, I’m waiting to hear you. So, let me hear.

Enough of the kvetching, let’s move on to the Shiny New Things

What? Essbase? No information? How about 11.2 on-premises information?

Say it isn’t so, Cameron, ‘cos here’s Essbase.

This slide shows what’s going away in on-premises 11.2. Note that the Essbase 19c is an Oracle database group product and the below is EPM’s 11.2 product. They are similar but not the same. This is a source of confusion for me and has been ever since Essbase moved to BI but obtuseness is also my middle name. Maybe one day I’ll get smart but I’m not betting on it.

That’s the semi-bad (heh, the death of EPMA can only be characterized as good news). What’s coming in on-premises 11.2?

Current EPM suite ( and roadmap:

Now we’re into EPM emerging technologies. I believe this is available in the very latest version of EPM cloud. Probably.

I would again note that the people who end up using this are hopefully not the people who go to Vegas and think that they can win.

Ermagwad, Essbase SaaS:

Hybrid BSO in the cloud:

What you get in the two versions of EPM cloud:

13 Periods of fun:

Public sector. Sorry for the blurriness: I blame too much coffee:

Groovy. I might want to learn that:

EPM Workforce Planning:

That’s two different takes on Workforce Planning, one in HCM and the other in EPM. Oracle EPM is a platform and it’s expanding. Intriguing. And a Big Deal.

Projects and Capital planning:

This is screenshot WF Planning outside of EPM. It’s part of Oracle’s Human Capital Management cloud. There is still WF planning in EPM.

Again, planning but not part of EPM but powered by EPM. Intriguing.

Oracle Sales Planning:


The holy grail of Machine Learning. It’s a jolly good thing that Oracle are making this something that mere mortals will (in theory) be able to use. Be prepared to work in a different fashion:

This is fascinating – Oracle are in essence saying they will be part of a customer’s implementation team. Here’s the really interesting bit – that’s not Oracle Consulting Services but EPM Product Management:

More on what’s coming to EPM:

Not India Pale Ale but Intelligent Process Automation:

IPA in Financial Close:

Account Recs with Transaction Matching:

Automated Consolidations:

IPA Flow:

Bots, bots, bots. Do I see this as the death knell of Excel as a way to get answers? Never! But bots regardless. And I love the name:

Texting good old epmbot. Well, at least another app on my phone:

Tagging XBRL:

Auto tagging:

Auto tagging in the glorious Commonwealth of Pa. I know, horrible joke but the compulsion to pun was well nigh irresistible:

As an aside, I’ve never used these guys – it’s just what shows up in Duck Duck Go. No Commercial Endorsements outside of EPM in this blog.

Automated reporting:

Here’s a new acronym: Intelligent Performance Management (IPM):

AI for EPM:


There is a huge amount of features and functionality in EPM now and there’ll be even more in the near future. We Oracle EPM geeks are all, every man jack of us, about to embark on a terror-filled rollercoaster ride exciting and rewarding journey of learning. I’ve been wildly outside of my comfort zone for the last three years so why not continue the fun? Seriously, we shall have to apply ourself most rigorously to the training tasks ahead.

And in real conclusion

And two of my cats (Pickle and Minty) when I finally got home. Awww. Pickle was doing what I so desperately needed to do.

Be seeing you.


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