Tag Archives: User Groups & Conferences

Rittman Mead Sponsors Georgia Oracle Users Group’s Tech Day

As part of Rittman Mead’s continuing support and participation in the Oracle community, we are proudly sponsoring this year’s Georgia Oracle Users Group’s Tech Day on Thursday, March 3, 2016, in Downtown Atlanta at the Executive Conference Center.

Rittman Mead’s own Consulting Manager, Andy Rocha, will be speaking at this year’s event. Andy will be presenting on how we created a game-tracking page in OBIEE for the 2014 World Cup. He will break down how we created the dashboard to track real-time scores, stats, match events, and player and team information.

We will also have a booth set up, so if you are in the area, come down to see us and get a demo of some of our exciting new products and services.

To learn more about GaOUG and their events, visit their website here.

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OBIEE12c – Three Months In, What’s the Verdict?

I’m over in Redwood Shores, California this week for the BIWA Summit 2016 conference where I’ll be speaking about BI and analytics development on Oracle’s database and Hadoop platforms. As it’s around three months now since OBIEE12c came out and we were here for Openworld, I thought it’d be a good opportunity to reflect on how OBIEE12c has been received by ourselves, the partner community and of course by customers. Given OBIEE11g was with us for around five years it’s still early days in the overall lifecycle of this release, but it’s also interesting to compare back to where we were around the same time with 11g and see if we can spot any similarities and differences to take-up then.

Starting with the positives; Visual Analyzer (note – not the Data Visualization option, I’ll get to that later) has gone down well with customers at least over in the UK. The major selling point seems to be “Tableau with a shared governed data model and integrated with the rest of our BI platform” (see Oracle’s slide from Oracle Openworld 2015 below), and given that the DV option’s price point per named-used seems to be comparable with Tableau server the cost-savings in terms of not having to learn and support a new platform means that customers seem pleased this new feature is now available.

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Given that VA is an extra-cost option what I’m seeing is customers planning to upgrade their base OBIEE platform from 11g to 12c as part of their regular platform refresh schedule, and then postponing the VA part until after the upgrade and as part of a separate cost/benefit exercise. But VA seems to be the trigger for customers to start considering an upgrade now, with the business typically now holding the budget for BI and Visual Analyzer (like Mobile with 11g) being the new capability that unlocks the upgrade spend.

On the negative side, Oracle charging for VA hasn’t gone down well, either from the customer side who ask what it is they actually get for their 22% upgrade and maintenance fee if they they have to pay for anything new that comes with the upgrade; or from partners who now see little in the 12c release to incentivise customers to upgrade that’s not an additional cost option. My response is usually to point to previous releases – 11g with Scorecards and Mobile, the database with In-Memory, RAC and so on – and say that it’s always the case that anything net-new comes at extra cost, whereas the upgrade should be something you do anyway to keep the platform up-to-date and be prepared to uptake new features. My observation over the past month or so is that this objection seems to be going away as people get used to the fact that VA costs extra; the other push-back I get a lot is from IT who don’t want to introduce data mashups into their environment, partly I guess out of fear of the unknown but also partly because of concerns around governance, how well it’ll work in the real world, so on and so on. I’d say overall VA has gone down well at least once we got past the “shock” of it costing extra, I’d expect there’ll be some bundle along the lines of BI Foundation Suite (BI Foundation Suite Plus?) in the next year or so that’ll bundle BIF with the DV option, maybe include some upcoming features in 12c that aren’t exposed yet but might round out the release. We’ll see.

The other area where OBIEE12c has gone down well, surprisingly well, is with the IT department for the new back-end features. I’ve been telling people that whilst everyone thinks 12c is about the new front-end features (VA, new look-and-feel etc) it’s actually the back-end that has the most changes, and will lead to the most financial and cost-saving benefits to customers – again note the slide below from last year’s Openworld summarising these improvements.

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Simplifying install, cloning, dev-to-test and so on will make BI provisioning considerably faster and cheaper to do, whilst the introduction of new concepts such as BI Modules, Service Instances, layered RPD customizations and BAR files paves the way for private cloud-style hosting of multiple BI applications on a single OBIEE12c domain, hybrid cloud deployments and mass customisation of hosted BI environments similar to what we’ve seen with Oracle Database over the past few years.

What’s interesting with 12c at this point though is that these back-end features are only half-deployed within the platform; the lack of a proper RPD upload tool, BI Modules and Services Instances only being in the singular and so on point to a future release where all this functionality gets rounded-off and fully realised in the platform, so where we are now is that 12c seems oddly half-finished and over-complicated for what it is, but it’s what’s coming over the rest of the lifecycle that will make this part of the product most interesting – see the slide below from Openworld 2014 where this full vision was set-out, but in Openworld this year was presumably left-out of the launch slides as the initial release only included the foundation and not the full capability.

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Compared back to where we were with OBIEE11g (11.1.1.3, at the start of the product cycle) which was largely feature-complete but had significant product quality issues, with 12c we’ve got less of the platform built-out but (with a couple of notable exceptions) generally good product quality, but this half-completed nature of the back-end must confuse some customers and partners who aren’t really aware of the full vision for the platform.

And finally, cloud; BICS had an update some while ago where it gained Visual Analyzer and data mashups earlier than the on-premise release, and as I covered in my recent UKOUG Tech’15 conference presentation it’s now possible to upload an on-premise RPD (but not the accompanying catalog, yet) and run it in BICS, giving you the benefit of immediate availability of VA and data mashups without having to do a full platform upgrade to 12c.

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In-practice there are still some significant blockers for customers looking to move their BI platform wholesale into Oracle Cloud; there’s no ability yet to link your on-premise Active Directory or other security setup to BICS meaning that you need to recreate all your users as Oracle Cloud users, and there’s very limited support for multiple subject areas, access to on-premise data sources and other more “enterprise” characterises of an Oracle BI platform. And Data Visualisation Cloud Service (DVCS) has so far been a non-event; for partners the question is why would we get involved and sell this given the very low cost and the lack of any area we can really add value, while for customers it’s perceived as interesting but too limited to be of any real practical use. Of course, over the long term this is the future – I expect on-premise installs of OBIEE will be the exception rather than the rule in 5 or 10 years time – but for now Cloud is more “one to monitor for the future” rather than something to plan for now, as we’re doing with 12c upgrades and new implementations.

So in summary, I’d say with OBIEE12c we were pleased and surprised to see it out so early, and VA in-particular has driven a lot of interest and awareness from customers that has manifested itself in enquires around upgrades and new features presentations. The back-end for me is the most interesting new part of the release, promising significant time-saving and quality-improving benefits for the IT department, but at present these benefits are more theoretical than realisable until such time as the full BI Modules/multiple Services Instances feature is rolled-out later this year or next. Cloud is still “one for the future” but there’s significant interest from customers in moving either part or all of their BI platform to the cloud, but given the enterprise nature of OBIEE it’s likely BI will follow after a wider adoption of Oracle Cloud for the customer rather than being the trailblazer given the need to integrate with cloud security, data sources and the need to wait for some other product enhancements to match on-premise functionality.

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Rittman Mead at UKOUG Tech’15 Conference, Birmingham

This week Rittman Mead are very pleased to be presenting at the UK Oracle User Group’s Tech’15 Conference in Birmingham, delivering a number of sessions around OBIEE, Data Integration, Cloud and Big Data.

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If you’re at the event and you see any of us in sessions, around the conference or during our talks, we’d be pleased to speak with you about your projects and answer any questions you might have. Here’s the list our speaking slots over the four days of the event, and I’ll update the list with links to presentation downloads as they become available over the event.

In addition, if you’re interested in the OBIEE user adoption and retention area that Robin talks about in his Wednesday session, Rittman Mead have a User Engagement service using some of the tools and techniques that Robin talked about (datasheet here) and we’d be pleased to talk to you about how you can increase user engagement, adoption and retention for your OBIEE system. Other than that, come and speak to us if you see us at the Birmingham ICC, and look forward to more content on these areas in the New Year!

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UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards 2015

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It’s that time of year again for the UKOUG Partner of the Year Awards. This year we have been nominated for 4 awards:

  • Engineered Systems Partner of the Year Award
  • Business Analytics Partner of the Year Award
  • Training Partner of the Year Award
  • Emerging Partner of the Year Award

The awards are decided by “end users of Oracle-related products or services” i.e. you, so we would like to ask you to vote for us by going to this link.

I would like to propose four reasons why I think we deserve these awards.

Research, development and sharing

The culture at Rittman Mead has always been to delve into the tools we use, push their boundaries and share what we learn with the community. Internally, we have formalised this by having our own in house R&D department. People like Robin Moffatt, Jordan Meyer and Mark Rittman spend a lot of time and effort looking at the core Oracle data and analytics toolset to determine the optimal way to use it and see which other leading edge tools can be integrated into it.

This has given rise to a huge amount of freely available information ranging from a whole series on OBIEE performance tuning to drinks cabinet optimisation.

We have also worked with Oracle to produce a new version of their reference architecture that was the first one to incorporate the new wave of big data technologies and approaches such as Hadoop and a data reservoir.

Delivery

One of the main drivers for our R&D department is to make us more effective at delivering data and analytics projects.

We are continually investigating common and new approaches and design patterns found in the world of ETL, data warehousing, business intelligence, analytics, data science, big data and agile project delivery, and combining them with our experience to define optimal ways deliver projects.

Again, we share a lot of these approaches through talks at Oracle and community conferences, blog posts and routines shared on our GitHub repository.

Learning and education

Learning is key to everything we do in life, and as such, we see the provision of independent courses for Oracle business intelligence and data integration tools as key for the industry. We have developed our own training materials based on the different roles people play on projects, for example we have a Business Enablement Bootcamp aimed at end users and OBIEE Bootcamp aimed at developers. We know from our feedback forms how effective this training is.

To supplement the training materials we also wrote the official OBIEE Oracle Press book based around the same examples and data sets.

Optimisation

Our key role as an Oracle partner and member of the Oracle community is to optimise the value any organisation gets from investing in Oracle data and analytics related software and hardware.

This is something that requires a long term commitment, a high level of investment and a deep level of knowledge and experience, which is hopefully demonstrated above. To this end, we are prepared to often go beyond the level of information that Oracle can offer and in certain cases challenge their own understanding of the tools.

We were the first UK partner to buy an Exalytics server, for example, and have written a whole host of articles around the subject. Similarly we are the proud owner of a BICS pod and we are now evaluating how organisations can effectively use cloud in their strategic business intelligence architectures and then, if they do, the best approach to integrating it.

Finally, we are also investing heavily in user engagement, providing the capability to measure then optimise an organisation’s data and analytics systems. We believe user engagement is directly and measurably linked to the return organisations get from their investment in Oracle data and analytics software and hardware.

In Summary

So, in summary, I hope that the reasons that I outline above explain why we deserve some or all of the above awards, as they act as a great way to recognise the effort put in by all our staff over the course of the year. The voting link is here.

Rittman Mead at ODTUG KScope’15, Hollywood Florida

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ODTUG KScope’15 is running in Hollywood, Florida next week and Rittman Mead are running a number of sessions during the week on OBIEE, Essbase, ODI and Big Data. I’ve personally been attending ODTUG KScope (or “Kaleidoscope”, as it used to be known) for many years now and it’s the best developer-centric conference we go to, coupled with amazing venues and a great community atmosphere.

Sessions we’re running over the week include:

  • Gianni Ceresa : 2-in-1: RPD Magic and Hyperion Planning “Adapter”
  • Jerome : Manage Your Oracle Data Integrator Development Lifecycle
  • Michael Rainey : Practical Tips for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications 11g Implementations
  • Michael Rainey : GoldenGate and Oracle Data Integrator: A Perfect Match
  • Mark Rittman : Bringing Oracle Big Data SQL to OBIEE and ODI
  • Mark Rittman : End-to-End Hadoop Development Using OBIEE, ODI, and Oracle Big Data
  • Mark Rittman : Thursday Deep Dive – Business Intelligence: Bringing Oracle Tools to Big Data
  • Andy Rocha & Pete Tamisin : OBIEE Can Help You Achieve Your GOOOOOOOOOALS!

We’ll also be taking part in various “Lunch and Learn” sessions, community and ACE/ACE Director events, and you can also talk to us about our new OBIEE “User Engagement” initiative and how you can get involved as an early adopter. Details and agenda for KScope’15 can be found on the event website, and if you’re coming we’ll look forward to seeing you in sunny Hollywood, Florida!