Oracle to Acquire Hyperion

This is an interesting development from a number of perspectives.

I recall when Oracle acquired the PC Express / Express MDB products from Information resources in the early 90s. Oracle did not really do a lot with the products.

With Oracle acquiring Hyperion, that leaves Cognos and Business Objects. I am betting that SAP will step in an acquire one of those two. Which one? I am guessing that it will be Business Objects because of their French (European) origins.

For the one left out, life will be difficult at the Oracle / PeopleSoft /SAP sites around the world.

But then that assumes that the acquirer actually does a decent job of integrating and developing the technology. Sad to say, if Express is anything to go by, Hyperion technology may well be destined for a similar fate.


Was there ever so good a cube browser as the Holos Worksheet?

I spent a bit of time working with the now defunct Holos product. (Crystal Decisions did a Computer Associates on it but that’s a story for another day).

For those who do not know about Holos, it was the bees knees of OLAP products and based on my exposure to competitor products since, I would say it is still up there. It’s problem was that it did not have a sexy front end but I digress. (I’ll leave that story for another day too)

It had a Native Windows and Macintosh GUI front end that would allow a user to browse the contents of a cube. You could change views by dragging and dropping the dimension names.

A lot of products rely on Excel as a client. This has it’s place but you cannot get in and quickly slice and dice. The Excel clients are very easy to stuff up. The Holos Worksheet was impossible to stuff up – well, if you tried to read a 25 dimension cube and embed 20 of them you could. The nice thing was that you could drag and drop but you couldn’t have non-sensical combinations like you could in, say Cognos Powerplay.

Please could someone tell me if there is such a tool out there that can browse Essbase cubes or Analysis Services cubes in a similarly elegant fashion.

Vendor claims rarely translate into reality

This is a post for those of you charged with implementing new systems from the various BI vendors. It is aimed at those making the purchasing decisions.

 I have worked with all five of the big BI firm’s products now and I can state without fear of contradiction that one should be wary of vendors claims about their products’ capabilities.

For most people who toil (most appropriate word)  implementing and integrating these products, this is completely bleeding obvious.

But these people do not make the purchasing decisions. It is the primary stakeholders, the business, non-technical types who make the decisions based on the carefully crafted and scripted vendor demonstrations or, at best, the prototypes built on a limited data set.

Too often RTM applications are still effectively Beta as there is no way that the vendor can ever hope to test every possible scenario that a purchaser can create.

What to do?

When buying do the due diligence. Chooses your best three products and have them come in build a prototype against your data and let them demo their product against that data.

It is the level playing field that vendors do not like. But remember, you call the shots.

Wait for the major dot release. Don’t buy 5.0! Wait until 5.1 or 5.2. Let someone else iron out the bugs. (A source at Hyperion says that one should really wait until system 9.4 as there are two patches a month coming out at the moment. Microsoft’s Integration Services whilst usable still contains many bugs – that waste developers time! I have similar stories for Cognos and Business Objects.)

I am not saying don’t buy them as these are now suites containing many optional components. Just make sure you get the functionality you want.