Let’s not forget that it also sent Natalie’s kids to college

We (your EPM Conversations hosts) owe a lot – a financial kind of debt as well as a professional one – to Shankar and Hyperion/Oracle on premises /PBCS/EPBCS/EPM Cloud Planning. Seriously, I first set eyes on what was then Hyperion Planning Desktop (which alas I cannot find a screenshot of but know it’s out there somewhere), I thought, “Cameron, you idiot, this is the future” and so it has been through (gulp) decades of work. Never, our Performance Management audience, look askance at a sure thing.

Part of that product’s success has been Shankar Viswanathan’s careful stewardship of a product that grew from an application wrapper around Essbase (and a horrific and quickly abandoned Win32 app that was supposed to be the workspace of users of All Things Hyperion and yes, Shankar, I really do hope you didn’t create that) to a complete EPM cloud platform. At its core, planning and budgeting hasn’t at it’s core really changed all that much (ZBB came and went, driver based planning is still here, and yes AI/ML now has its turn in the Wheel of Planning Fortune) but what we still call Planning certainly has. Of course Shankar didn’t write each line of code nor did he define and design every bit and bob of UI, but it’s easy to see his steady hand in Planning’s evolution through the lens of customer success.


Each and every one of EPM Conversations’ guests is a joy for they are enthusiastic, open, thoughtful, visionary, and just about everything one might hope for in a colleague and a friend. Shankar is all of things and yet he is different.

By that I mean Shankar is quiet in the physical sense. We struggled with Shankar’s voice until we (we = Celvin) realized that is simply how Shankar talks; he is well worth listening to and the volume button on your phone isn’t that hard to use. Sometimes how we think is reflected in how we speak: introspection, consideration, reasoning, and sensitivity don’t need to be shouted to be understood. Shankar is well worth a listen.

Maybe the most interesting part

All of what I wrote about Shankar’s professional interests hold true for his personal ones.

There’s a wide range in all three areas of historical men, literature, and movies: E.O. Wilson, , Gandhi, and Steve Jobs for the historical figures, in reading, Ayn Rand as a teenager, to E.F. Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful, John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Anatomy of Power, and Fritjof Capra’s The Tao of Physics, and finally a varied palette of movies in Shawshank Redemption, The Bang Bang Club, and Heat.

This is, in case you’ve not been able to tell, one of my favorite episodes.

Join us, won’t you?

Yr. Obt. Svt. finds broad cultural movements to be interesting both conceptually (what are they, why do they exist, how did they start, and the rest of the who, when, and where list) and in practice because of their broad outcomes and impact on individuals.

My inveterate curiosity aside, women in STEM (STEAM) has been a current in social and professional change for roughly the past decade. Various organizations and companies, e.g., ODTUG, PwC, OneStream, Oracle, and many others, have been active advocates of this program

In many (most, really) respects, EPM Conversations is a series of, um, conversations with the leading lights in our Performance Management (and others) community and we have been blessed with a truly eclectic and interesting set of guests.

EPM Conversations has a started a new series in that vein – Portraits in Leadership: Women in EPM. Our first guest is Minie Parikh.

She is a true renaissance woman: driven, smart, far sighted, artistic, perceptive, altruistic, warm, positive, and more and oh yeah, right in the thick of EPM with her firm, EPMI.

Minie’s story is inspiring: a first generation American who rejected her expected professional path and instead became a Big4 consultant, cofounded a boutique consultancy (EPMI), is a guest on this podcast (ahem, that’s only kind of a joke, one that is quite firmly tongue in cheek, but it is quite hard to pique our collective interest and oh by the way, she too has a podcast), while leading through active participation and by example in WIT. If that isn’t leadership, I don’t know what is.

And lest you become overwhelmed by all of this, there is of course that human story, and it’s kind of out there.

Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like an SmartView query

With the most profuse apologies possible to Old Blue Eyes and Sammy Khan, love and marriage and Excel and Smartview and Essbase rarely, and I do mean just about never except maybe this one and only time, come together and yet in Minie’s case, it most absolutely did because she met her husband, Nihar Parikh in a bar where they bonded over their mutual love of SmartView. It is totally geeky cool and very sweet. Never say there’s nothing new under the Sun.

The first of many

Fingers crossed, our new series finds favor with you, Gentle Listener. One of the great things about this podcast is the ability to quickly jump from one theme to another. As this section header notes, Minie is not the last.

Join us, won’t you?

Ex Africa Semper Aliquid Novi

 Roger Cressy is a fascinating guest, unlike any other we’ve had.  His jobs have spanned from retail management (yup, a department store, a really nice one – I’ve been there – and not the one in the States or the UK) to our Beloved Performance Management.

Roger’s is also a geographical journey, from Malawi/Nyasaland (he just missed the Central African Federation) to Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, to South Africa, to the United Kingdom, back to South Africa, and thence to the United States – I may have missed a few countries in that list and perhaps got the order wrong.

Part of his peripatetic perambulation is an artefact of decolonization, the rest is a restless quest for opportunity.  Oddly, in person is a very calm man.

I first met Roger through, unsurprisingly, ODTUG’s Kscope.  Equally unsurprisingly given my stupendous memory, I don’t remember the year or the city.  Such is the hurly-burly nature of a good conference.

If you’ve not met him, Roger is tall (maybe it’s that I’m shrinking, ah the joys of middle age) and has a beard of biblical proportions;  once met, he is indelibly remembered.

Diversity in Every Respect

Roger has a full life, more than most of us, safely ensconced in the West, and the places, roles, and people he’s met have given him a unique and philosophical outlook on the business and technical world we all share.

Have a listen to this fascinating episode.

Be seeing you.

It’s a Book, It’s a Podcast Episode, It’s Kismet

A bunch of geeks (native born, immigrants; Americans all) interviewing an Australian and a New Zealander/Australian/American (it’s complicated) set Yr. Obt. Svt. to immediately think of the title of this podcast (eh, I need to get more than one hobby), who then looked up the phrase and found that…it’s a travelogue of a New Zealander’s view of the USA, circa 1888.  Seriously, what are the chances that the Mind of Cameron (often non compos mentis, invariably kind of wacky) and reality and a not half bad title smack up against each other?  This podcast episode was destiny realized.

The point behind this (I have finally managed to get round to that) is that the ties between the Antipodes and the Americas are long standing.  This may make our Cousins wince in recognition, but in my travels to their lands, I’ve been markedly struck by the similarities.  Yes, of course different origins (although related), and different emphasis in politics and society, but not unrecognizably; culturally in outlook and aspirations, we are awfully alike.  Okay,  I think so, but do they?

What then is the value of a Culture Clash episode where people-who-are-practically-Americans (ahem) are interviewed by-people-who-are-practically-Aussies-and-Kiwis?  I have noted that those who are closest and yet different are often the best observers, for they are alike enough to understand nuance but separate enough to not be blinded by a common mindset.

Richard (the man of a million or so legitimate passports) and Pete (just the one country, but Godzone)  have lived/worked in the States.  Just what are their perceptions?  What are two very different (from the US-of-A) EPM markets like?

I should note that Pete got me the 2017 Best Kscope Essbase co-speaker award that I have always, always, always wanted.  My oh my, did I want that, did I ever think I deserved it – yes, cruel ego as it was always unfulfilled – and I never did get it till Pete and I did a presentation on Hybrid Essbase.  I will note that Pete has won multiple best speaker awards at Kscope, so I have a sneaking suspicion our joint award is 20% Cameron, 80% Pete but no matter, a win is a win.  I should also note that Kscope 2017 was my last Oracle conference as a speaker, so it made the reward all the sweeter.

Richard graciously was my host at Flinders Uni way back in (I think) 2012 as part of an ODTUG conference tour of the Antipodes and facilitated (orchestrated?) an ODI/Essbase presentation at NZOUG.  My primary memory of that trip (I was in a constant state of jet lag) was dinner with Richard and a bunch of attendees and being stared at as a Real Life American geek, not commonly seen in the wild, sitting there eating his plate of spag bol, feeling more self-conscious than usual were that possible.  Oh well, I like to provide entertainment to all, no matter the cost. 

Having the two of them on the show was and is a special treat.

Not For The Faint of Heart

For those of delicate disposition, easily offended by adult words, mortally insulted by honest, open, and frank conversation, I fear you must put on your big boy/girl pants and buckle up.  We Americans, cultural descendants of the Puritans, beseeched our guests to tone down the language lest you, Gentle Listener, get a case of the vapors.  They mostly complied, but You Have Been Warned.  That takes care of the North Americans; the rest of the world won’t care.

Sensitivities aside, as always our guests are witty, insightful, and extremely interesting.

Why is Yr. Obt. Svt. not part of this podcast? Aren’t you glad I’m not?

The Culture Clash series has – from the feedback we’ve heard – been well received. Thus far it’s been Americans talking to our comrades in performance management arms about their experience in their home country and in North America. What we’ve not had is someone from another country talking to his countrymen. This podcast deviates from that model because my Objectively Younger, Taller, Smarter and Subjectively Better Looking Brother From Other Parents is from India and is speaking with two of his Indian friends, Kishore Mukkamala and Sumit Deo. It was – and this was quite difficult for someone who has figuratively kissed the Blarney Stone – my idea to redact myself and Natalie and Tim from the podcast as we simply don’t have the background to do justice to this episode, thus, Celvin as the host.


Not Cameron

One of the things that makes this such an interesting episode is that Celvin really understands the immigrants journey – all three of them have had very different experiences and yet all three have had ones that are awfully close. Because of this, I think you, oh Gentle Listener, will find nuance and understanding in this episode that may very well be unique.

They came for opportunity. They left for family.

One of the things that I found so interesting about this podcast (your hosts and our guests listen to all of our episodes before they go live, the former for OMG-is-this-any-good and the latter for OMG-am-I-going-to-get-fired-over-this-content) is the effort and challenges Sumit and Kishore underwent as they came to the States and built a life only to return to their homeland. Their reasons differ slightly but commonly share the threads of family ties and duty. One cannot but admire their undoubtedly hard (have a listen to what they had to go through to get into this country and work here – it ain’t easy) decisions, for this is what real men (and women but c’mon, they are quite literally guys) willingly sacrifice for their families.

Their paths here (and I include Celvin) are interesting, their careers varied, their love of Essbase similar. They are inspiring stories and (for once) I as a listener was quite moved. I am sorry they left the States as I would very much like to meet them in person.

A couple of key things to listen for: guns, sports (American sports), movies (Hollywood is more accurate than one might imagine), personal space, Americans’ openness and friendliness, and just where are the servants.

A world united by Enid Blyton

At the end of every episode we (well, Celvin this time) ask our guests who in history they’d like to have dinner with, what they like to read, and the movies that they like in an attempt to know the real person.

I am as a native born American, somewhat taken aback by the well-read nature of our guests in this series. Kishore and Sumit are from their answers, people whose interests go far beyond just work and sports (I fear I do a disservice to my fellow Americans but let’s be real: how many philosophers does your average USAian list in his I’d-like-to-have-dinner-with-this-person) . But most importantly, how many Americans are fans of the Famous Five? Hah! I am. Well, I think the Secret Seven were better, but the Famous Five are just fine as well.

I’m not an Indian, I’m not even an Honorary Indian (there are many times I wish I was), but I am a huge Enid Blyton fan, courtesy of my father’s USAID­ contract in Guyana. From the Cameron Lackpour library, photographed on his office desk:

I’m not sure if listening to this podcast will convince you to dive into the really quite magical world of Enid Blyton, but if you have children, I urge you to dip your toe into the metaphorical water of Peter, Janet, Pam, Barbara, Jack, Colin, and George and of course listen to our two fascinating guests. It really is a superb episode.

Join us, won’t you?

Our guests, conferences, and we’re much the same but really quite different

The second in EPM Conversations’ Culture Clash series features two guests from Latin America: David Blanco and Belen Ortiz. I know both from conferences only. Actually, all of my cohosts and all of our guests are, one way or another, part of EPM Conversations (and my life as well) because of conferences. OneStream’s Splash is coming up in just over a week, 17 to 20 April, ODTUG’s Kscope is happening in Aurora, CO, 25 through 29 June. If you work in either (or both) of these technology stacks, I encourage you to attend the conferences. The sessions are key to our professional development; the networking is as well, cf. this podcast’s existence.

Is perception reality? Let’s hope not. But maybe it is.

This series has been from the perspective of North Americans (well, USAians) who try to understand our comrades in arms across the world. What we (and by we I mean your hosts and of course you, our audience) learn is always interesting. Sometimes the lessons are surprising.

How do guests who hailed from Mexico and Argentina and now live in Canada and the US of A, respectively, originally perceive those of us in the Land of the Free?

How we USAians see ourselves

How (apparently) Latin America sees us


What we (your EPM Conversations hosts) probably are

It turns out that The Simpsons are wildly popular in Latin America. From Mexico (geographically North American but culturally part of Latin America) to Argentina (Latin America yes, but oriented towards Europe), The Simpsons are a prime American cultural export.

Color me a bright pink for I am blushing. A lot. How mortifying: what is possibly the most moronic television family in the US (stiff competition there) is how much of the world sees us. At least it’s with amusement. And at least they don’t equate us with Family Guy.

My personal embarrassment aside (Yr. Obt. Svt. is the only host native-born, so my humiliation is greater than Celvin’s and Tim’s), it was hugely entertaining to hear how the show is a window into my homeland. I note that despite watching The Simpsons both Belen (California) and David (uh oh, he lives in Canada, so perhaps …) speak warmly of the United States.

Back to our guests

David has been in the field roughly as long as I have. It’s always a pleasant trip to the past when I hear that someone worked for Comshare, the granddaddy of all Performance Management firms. I can’t remember if he started with Essbase or went back even further to System W (2,048 members per cube in total on a gigantic IBM 3084-Q64 System 360 MVS/TSO mainframe).

Belen started out in computer security and serendipitously ended up in the Performance Management space. Anti-virus expert to Essbase to all-rounder in EPM is quite the trip. It was also interesting to hear about the Argentine approach to software licensing and IT good practices. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Their show is witty, warm, and interesting by turns. We your hosts, and you Dear Listener, are lucky to have them as comrades in arms in our Performance Management world.

Join us, won’t you?

Culture Clash Series

The performance management world is broad.  Those who practice within it are wide in skills, dispersed in geography, deep in talent, and – in general – all jumbled together. 

Your hosts are all North Americans (Canadians and Mexicans rejoice for this American has finally figured out how not to use “America” as shorthand for that quarter-or-so of the globe above the equator and a bit west of the Greenwich meridian) but hail from three different continents.  Beyond the differences in our personalities, it’s easy to see your hosts’ cultural influences in this podcast:  British diffidence, Indian thoughtfulness, American brashness.  Stereotypes and certainly wide brushed, but where your hosts’ formative years were spent marked us.  With luck, it makes for an in interesting podcast.

In that vein, we thought it would be interesting to talk to our fellow North American performance management practitioners who work and live here today but come from elsewhere.  Our audience is primarily from that quarter of the globe mentioned above; we are not perhaps the most introspective people and might be improved if we were so.  An outsider sees the quirks and foibles that a native cannot.  This episode begins a series on work culture – not Culture Wars – from the perspective of those who have worked professionally here and elsewhere.

Our Very Special Guests

I’ve known Ludovic for seemingly forever:  in Oracle-land as a webinar copresenter on ASO Planning and as an employee at OneStream.  Poor guy, he can’t seem to shake me.

I met Pascal on the drive back to the airport from a OneStream Services meeting, packed like a sardine in a rental car.  I remember thinking, “I am the only one out of seven in this car that was actually born in the United States.”  Perhaps a portent of this series?  It did set me to thinking, so maybe.

246 Varieties of Cheese*

Beyond knowing Ludovic and Pascal, there is the role of France in North America:  Quebec, the Marquis of Layfette, the Louisiana Purchase, the French Emperor of Mexico (yes, really) whose imposed rule by Napoleon III (no, that one, the other one but still a Napoleon) triggered the Battle of Camarón (yes, also named the Battle of Cameron, really) and the cherished artefect of legionnaire Jean Danjou’s wooden hand.  Yes, really.  How could we not have France as our first Culture Clash?

The conversation is wide ranging, informative, funny, historical (you’ve already started to get this Francophile’s taste for great French statesmen) and philosophical (yes, really, Frenchmen discussing their favorite philosophers just as one might expect).  We thoroughly enjoyed it and think you will too.

Hear the conversation

We hope you like the episode as much as we do. If you do enjoy it, please give us a good rating on the provider of your choice as it both bathes our ever-needy egos and also – and rather more importantly – allows listeners just like you to more easily find EPM Conversations.

Join us, won’t you?

Join us, won’t you?

*OMG, before you all lose your minds, the (2nd) greatest Frenchman of them all said that about governing his country.

Selectively extroverted

Celvin and Yr. Obt. Svt. struggled over recording this podcast in two ways.  Firstly, talking about ourselves:  no matter what you might think about geeks with blogs, presentations, books, and yes, this podcast, talking about other things is pretty easy; talking about yourself is hard.  Secondly, deciding to do so and then recording the podcast wasn’t particularly easy, even the technical bits (your author used the old podcast software that buggered us up completely a while back and then dropped three times during the recording).  Ugh.

So hard in fact that what you’re hearing in this episode is our second go round as we (mostly me) simply could not stand what we put together.  Ugh, it was bad.  Or we were self-conscious.  Why not both?

OneStream, OneStream, OneStream

A conference came to our rescue:  OneStream Wave, the very first pure technical OneStream conference.  I’ve not been to a conference since 2019 as The Plague pretty much (actually entirely) wiped out conferences.  I was slated to copresent at Splash 2022 but I then “cleverly” got Covid just before the conference.  OTOH, Celvin did not have The Plague, went to the conference, and KABOOM got it; I would likely have as well. 

This past November, my luck finally changed:  I did get to go to a conference and I managed to not get ThatThingyThatJustAboutWreckedTheWorld, so good all around.  It was a promising start to what we most fervently hope to be a long series of such conferences, each more technical than the last.  OneStream let their collective and figurative hair down around issues and challenges, something that only a mature company, confident in its product, can afford to do.  It was nice to see it finally happen; tech conferences are incredibly useful when the message is frank and direct and the solutions are equally so.  Wave did not disappoint.

That’s all to the good, but not really the impetus for this blog (and podcast) post; what mattered to us most was actually seeing our comrades in arms in person and not on the other end of a video conference.  Coworkers, OneStreamers, former coworkers (most of whom still talk to us, no matter how poor of an idea that might be), have been keenly missed.  The conversations one has in the halls and at lunch and after hours are (at least) half of the value in any tech conference.  Wave had that and in spades.  Beyond the excited conference chatter with those we know, hearing directly from our readers (What, you haven’t already purchased just as many copies of OneStream Planning:  The Why, How, and When for yourself, your significant others, the mailman, and random strangers met in the street as your bank manager allows?) was incredibly gratifying, both because it meant someone other than our immediate families bought copies and because hearing their thanks and comments proved that our work was worthwhile.  Seriously guys, your words of encouragement make this sort of really quite strenuous effort worthwhile.  Thank you.

And now to the book 

As I write this on the 12th of December, 2022, I realize that it’s just about a year since the book Celvin and I wrote came out.  It has sold, and sold better than hoped for.  Our egos believe that this is because we wrote it, reality suggests that this might be true but a more likely reason is because the book serves an audience starved for deep theoretical and technical OneStream planning content.  With every endeavor it is easy to look back and think of missed opportunities and mistakes; we wouldn’t change a single word.  For two introverts, that’s a pretty bold statement but we think the book’s work stands up to that level of quality.

So just what’s in it, Cameron and Celvin, or is that Celvin and Cameron?

The following will act as a précis to the book.


We felt that if we showed our readers merely how to do something we would have failed in our educational effort for without understanding the why behind a technique or approach, the reader will inevitably fail in his or her OneStream implementations and administration.  This is not speculative theory for we have both seen OneStream code blindly copied and pasted with the sad result of suboptimal or simply broken functionality. 


The scope of book has three broad themes:  good (not a subjective best) practice in all things OneStream, Cube-centric operations, and expanding OneStream beyond traditional performance management through an embrace of relational data. 

Use cases

The book also presented an opportunity to inform the way we have learnt best:  via business and functional use cases that provide context to code.  Code without that context is largely incomprehensible when complexity is anything other than most basic.  The Cameron and Celvin (or is that Celvin and Cameron) Coffee Company is used to provide those use cases.

Creative process

While the chapters were largely written by one of us or the other, (the first three chapters are mine, the latter three are Celvin’s), every sentence was examined by both of us, seemingly endlessly debated, and then finally agreed upon.  Moreover, as we wrote each made suggestions to the other.  Celvin’s were largely technical in nature, mine were more organizational and structural.  We continued this constant revision practice until who wrote what exactly faded into the past although our respective chapters do reflect our voice.  For better or worse, purchasers of this book are getting the combined professional essence of the two of us.

Chapter 1:  Theory, Philosophy, and Practice

This chapter is a mix of functional and technical practice with the functional principles the distillation of more than 25 years of performance management consulting.  It was incredibly satisfying to put these beliefs into words and just as cathartic as there are statements that need to be said and yet can be incredibly impolitic if not presented with care.  I got to write them, no matter how provocative (and some of them are), and I get the last word.  Perfection.  Seriously, when you read this section, pray realize that I put an awful lot of thought into what I wrote.  If wisdom is applied experience, the principles of planning content fit that category.

In the same vein I covered common OneStream technical planning practices.  As noted, some are (mildly or not depending on your perspective) controversial, e.g., OneStream is never going to pry Excel’s hands out of FP&A so why try?  Other things like Direct Loads vs. Imports, Aggregate vs. Consolidate, basic extensibility, and the role of BI Blend vs. that of a Cube are all there as well and are hopefully just as thought provoking as the functional principles.

Chapter 2:  Core Planning 1 – Data and Calculation

This chapter is far more technical in nature.

In its first section, the chapter goes beneath the covers to review how OneStream stores Cube data in its fact tables, what NoData, Real, and Derived data really mean, getting rid of zeros, the impact of the Level 2 Data Unit (maddening, sort of understandable, and thankfully work-aroundable).  Hacking OneStream’s tables…oh, how can I convey how incredibly satisfying to suss out how OneStream really and truly stores the numbers we look at in Quick Views, Cube Views, and reports of all nature was and still is.  I probably need to get a life but writing the normalized query (code is in the book) to pull out what’s really there was fun.  Yeah, I need to get a life.

The second section is where I think all beginning to medium skill OneStream practitioners will find value:  understanding and calculating data using Data Buffers.  If such a mythical reader were to understand one thing in this chapter, knowing that api.Data.Calculate in the middle of a Data Buffer loop is a Bad Thing would be it.  Buffer calculations are fast, but only if you do them correctly; they can be dog slow with very little effort.

The chapter goes on to show how to break the Data Unit using MemberScriptAndValue.  When I first moved to the OneStream world I was told, “It’s impossible to write outside of the Data Unit.”  That ain’t so and this chapter explains just how to do that.  Liberating stuff.

The penultimate section is an entreaty to COMMENT YOUR CODE.  Please.  Good programming practice demands it as does our collective sanity. 

Lastly, there is a review of Hungarian notation and CamelCase naming styles and the power of custom classes.  Standards matter.

Chapter 3:  Core Planning II – Command and Control the Cube

Understanding data and writing efficient calculations are key to successful OneStream practice.  Just as important are techniques that drive metadata selections in user artefacts such as Cube Views, Member Filters, Data Management Steps, Dashboard Parameters, and any other place that text is used.  XFBRs are incredibly powerful with their usage limited only by your imagination and ability to code.  Once you understand the basics, their power becomes obvious.

What is not obvious, or at least not to me, is the role of Scenarios in planning applications.  Like so much of OneStream, they are highly configurable and making them work can be a bit of a shot in the dark.  I tried to break down every single planning-centric property and illustrate how they work in practice and what good practice is. 

If the preceding sections were about enabling data in its loading, calculations, and presentation, the end of this chapter is all about restricting it.  Conditional Input Finance Business Rules (eh, I get it, I don’t like it) vs. Data Cell Conditional Input (oh yeah, I get it, I really like it) and what I believe to be the only full use case-driven example of Slice Security with users, groups, and inheritance are reviewed in excruciating detail.  I have never logged onto a single application with so many fake usernames as I did with this section.  I tried (and I think succeeded) to make it just stupidly complex enough to highlight the power and pitfalls of security by Slice.  Natalie, Jessica, Amy, Neviana, Sandra, and Tiffany all make an appearance. 

Chapter 4:  Planning Without Limits

Do you like code?  Lots of code wrapped within specific use cases?  If so, Chapter 4 onwards will be as mother’s milk to you.

Celvin is a huge advocate of going beyond the in-built Cube and addressing large and rapidly changing data sets that are not good candidates for Cubes when it makes sense.  Only OneStream provides this flexibility.  Only Celvin’s chapters give this complex topic the attention they deserve.

Relational Blending, OneStream’s technique of blending the two data types, are conceptually discussed and technically examined.  The technical aspects are code oriented and cover:

  • API Methods
  • Cache levels
  • Their retrieval with dynamic Formulas
  • Data Mart schemas
  • Sample retrieve SQL

OneStream’s own Specialty Planning solutions are Relational Blending within a predetermined framework.  This chapter’s subject range is unmatched – data storage, field usage, custom XFBR calculations, security,  data loads, installation and initial configuration, the user interface, differences between the multiple Specialty Planning products, custom event handlers, the role of Globals, and an overview of custom solutions vs. OneStream’s products are all dissected and dispassionately reviewed.  There really is nothing like this:  not in blogs, not in presentations, and not in OneStream’s own documentation.

But this is just the beginning of extra-Cube content.

Chapter 5:  All Data Points Lead to Reporting and Analysis

Data is fine, data is good, and data is after all why customers purchase OneStream.  But data without a way to access it and then present it is at best difficult to understand and at worst useless.  Design matters, particularly when Dashboards are in play.

Celvin conceptually covers how a Dashboard should work (you would, perhaps unless you’ve experienced the horror firsthand, be surprised at how bad, nay practically evil, dashboards can be unless care is take) and then how to make all of the constituent bits work together. 

Data must be accessed both in a UX and externally.  Fast Data Exports (FDX) is one way to get data out, really out, of OneStream.  As always, a simple use case sets the context for that data export, the code to perform said export is provided along with an explanation as to objects methods and properties and their usage within an Extender Rule and via a Cube View itself.  Yes, you read that right (I was certainly surprised when I read his draft), a Cube View itself can act as a data source.  Good grief, is there nothing that OneStream can’t do?  Only maybe, but probably not.

Access large data sets is done in OneStream via BI Blend.  Every aspect of that module – potential use cases, functionality, architecture, and configuration  — are detailed.  That’s BI Blend as OneStream presents it.  Celvin then expands it by using a REST API Connector Rule to pull the USDA’s farmers market directory and data directly into OneStream.  When I read this section, I realized that Celvin is likely a genius, possibly probably quite likely definitely a mad one.  Seriously, this is cool stuff and definitely Outside The Box yet all doable within OneStream.  Amazing stuff.

Chapter 6:  Specialty Planning Analysis

Specialty Planning is relationally based and so user analysis cannot be performed using Quick Views or Cube Views.  The OneStream way is to use Pivot Grids which are akin to Excel’s Pivot Tables.

This being OneStream, configuration and code, glorious code, are part and parcel of using them effectively.  This chapter reviews that and goes beyond in providing code to bring Slice Security to these Pivot Grids via Dashboard Data Set Business Rule which is Not Possible except of course Celvin shows exactly how to do just that.  Magic and incredibly useful in applications that are more than science projects.

Analyzing relational data goes beyond Pivot Grids and includes Table Views which are excitingly now (as of version 5.2) available directly in Excel for both reading and writing to Specialty Planning’s base Register

Lastly, techniques for bypassing OneStream’s in-built Stage and instead interacting with custom tables is explained.

What do we have?

We like to think that OneStream Planning:  The Why, How, and When performs the vital role of an encyclopedic repository of OneStream planning practice in an approachable manner.

We hope you do as well.

Hear the conversation

We hope you like the episode as much as we do. If you do enjoy it, please give us a good rating on the provider of your choice as it both bathes our ever-needy egos and also – and rather more importantly – allows listeners just like you to more easily find EPM Conversations.

Join us, won’t you?

Sree Menon, The Calc Man

Many years ago (just over 10!), Yr. Obt. Svt. wrote a blog post on why he Hated and Loved Calculation Manager. I even did it twice. I am – oft times, still, it continues unabated – a complete smartass who pays little heed to what he says and writes and this was most definitely one of those times. These posts were a continuation of not altogether terrifically awesome judgement as they were an expansion of a similarly-snarky two parter on Hyperion Business Rules. 2009? 2012? My, but the time does fly.

So that’s four snide technical blog posts on two closely related Oracle products. As is typical and as has been noted, I performed zero thought on any potential consequences that might arise from click-bait (was that even a term in 2009?) titles: Oracle could have gotten annoyed and come down on my head with a bag of hammers or they could have ignored it and hoped that no one read my posts or they could have read it, realized that (somehow) there was a little value in it and reached out to me so that in future my posts on this subject weren’t complete and unmitigated garbage were improved in their content, focus, and quality.. The latter is exactly what happened and it did so in the person of Sree Menon, the EPM Calculation Manager Development Manager, aka Calc Man.

No one at Oracle had ever spoken to me outside of Kscope; certainly no one on the development side of the house (I believe that at the time Sree was both Product and Development Manager of Calculation Manager although my memory is fuzzy on this) had ever interacted with me in any form. Sree was helpful, open, and friendly. He wanted Oracle’s tools to be better used, he wanted me to better understand it, and he surely wanted me to write better blog posts. All three occurred, and they occurred because of Sree’s thoughtful approach, despite my artless approach to all things Calculation Manager. Yes, I am a huge fan.

And I think you will be as well as you listen to Sree’s episode. His professional journey has taken a few twists and turns that you may be familiar with (Have you ever wondered who wrote Essbase Application Manager? Wonder no more.) and you’ll get a true developer’s perspective on what it takes to make the Performance Management tools we use.

Hear the conversation

We hope you like the episode as much as we do. If you do enjoy it, please give us a good rating on the provider of your choice as it both bathes our ever-needy egos and also – and rather more importantly – allows listeners just like you to more easily find EPM Conversations.

Join us, won’t you?

Natalie Delemar and I – as with so many others in the performance management space – first met Elizabeth Ferrell at a conference, in this case ODTUG’s Kscope.

Elizabeth’s path to her current job, focus, and professional interests evinces the typical path from school, to finance, not-at-all-usual hobby, and now to our beloved performance management community.

But to characterize Elizabeth as typical is to do her an injustice or perhaps just inaccuracy on Yr. Obt. Svt.’s part. As evidence of that (beyond of course this EPM Conversation episode) is to have a read of Elizabeth’s thoughtful article on the state of your – ours – work satisfaction and what we do with that.

Her episode is just as thoughtful.

Join us, won’t you?