We’re all wired to see patterns

We live in patterns:  seasonal, political, historical, and even atomic.  Many live a life blithely unaware of them, which is to their disadvantage, for understanding those patterns is key to what makes us human, drives culture and society, and informs economics.  We happy few in the performance management world figuratively live and die by the patterns in data.  If careful observation of clients, customers, and conferences is an accurate guide, we are largely cut from the same professional and educational cloth.  This is not always true.  Those of us who come from outside that pattern have different perspectives, values, and insights.  Jodi Hill is one such outlier.

Her path to a job in business strategy is atypical and is driven by its unconventionality:  from Army translator to accountant to consultant to strategist is surely out of our norm.  So too is an educational journey from the Defense Language Institute to a BS in accounting to multiple Masters in predictive analytics, public policy, and health economics.  No matter how diverse this may seem at first glance, it is held together by the thread of transforming data into information by seeing, interpreting, and understanding patterns.  I’ve met a fair few people in our field and have never come across anyone with quite Jodi’s background.  It is refreshing and makes her episode a memorable one.

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?


Data, data everywhere, and none of it in the right place or in the right format

Performance cannot be managed (see what I did there?) without data. And yet data –because it is in the wrong format, because it is in the wrong place, because it is poorly defined, because we don’t have the ability or the resources or the time to transform it into what our systems need – is ever a challenge. Data is, quite simply put, hard. FinTech Innovations aims to alleviate that challenge and make data easy.

See a problem, fix a problem

The performance management world is small (which suggests that alas this podcast’s audience will necessarily follow suit unless we figure out how to break out – we’re working on it): I’ve known Matthias for at least a decade although when I first met him he was (I think – it was a while ago) an independent consultant.

How did Matthias go from that most independent (and arguably isolated) place to software entrepreneur? What made him leave HFM and FDMEE (apologies to all of you bass players out there – just listen and you’ll understand) behind and focus solely on the manifold problems that are data? Why would someone leave the relatively stable world of consulting for risky entrepreneurship? You, Loyal Listener, have but to listen to know.

How did he solve it? With ICE Cloud.

Before/after/during the podcast, have a look at ICE Cloud. Whether you’re a customer of Oracle, OneStream, AnaPlan, Blackline, Workivia, or one of the other players in the performance management space or if your firm uses Oracle, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, or NetSuite, ICE Cloud can talk to all of them and in the cloud. ICE Cloud is a complete end-to-end data integration tool, almost completely graphical. It’s pretty astounding and lets functional (aka normal not supergeeks although they too can profit from the tool) people own data.

Schedule a demo, learn more about the product, understand the platform, and even get a free PoC. It’s all but a click away. I encourage you to explore ICE Cloud.

And oh yeah, one other other thing

I continue to be fascinated by the music/math/logic connection. Think of the people you know in this field that practice music. It’s everywhere and Matthias is no exception although most of us haven’t made to a show like Das Supertalent. You’ll have to listen till the end of the show to hear him in action. He is quite good.

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?

From Enterprise administrator to CEO, from market disruptor to Magic Quadrant leader

We at EPM (or should that be CPM?) Conversations are – unsurprisingly – pleased beyond belief to have OneStream Software CEO Tom Shea as our very special guest.  We think you’ll be pleased as well.

OneStream is in the moment and of the future. How did that happen? Who made that happen? What is its genesis? Where is OneStream right now and where will it be in the future? Why is it such a success? This podcast answers all and throws in more than a few surprises.

OneStream as a rocket ship

Certainly its rise has been meteoric. What has enabled OneStream to evolve so quickly from an industry insurgent to a market visionary? I could opine (those of you who have had the misfortune to cross Yr. Obt. Svt.’s path have long known that I have many opinions, performance management and otherwise, some of which are even correct) on why that is but ultimately that’s just a geek’s take on a force somewhat larger than him.

Better instead to listen to the man himself as he takes us all on a journey from CPA to CEO in a frank and forthright manner. You’ve not likely heard a CEO speak like this before – this conversation is essential if you want to understand what makes OneStream tick.

Hear the conversation

  • 00:00 – 02:00 Introductions
  • 02:00 – 15:05 Tom’s Career Path to OneStream
  • 15:05 – 19:35 The “One Platform” Concept
  • 19:35 – 23:00 What Is OneStream?
  • 23:00 – 25:30 New Features for Planning Processes
  • 25:30 – 28:45 OneStream Customer Community and Growth
  • 28:45 – 33:30 Changing from Being a Bootstrapped Company to a Large Company
  • 33:30 – 35:40 Development of a Community
  • 35:40 – 40:40 Analytics, Consolidation vs Aggregation and Architecture in OneStream
  • 40:40 – 42:25 Working with Public Sector Clients
  • 42:25 – 47:30 Roadmap for Machine Learning
  • 47:30 – 52:10 Roadmap for Analytics
  • 52:10 – 53:20 UpStream, OneStream, and The Fish
  • 53:20 – 61:50 Set-Based Languages and OneStream Block Language
  • 61:50 – End Outroductions

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?


Not EPM, not CPM, but analytics of a marketing kind

This podcast is dipping its collective and metaphorical toe outside of the warm and cozy confines of performance management with a conversation with a guest whose job, passion, and personal interest is understanding the relationship of human behavior with business through the lens of marketing analytics. Join us, won’t you, on this fascinating conversation with Kevin Lawrence that is most definitely not within the scope of traditional EPM but most definitely within the scope of your interest.

D:\Dropbox\Podcast\Kevin Lawrence Digital Portrait.jpg

The journey to marketing and analytics

Kevin’s had an interesting path, one that isn’t really the norm in our profoundly boring and all too predictable fascinating EPM world: from the arts to nonprofits to the Fortune 100 to Find The Loose Brick.

Numbers without an understanding of the nexus of business and people are meaningless. Kevin’s professional life has deeply informed how he and his clients understand how you and I interact with corporations and their products, services, and oh yeah: each other.

The past actually is prologue

For you wee lads and lassies who weren’t around to hear this song when it first came out to witness the change in tools and corporate culture and customers (us) and of course analytic tools and how they are used has changed the introduction to this podcast will be informing.  You’ve never had it so good.

For those of us who were, the evolution analytics path mirrors our own beloved performance management products.

Regardless of our experience, the need to understand how companies and their customers interact has remained exactly the same.

The present and the future of marketing analytics are in Kevin’s professional purview and should be for you as well.

Fascinating stuff and well worth the listen (I encourage you to enjoy both the video and the podcast but not at the same time) if you want to expand your horizons beyond the finance side of a business.

Hear the conversation

  • Start – 6:40 Intros and start of Kevin’s career
  • 6:40 – 18:40 Development of 1990s analytic tools
  • 18:40 – 28:20 Moving from non-profit to large corporate and then to independent
  • 28:20 – 31:30 Selling the value “analytics” before the industry really existed
  • 31:30 – 34:00 Today’s tools, Google suite
  • 34:00 – 40:20 Connection to EPM
  • 40:20 – 44:00 Is there a Finance and Marketing divide?
  • 44:00 – 46:00 Demonstrating dollar value of marketing
  • 46:00 – 52:05 Does marketing analytics always require big, expensive tools?
  • 52:05 – 60:50 Why are there FOSS or low-cost tools in Analytics but not EPM?
  • 60:50 – 64:30 Do low-cost tools support large corporate data requirements?
  • 64:30 – 76:30 Will EPM move as fast as Analytics?
  • 76:30 – 84:45 What’s in the next 5-10 years for Marketing Analytics?
  • 84:45 – End Outro

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 to more easily find us.

Join us, won’t you?

EPM doesn’t get a lot of polymaths, does it. Yet Mike is exactly one of those.

A polymath is, “a person of great and varied learning” although Mike is too modest to agree with that description. If you but listen to this conversation, you (and he) will see that it is a fair characterization.

NB – The above graphic isn’t for n00bs but instead for veteran EPM practitioners who recognize the graphical genius of the long-gone and much-lamented Arbor Software’s training decks. Mike has several ties to this as you’ll hear.

But wait, there’s more

In addition to Yr. Obt. Svt., this conversation also has Natalie Delemar as our guest host and regular John Booth. This varying cast of characters is what I hope is the (or at least a) future of EPM Conversations. Tim, Celvin, John, and I are wonderful (ahem) hosts but there’s much, much, much more to EPM than us, cf. our guests and Natalie.

I’ve known (at least I was at the same conference although as I really and truly worked 100 hours that week in addition to presenting and working a booth so if I did meet Mike I have no recollection of it) Mike since Kscope 2009 in Carmel.

What I didn’t know was how much Mike has done: Atari 600xl owner, COMPUTE! magazine subscriber, English school teacher, roofing product computer operator/developer, operations management, Hyperion course writer, Essbase consultant, Planning consultant, Essbase PM, Big 4 consultant, startup analytics evangelist, Big 4 (but a different one) leader, and I’m sure a few more roles I’ve missed. What is crucial to understand and what is central to what Mike does and cares about is making sense of data, i.e. analytics.

Hear the conversation

  • Start – 2:55 Introduction
  • 02:55 – 14:56 How Mike Started with Analytics and EPM
  • 14:56 – 25:41 EPM vs Analytics
  • 25:41 – 28:05 Adoption of Tools in Different Organizational Functions
  • 28:05 – 36:04 Tools That Can Merge Financial and Operational Datasets
  • 36:04 – 43:44 What EPM Technologists Should Know About Analytics
  • 43:44 – 53:30 The Medium Term Future of Analytics
  • 53:30 – End Outroduction

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 to more easily find us.

Join us, won’t you?


Different? You want different? Music? Humor? Freestyle Rapping? Maybe something related to EPM?


Maybe. Actually, yes, quite a bit really.

Chris Turner is his name

You read that right: EPM Conversations has a number of firsts in this podcast:

  1. A conversation with the artist and performer Chris Turner.
  2. A freestyle rap about EPM. Really. We have the best and simultaneously the only rap on this subject extant. I look forward to others contributing to this genre. And then a rap battle. It’s the obvious move.
  3. A podcast where your hosts are largely unable to form coherent sentences or at least keep up with the guest. We tried but we’re not that facile with language as you’ll hear when Chris covers EPM in all of its glory as well as the episode itself.

A note before we get into the content of this conversation: if you are of a timid and retiring nature, easily offended at adult language and commentary, then I fear this isn’t for you. However, I think the number of 11 year olds who listen to EPM Conversations rounds down to zero and you are all grown up so I merely warn that if you are one of the few in our little industry who is in an office during The Plague, this is a podcast (and other related media) best consumed at home or at least through earbuds. Oh yes, you also need to have a sense of humor – it’s all very funny stuff but adult. There, I think I’ve given fair warning to the faint of heart which is surely not you, Gentle Listener.

And just who is Chris Turner?

This is absolutely a case of letting one’s work speak for itself. Check out his YouTube channel as a first stop.

And yes, he’s English. Do yourself a favor and watch the rap-battle-that-I-hope-will-one-day-come-to-EPM-may-that-day-be-soon between Chris and Thomas Toles. Poor Canadians – they’re even practically British but that doesn’t help them much. Funny stuff, especially the bit at the end that drives home what makes the Special Relationship well, special.

Done? Something else, eh? How much time did you not do your job? Guilty as charged I imagine. That’s what art does – and wordplay and music are most definitely art.

How did guys as deeply uncool as EPM Conversations’ hosts end up with a freestyle rapper?

All blame credit is due John. How on earth he came up with the idea is beyond Yr. Obt. Svt., I’m merely glad he did and I think you will be as well.

Just how do geeks engage a rapper and even more importantly have a conversation with him?

One can’t say that Chris doesn’t get This Modern World:

We did exactly none of this. Of course. Instead John reached out to Chris via his web site: https://www.christurnercomedy.com/ See, we are creative or at least not very good at following more obvious routes.

After John worked his magic, he and I had a call with Chris about how all of this works. Beyond the more obvious live performances, he quite often does videos as he does for EPM Conversations for all sorts of audiences, even podcasts which given their non-visual form is quite the feat.

The finished products(s)

After that came the reason you listen to EPM Conversations – a conversation with all of your hosts and Chris. Chris has a very different take on data and how he crafts his product. Yes, quite outside of the typical EPM topic but there is that grain of what we do in what he does. Look for more of this in future episodes.

How to consume this multimedia podcast? Listen or watch? Or listen while watching? Or listen first and then watch? Or the other way round? You decide. No matter what, we think you’ll enjoy it. We did.

Want to watch Chris directly? This is like having dessert before the Meat and Two Veg you’re supposed to have first but no matter. NB – oh dear, a double entendre. The first definition in that explanatory link, please. And after the below, do listen to the podcast as there’s much more going on than just this most excellent freestyle rap.

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 to more easily find us.

Join us, won’t you?

What could be better than the Three EPM Conversations Cohosts?

What whole number is greater than three? Four, totes obvs. And here we are, with Yr. Obt. Svt., Celvin Kattookaran, Tim German, and now John Booth.


John and I did the very first EPM-in-the-cloud presentation at Kscope11: EPM 11.1.2.something-or-other running on AWS. John did all of the heavy lifting and I did…something. No matter, he still talks to me as you will gather below if you but listen.

John has been a writer in the Developing Essbase Applications books, is an ACE Director alumni, a contributor to the late and lamented Essbase Network54 message board, a frequent conference presenter, and always has a provocative and interesting viewpoint on the state of the industry, the value of performance management applications, and where on earth the Earth is heading. Heady stuff, no?

That’s quite an introduction and one that is well deserved. I am very happy to share that John will be a regular cohost on EPM Conversations.

With that, this episode’s précis:

  • Start – 8:10 Introductions
  • 8:10 – 11:00 Running Hyperion on Lesser-Used Operating Systems
  • 11:00 – 13:15 Whatever Happened To Exalytics?
  • 13:15 – 22:55 Specialization in Infrastructure
  • 22:55 – 25:20 Is Software Supporting Fewer Operating Systems A Problem?
  • 25:20 – 28:00 Is On-Premises Software Going Away Altogether?
  • 28:00 – 31:00 Whatever Happened To Infrastructure Consultants?
  • 31:00 – 37:15 Industry Diversification in Tools (especially Integration)
  • 37:15 – 45:00 Does Toolset Diversification Call for More Technically Adept Practitioners?
  • 45:00 – 50:45 Doing Integration with “Real” Programming Languages
  • 50:45 – 52:30 John’s Future in EPM Consulting
  • 52:30 – 63:30 How are People Forming Professional Connections in COVID Times?
  • 63:30 – 66:45 Virtual Conference Structures
  • 66:45 – End Outroduction

Yes, long, but lots of goodness are contained within and it will give you a taste of the ever-evolving aka we-cannot-make-up-our-minds direction of the podcast.

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 to more easily find us.

Join us, won’t you?

One out of three ain’t bad

We were lucky enough to land Abhi Nerurkar, one of the three co-founders of EPMware, a software company specializing in Master Data Management (MDM) and Workflow, for our very first vendor conversation.

A note: we didn’t speak with Abhi’s partners, Tony Kiratsous and Deven Shah, as we’re simply not set up/not experienced enough to manage a six way conversation. We have to work on that but I hope that Deven and Tony understand/are deeply appreciative of not being bored to death/annoyed beyond endurance by the chaos I fear such a large group would produce.

Just what don’t you know about software development? Well, if you’re like us: everything.

We – you, me, Tim, Celvin, The Man in the Moon (probably not) == we all use software as part of our job, else why listen to this podcast? But do we know anything about writing, managing, and selling-software on a commercial basis? Unless you work for a vendor and are at the coal face at that, I can answer this one for you: no, not at all. It’s fascinating. Listen for the term “wireframe” and be as astonished as Abhi was when he first came across the term. It isn’t what you think.

More than just software: people

A market opportunity, a gamble, and a result: empty words without the human context behind it. I don’t think any of us (Celvin, Tim, or Yr. Obt. Svt.) have the guts (well, at least I don’t) to make that leap. Abhi and his partners did. It’s a fascinating and informative conversation.

Join us, won’t you?

Intro and outro, part 2

Short and sweet? Yep, that’s the way it is on the ever-busy www.epmconversations.com. Let us give thanks. That’s okey, ‘cos we’re going to let the conversation speak for itself.

This is the second and (alas) last episode with our very special guest, Natalie Delemar. Here’s the agenda:

  • 00:45 – 06:40 The Changing State of the EPM (Vendor) Market
  • 06:40 – 17:20 What’s the technical profile of people getting into the various EPM tools now? Developers, Administrators and Groovy.
  • 17:20 – 22:32 Why has Oracle incorporated so much customisability via Groovy? History of Groovy in Oracle EPM.
  • 22:32 – 34:25 How long will Essbase stay the Engine for Oracle Planning?
  • 34:25 – 40:26 ODTUG Board Experience and Growth from the Professional Community
  • 40:26 – End Summary / Conclusion

It’s all Good Stuff.

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 to more easily find us.

As always, you can listen on 

Join us, won’t you?

Intro and outro

For once your author aka Yr. Obt. Svt. is keeping it short and sweet. Enjoy it, as its brevity may be akin to Halley’s Comet and happen again in 2061.

Natalie Delemar, Essbase Lady, Madame President (emerita) of ODTUG, dynamic personality, and friend to all of us in the EPM space (but especially to me), is our guest. There was so much history, so much interest, so much conversation that we simply couldn’t do it all in one episode. Also, one wonders if a two hour podcast would actually be listened to.

There’s a lot of good content, hence the splitting of into two episodes. Natalie has strong opinions and a forthright way of putting them in the best of all possible ways. Would you want a simpering milquetoast of a guest? Why? Natalie is funny, warm, and kind – all of that comes through in the podcast. Please join us in welcoming her.

Here’s the agenda:

0:00 – 5:20 – preamble, how we all met
5:20 – 8:25 – drive and why Natalie Does What She Does
8:25 – 14:40 – WIT and advice to women in tech, being an African American woman in tech, mentorship, and the importance of a professional network
14:40 – 16:30 – Advice on career progression
16:30 – 22:10 – Working for Big Four firms
22:10 – 26:50 – Advice for people who want to get involved in community without employer incentives
26:50 – 28:55 – Relationships between boutique firms and the Big Four and where technical work actually gets done
28:55 – 36:10 – Changes in the consulting market recently: layoffs, mergers, and new software vendors
36:10 – 39:25 – Selling the value of EPM, especially on “insight”
39:25 – End – Predictive analytics and adoption in different areas of business and reluctance in Finance/FP&A

Join us, won’t you?