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After all these years, why isn’t Essbase presumed to be a part of every company’s analytical technology strategy?

 

There are only 3 movies that have ever made me laugh so hard that I started to cry. You know the kind of laughter that you can’t stop. It’s so involuntary. The first one was Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And it happened more than once. Mind you, I was only 12 when I first saw it. The second one was There’s Something about Mary, and you might be able to guess the scene. The last one: Groundhog Day.

If you haven’t seen any of these movies, you’re definitely missing out on some comedic genius in each of them. And to spare any of you unfamiliar with the Groundhog Day movie from a long synopsis, the basic premise is that the lead character, played by Bill Murray, gets stuck in a loop, re-living the same day over and over again.

Has anyone also had the feeling that they were trapped in life’s equivalent of an infinite do loop? If not, God bless you. I think I’m in one right now. In all honesty, I’ve been stuck in one for many years.

As a multidimensional dude long before Essbase was a product, as an early adopter customer of Essbase in 1993, and as a very early employee of Arbor Software (maker of Essbase) in 1994, I didn’t presume that everyone was going to ”get it“ overnight. But, after all these years, why isn’t Essbase presumed to be a part of every company’s analytical technology strategy, and as ubiquitous as water? Why doesn’t it get implemented with every Data Warehouse, BI, or EPM project?

Don't get me wrong, Essbase is all over the place. And sometimes it's been running in the same old, poorly-designed-but-still-useful state for years. It's just that it could be helping so many more people. I have been in prospective accounts in the past month alone that run the gamut of: (a) never heard of Essbase; (b) heard of it, don't use it; (c) use it in Finance only still; (d) use it, running version 6.5 still; (e) use BSO, have 50gb, 30 hour calcs; (f) use BSO Essbase and wonder what ASO means; (g) use it and think that optimization comes from a book, a web board, an hourglass outline design, caches, etc.; (h) think that ASO is very limited; and every other dated Essbase paradigm you can imagine.

My goodness do people need some fresh, new education on what Essbase can do for them, and is doing for other companies today. Essbase, when delivered by real experts, can:

  • Reduce the cycle time of their core business processes
  • Improve the quality and complexity of their analyses
  • Support 360-degree management of their business
  • Provide richer types of analyses, scaling much larger data sets
  • Deliver rapid, high ROI, high business impact solutions

I’m hopeful that Oracle’s renewed interest in selling Essbase to everyone, with the continued leadership of my old friend at Hyperion, Robert Gersten; and the continued success of our firm and others in delivering loads of Essbase application-based solutions, will produce a day when I can walk into every meeting with an existing or prospective client to hear them say,

“Jon, we have a complex, analytical business problem, and we need your help to solve it with Essbase”. Ahhh.

Truth be known, although that’s been a great desire of mine dating back to my days of running the Essbase business unit for Hyperion, when that day arrives, there won’t be enough talented people to solve the complex problems. More about that in a future posting.

For now, let’s just tease it as being part of the systemic inertia of organizational and human behavior.

With no ill will towards the incredibly strategic big brother of Essbase database technology (the relational database), let’s be clear about a few Essbase things...

  • This Johnny-come-lately notion of user self-service and enablement never met a better product technology than Essbase
  • The closest thing to the end of spreadsheet hell for millions of users is Essbase
  • Yes, every single company, institution, and organization on Earth would benefit from Essbase deployed as a strategic technology

My father once told me that disappointment stems from the gap between reality and expectation. While my Essbase disappointment has been long-lived, it will come to an end, and my team at US-Analytics will continue to play a part in that reality.

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