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02 October 2017

I wish you love

Goodbye, no use leading with our chins
This is where our story ends
Never lovers, ever friends

Let’s get this out of the way – what you’re reading is this blog’s last post.  As the rumormongers have related (some with sadness, others undoubtedly with unbridled glee), it’s true:  I am leaving the Oracle EPM world and embarking on a new technical life.  

Would someone mind dropping a pin?  Ah, good.

I’m not going to bore you overmuch with the reasons why – those who know me well have heard it all too many times – and I’ll not spread the agony of those who have already listened to it.

What I will tell you is that I am both excited and apprehensive all at the same time.  Excited because I have a great opportunity in front of me that is mine if I will only take it, nervous because I am trading literally decades of experience away to be the n00biest of n00bs.

What am I doing?  I am joining OneStream Software as an employee.  Look for me on consulting projects, spreading terror and despair joy and confidence amongst OneStream XF customers wherever I go.

Want to learn more about my journey?  Read my new blog, The Truth About CPM (or, for you Oraclites, The Truth About EPM), where my new world will be discovered.  
Goodbye, let our hearts call it a day
But before you walk away
I sincerely want to say
But that’s me.  What about you?  Beyond me earning my daily crust, I’ve written books, maintained this blog, worked for and with ODTUG, tweeted (twitted is more apropos), messageboarded, and generally done everything I can and more for our community because, simply, I like to help others.  If you didn’t reciprocate, I wouldn’t’ve bothered.  Even a whacko like Yr. Obt. Svt. has limits.

I wish you bluebirds in the spring
To give your heart a song to sing
And then a kiss, but more than this
I wish you love

And you have been more than gracious.  Would I be an (ex)Oracle ACE Director without you?  Would any of my suckers who fell for a pitch esteemed fellow authors have sacrificed as much as they did?  Would I have served on the board of ODTUG without your votes?  Would I have any conference sessions without bums on seats?  Would any of you bothered to help me in all things technical as you have?  You’re nobody till somebody loves you.

And in July, a lemonade
To cool you in some leafy glade
I wish you health and more than wealth
I wish you love

I love the Oracle EPM community.  That means you, Gentle Reader.
My breaking heart and I agree
That you and I could never be
So with my best, my very best
I set you free
I have done my best, my very best, to reach out to you; you have repaid me in far greater ways.

So why, Cameron?  Why are you leaving this cozy world?  Yes, I wrote I wouldn’t bore you with the details, but ask yourself, why does anyone change directions?  What are some of your job concerns, desires, and dreams?

I love Essbase:  I love its elegance, I love its power, and I love the problems it solves because at the end of the Essbase day, solving problems is its raison d'ĂȘtre.

Having said that, I can tell you that I’ve been in the Essbase world a long time.  Longer, sadly (heh, thinking of the alternative, gladly really), than some of you have been sentient beings.  Seriously, try 23 years.  That is a long time in any IT technology.  It is, and has been for quite some time, time for a change.  And so there will be.

You’re not going to need my best wishes, are you?  Talented people – even ones who read my blog – land on their feet.

I’ve met a few of you in real life and it has been a delight but I know most of you from this wondrous thing we call the web.  It has been an honor and a privilege.

Hot damn, I wish you love
All kinds of love, a whole gang of love

Love is a strong world.  I love coffee, I love my pets, I love hiking, I love my family.

And, as I’ve related above, I love my Essbase/Planning/ODI/ODTUG world because you’ve loved me back.  Yes, really.

Here, in nothing but alphabetical order, are just some of those I love.  Please, if I’ve forgotten you, don’t be offended.  There are a lot of you that I owe much to.  I doubt I can ever repay my debt to you:  Joe Aultman, John Booth, Jessica Cordova, Gary Crisci, Natalie Delemar, Martin D'Souza, Dave Farnsworth, Laura Ferris, Tim German, Ricardo Giampaoli, Jason Jones, Celvin Kattkooran, Prasad Kularni, Monty Latiolais, Peg Leisen, Steve Liebermensch, Rich Magee, Josie Manzano, Al Marciante, Kathleen McCasland, Matt Millela, Sree Menon, Kash Mohhammadi, Mike Nader, Jennifer Nicholson, ODTUG, Dan Pressman, Rodrigo Radtke de Souza, Kumar Ramaiyer, Mark Rittman, Gabby Rubin, Glenn Schwartzberg, Denise Storm, Tim Tow, Shankar Viswanathan, Toufic Wakim, and as noted, many others.

And listen, I’m not dead yet.

Wait for me

Yeah, www.thetruthaboutcpm.com is going to be that awesome.  Although no dance routines.  Or singing ability (TonyB doesn’t really any introduction, does he?).  Or witty lyrics (Can some of you really not know who Steve Allen is?).  But I will wear a hat.  

Most of all please, let there be love.

Join me, won’t you?

14 September 2017

10 Years Before the Mast with ODTUG

10 years, and counting

10 isn’t quite as impressive as 20 – more like half as impressive – but a decade is a long time in technology and even in a geek’s life.  Time to see real changes in his knowledge, work, outlook, contributions, and personal life.  I won’t bother any of you with the latter except to note that I still have four cats as I did in 2008.  The rest I owe, without exaggeration, in large part to ODTUG.

I’ll make a note that this post is one of my more philosophical ones.  If you’re looking for technical advice, go read someone else’s blog.  If how you can better yourself and make a difference in your professional and personal world, read on.  

Think of this post as a love letter to a user group.  Yeah, I’m weird but what I relate is true, I promise you that.

Just what is ODTUG, Cameron?

OMG, you read my blog and don’t know?  I am (heh, I flatter myself but still), one of that august gaggle of geeks’ greatest cheerleaders.  And why not?  Through ODTUG’s Kscope (nee Kaleidoscope and the Oracle Developer Tools User Group), I’ve seen and presented (more anon on that subject) countless sessions, laughed, occasionally gritted my teeth in frustration (although that had more to do with personalities than the organization itself; I can only imagine what they thought of me), slept way too little, learnt more than I could possibly have imagined, and, most importantly of all, met fellow geeks and geekettes that have utterly transformed my life.  That’s just the conference.  There’s also six years on the board of directors, rising from a n00b with the wettest of ears to finishing on the Executive Committee, and most importantly, two years acting as the EPM liaison to the board.  I’ve written articles for the ODTUG newsletter, presented webinars, helped organize and present at meetups all over the country, interviews at conferences, promotion any which way I can – the list goes on and on.  I have been called lazy.  I don’t know why.  All of this work, all of the time, all of the sacrifice is because I love ODTUG.  I’m not the only one as ODTUG thrives because there are many just like me.  You’d have done the same given the opportunity.  You still can.  You should.

For the record:  ODTUG is the bestest, most awesomest, greatest Oracle technical conference in the world, full stop.  Join and it’ll change your life.  Don’t believe me?  Read on, Gentle Reader.

Where it all started

Although it amazes, astonishes, and dismays me (it has been quite a passage of time) to write this, I have worked in the EPM space since the day I got out of school starting with Comshare’s Commander EIS (think standard reporting via touchscreens and mainframe OLAP  ‘cos executives couldn’t handle keyboards), Arbor’s Essbase, Hyperion’s Essbase, Planning, and Financial Reports (HAL too I suppose but with great reluctance because it was an ETL abomination), and then Oracle’s Essbase, ODI, Planning, PBCS, Oracle Analytics Cloud, PL/SQL, and I’m sure a few other technologies I’ve forgotten.  

But that latter list of technologies that I have (barely) mastered would never have happened without ODTUG.  Let’s address the four Ws and one H of what today passes for journalism.

When and where?

Who amongst you remembers this?

As an aside, does anyone still use the term, “Middleware”?  That’s as obsolete as HAL.  Yeah, I hate that product.


I can think of a handful of EPM friends and colleagues whom I first met in New Orleans that are still active in ODTUG:  Joe Aultman, Gary Crisci, Natalie Delemar, Glenn Schwartzberg (Although I think at the time he viewed me as an annoying gadfly.  Come to think of it he still does.), and Tim Tow (I’ve known him since 1995 but it would be churlish not to mention him).  The list has since expanded many, many, many times.


NB – I have no idea why I hung on to the program schedule from 2008 nor why I was able to find it for this post.  Blog Kismet, perhaps?

See Napoleon (my favorite insane dictator, actually the only one but only because of his many aphorisms) A1-A3?  That was just a largeish conference room with space for no more than 100 people.  And that was all there was for the whole conference.  The only subject:  Essbase.  For EPMers, Kaleidoscope 2008 was small, intimate, and utterly mind-blowing in the quality of content, depth of knowledge, the chance to put faces to message board handles, the meeting of like minds, and feeling of excitement.  There was literally nothing to touch it and we knew it was special.  ODTUG have moved from strength to strength and the conferences have grown enormously but in my mind the best one was the first.


That’s all on an emotional level.  From a technical level, at least personally, it was a train wreck.  Why?  Because it showed me how complacent I had become with my technical skills.  I liked to pretend that I had a solid technical skill set but sitting there in the audience showed how wrong I was when it came to design (what the Hell is a hockey stick?), calculations (heh, will this MDX thing stick around?), VBA (okay, I knew that pretty well but as the saying goes:  Complacency, shattered), on and on and on.  I’m still running to catch up.

IF self-awareness is the first step to improvement, then having a way to actuate that change is vital; Kscope has been that mechanism.

Even my lousy memory recalls this:

And this:

Yeah, one room, but there were a few more than a hundred people there.  

And that one room at Kaleidoscope 2008 for sessions?  Try 11 rooms with five timeslots per day.  Yes, really.   And that’s just EPM.  

That’s an awful lot of expertise, freely given, and if you’ve got two brain cells to rub together and ability to swallow your ego, an amazing chance for you to learn and contribute right back to the EPM community.  Re the ego bit:  some people (mostly consultants) are a bit hopeless when it comes to this but I like to think that yr. hmbl. & obt. svt. is smart enough to adopt the position of, “Huh?  Duh.  Help.”  which then leads to The Knowledge.  My father likes to say I have two ears and one mouth and it’s best to use them in proportion.  Most Kscope attendees do.

Again, for those in the Oracle EPM space, there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, like ODTUG’s Kscope.

Virtue is its own reward aka Why

That bromide is true.  At ODTUG there are as I noted many ways to give back from the Saturday service day to presenting to volunteering to buying me a cup of coffee.  Okay, I made the last bit up but you get the idea of generosity.

Professionally, the knowledge that I’ve gained in attending, presenting, networking, and volunteering have been rewarding.  Truly, without ODTUG I’d be unemployed or at least never reach my potential such as it is.

I like to joke that I couldn’t sell death during a plague and for the most part that’s true, but when it comes to encouraging people to volunteer, run for the board, present, write articles, you name it I have been successful.  That’s not because I’ve suddenly become Dale Carnegie, it’s because the opportunity and value and comradeship that ODTUG is simply draws geeks in.  I’ve watched others grow as they become involved and while the hard graft is all theirs, it’s incredibly satisfying to be there at the start.

Beyond the real satisfaction that comes from giving back to our community, ODTUG recognizes achievement.  I’ve been beyond lucky to be recognized for this but I’m most certainly not alone.  

We even get nice gongs.

NB – Yes, the below is “Look at me!  I’m awesome, aren’t I?”  Cf. my earlier comment about ego, I have one too although I do try to throttle it down.  But that’s not the point.  I highlight the below because it’s both a way of illustrating that ODTUG recognizes achievement and the way in which it does it.  And yeah, a bit of self-praise.  So sue me, I’m an American and that’s what we do.  At least I don’t have a Facebook account.


Best new speaker, 2009

This one was a surprise to put it mildly.  I worked for a consulting company on what I am sure was the 2nd worst project I’ve ever been on – the contention for 1st switches between two others that I will not bore you with – and I stupidly tried to save it.  That meant literally working 100 (yes, really, working till 3 am and then waking up at 5 o’clock) hours on the project, manning a booth, and presenting a session at 9 am on Thursday.  I think by that point I was so tired and annoyed that whatever few filters I have were dead and buried.  I got lots of laughs (who gets laughs after the Wednesday night event and when the subject is MaxL?) so I think that was largely the reason.  Or ODTUG recognized a geek at the end of his tether and pitied me.  A word to the wise:  Don’t Be That Guy.

In any case, I was beyond amazed to get this in the mail:

I’m still not sure I deserved it but as Gary Crisci once said, never argue with good fortune.  The kaleidoscope is pretty cool.

Volunteer of the year

Even more of a surprise was being included in the 2010 Volunteer of the Year award.  This one I’m positive I didn’t deserve because I was on the SIG for three months or so when it was awarded.  I did in fact argue with YCC on this one because truly it was the work of others but I was told to embrace the non-suck.  I did but again, it’s a bit embarrassing.

Sorry for the bad photography.  Robert Capa I’ll never be.

2017 Essbase best co-speaker

Last, and definitely not least, I won the Essbase best co-speaker award this year.  I’m 100% positive that this was due to my co-speaker, Pete Nitschke, but again, who am I to argue with deluded and mistaken judges of great taste and discernment.  

Here we are, Pete and I.  I’ve got the schnozzola for Uncle Sam and Pete is quite a bit thinner than John Bull and to be fair not exactly British but, as I like to remind him when I take the piss out of him after he’s indulged in what is undoubtedly a cathartic session of anti-Americanism, he’s got a Queen on his currency we Septics don’t.   Regardless, it was tremendous fun working with this Antipodean and it was beyond nice to be recognized. While the below is as near to 100% accurate as damn it in its depiction of the two of us, I’m not sure steamships were our subject (Hybrid Essbase and Planning was the subject and Oracle, would you please bring Hybrid support to PBCS as it really does revolutionize Planning?).

I think the inclusion of Columbia and Britannia was a nice gesture too.  See, Women in Technology is as old as the hills.  Or is that Women in Battleships?  Women With Flags?  

Here’s the award.  The kaleidoscope even works despite its fragility.  Seemingly anticipating my clumsiness, ODTUG provided a spare wheel.

Yes, it is nice to be recognized.  Yes, it is very American to brag.  Sorry, but all of this is in way of proving another point, to wit, if I can do this, so can you.  

You can attend, present, blog, Tweet, write books, volunteer, run for the Board of Directors, run meetups, & c..  Really.  All of this and more.  And you’ll even get nice doodads for your office credenza although that really isn’t the point.  Why not?  If a lazy bore like me can do it, why can’t you?  Exactly.

10 years

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long since 2008 but indeed it has and the years have flown by.  As Monty Latiolais once said, our time in the sun is complete.  It has been a fantastic run, a spectacular one even.  I couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it without ODTUG.  I encourage you to invest blood, sweat, and tears into ODTUG because that hard work will pay you back a thousand fold as it has for me and so many others.

Be seeing you.

06 September 2017

What are you doing the rest of your life? Or at least what are you doing for the rest of the 20th of September?

What are you doing for the rest of the 20th of September, 2017?

Alas, I cannot provide Dusty Springfield for a number of reasons (alas she’s dead, were she alive I’m not sure we’d be BFFs (alas, again, for me this time), and I’ll bet the number of you Gentle Readers who actually like this kind of music rounds down to zero but maybe this exposure will change a few minds), but I can provide an excellent opportunity for Bay Area (NB – One should, apparently, never refer to the area as “Frisco” lest hirsute, enraged, and man-bunned baristas take umbrage.) Oracle EPMers to meet, greet, commiserate, and congratulate one another at the San Francisco Bay Area Oracle EPM Meetup.

Whew, even for me that’s an awful lot of parenthetical references.  Let me boil that down:  There’s a Bay Area Oracle EPM meetup on the 20th of September.  You should be there.  

Back to my self-indulgent/sometimes informative active voice below.

Where, When, What, and Who


Let’s go completely backwards (Why not the right way round?  Heh, why not?) on this one and give you the who first.  The who is, of course you, Gentle Reader as ultimately, that’s what meetups are all about:  people.  And this ODTUG EPM meetup has that in spades with Marc Seewald of Oracle as well as Western Digitals’s Bill Roy, Sree Putreddi, and Mark Govostes.

All of this being organized by longtime Oracle EPM manager Frank Chow in cooperation with the ODTUG EPM Community.  


Beyond the normal meetup networking and sharing, there is real business and technical content.  To wit, Mark Seewald will cover something near and dear to every Oracle EPM customer:  Oracle EPM’s roadmap.  Seriously, with all of the noise and rumors swirling about you owe it to yourself to hear just what Oracle has to say.

Your fellow customers aren’t MIA:  the team from Western Digital will be there to discuss their journey from on-premises to Exalytics and the cloud.  Without exaggeration, that’s got to be a fascinating story both in terms of how it was done but why.    

Here’s their agenda:
  • Overview of WDC
  • EPM @ WDC
  • Why did WDC decide to move to EPM Cloud
  • WDC Current Oracle EPM Footprint (On-Prem & Cloud)
  • Roadmap of WDC Oracle EPM Cloud
  • Business / Technical challenges
  • Metadata Management / Integration / Automation
  • Q&A
  • Support model (On-Prem Vs Hybrid)
  • User adoption of EPM Cloud products
  • Open Questions


It’s on Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm.


At Google’s offices, Google Bldg Plymouth 1. 1500 Plymouth Street, Mountain View, CA.

And oh yeah, Why

Why?  Why?  Really?  Why?  Ah, why.

Why is because while Kscope is awesome, like Christmas it comes but once a year; meetups are on offer all year round.  Yes, they aren’t a week of awesomeness, but the same people (well, at least some of them) come to meetups plus others who don’t get the chance and the same subject that is near and dear to all of us – EPM in all its forms – is the subject of discussion.  It’s vital to your job (come to think of it, mine as well) to be au courant on all things EPM and meetups are an excellent way to do that.

Join Frank, Marc, and the guys from Western Digital, won’t you?

Click here to attend.

Be seeing you there.