What makes Essbase OLAP (online analytical processing) so good for business analysis, and what’s the best way to learn about it?
Written by Elspeth Payne, Principal Product Curriculum Manager
Essbase makes it relatively easy to track trends and inconsistencies. One way to look at it is to imagine a stop sign – an octagon. Each side has a dimension such as account, time, year, scenario (calculation), version, etc. Where they meet in the middle identifies the data you get. Planning has a 6-20 “side” range.
Hyperion Financial Management has been expanded from ten to an unlimited number of “sides”.
People who work in finance are accustomed to pivot tables. Pivot tables are arguably the most powerful and useful tool in Microsoft Excel, allowing you to summarize large amounts of data into a meaningful report.
A pivot table summarizes data from another table by applying operations like grouping then averaging or summing its data.
A pivot table is more dynamic than a cross tab or contingency table. A pivot can have operations performed on it where a contingency table is static. These are sometimes seen as simplifications of a more complete and complex OLAP concept. You can pull data from Essbase very similarly to a pivot table, but you have the option of asking much more from your data.
Exploring how Essbase can be applied is just one of the areas you can dive into through Oracle University's new digital learning solution.
Oracle University now offers a Hyperion and Essbase Learning Subscription that gives you one year of access to continuously updated training on numerous topics, including:
Access all of our recorded course content for the price of a couple of instructor-led courses, any time. View regularly updated features and recordings, in addition to in-depth digital course content.
This subscription is launching with content that maps to several learning paths. We will add to this learning subscription quickly to ensure it's robust and easy-to-use.
Topics are mostly recorded by expert instructors, giving you access to polished, professional instruction you expect from Oracle University. The lessons are organized by learning path and are searchable by your job role.
You can tackle your problem du jour anytime, from anywhere. Take advantage of practice labs and skill checks, and feel free to send questions directly to instructors via email. You can expect an answer within one to two days.
For instant problem solving, quickly search for the problem you’re trying to solve within the subscription – write a calculation script, prepare an Essbase function – without having to wait for a specific class date to roll around.
“People fear change and love spreadsheets.” – Eleanor Salerno, Oracle University Senior Principal Instructor
I was chatting with Eleanor Salerno, an OU Senior Principal Instructor and Hyperion/Essbase guru. She reminisced about her work with Essbase before she came to Oracle, when she worked for a major beverage company.
Back in the early 2000s, when modern, complex data analysis tools were just gaining traction in business, they used Essbase as a sales database, but it wasn’t limited to just dollar value data. It was capable of managing 30-period rolling data spanning 2.5 years.
One year they realized they had made a lot of money in a month when they never had before. They were able to analyze where and when the revenue had spiked and which products were involved. T
hey could look at how many cases per day were moving out of certain warehouses, analyze sales and distribution patterns, look at maintenance and logistics – even evaluate a safety file once a month that tracked accidents, eliminating a month of spreadsheet development.
They realized that a large event had moved to that month and had affected their sales significantly. They were able to calculate how much temporary help they needed in the months beforehand to prepare for the next year’s spike.
Now, upgrades allow text lists and text or date values as part of the analysis, making Essbase even more flexible and discerning.
We recognize that some customers are migrating to Oracle EPM Cloud, but many are not and we continue to serve our on-premises users. We look for features you may not know you have available, functions that can make your business analysis easier and more powerful, and record them as special topics.
Above all, if you have suggestions or a wish list, please let us know in the comments below. We appreciate your input and will do our best to meet your needs.