Show cover of EPM Conversations

EPM Conversations

Call it Enterprise Performance Management or Corporate Performance Management or whatever you will — we will bring the most interesting, thoughtful, and sometimes maybe a wee bit controversial personalities in our little world and simply talk. The conversations will be free ranging and open ended. We (Cameron, Natalie, Celvin, and Tim) think you will find it interesting. We hope.


EPM Conversations Episode 22 – A Conversation With Shankar Viswanathan, The Man Who Owns The Product That Bought Me My House
Let’s not forget that it also sent Natalie’s kids to collegeWe (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.IntrospectionEach 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 partAll 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?
75:55 4/15/24
A Portrait in Leadership: Women in EPM with Minie Parikh
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 programIn 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 queryWith 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 manyFingers 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?
71:58 2/23/24
EPM Conversations Episode 20 – A Culture Clash Conversation, The African
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 RespectRoger 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. 
67:38 11/8/23
EPM Conversations Episode 19 – A Culture Clash Conversation Or Our Kith and Kin Across The Sea
It’s a Book, It’s a Podcast Episode, It’s KismetA 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. 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 (I did do some of the work) 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 HeartFor 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.Join us, won’t you?
69:42 9/30/23
EPM Conversations Episode 18 -- A Culture Clash Conversation or Fro and To and Fro Again with Kishore Mukkamala and Sumit Deo
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.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 BlytonAt 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 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 to
75:25 6/11/23
EPM Conversation Episode 17 -- A Culture Clash Conversation or Are The Simpsons Really How Latin America sees us with David Blanco and Belen Ortiz
Our guests, conferences, and we’re much the same but really quite differentThe 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. 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 guestsDavid  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?
54:28 4/14/23
EPM Conversations Episode 16 -- A Culture Clash Conversation or 50 Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong with Ludovic De Paz and Pascal De Schryver
Culture Clash or 50 Million Frenchmen Can’t Be WrongThe 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 GuestsI’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.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.
55:24 2/9/23
EPM Conversations -- Episode 15. A Conversation with Cameron Lackpour and Celvin Kattookaran, a OneStream conference and a OneStream book
Selectively extrovertedCelvin 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 and OneStreamThis podcast is about a conference (OneStream Wave) and a book (OneStream Planning:  The Why, How, and When).  Have a listen if you will and you'll get an overview of the former and an in-depth exploration of the latter.Join us, won't you?
49:26 12/14/22
EPM Conversations -- Episode 14, A Conversation with 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 tools we use. Join us, won’t you?
53:24 6/7/22
EPM Conversations -- Episode 13, A Conversation with Elizabeth Ferrell, Accountant (ex), Advocate (of so many things), and Aviatrix
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?
70:49 4/19/22
EPM Conversations -- Episode 12, A Conversation With Kumar Ramaiyer, Workday Adaptive Planning Business Unit Vice President
As Everyone Knows, But Hardly Anyone Actually DoesOne of my fondest recollections of Kscope (umm, one year or another, they all blend together after a while) is sitting in on Kumar’s introduction of Exalytics (remember that Wave Of The Future?).  As Kumar dived deeper and deeper into the hardware behind Essbase-on-Exalytics, he prefaced each increasingly (exponentially?) complex computer engineering concept and detail with, “As everyone knows…”.  If only.  I sure didn’t. Key to Kumar’s personality is this liberality of intellectual comradeship:  he thinks that surely whatever a given  insanely complex topic might be is easily understood by the average geek.   This (possibly insanely optimistic) generosity of intellectual spirit informs this podcast as Kumar takes us (and you, Gentle Listener) through his journey from theoretician to developer to advocate to Vice President of Engineering  while working at Informix, Oracle, and now Workday.Cubes, Cubes, CubesBeyond the interesting personal history (and you have to catch Kumar’s glory days in the NCAA and yes, really; we in the performance management space are polymaths), he gives one of the most passionate, cogent, and comprehensive arguments of the cube as the ideal for planning and budgeting.  I’ve worked with non-cube forecasting tools and while they certainly have their uses, calculations that are trivial in a cube can be hard graft otherwise.  Listen to Kumar and be convinced.Join us, won't you?
72:58 12/14/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode 11, A Conversation With Peter Fugere, OneStream Software's Chief Strategic Services Officer.
Riding a rocket to the heavensOneStream’s rise has been meteoric:  from a startup in a very small office in the not-particularly-well-known-tech-incubator Rochester, Michigan, to international powerhouse in the performance management space in less than a decade.  Peter Fugere has been there from almost the very beginning and has an insider’s perspective on what makes OneStream tick, the product’s genesis, current initiatives (Peter is involved in more than one), and its exciting future.  From consolidations to planning to relational to analytics to machine learning to the certification program to the recently announced OneCommunity to OneStream Press, it’s all there in just an hour.  Rocket ship as sobriquet is scarcely sufficient and this episode reflects that break neck speed and excitement.Join us, won't you?
64:16 11/2/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode 10, A Conversation With Jodi Hill, Pattern Recognizer and Outlier
We’re all wired to see patternsWe 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.Join us, won't you?
67:32 9/21/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode 9, A Conversation with Matthias Heilos, CEO of Finance Technology Innovations
Data, data everywhere, and none of it in the right place or in the right formatPerformance 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 problemThe 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 thingI 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 conversationWe 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?
66:56 5/4/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode No. 8, A Conversation with Tom Shea, CEO of OneStream Software
From Enterprise administrator to CEO, from market disruptor to Magic Quadrant visionaryWe 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 shipCertainly 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 conversation00:00 - 02:00 Introductions02:00 - 15:05 Tom’s Career Path to OneStream15:05 - 19:35 The “One Platform” Concept19:35 - 23:00 What Is OneStream?23:00 - 25:30 New Features for Planning Processes25:30 - 28:45 OneStream Customer Community and Growth28:45 - 33:30 Changing from Being a Bootstrapped Company to a Large Company33:30 - 35:40 Development of a Community35:40 - 40:40 Analytics, Consolidation vs Aggregation and Architecture in OneStream40:40 - 42:25 Working with Public Sector Clients42:25 - 47:30 Roadmap for Machine Learning47:30 - 52:10 Roadmap for Analytics52:10 - 53:20 UpStream, OneStream, and The Fish53:20 - 61:50 Set-Based Languages and OneStream Block Language61:50 - End OutroductionsWe 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?
63:16 4/6/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode No.7, A Conversation With Kevin Lawrence, Marketing Analytics, Corporate To Guerilla
Not EPM, not CPM, but analytics of a marketing kindThis 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.The journey to marketing and analyticsKevin’s had an interesting path, one that isn’t really the norm in our fascinating (ahem) 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 prologueFor you wee lads and lassies who weren’t around 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 conversationStart – 6:40 Intros and start of Kevin’s career6:40 – 18:40 Development of 1990s analytic tools18:40 – 28:20 Moving from non-profit to large corporate and then to independent28:20 – 31:30 Selling the value “analytics” before the industry really existed31:30 – 34:00 Today’s tools, Google suite34:00 – 40:20 Connection to EPM40:20 – 44:00 Is there a Finance and Marketing divide?44:00 – 46:00 Demonstrating dollar value of marketing46:00 – 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 OutroWe 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?
83:53 3/2/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode No. 6, A Conversation With Mike Nader, EPM's Very Own Data Analytics Polymath
Hah!  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.But wait, there’s moreIn 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 EPM14:56 - 25:41 EPM vs Analytics25:41 - 28:05 Adoption of Tools in Different Organizational Functions28:05 - 36:04 Tools That Can Merge Financial and Operational Datasets36:04 - 43:44 What EPM Technologists Should Know About Analytics43:44 - 53:30 The Medium Term Future of Analytics53:30 - 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?
61:12 2/4/21
EPM Conversations -- Episode 5, A Conversation (no, a rap!) With Chris Turner
Different? You want different? Music? Humor? Freestyle Rapping? Maybe something related to EPM?Maybe.  Actually, yes, quite a bit really.  You read that right: EPM Conversations has a number of firsts in this podcast:A conversation with the artist and performer Chris Turner.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.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.   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.  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.  Oh sure, don't listen to the podcast -- we do in fact have the audio as part of the episode.Regardless, if you want to watch just Chris, click right here.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?
31:53 1/5/21
EPM Conversations — Episode No. 4, a conversation with John Booth
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 Introductions8:10 - 11:00 Running Hyperion on Lesser-Used Operating Systems11:00 - 13:15 Whatever Happened To Exalytics?13:15 - 22:55 Specialization in Infrastructure22:55 - 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 Languages50:45 - 52:30 John’s Future in EPM Consulting52:30 - 63:30 How are People Forming Professional Connections in COVID Times?63:30 - 66:45 Virtual Conference Structures66:45 - 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?
70:00 12/7/20
EPM Conversation – A Conversation With Abhi Nerurkar, Co-Founder of EPMware
One out of three ain’t badWe 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: peopleA 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?
59:26 11/17/20
EPM Conversations — Episode No. 2 Part 2, a conversation with Essbase Lady, Natalie Delemar
Second part of Episode 2.Here is the agenda00:45 - 06:40 The Changing State of the EPM (Vendor) Market06:40 - 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 customizability 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 Community40:26 - End Summary / Conclusion
42:56 10/28/20
EPM Conversations — Episode No. 2 Part 1, a conversation with Essbase Lady, Natalie Delemar
Intro and outroFor 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 met5:20 – 8:25 – drive and why Natalie Does What She Does8:25 – 14:40 – WIT and advice to women in tech, being an African American woman in tech, mentorship, and the importance of a professional network14:40 – 16:30 – Advice on career progression16:30 – 22:10 – Working for Big Four firms22:10 – 26:50 – Advice for people who want to get involved in community without employer incentives26:50 – 28:55 – Relationships between boutique firms and the Big Four and where technical work actually gets done28:55 – 36:10 – Changes in the consulting market recently: layoffs, mergers, and new software vendors36:10 – 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&AJoin us, won’t you?
47:08 10/20/20
EPM Conversations — Episode No. 1, Introduction with Tim German, Celvin Kattookaran, and Cameron Lackpour
IntroductionWe (Tim, Celvin, and Yr. Obt. Svt.) are thrilled to announce our new endeavor:  EPM Conversations.  If you’ve made it to this page you are about to experience the joy that is the three of us – and many more of our fellows in the EPM/CPM world.WhatWhat is EPM Conversations?  It’s a forum for you to hear your peers as they discuss why, what, and how they exist and thrive in our little corner of the software world.   You will hear opinion, advocacy, a fair amount of skepticism when it’s deserved, and always a keen curiosity.  What you will not hear is any negativity from the interviewers or the interviewees.  This isn’t gotcha journalism but a collegial place to share ideas.  NB – every guest has final say over content to preclude personal embarrassment/potential unemployment/likely lawsuits.   You are not going to hear one of us (Tim and I personally think this will be Celvin and we will do our utmost to dissuade him from reading Groovy or VB.NET or MDX aloud) go on and on about detailed code and (beyond the basics) techniques but we will always cover the considerations, approaches, and philosophy that make us who we are in the EPM world.WhoWho will you hear?  People just like you:  customers, consultants, software companies, and even people who just might drive you in a new professional direction (never fear, this is not NSFW and definitely all about W).  We currently have 12 guests who were foolish gracious enough to agree to be our guests.WhyWhy will you listen to EPM Conversations?  You’ll listen and care because we’re going to bring the human – the connection, really –  that a blog or a book or an article can never really convey.  Think about why technical conferences are so valuable:  yes, of course, technical content is key but so are the people you meet, people that you’d never even hear of within your formal job.  EPM Conversations will bring home to you the person behind the name, the presentations, the message boards. WhenWhen will you hear new podcasts?  Look for new content every three weeks or so. WhereWell, right here.  We’re also on Apple Podcasts and Google Play.Join us, won’t you?
27:28 9/18/20

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