Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Supply and Demand
The demand for OBIEE resource is probably higher than I have seen for more than two years. We are not quite in the heady days of Siebel 7.8 but not far off. Oracle have done a good job of continuing to sell the OBIEE package despite the supposed poor economic conditions and imminent release of 11g (did I say imminent!).
A search on Jobserve this week will provide over 2 pages of roles, and not too much duplication, and there are dozens of other sites (including LinkedIn) advertising roles. This is despite several projects stopping or cutting back and letting people leave.
Rates are encouraging but can sometimes be somewhat farcical. Last week I saw an advert for a skilled experienced professional on OBI Apps - and they wanted to pay 150 per day! Surely a typo?
I still stand by the view that clients must pay for your experience, skills, training and more importantly, flexibility. Rates should reflect not only the sum of your consulting but also include an element for the travel and being away from home factor.
Some projects I know well have understood that they have to pay properly for the best experience and they are the ones that are attracting the best talent.
Someone asked me today how many Freelance and tied consultants there are in the UK, so I went through my contact list and estimate there are around 70 freelance consultants in total, but I would have to guess at the number of in-house consultants there are, and my guess is 100.
This includes several who I know are on long term roles and 6 of us on my current client!
The weakness of the british pound has seen a general level of movement back into Europe of imported workers in the whole of the UK economy, and for OBIEE this may well have been true but I don't think there were many OBIEE workers in the UK anyway - there has been plenty of work in Europe not to warrant coming over here.
The UK still has a high level of imported workers to fill perceived gaps. We are slowly seeing more UK based consultants entering the freelance market and the most of the ones I personally know have the right attitude and skills to do well in the market. Some do not, and these are the ones I am most worried about. Whilst there is a slight shortage of highly skilled resources clients are taking on people who undermine the credibility of the product.
Mark Rittman and John Minkjan have both stressed the importance of your skills, not just on a single technical level buth also with client facing skills. The art of the BI consultant is to educate all of those effected by the work - not just the end users, but the managers and IT people whom you rely on (e.g. Database managers, testing teams, etc)
There is one skill that I want to highlight more than any other, as being the most important technical skill you should understand before attempting an OBIEE project. KIMBALL. Get your STAR schema database sorted out and you will have an easy platform to build reports on. If you are struggling with the business model, or reporting, it's probably because you have broken the laws of Kimball.
OBIEE (nee Siebel Analytics) was clearly built to satisfy a STAR schema so give it what it wants.
One more thing. I sometime hear from less experienced consultants that 'xxx is a bug' - often it turns out that the consultant does not fully understand how to do something and tries to hide behind the clients lack of knowledge.
I encourage every client to make good use of their Oracle Support, and make sure that any implied 'bug' is raised with Oracle. They will tell you how to deal with most situations.
I must re-iterate to everyone who is recruiting any OBIEE resources - Get them checked out.
Reference check. Make sure that you have a recent relevant check on their team working skills, and client facing skills. Find out why they left their last project, and the one before that, and the one before that etc. Don't just rely on LinkedIn references (which are important too), talk to other consultants who worked with them already.
Technical Skills Check. Get someone with good technical knowledge to develop a technical test, or use the Rittman Mead tech test (It's free - contact me for details).
Time after time clients, agents and even myself are fooled by those who know some of the buzzwords, and have had a year or two of experience, but actually cannot develop a report to save their life. So get them checked before it's too late. And no, the agent does not check - agent do not kow how to skills check, that is why you shoud ALWAYS use a specialist OBIEE consultancy
A Note on contracts. We all hate paperwork, but there is one price of paper that is vital for you as an employer or as a contractor - The contract. As an employer make sure you can get rid of consultants that do not measure up. Don't be afraid to ask them to leave and get someone better instead.
As a contractor, make sure your contract is IR35 safe (use the PCG).
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
If any of you bloggers or readers can pass this on or know anyone coming available (who would pass the technical exam) I would be very grateful.
Senior OBIEE Developer
This is a full time, London City based role, on site at the client offices. It is a investment banking client developing a world wide bespoke reporting system. We expect the role to last for a minimum of 3 months but there is a real probability that the role will continue beyond this for the right candidates.
The successful candidate will be responsible for:
Converting end user requirements into system design
Developing an appropriate solution
Testing the proposed solution against the individual requirements
Tool sets you will be required to use include:
OBIEE adminstration tool
Dashboard development tools, including answers, delivers and catalogue manager
Database tools such as Toad
Whilst we would prefer permanent employees we are reasonably flexible about our relationship with our consultants and will be happy with either an employed or contract arrangement which we can discuss at a later stage if appropriate.
If you are interested in working with us please provide details of where and how you have done the following, in addition to attaching your cv:
- Repository development
- Webcat development
- Database modelling
When you provide details - could you please outline how you went about:
- Converting user requirements
- Creating the design
- Developing the solution
For successful candidates at this stage, the next stage will be a technical interview. In anticipation, could you please provide in your reply, your availability for a telephone interview of approximately 30 - 45 mins for the week following your application.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Why are people wasting my time. If you don't know OBIEE - DO NOT pretend you do know it.
The next person who turns up to an interview had better match his/her CV.
Am I asking too much?
- All I want is an expereinced rpd developer, with good Dimensional Modelling
And if it says you do rpd development on your CV, you better be able to back that up.
You have been warned.
Things have bee quiet on the blog because we're working long hours on some pretty big client projects. Well this weekend we went into production. Yippee.
Now, what do we do? There's loads more dashboards to build, reports to write, iBots to create etc.
Where shall we do that?
Given that there will be thousands of people accessing the system, across the world, where do we develop next? Production or Development. If Production, what safeguards are in place? If Development, how do we publish? Some clients use svn as a publishing tool, but Oracle only support Webcat Admin tool operations when working with two webcats.
We have gone for Production. It is actually the safest, easiest and quickest to customer.
It goes without saying that there are certain folders that are secure for only central obiee team to alter, which would be true of any method. We just add two other types of folder/sub-folder. Team based and Work in Progress.
The only issue is the development of reports on subject areas that have not yet been built. Probably go for creating in a deve environment, copy in the xml to a new report in Production.
Your comments are appreciated!
It's Movember, and I'm on the case - You can sponsor me. If I don't get enough sponsors I will shave it off. This is one for the men, so come on ladies give us your support too. http://uk.movember.com/mospace/280234
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I like the one about the short URL name, what shortname can I think of.....
Keep them coming. the more the merrier (as they say).
If you are wondering why I'm not blogging much, I have several excuses, including writing the book for the 11g release, way too much client work and it's the summer (not that you would know it looking out of the train window)
BTW did you see the one from Andreas about Vertical Text
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Ever since I started up Majendi (Now Rittman Mead), the market for Siebel Analytics (now Oracle BI) has been a roller coaster. Looking back, supply and demand for consultants / contractors / permies has either been heavily biased to supply or to demand. Getting the balance right has been difficult for both sides.
Siebel Analytics never had a huge following, and hardly any outside of Siebel projects. Customers were reluctant to put significant investment into the product and therefore there were (relatively few opportunities for consultants to learn).
Then Oracle came along and changed all that.
Customers are now investing heavily in OBIEE, and all of it's features - not just Dashboards and Answers, but Delivers, BIP, and briefing books.
This Oracle takeover caused many new consultancies to switch from Disco, OWB and other Oracle products
In the meantime the great rush to send development offshore took place. Despite the difficulties companies pressed ahead with moving vital code building offshore because of the obvious cost savings. One client I was at tried to pretend that development went to India because they were the best in the world at developing OBIEE. It was nothing to do with the 300 dollars per day rate! (Their project failed btw).
Then the agencies moved in. I cannot tell you how many calls I get every day from someone saying they are specialist in the OBI marketplace. All I can say is that they think there is a pot of gold n the market, but soon disappear when they discover there isn't.
But whilst all this market activity was taking place there was a real economy. With real booms and busts. A friend of mine who has been in business for 10 years says this is the worst ever.
Well I can tell you that so far this has been our BEST year ever. Good ole OBI market does it again. Lots of implementations and few skilled, experienced consultants available.
Last year we saw a dip. That's when the real recession started, way before the banks started to feel the pinch. (In my view the recession was inevitable due to record oil prices).
I have two vacancies right now - you can start next week.
There are lots of jobs on Jobserve
but Contracts are keeping their heads down, so supply is tight
But companies have made an error of judgment, slashing rates by 10% across the board has upset a lot of contractors.
If you are an independent consultant with good OBIEE skills then do not believe what the agencies and companies are telling you - You are still worth the same as you were two years ago. Do not accept rates below GBP 500 per day minimum. If you have the skills and experience then do not be afraid to demand the proper rate.
And if you have just had your rate cut by 10% come to me and I'll show you where to earn properly again.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
1. Implement Essbase in OBIEE
2. Use xml editors to create reports
3. Have your repository created by UDML from a dynamic source
4. BPEL (Leave that to Tony H)
6. Implement WebSSO
7. Use LDAP Groups
8. Use Dynamic Go URLs (Particularly when you have finished the development of the RPD)
9. Integrate multiple stars and Multiple dimensional attributes in a single Subject Area
10. Integrate BI Publisher
Relatively easy compared to the above is:
Settings up delivers, installing BI Apps in a Unix environment, creating multiple instances on a Linux blade, Briefing books, Configuring the DAC, customising BI Apps
But do your homework before going on the client site
Do you have any?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Now try doing anything that OBIEE is good at.
How about having a flat hierarchy? No Ok, what about Bins? No?
surely we can put a filter in place? Ah, Of course you can - providing the filter value exists, otherwise your report throws up an error.
Error, no data is an error!!
Ok lets have some nice looking data.
what do you mean every 'member' has to unique? And what a member when it's at home?
I want the value shown to be 'London' not 'London (location)'
I hate errors. I hate rubbish looking data. I hate ragged hierarchies. Give me back my Materialised views.
Christian, Venkat, Tony, Oracle - let's have some decent blogs on this for beginners like me.
BTW We are being good boys and using ASO as recommneded by Edward at the BI Forum ;)
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
BI Apps can simply be described as 4 repositories.
- rpd file for BI Server
- Webcat files for Presentation catalog
- xml files for DAC
- rep file for Infomatica
After you have installed the Oracle Database for the repositories, the Java into ?:\Java, and the OBIEE platform (BI Server, Presentation Server) you then install the Informatica server and then the DAC server and client. Do not run the DAC client yet. You then install the BI Apps. This appears to mainly be just an extraction of files from a zip. This has to be done on a windows machine.
You then simply point your NQSConfig.ini file at the OracleBIAnalyticsApps.rpd
Then point your instanceconfig.xml at the EnterpriseBusinessAnalytics catalog
Then run the DAC client for the first time. It will create an empty repository in the database. When it is loaded, import the xml files from ?:\OracleBI\dwrep\DAC_metadata\DAC_Client\export. Now you can 'Restore' the rep file into the Informatica Repository service.
You have now installed the BI Apps.
Informatica does not interact with OBIEE, the only connection is that the DAC runs Informatica Workflows.
The issue of the DAC is a whole blog of it's own, so will do that in the RM blog.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I did start trying to keep a running commentry at the BI Forum, but found that I was getting too engrossed in the content to write properly.
It was great to meet evryone at the forum, some I had been in contact with for many years, and others I had worked with on Siebel Analytics projects over 7 years ago! A hangover nearly managed to destroy my presentation, but I enjoyed the opportunity to speak anyway.
The main reason for being busy is three clients, all with OBIEE projects using cutting edge tech.
I just finished the install of Financial Analytics on Solaris 10, with Obiee 10.1.3.4.1, and it went pretty well, taking 6 days all in.
We are short of staff for the many projects we are running so do
Get in touch if you are free.
The sailing went well for the kids thos weekend, so son is now ranked 20th in the country, but unfortunately we ended up on the rocks in the rescue boat!
The Market has recovered well in the last few weeks, so hopefully the recession is receeding,
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The first evening was initially led by Mark, but after he had paid the bill for everyone at the curry house, he sneaked off for an early night.
So up stepped Borkur to save the day, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Looking forward to the sessions today at the BI forum (said Bee Eye if you are in West street).
But first, where is the breakfast room?, I need some coffee!
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Not only are we analysing 4GB of data, 4 times every day, in a 10 minute ETL, but we're adding some cool features to the dashboards.
I am using the tree viewing in two ways, one to navigate through data, organised in hierarchies, and the other as a reports/dashboard navigator. Using a look up table which contains the 'menu' items. This is useful where there are lots and lots of reports and dashboards and you want to give everyone a similar front end menu.
Whilst we were having fun with trees we then added some tabs inside a dashboard page - in fact we even have tabs inside tabs inside pages. The tricky bit is getting content into the tabs, which involves some xml fun and games - not recommended!.
One last bit of gadgetry we put in last night was a simple show/hide routine that is used to display whole reports, or just hide tables or charts on a report. This enables us to load lots of reports on a page then flick between them very quickly - no waiting for a page to load. You have more control of prompts here too.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
One minute we were Majendi, happily servicing our projects and keeping our heads down in the recession. Then BANG, we merged with RittmanMead, three new clients in a week, a conference to attend, a presentation to write, and some new admin to learn. I had the spring series final two weekends in the SB3, and the kids were sailing their Optimists in North Wales one weekend, then Weymouth the next.
The rib broke down, the dishwasher failed and this morning the hot water system failed.
I also have to get a new laptop, this time a MAC.
May is going to be a very expensive month!.
ON the client side we are having lots of fun with Essbase and OBIEE (I hate ragged hierarchies), as well as installing BI Apps on a Solaris 10 machine without the use of a windows box - Don't try that at home kids!
We have one client who are using a large integrator that doesn't know how to run a report on two separate subject areas so I will blog on the RM site to show them how. I just need to find 10 minutes spare time.
I have a contact at Oracle who asked me the other day for a sample database, in ACCESS - I laughed!
I also had another consultancy send me an rpd they struggled with. When I opened it I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Laugh because it was a complete mess and showed a complete lack of understanding on OBIEE, cry because people are giving OBIEE a bad name by poor implementations.
That reminds me , One project I know of is looking to replace it's Siebel Analytics system, they want something more flexible and quicker to create reports than they currently have. The reason for replacing it is obviously because they badly customised it in the first place and are using cheap offshore resources that don't know how to configure so take a long time to produce bad code. This customer is suffering from cutting costs and going for the cheapest offer for development. It is now costing them a fortune to buy new software, train users etc, but they are still using the same cheap outsources, so the result will be the same poor quality reporting system.
Consultancies, I urge you to get your people trained properly and stop undermining the product reputation.
Oracle, get a properly managed accreditation system in place before the amateurs ruin your product sales.
Clients, check out the experience of the people implementing your system and do not accept poor quality - don't pay them when they deliver rubbish.
However tempting it is to cut costs, we will never set up an Overseas development centre just because it is cheap. And we will only ever employ experts. If you are expert already, and probably blog your knowledge then we would love to talk to you
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Given that I am reading my emails on the iPhone I did not want to read them again in Outlook. Turns out that instead of using POP you can use IMAP, which keeps all the mail readers up to date with any change may in any other reader. So using webmail, outlook, and iPhone is now a breeze.
Thoroughly recommend it.
Monday, April 06, 2009
All my technical bogging will now be on the Rittman Mead blog, but watch out for some personal stuff on here.
We finalised the deal over lunch in Zurich, a very civilised part of the world.
|From Drop Box|
Friday, April 03, 2009
It got me thinking about some of the reading I been been doing recently to keep up to date. And thought I should write things down before I forget them!
I always like to keep up-to-date with market developments, in particular technology advancements.
On that front I saw a presentation recently by a CIO which quoted change and how we need to be prepared for it in IT. Now we always hear that, but he put it in the context of three Laws, Moore's Law, Metcalfs Law and Gilders Law, which actually bought it home really well.
To remind you, Moores (Co-founder at Intel) predicted in 1965 that processing power will double at least every two years.
Metcalfe's law states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n^2).
The law has often been illustrated using the example of fax machines: a single fax machine is useless, but the value of every fax machine increases with the total number of fax machines in the network, because the total number of people with whom each user may send and receive documents increases.
Two telephones can make only one connection, five can make 10 connections, and twelve can make 66 connections.
Gilders Law states that the total bandwidth of communication systems triples every twelve months. In my street they are installing 50MB cable soon, so in a year that should be 150MB!!
So, computing power will blow our minds in ten years, networks are really useful when more things get connected, and speed of information flows will be even more awesome and useful for gaming.
BUT, none of the above has directly demonstrated why Oracle and SAP became powerful, or why Oracle is preferred over SQL Server for large databases, or why Column databases are better at certain reports than rowwise databases.
Or why we don't program in BASIC anymore (although it would probably be called ADVANCED now!).
So technology improvements enable us to work from home, with access to fast databases, but why am I using TOAD on Oracle, with OBIEE on top?
More importantly, what do I need to use next year, the year after, and so on. When do I give up learning and go into management!
The Cloud Compute model is already removing the need for hardware in the office, and software on your laptop (except for a browser!). The skills for databases and reporting have been commoditised, offshored and devalued. IS this pattern true for thought leadership?
Maybe I should invent a Law of my own.
How about, The second you master a technology it is obsolete.
There is actually a whole list of 'laws'
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Anyway, to continue with happy thoughts for a day or two longer...
A man flying in a hot air balloon suddenly realizes he’s lost. He reduces height and spots a woman down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts to get directions, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
The woman below says: "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field."
"You must work in Information Technology," says the balloonist.
"I do" replies the woman. "How did you know?"
"Well," says the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically correct, but It's of no use to anyone."
The woman below replies, "You must work in management."
"I do" replies the balloonist, "But how'd you know?"
"Well", says the woman, "you don’t know where you are, or where you’re going, you expect me to be able to help. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault."
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Of course on it I will be able to run my OBIEE dashboards. Next week I'll show you how to connect to the Majendi sample/development site with iPhone, PC or simple imagination!
On the subject of new features, whilst reading about the iPhone dashboard features, and the database development it reminded me to test out the integration of the Oracle DB fone with OBIEE.
Developed intially so that the Oracle development teams around the globe (particularly between US and India) could communicate cheaply, this little known Db feature is basically like Skype or MSN, but built into the Database. Larry insisted on the development when it became obvious that offshoring his operations had increased costs and damaged the communication process.
The system uses a Db to Db network and is usually done behind your company firewall. see the Oracle documentation for details on how to enable it (from version 10g).
You will need a microphone (there is no video as yet, but should be in 11g). In my net post I'll show the screen shots and code on how to do this.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Great Article by Toon Koppelaars.
If you are more than 21 then this will be an interesting read. Everyone else, stick to the PS3 /PSP tonight!
Many of you will have heard of Jonathan Lewis - http://jonathanlewis.wordpress.com/
who has some great quotes on his front page, check them out
My favorite is:
Niels Bohr: An expert is someone who has made all the mistakes that can be made, but in a very narrow field
Monday, March 30, 2009
Good luck with that Christian.
Final details are being put to the announcement which will be out very soon now.
Can you guess what it is yet?
Who do you believe? We recently advertised a role in OBIEE. We got three applicants. It is well paid interesting work throughout the UK and Europe.
I spoke to an agent last week who said he had 60 applicants for his OBIEE role, many of whom were good for the work. The rate the client wants to pay is well below 500 per day, because, he said, there are dozens of skilled workers who have been unemployed for 6 months desperate to get into a project.
Now, as far as I can tell there is plenty of OBIEE work for properly skilled workers, with the right visa for Europe, but clients have the usual cost pressures.
Those pressures normally translate into 'Day rate' savings. So a client prefers to take someone on 400 per day instead of 800. OK, seems simple enough. And the agent is happy because their margin increases.
BUT the client pays more in the long run, and the OBIEE project suffers a poor image. A great consultant can implement a really useful system that can be expanded and upgraded and part of the future for BI in the organisation. A cheap consultant who is gaining experience can make a dead end.
Who do you believe? the agency, the salesman for an offshore organisation, or the leading experts in OBIEE?
I challenge any client to compare the costs and benefits of a cheap outsource vs more expensive on shore consultancies.
I also challenge Oracle to set some benchmarks for a skilled OBIEE consultancy and consultants. Just because you reply to simple questions on OTN does not make you an expert.
Friday, March 13, 2009
As you will see from previous posts I have been guaging the state of the Oracle BI / Siebel Analytics market by the number of jobs advertised, and number consultants I know who are looking.
With the current doom and gloom being propogated by the BBC among many others it has been noticable how much the BI market is being talked up, but what is th real picture?
We have certainly been kept busy, and could be on two or three more projects now, as well as doing all the marketing stuff, playing with the new technology and writing updates for the book. And of course there is the conference presentation to finish up.
I do know of a couple of contractors that are at home waiting for the phone to ring, and some projects are closing soon (particularyly a big govenment bank one), but this level is not unusual.
The biggest issue I can see is the lack of roles being advertised in the UK for OBIEE and Siebel Analytics. I can't remember the last jobserve advert for Analaytics, and there is only one in the whole of Europe right now.
OBIEE has fared only slightly better, with 2 roles out there right now. But there never has been too many adverts anyway. This may be due to more direct networking, particularly using LinkedIn, and maybe due to an increase in the number of consultancies advertising themselves as Oracle BI experts. However, 2 is down from the peeks we had last year.
Beware the Squeeze
In the past downturns the agencies have strugggled to maintain their income and have therefore squeezed more from the margins. They do this by telling clients that good consultants are hard to come by as they do not look for new projects in a recession, and are therefore still expensive. At the same time they tell the consultants that the rates have come down due to the recession! Always ask the agent what margin they are on, anything more than 15% is taking the mickey.
If you are looking then do get in touch I can possibly point you to opportunities my network (and no I dont charge!).
Look out next week for some BIG NEWS which we are all excited about here at Majendi.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Take a look at the agenda and I think you'll agree it has an excellentline up of OBIEE talent:
There are only limited numbers, so it's like always: the early bird catches the worm.
So long and hope to see you there,
Friday, February 20, 2009
Of course Adrian, I've got loads.
How about this one:
When you do a combined request you can't change the column headings in the Edit Column Formula window as any changes you make there aren't saved. However, you can change the column name in the Column Properties \ Column Format window just fine.
(I have better tips than this but I'm just warming up).
Surely someone out there can challenge Phil to tip showdown?
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Imagine the scenario. You have a dashboard with 35 pages on and you have to add a new page, at the TOP!
Normally you add your page, and it goes to the bottom of the list, so you would click 35 times on the up arrow.
The format is:
Which has the vital &Position=35 command. Just change this to the number in th elist you want.
Thanks Phil. Got any more?
Monday, February 16, 2009
When you work in MUD mode, and merge your rpd, the 7.8. Admin tool will not update the variables you set offline. It will also have trouble dealing with presentation column name changes - you will find #1 added to many columns and will have to clean this up prior to publishing merged rpd.
Tomorrow I will have a top tip from Phil Henson, legend of the Siebel Analytics world !