If you attended yesterday's UKOUG Hyperion 2018 event at Sandown Park, I hope you found it as beneficial as I did, and if you didn’t, then I hope my review helps you! 

This was my first time at Sandown having attended the large conferences in Birmingham for the last three years and my first SIG a few months ago, and I’ll definitely be attending again next year (hopefully carrying an umbrella is superfluous in 2019, too).

The day began with a welcome from Darren Jones (UKOUG) and an assurance than the agenda for Liverpool in December will be available soon – watch this space!

Andreea Vasiliu’s following keynote was built upon Larry Elison’s own recent speech on ‘the last upgrade you’ll ever do’, which was referenced by attendees throughout the day. I took a particular interest in the notion that automation shouldn’t simply replicate manual processes and should instead be seen as an opportunity to improve process flows holistically, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only person this resonated with. Would be great to hear some thoughts on this in the comments section. 

Francisco Amores Torres (Inlumi) presented the first talk I attended Building a Cloud Adapter in FDMEE & Cloud Data Management and I greatly admired how the talk went in to a deep level of technical detail whilst remaining understandable by those of us who aren’t techies! Using a real life case study made Francisco’s points much easier to understand, a lesson we should all remember regardless of subject and audience. The value of Hybrid solutions in an age when the world is shifting to Cloud but users still have some on-prem preferences was met with unanimous agreement, too. 

Simon Jones (Accenture) and Milda Smith (William Grant & Sons) then gave an excellent talk on The Evolution of Hyperion & EPM Cloud Support. Given the inherent differences between Cloud and On-Prem, it dawned on me that I was surprised I hadn’t seen more on this topic previously, and it was fun to have a history lesson demonstrating how a help desk has evolved into a 'Support Partner'. Simon didn’t shy away from the fact there still remain some unknowns as this sector of our community continues to develop, and I particularly admired his overview of what questions we should be asking ourselves at this time. Simon and his colleague Kulwinder Rai were kind enough to sit with me over lunch and go into more detail, which was really informative.

Real world examples were easy for me to understand in the first talk I went to after lunch, but then, I always understand a subject better if it’s explained to me using whisky! Lydia Maksoud (Brovanture) and Moira Jacques (Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution) spoke about their use of PBCS to ‘take Business Forecasting Beyond Finance’. In the case of a producer of luxury spirits, this means accounting for a high number of moving parts within the industry, including seasonal promotions and special releases. Finding a bottle of Macallan 25 may still be perilously difficult (I’m convinced it only happens in the movies) but at least accounting for it is now that bit easier. 

On a serious note, it was great to hear of how user-friendly Edrington-Beam Suntory have found PBCS and have benefited greatly from improved productivity, faster decision making, and improved communication. Lydia also spoke about Brovanture’s own cloud and in-house infrastructure team and is a great ambassador, not only for her consultancy, but also for the product line-up.

Event sponsor The Hackett Group featured heavily on my timetable during the remainder of the afternoon. Chris Davenport spoke about the challenges faced by one of their major pharmaceutical clients and outlined different roadmaps organisations might choose during important transformations, as well as touching on some of the ways OBIEE and Hyperion can complement one another. This last point was expanded on in a separate talk by Chris’s colleague Mark Davis and Andrea Tapp (Investec) who spoke of how her team have extracted maximum value from BI and EPM products alike. Exporting data to OBIEE for use in management dashboards was highlighted in particular.

The last talk I attended was hosted by Matt Chudleigh (Altius) and outlined how easy it can be to replace Oracle PBCS Webforms with Excel & Smart View. Matt told us he gets a lot of requests from clients in this area and it is surprisingly easy to do, so don’t be afraid to reach out to him if you’d like to know more.

The end of day panel session (with complementary drinks courtesy of The Hackett Group) was also accompanied by a professional set up and run Scalextric circuit which was huge fun and a light note on which to end the day, even if it was very competitive! Alas, after winning a handful of heats I crashed out on lap two of the final, but congratulations to Joanna Gajewska on her victory!

If you attended some of the other talks I couldn’t make it to, do let me know your thoughts in the comments, and I look forward to seeing lots of you in December – I’m sure the intervening months will fly by!