OBIBB – Interviews (Mark Rittman)

When I first started reading Oracle BI Blogs, Mark’s blog was one of the first I added to my bloglist. Although he has a very busy schedule, I was able to get a few anwers out of  Mark Rittman. I am sure Mark has some opinions, we could benefit from.

1. You are a well respected member of the Oracle BI community. Where could we know you from? 

>: I’ve been involved with Oracle BI and data warehousing for around 12 years now, and with OBIEE since Oracle bought Siebel back in 2006. I’ve been blogging since 2004 and am just about to start writing the Oracle Press book on OBIEE, which has been on hold for a few years whilst we waited for the 11g release. I’m also an Oracle ACE Director, a member of the ODTUG board and a regular writer on BI for Oracle Magazine. 

2. You use various different platforms to share your knowledge. Which one do you prefer?  

 >: I like writing for our blog (at http://www.rittmanmead.com/blog), as I can get thoughts down quickly and also obtain feedback from others using OBIEE. Writing for Oracle Magazine is professionally quite satisfying, as the editing process is very rigorous and a lot of effort goes into making sure the content is technically correct, and it reads well. I also enjoy answering questions and moderating postings on the Oracle BIEE Enterprise Methodology Group forum (http://groups.google.com/group/obiee-enterprise-methodology), as the conversation there is very focused on OBIEE architecture and best practices. 

 3. What’s your favorite topic, you share your knowledge about?

 >: My favorite topic is the data architecture layer for OBIEE – RPD data modeling, use of Essbase and Oracle OLAP, performance tuning, and leveraging the various layers of the Oracle technology stack to better improve the performance and throughput of queries. Another area I’m interested in, particularly with the coming of OBIEE 11g, is integrating the BI layer into applications, and so I’m interested in the ability for 11g to interface with Oracle ADF and the whole SOA stack. 

 4. You organized another successful Rittman Mead BI Forum this year. What can we expect for the next year?

 >: Well next year the big news will be OBIEE 11g, and by the time of the event, hopefully most of us should have worked on a few 11g projects and have some experiences and best practices to share. We’re also looking to run the BI Forum on consecutive weeks in Brighton, and in the USA, with hopefully some of the presenters traveling across the Atlantic and presenting with us at both events! 

 5. What part of the Oracle BI stack could get more attention form the Oracle BI Community?

 >: We’re all interesting in new features, and certainly OBIEE 11g is bringing lots of them. But for me, the area that could do with more attention is the technology behind the semantic layer and the BI Server, and I’ve certainly noticed that most OBIEE don’t really understand the process and meaning behind logical table sources, in-memory joins, when to have one or more LTSs and best practices for the design of the mappings between the business model and the physical layer in the semantic model. Whilst most people are focused on developing reports and getting the numbers to add up, an area I think should get more focus is on the principals behind the BI Server and best practices for setting up the semantic model. 

 6. How much of technology innovation have you seen in the Oracle BI stack over the years? Which feature/technology in your opinion was the most ground breaking one?

 >: Well most of the innovation I’ve seen over past few years has been around integration with the rest of the Fusion Middleware, and Fusion Application, stack. To answer the question directly, I’d say the best innovation since the launch of OBIEE 10g and the Siebel acquisition has been the continuing integration of Essbase into the Oracle BI stack; going forward, I’d like to see more innovation in the front-end, and also a move towards putting the whole analysis layer into memory, so that Essbase, OBIEE and potentially even ODI/OWB ran in RAM.

 7. You and Jon are running a successful business for a few years now. So it is possible; two captains on one ship. What makes you guys complementary? 

 >: Something we learnt early on is that we needed to focus on separate, but complementary areas, rather than both of us try and cover the same ground. Jon looks after the commercial side of the business, defining the strategy and brining on board new customers, projects and team members. I look after the technical side, setting the technical direction, discussing and communicating technical strategy with our clients, and working together with our delivery team to make sure we’re the best in the industry.

8. I know one of your passions is Oracle BI (EE). What are your other passions, if any?

 >: A couple of things. I’m a big Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) fan, and this year is an important one for us as it’s our first in the Champions League. I’m also into dance music, and in fact a common link between myself and Jon is that we were both dance music DJs back our student days in the 1990’s. So if the market for Oracle BI goes down in the future, we’ll have to get our decks out and go back on the road…!

9. Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

>: Only that I’d encourage anyone with an interest in the methodology behind Oracle BI EE to visit, and contribute, to the OBIEE Enterprise Methodology Group at http://groups.google.com/group/obiee-enterprise-methodology . It’s free to join, moderated by some of the most well-known names in the OBIEE industry, and with the launch of OBIEE 11g behind us it’ll be a great place to discuss new features and techniques.

 10. Who would you like to be next in this series and why? What would you like to ask him/her?

>: I’d suggest Kurt Wolff. Kurt gave a very successful masterclass at our BI Forum this year, and was the original designer behind the BI Administrator tool. Kurt has some great opinions on RPD design and the approach to OBIEE projects, and it’d be great to get his opinion on what works and what doesn’t.

Thanks to Mark Rittman for sharing his thoughts on Oracle BI. I guess we wil need to focus some more attention on the principals of the Oracle BI Server. We should think and act like the Oracle BI Server to get the optimal results out of the Oracle BI Server. Hopefully Kurt Wolff could give his vision on this subject.

To be continued.

Author: Daan Bakboord

I am an Oracle Big Data Analytics Consultant with great interest in anything closely related to the Oracle Big Data Analytics (OBIEE, BICS, OAC, Big Data, Data Integration, Data Visualization, Data Management, Data Architecture).

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