Arthur’s biography

In “our motivation” by Arthur van den Berg

a little bit about me ...

To start a sound working relation it is important that you know each other. So let me start by telling a bit about myself and my Essbase background. I am looking forward to hear about your Essbase encounters.

so, here is my story …

how it all started

My Essbase career started in 2001. I was employed at a large Dutch bank and they just acquired the leftovers of a UK-based bank that got bankrupt. With it came a Hyperion product called Essbase. At that time, I was one of the core architects of an already established financial data warehouse. The idea was– the rooky that I was – to decommission Essbase and re-built its functionality into the data warehouse in a couple of months. That turned out to take a completely unexpected twist …

I discovered that Essbase was different than the databases I used to work with. It provided such a unique functionality that we embraced Essbase completely. And we embedded Essbase within the structures of the Oracle financial data warehouse, making fully use of its power.  (Today, 2017, it is still running and rocking!.)

We effectively created a specific planning & budgeting solution tuned to the bank’s needs. And we did that even before Hyperion created it in 2004!

the freelance Essbase guru

Our Oracle Essbase solution at the bank turned out to be very successful. More and more business units were added to the platform. I transformed into the bank’s trusted Essbase guru and my confidence grew to such an extent that I found myself ready to start as a freelancer in 2006. As an Essbase specialist I joined a group of Dutch consultants with a very good reputation in Essbase performance tuning.

I discovered there was even more to learn about Essbase and Hyperion Planning. I only needed to accept the fact there was still much more to learn. As part of their group I implemented, tuned and redesigned over tens of Hyperion Planning implementations bringing relief to clients and partners that were struggling with non-working and non-performing Essbase solutions.

Arthur is one of the most experienced Essbase consultants in The Netherlands. I already knew that we would get quality in our team if Arthur helped us, but I had some doubts if he would fit in our team. Sometimes I see consultants acting all on their own. I have seen that before and I was afraid that would happen now as well. But when I saw Arthur coaching my team and bringing them up-to-speed on Essbase I knew I found the exception to the rule. Really fantastic to experience that. BTW. We became supplier of the year for our specific client.

Michiel Hilberts, EY Advisory 2016

As the years passed by, I expected Essbase to slowly fade away in the mayhem of new EPM products entering the market. I still kept on doing Essbase work, but I was also betting on other “horses”. I even became a reseller of Jedox for a couple of years – as I expected companies to crave on affordable planning solutions over the expensive one Oracle delivered. That turned out to be completely different than expected in several ways. Firstly, companies, especially the large ones, love to work with vendors like Oracle over relatively small companies such as Jedox. And secondly, Oracle brought PBCS to the marketplace, effectively competing on price with products like Jedox, One Stream, TM1, Tagetik and the like. The product itself being a triple A quality product.

the birth of an idea

In 2016, I got my epiphany. I was asked to help out a big consultancy firm in The Netherlands. They were doing a Hyperion Planning project for a foreign telecom provider that had settled in Amsterdam. O boy, what was I overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety I found at their side. Everything caused by an ill-designed Essbase solution (created by the predecessor). All the signs were there; the existing externally hired support team was stressed, did not work together, took limited responsibility and had no clue as how to solve the current disaster. Luckily, I started as being part of a fresh, enthusiast team which was willing to learn. And we (eventually) managed to redesigning the solution while keeping the existing “train” running.

It was a bumpy road. And I realized again that Hyperion Planning projects could be really nightmares for the inexperienced. I think it is a shame when I see clever consultants run away from Essbase or from writing business rules. While it is all about the knowledge – or the lack thereof – on how to design a good Essbase solution. It can be so much easier with almost no stress. You just have to know a little bit about the peculiarities of Essbase and follow some design rules. Also, the right mindset is paramount.

why not share all my “secrets”?

So here I am. Still going strong on Essbase. And with Oracle almost adding more and more cloud solutions that have Essbase at its core, it is the perfect time for you to study how Essbase works and to learn how to build really effective Essbase models. I am more than willing to help, to coach and to share my knowledge with you so you will become the trusted Essbase hero for your organization.

Just for the record (but you can find this on LinkedIn too), here are some examples of companies I helped improving performance: Goodyear, ABN Amro, Levi’s, Shurgard, Technical University Eindhoven, Vimpelcom/Veon, Schiphol Airport, Qatar Steel, Akzo Nobel

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about the author
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Arthur van den Berg

LinkedIn

I love the calculation power of Essbase and the financial problems you can solve with it. I have developed, implemented and improved dozens of EPM solutions with Essbase at its core and I love sharing what I learned with professionals that need to build and/or support these solutions.

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