Palo just got a big boost!

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  • Palo just got a big boost!

    With yesterday's takeover of Applix by Cognos there is a large body of developers out there wondering what to do in the event that Cognos quietly rips out the guts of TM1 and ends its life as an independent product. In particular, how to leverage the skill sets that they have built up over the years.

    It seems to me that a professionally developed open source product which shares much of the design DNA with TM1 might be the answer.

    I would be surprised to find that we don't get an influx of interested TM1 developers and partners round here before too long.
    Best wishes

    John Hobson
    The Planning Factory, Lytham, UK
    www.planfact.co.uk
  • RE: Palo just got a big boost!

    Hello Gregc,

    Actually our manual should be also helpful for beginners. If you have some
    difficulties you should point that out and we will try to amend that in the
    manual. - This forum is also a place to ask real beginner questions.

    Another opportunity would be to get personal Palo training. We offer
    Palo training in Frankfurt, but we have also partner in Australia.
    Get in contact with Jedox if you are interested.

    Regards,
    Stephanie
  • RE: Palo just got a big boost!

    Greg,

    If you are building Excel applications, the MIS example that Jedox provides is a good starter to see how to build nice looking apps. It helps with the data in/data out that you need to get the basics done.

    If you go beyond the simple into fully fledged star schemas, then the attributes are pretty good for storing the dimension characteristics that you need.

    David
    David
  • RE: Palo just got a big boost!

    Stephanie,

    A huge value from Palo is the ability to integrate Excel with MOLAP data. However, there is not much information about designing efficient, very rapid response solutions.

    First, if Jedox can provide guidelines for building efficient Excel workbooks (data extraction as well as data input) you would really enable developers to take applications to the user community - and, as Hyperion found out, you can have the power endusers adopt Palo to enhance their applications. Things I am struggling with revolve around do I need many workbooks, many worksheets within one workbook, one 'globals' workbook for reference, a 'globals' worksheet on every workbook, ...

    Second, Kristian said this when I met him that Palo can enable Excel to provide one view of the real data instead of the terrible time most users have now. If you do not use Palo, users must rely on a rigorous versioning system to ensure data reliability. With Palo, there is one data source. But this means that there must be a very efficient client server architecture as well as a very good implementation approach that optimizes data transfer between Palo and Excel. For static cubes (dimension elements don't change much), we might be ok. For dynamic cubes, we need both Palo processing efficiency as well as very efficient data transport.

    With these two things being said, I would suggest the following:

    1. Take the MIS workbook that you provide for download and document how you built it including the tricks you used to get good response performance. Add examples on how to work with attributes.
    2. Take the MIS workbook and provide a no-cost or low cost test host so that users can see how to implement client server applications.
    3. As you do with your manual, provide appendices that show how you built the MIS workbook along with your considerations for performance and functionality.
    4. As you do with your manual, provide appendices that show how to build the client server interfaces.
    5. Provide an appendix that provides tips on how to maximize Palo performance for Excel, Excel & VBA, Java, PHP, ...

    I believe that there is a large, very experienced and very busy community who could give you lots of input for item 5.

    I will be at the Palo conference and will meet you there.

    I also will volunteer some time to help organize some of this work - I spent many years as a product manager so, given some very smart technical people, I can help enhance Palo for users as well as accelerating Palo's penetration into the US technical community.

    Ciao,

    David
    David
  • Hi,

    I tried sometimes to use PALO as MOLAP Database Engine but I always stopped while it was not so easy to have in a very dynamic environment: Update every day all fact and dimensions and the dimensions are not static with data from a full production crm system.

    With SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services and DTS it is always a very simple task with can be automatic scheduled in the night. With SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SSIS it is also possible a little bit more difficult but it works.

    With PALO always have problem to have data from a CRM system automatic added in the PALO facts and dimensions. I know there is Imppalo but I never get it working.

    I know PALO can be compared with SQL Server 2000/2005 Analysis Services and should be compared with more CPM systems but If there is a more easy ETL tool I am sure more people will use PALO as their MOLAP server.

    For testing PALO as server on internet you can use a VPS for 1 or more months for a price of 24/50 usd / month:
    - VPSland.com
    - PowerVPS.com

    We have great experience with powervps.com Windows + PALO + WokrsheetServer.

    Marco
  • RE: Palo just got a big boost!

    Hello David,

    Thank you for your suggestions! We continue to enhance our
    documentation permanently and take every suggestion and criticism
    into account to improve Palo and its documentation.
    We need the Palo community to provide us with this feedback, the Palo
    User Conference 2007 is also a perfect place to do that.

    Thanks for offering your help, we will talk about that soon!

    Regards,
    Stephanie
  • Good one Pommie!

    This is interesting:

    "Leading independent provider of BI solutions firm, Microstrategy, said that less vendor choice, would mean that that the bargaining position of consumers would weaken, both in their demands for new software capabilities and in their ability to negotiate a best price."

    But once consumers start to see viable Open Source solutions, their bargaining position will strengthen. We just have to keep spreading the word. It may take a bit more time, but there sure seems to be a lot more activity on this forum.

    That is a good sign!
  • I wonder where forum members see the opportunities for Palo, is it ...

    In larger enterprises currently the bailiwick of the big beasts such as Essbase/MS Analytical Services.

    Or

    In the mid sector, where the likes of TM1, PowerOLAP hold sway.

    Or

    Is it for those "EXCEL only" companies (mainly small but some medium sized as well) that currently do not use any MOLAP (or indeed any BI) technologies.

    Tom
  • I think that initially Palo will have more success in smaller businesses, but if it continues to develop at its current speed then it will become a very serious contender for any point planning solutions out there regardless of business size.

    BI reporting solutions are out there in huge numbers. Flexible, easy to use, cost effective modelling and planning solutions are much rarer. This is where PALO can get real traction IMHO as long as the rules engine has sufficient power to deal with complex calculations.

    The speed of development that I have seen here is amazing - We have, for example, been waiting for nearly 5 years for TM1 to give us an undo spread. It looks like it will be in PALO within the next few weeks! I am tremendously impressed with what has been delivered so far and hope that the PALO team an keep up this pace of delivery.

    What is particularly impressive is the focus on real BI needs and not flash demo ware - maybe that's another hidden benefit of open source?
    Best wishes

    John Hobson
    The Planning Factory, Lytham, UK
    www.planfact.co.uk
  • Hi Tom,

    Like John I’ve been working with TM1 for many years and I am also impressed by PALO in terms of the speed of development and the focus on delivering functionality instead of shiny icons and stuff.

    We currently offer PALO as our preferred MOLAP database/tool in the market space where we previously offered TM1, but also in the markets where a tool like TM1 would be way to expensive or where there is a special bias to open source software (like government). Our business model has changed in a way that our focus is more on services and less on software sales.

    I think that from PALO 3.0 (datacenter edition) PALO can also be offered in the Essbase (high data volumes) market space. This is however not only a technical thing, it is also a marketing issue as Essbase is strong in Finance and Finance people tend to have a preference to pay for software (for this we sometimes call PALO ‘super-Escrow’ instead of 'Open Source’). Also the ‘shiny icons and stuff’ will help here – a tool like the upcoming Cubeware Cockpit 6 makes PALO look very sexy.


    Michel Zijlema
    BI-Team
  • Having worked with Essbase I can confirm that finance staff would rather give you their first-born rather than give up "their Essbase". All the "jazz" that the Hyperion merger added counted for nothing with most hard-core users, it was the Excel fronted MOLAP cubes that counted. As for Oracle, I'm guessing like with most of their recent acquisitions their intention is to milk the product's 'high-rent' value among the Fortune-500 set.

    I too originally looked on Palo as poor-man's MOLAP especially before the addition of a rules-engine, but this and the fact that 64bit machines are now becoming common place is slowly turning Palo into a serious contender for all organisations, small and large.

    Tom
  • The small(er) companies who are still using just excel are the most underserved market and would benefit the most from Palo, in my humble opinion. I am consistently suprised by how many <$500 million companies still rely on Excel only to do much of their financal reporting and budgeting. In fact, it seems many of the large and mid-market players see this also, and are moving further and further downstream to reach these small companies. It is the same in the ERP market where we are seeing more and more commercials for SAP targeting smaller companies.

    I agree with Michel that there are big Marketing challenges as well and not only for the large current installations of other tools. I think there are marketing challenges for small companies who:

    1. Do not even know that there are cost effective alternatives to just using Excel. How can I reach these folks?
    <or>
    2. Have some idea that there are BI tools out there to help, but think Essbase, Cognos, BusObj, etc only and think they are too expensive and take too long.

    PALO is really a no-brainer for some of these companies, it is just a matter of finding them and getting an audience with the right people. The key may be a OLAP Sales Executive with a huge rolodex. :)