Tuesday, March 02, 2010

State of the OBIEE Market

So 2010 is now fully in swing and wow is it swinging!



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.


Consultant Supply

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.



Skills


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.



Recruiting

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

Not an OBIEE blog posting

This is just too weird....


But looks like I am vain enough to pass it on

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

OBIEE Recruiting

Below is the ad we just posted on Jobserve.

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.

(what do you think of the ad? Too geeky, not enough, too salesy?)

....


Senior OBIEE Developer

Contract/Permanent
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
  • Testing

When you provide details - could you please outline how you went about:
  • Converting user requirements
  • Creating the design
  • Developing the solution
  • Testing
  • Implementation


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

It's Movember

Sorry but I can't stay quiet any longer. I've had enough.

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

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