All Good Projects Must Come to an End

By: Cathye Pendley
July 2, 2020

Saying goodbye to the Sunoco FAMIS project…

I was hired by Vlamis back in 2004 to work on the migration of an outdated Oracle Express, PCX 5.0 installation to the “new” Oracle OLAP 10g.  It was for an oil company, Sunoco, that I had not heard of, based in Philadelphia.  This Cowboys-raised Texas girl was going to work with Eagles fans. It had the makings for the shortest project ever! Little did I know then that it would be the start of a long-term, rewarding relationship.

The Oracle Express application, FAMIS, was a combination of hundreds of individual applications, each with its own OLAP cube.  This complex application allowed users to modify current applications and build new ones on the fly.  When migrating to Oracle OLAP 10g, all of the data and most of the programs and calculations just worked.  It took two to three years to build a front-end tool that would give users the flexibility they had with the original FAMIS application.  I spent another year supporting the application and hiring and training my replacement.  While I officially rolled off the project in 2008, I spent the next several years providing miscellaneous support with the team. 

Sunoco came back to us in 2014 with a request to complete an assessment on migrating the FAMIS application out of Oracle OLAP 10g.  The assessment was completed, but changes within the organization put a hold on the migration project.  Finally, in 2016, Sunoco decided that all financial reporting would be done using SAP, but no history would be migrated.  We were bought back out to migrate the history out of the OLAP cubes and put it into relational tables.  We created a process to automate the migration of 100 plus applications from OLAP cubes into relational star schemas.  Because of delays in the SAP project, we worked intermittently for almost 4 years migrating the applications.

We finished migrating the last application in May 2020. The FAMIS application was decommissioned on July 1, 2020 and the team that supported FAMIS is now retired.  It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time to say goodbye.

What are a few things I learned from 16 years of working with Sunoco?

  1. The OLAP cube programs work from version to version with few changes, PCX 5.0 to Oracle OLAP 12c.

  2. Oracle has some cool technology to assist you with migrating the data out of an Oracle OLAP cube and putting it into a relational star schema.

  3. Creating good metadata lets you rebuild reports without viewing the original versions. We were actually able to build reports that looked just like the ones in FAMIS, including formatting, using Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE) going against Oracle 12c relational tables.

Even more impressive than the technology, though, were the people that I was able to work with.  Some I worked with the entire time, others came and went, but they all were friends. I experienced personal growth I never would have gained had I not been fortunate enough to experience the real Philadelphia.

  1. Philadelphia is an old, historic city and a must-see for any history buff.

  2. Do not judge all people by some of the fans you see on T.V.  Everyone I worked with was supportive and caring.  I consider them all friends.

  3. You can find “Southern Hospitality” even up north.  For you non-believers, go to Ristorante Pesto in South Philly.  Though it is just a couple of miles from where the Eagles play, they treat you like family. Even if you are from Texas!

Happy retirement to FAMIS and all my friends who have supported the application for years.  My dear friends,  I will call you when I am back in Philly and we can meet up at Ristorante Presto.


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