Tuesday, 16 December 2014

OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

Sixth and last chapter of session Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution outlines implementation steps to achieve a first production rollout of a revised OBIEE repository fulfilling client's needs. Please follow our OBIEE project series presenting our process for solving typical OBIEE project issues:

1. OBIEE Project Success - Introduction
2. OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests
3. OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios
4. OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach
5. OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment
6. OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

What did we do until now? Coming from a concrete defect description and a list of nonexistent OBIEE functionalities we implement a prototype to show the client that OBIEE fulfills his requirements. At the same time we analyze previous supplier's OBIEE repository, elaborate a turn-around plan based on proven OBIEE implementation principles and provide a detailed effort estimation for further tasks (phase 6 described below). Time frame to accomplish phase 1 up to 5 is just a few days of work.

We start to build a running OBIEE solution utilizing gathered topics in prior phases. Of course that's not just configuring the OBIEE repository, we create detailed design documents and establish coding standards. Don't wonder that we introduce coding standard in a software which is just configured. You may ask "Is it really necessary?" - Yes, it is. Additionally it's crucial to:
  • Create a new OBIEE repository. Changing the previous one will take much more time and the risk of failure increases.
  • Use existing data warehouse tables for your OBIEE logical model even if they should be changed to get an optimized or correct data model. Tables are only changed if it's absolutely necessary. OBIEE is able to handle such a situation and changing OBIEE configuration later causes not too much effort. Data warehouse tables changes can be done after first rollout. We avoid to generate data warehouse process change effort at this point, because focus is still to have the first OBIEE repository running after at most two or three weeks.
Of course we identify and define an optimized data warehouse model for OBIEE in parallel, but corresponding tasks are fulfilled later. In general the current phase occurs near to important project milestone. So it's perhaps necessary to implement an interim solution. Don't care, OBIEE is flexible enough to do so with very reduced extra cost.

When first production rollout is achieved we apply regular process cycles to the project. In parallel we solve errors identified across the complete BI and DWH stack in prior phases and start to consider new or changed business requirements as we have now a sound basis to release the full power of OBIEE. During all the time we stay in close contact to business users to verify functional and nonfunctional requirements continuously.

Is it possible to recognize aberration early?
Situations as described in this OBIEE project series shouldn't occur, but they do. You can follow some rules to avoid and recognize such trends, especially when projects will be in development phases for months:
  • BI projects must be independent from other IT projects. Don't force them to be just sub-projects of any other software launch.
  • Perform rollout extreme having two week cycles for delivering new or changed functionality to end users.
  • Support and evolve agility between IT and business (see our presentation Self Service BI with Oracle BI)
  • Create know-how early (see article OBIEE End User Training Concept).
Why? Because proper OBIEE structure supports agility and high reactivity.

Any questions? We provide Oracle BI expert support & coaching regarding all relevant OBIEE topics like architecture, security, configuration, reporting and mobile.

Monday, 15 December 2014

OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment

The fifth chapter of session Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution covers criteria for fast OBIEE project success and outlines our OBIEE repository assessment approach. Please follow our OBIEE project series presenting our process for solving typical OBIEE project issues:

1. OBIEE Project Success - Introduction
2. OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests
3. OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios
4. OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach
5. OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment
6. OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

Till now we just described preliminary work. Starting point was to understand client needs and giving a preview of what we will deliver by creating a prototype at low cost. Next goal is to deliver a technically executable Oracle BI system on the existing client data warehouse. Effort is estimated within previous turn-around approach phase. Again, don't focus business requirements at present to avoid failure. Focus is to create a running OBIEE solution observing standard IT success criteria: correctness, stability, performance, fault tolerance and ability for cost-saving modification.

Those criteria having specific characteristics in OBIEE build the basis for Oracle BI repository analysis and further development. A good starting point is a really bad OBIEE repository example:

Bad OBIEE repository

It really makes no sense to go into detail when seeing such a OBIEE repository implementation. It's not faked and we saw such implementations several times. No criterion mentioned above is met. As OBIEE expert you just need to open it and your validation is finished. The following OBIEE basic criteria are not or only partially observed.

OBIEE Physical Layer
OBIEE physical layer represents data warehouse physical, multidimensional data model. Data model is created by using Aliases. Aliases must be used to apply join definitions, build instances, avoid circle joins and fast replacement of tables. We already saw duplication of database tables instead of using aliases.

Of course data types like DOUBLE or DATETIME should be set to INT and DATE if applicable from a business perspective due to usability reasons. A proper OBIEE physical layer design allows project initialization and start without data warehouse tables.

OBIEE Business Model and Mapping Layer (Logical Layer)
OBIEE logical layer isn't just a copy of physical layer although a lot of developers seem to think it is. You should create a logical, multidimensional model consisting of logical tables perhaps combining several physical sources (which represent one logical entity), figures within facts and dimensional hierarchies (one per dimension). Only a full dimensional hierarchy model enables correct level setting, aggregation, time series, drill and multi star queries.

Define and implement logical separation of dimensions and facts. We know that OBIEE is able to handle attribute fields in logical facts tables (but this functionality shouldn't be used, because several restrictions in design and implementation flexibility come along with it). Coming from a logical perspective a fact table has no attributes and no keys. Logical facts tables hold data to be aggregated. That's it, nothing to be discussed about it! Of course, physical fact tables provide attributes and figure columns.

OBIEE Presentation Layer
Few configuration is normally done in OBIEE presentation layer. But don't forget to set implicit fact column, because there is no direct binding between subject areas and logical tables (the reason why OBIEE is able to perform cross subject area navigation). Dimension and fact ordering should follow optimized usability aspects.

Subject area granularity should follow business usage. Don't create subject areas providing a lot of presentation tables which aren't used together. Utilize multilingualism only if really needed. Field names are set in OBIEE logical layer.

General Topics
Based on these criteria we start to build a new OBIEE repository (see next and last chapter of OBIEE project series). General topics like security model beyond standard model which isn't sufficient for enterprise usage (access to OBIEE components, subject areas and data), cache management and coding standards aren't yet covered. But they need to after first rollout is done.

Just to let you and what we already saw sometimes: OBIEE server cache isn't purged when server is restarted :-)

Any questions? We provide Oracle BI expert support & coaching regarding all relevant OBIEE topics like architecture, security, configuration, reporting and mobile.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach

In the fourth chapter of session Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution we describe our approach to achieve a fast turn-around concerning clients expectations regarding OBIEE. Please follow our OBIEE project series presenting our process for solving typical OBIEE project issues:

1. OBIEE Project Success - Introduction
2. OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests
3. OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios
4. OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach
5. OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment
6. OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

As shown until now we just know what's going wrong for ourselves and we have an overview of items to solve. It's very important to understand the full band width of expectations on OBIEE from a client perspective. Thus we do the following:
  • First step is to get a clear picture. We organize a workshop to understand all needs users have concerning Oracle BI as tool. Simultaneously we produce a positive perspective on what's possible with OBIEE.
  • Second step is to build a prototype to show and prove promises given in first step. We present missing functionalities recognized during workshop and first contact sessions on existing client data warehouse. We always use original client data and existing database tables to illustrate the flexiblity of an elaborated OBIEE implementation process. Additionally we analyze the current OBIEE repository and data warehouse implementation in detail. On that basis we provide a project specific plan for a solution without errors.
Effort for first step is 1-2 days. Second step requires 1-3 days investment. It's crucial to focus only questions concerning OBIEE functionality, because missing functions are the root cause for customers' issues. Mentioned business requirements can be set on a list, but they are not discussed or explicitly gathered at that point of time. Of course, business requirements are very important. But usually described tasks are done near to major project milestones, projects risks are located at tool level and you have to achieve a turn-around. Thus we request to be set into the project lead position for all steps covered by this OBIEE project series.

To complete turn-around chapter please have a look to the following OBIEE prototype example which can be build in less than one day. It gives an idea how OBIEE repository layers are structured. Applied criteria are described in fifth chapter of our OBIEE project series.

OBIEE prototype

Any questions? We provide Oracle BI expert support & coaching regarding all relevant OBIEE topics like architecture, security, configuration, reporting and mobile.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios

The third chapter of session Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution outlines typical error scenarios we recognize during our first contact with OBIEE project teams requesting support as shown in chapter 2. Please follow our OBIEE project series presenting our process for solving typical OBIEE project issues:

1. OBIEE Project Success - Introduction
2. OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests
3. OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios
4. OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach
5. OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment
6. OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

At first we ask different users and stakeholders to describe the current situation. Response is often very impressive:
  • Even simple reports are very labor-intensive.
  • All figures in OBIEE Answers (or newer Analysis ;-) ) need to be created by users themselves, because supplier says that's the only way to create calculations.
  • Detailed data is not available dynamically.
  • Star schema combination isn’t possible.
  • Excel is much more powerful than OBIEE Answers.
In the end normal business users cannot build any report although - to be honest - they just request for standard BI functionality. Stop the project would be understandable. So, our next step is to find out the reasons. But already after first interviews it's certain to say without a deeper analysis:
  • For item 1-3: OBIEE configuration is technically wrong and previous developers didn't understand OBIEE multilevel calculation logic.
  • For item 4: OBIEE is at least incomplete configured.
  • To solve item 5 users typically need some expert training. Please have a look to our presentation Tricks with Oracle BI Answers and training class OBIEE Analyses Insights.
To get a full picture of the situation we take a first look into OBIEE repository configuration for just a short time. Image shows a section of presentation layer from a German OBIEE project acting as basis for our series:

Bad OBIEE presentation layer example

Our assumptions are confirmed just verifying such a small section. It's a really nice example for a bad OBIEE repository presentation layer implementation:
  • There are technical names at GUI level.
  • No business structure is applied (dimension attributes are mixed).
  • No time dimension or figures are available.
It's obvious after the first analysis why OBIEE cannot work as it should. We will see the whole OBIEE repository configuration in one of the following series articles. As next step we describe our turn-around approach. For now we just know what's wrong, but customers need to be sure that it's worth to go ahead with OBIEE.

Any questions? We provide Oracle BI expert support & coaching regarding all relevant OBIEE topics like architecture, security, configuration, reporting and mobile.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests

The second chapter of session Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution discusses the way how clients describe their issues when trying to manage their current project situation. Please follow our OBIEE project series presenting our process for solving typical OBIEE project issues:

1. OBIEE Project Success - Introduction
2. OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests
3. OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios
4. OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach
5. OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment
6. OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

Customer requests nearly always seem to be quite simple in the beginning. Just two examples what clients ask for in OBIEE projects already taking about 6 months up to 3 years implementation time:
  • Oracle BI query performance is completely unacceptable: generated SQL queries are slow and SQL code covers several pages.
  • Business wants to use Oracle Smart View for Office: users want to use Excel pivot tables and they need the ability to calculate their own figures.
What's really amazing at this point - without talking to the customer in detail - is the fact that the client wants to have a new supplier to solve the issues, because the current one already failed several times. If issues described would be the root cause then solving would be easy. Assume that the client has a structural problem in his current OBIEE solution. Coming from the examples you can say:
  • OBIEE performance is more a structural factor than a detailed one, e.g. to find a missing database index isn't really difficult or time-consuming for an expert. If already simple queries from a business perspective are slow and OBIEE generates several pages of SQL code for these queries then the probability for a wrong OBIEE configuration and a crude data warehouse design is very high. By the way, a real expert will deliver a system with good performance from the beginning. He tells you what to do to achieve acceptable OBIEE performance beforehand.
  • It's the same for using OBIEE Smart View as described above. OBIEE pivot functionality is really good and calculation of your own figures within OBIEE is a standard functionality. So, if the client solution doesn't provide such functionalities then there is at least an OBIEE training gap or in the worst case Oracle BI is configured that bad that it cannot unfold its power.
To summarize, we didn't talk to the client concerning any details till now. Already such requests are suspicious, because the issues described don't fit into a state-of-the-art OBIEE configuration. The next part of our OBIEE project series will describe how we manage the first contact with business users and stakeholders. Series content is based exemplarily on the second example above.

Any questions? We provide Oracle BI expert support & coaching regarding all relevant OBIEE topics like architecture, security, configuration, reporting and mobile.

Monday, 8 December 2014

OBIEE Project Success - Introduction

We recently presented at the German Oracle User conference DOAG 2014 on two OBIEE topics. We decided to share the details of session Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution to the OBIEE community in a series of blog posts:

1. OBIEE Project Success - Introduction
2. OBIEE Projects - Suspect Requests
3. OBIEE Projects - Typical Error Scenarios
4. OBIEE Projects - Turn-Around Approach
5. OBIEE Projects - Criteria for Fast Success and Assessment
6. OBIEE Projects - Solution Process

All information we provide comes from our real OBIEE projects. We win about 50 percent of our new clients having issues when introducing Oracle BI with other parties as they know we provide real expert OBIEE solutions. We describe the whole solution process from the first contact via our assessment and change process up to the rollout of a state-of-the-art OBIEE implementation.

When having a look to BI market and surveys concerning Oracle BI (OBIEE) we often read statements like:
  • "Oracle BI was the wrong decision!"
  • "It's really cumbersome to work with."
  • "OBIEE has low flexibility and development is very expensive."
What a bad rating! We would agree with each client when he stops using OBIEE. We would rather recommend to quit their OBIEE projects. But are such statements really the truth?

When clients ask us to take over OBIEE projects described by this series they often think about stopping the projects with Oracle BI due to the same reasons respectively statements. To let you know in the beginning, not one of our clients in such a situation stopped his OBIEE project. As far as we can say based on our experience all such bad rated OBIEE projects have the same origin or reason for failure.

Therefore our OBIEE session mentioned above and the series articles cover the work with OBIEE as tool. We do not deal with issues on BI requirements engineering which would be a separate interesting topic to discuss. That's it for the first article. Please look forward to our next article coming in a day or two. If interested then please have a look to OBIEE Client Success and Typical Issues and Solving OBIEE Issues which highlight related questions.

Any questions? We provide Oracle BI expert support & coaching regarding all relevant OBIEE topics like architecture, security, configuration, reporting and mobile.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Oracle BI Analyses Insights - Private Class

Hopefully you are already informed about our OBIEE expert class Oracle BI Analyses Insights for End Users showing Oracle BI users what's the real power of OBIEE. In November we had the chance to deliver the training at a customer site in Munich as a private class. It was very exciting for our official Oracle BI Expert Trainer and managing director Gerd to see how the training concept empowers a client's users when discussing internal questions from his own application in addition to the OBIEE expert training topics.

Scheduled class feedback is already very impressive. Learn more about our OBIEE expert knowledge when reading the feedback from the attendees:

"Very substantiated knowledge and a great many interesting tricks which I will try out soon. Some topics I solved myself much more laborious. I will change such solutions now."

"Absolute recommendation!! Reason: very use-oriented."

"High level. Excellent expert knowledge."

We appreciate if you are interested in our OBIEE expert event. Please contact us for more details via +49 (0) 8709 / 915 202 or training@ga-itbs.de.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

DOAG 2014 - What Happened!

DOAG 2014 - OBIEE project successThe German Oracle User Group (DOAG) conference DOAG 2014 isn't finished yet, but I already had to leave. It was very nice to meet my OBIEE clients, partners and new contacts interested in the OBIEE solutions we provide.

Please find below presentation slides of my OBIEE sessions. If there are any questions or you want me to give one of my presentations at your site, then please just contact me:
Many thanks to Christian for providing this nice picture.

Enjoy OBIEE,
Gerd

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Oracle BI Bundle Patch OBIEE 11.1.1.7.141014

The new bundle patch set for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Oracle Exalytics OBIEE 11.1.1.7.141014 was released recently.

Detailed patch description on Oracle Support: OBIEE 11g 11.1.1.7.141014 Bundle Patch is Available for Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition and Exalytics.

Further information on the current bundle patch respectively on OBIEE 11g patch sets:

OBIEE 11g: Bugs Fixed in 11.1.1.7.141014
OBIEE 11g: Required and Recommended Bundle Patches and Patch Sets
Overview of Available Update Patches for Oracle BI Publisher Enterprise 11g

Friday, 10 October 2014

OBIEE Analyses Online Seminar

Do you know everything about creating analyses with OBIEE? Some participants of our Oracle University class Oracle BI Analyses Insights for End Users work with OBIEE since years. Find out their comments after attending the class:

Eric B.: “This seminar shows solutions you cannot find yourself, even if you attended all trainings.”

Sara B.: “This seminar is outstanding to get an overview on how a company can build reports efficiently. A lot of useful tips and new knowledge, a brilliant course!”

Joerg A.: “The online seminar was very helpful for us, because we are just preparing the rollout of OBIEE. The seminar gave us helpful tips and tricks we didn’t know till now!”

Johan D.: “The training is very good. The trainer gives time to ask questions.”

Reinhold S.: “Good is the practical relevance and the expert knowledge in customer contact.”

The seminar is scheduled next on the 14-Nov-2014 as online class. Take this chance to learn how to create powerful analyses with OBIEE and register today at Oracle University. Additional information:

Thursday, 2 October 2014

OBIEE Setting Data Format for Dates

For sure you know the situation having a date field like Order Date which provides date information in DateTime format. In such a case the user should be able to decide if Date or DateTime format is used, because both possibilities may apply.

Thus, your OBIEE application will provide those date fields in DateTime format. Otherwise users won't be able to access the time information. Date data format for reports not needing time information needs to be changed via Column Properties.

When implementing reports for users using Oracle BI in different languages you will lose locale settings if you select a specific date format, e.g. MM/DD/YYYY or any other from the date format list below.

OBIEE Date Data Format

To avoid lose of locale setting select Custom and insert as Custom Date Format:

[FMT:dateShort]

OBIEE Custom Date Data Format

Tip: If you just want to see time information use [FMT:time]. Run your report, go to My Account, change the locate and reload OBIEE analysis results. Date format appears in locale selected.

OBIEE My Account Locale

Interested in some more end user topics? Check out Oracle BI useful things.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

OBIEE Monitoring - Rating

Not long ago we released version 2 of our OBIEE performance and usage trend monitoring solution. In the meantime several interested parties send us a request to get the solution package and we installed it ourselves in our clients' OBIEE environments.

Naturally we'd like to share with you how OBIEE managers, architects, developers and administrators rate the reports provided:
  • "Really great! Thanks a lot for this free service."
  • "Outstanding!"
  • "It works like a charm!"
  • "Quite informative!"
 So, don't hesitate! Review functionalities and start using it!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

OBIEE Dashboard Prompt and Between Operator

OBIEE dashboard prompts can be configured to provide filters with operator BETWEEN. Image below shows an example on a day column.

OBIEE Dashboard Prompt

After applying a low and a high value the query returns all rows with dates between low and high value including the edges, e.g.:

DAY BETWEEN low AND high

There are two additional options to utilise the between operator in OBIEE dashboard prompts without changing the operator in the prompt itself. You can just insert the low or the high value to get query behaviour as follows:

DAY >= low
DAY <= high

Inserting just the low respectively left value turns the between operator into a greater than or equal operator. Applying the high/right value means to run a query with less than or equal operator. Of course, you can allow the user to select the operator via a dashboard prompt operator select list. That depends on your dashboard requirement. Be aware that using greater or less than operators in a selection may result in decrease of query performance.

Interested in some more end user topics? Check out Oracle BI useful things.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Top 4 BI Articles

Based on the all-time blog statistics the most popular posts are:

1. Oracle BI Useful Things
2. OBIEE Performance Monitoring (Version 1)
3. BI Success Factors
4. OBIEE Mobile App Designer v2

And of course you should know our BI video.

Friday, 12 September 2014

OBIEE Performance and Usage Trend Monitoring v2.0

As already OBIEE Performance Monitoring v1.1 also version 2.0 of our Oracle BI monitoring solution is deployed completely free of charge! Find the details for obtaining the configuration files at the end of this article.

As v1.1 focuses on performance monitoring coming from a SLA perspective version 2.0 introduces some usage trend reports and a more detailed prompt for filtering queries. Please refer to documentation of version 1.1 for performance monitoring reports' functionalities. As optimal OBIEE performance corresponds to optimal handling by users please have a look to our Oracle BI training bundle for introducing OBIEE to end users implementing a particular training concept and our Oracle University OBIEE Analyses Insights expert seminar.

OBIEE performance and usage trend monitoring is solely based on Oracle BI Usage Tracking. You can obtain everything described below for free (please refer to the end of the post).

Monitoring Prompt
OBIEE monitoring dashboard prompt now provides several filter possibilities to be able to search for detailed data. Thus you can for example analyse the origin of concrete performance issues or you can have a look to certain areas of interest.

OBIEE Monitoring Prompt

Fields provided for filtering the monitoring reports are:
Year: year of query start date
Quarter: quarter of query start date
Month: month of query start date
Subject Area: the subject area of a query
Dashboard Catalog Area: root catalog path of dashboard location, e.g. /shared/OBIEE_UK/
Analysis Catalog Area: root catalog path of analysis location, e.g. /users/gerd/
Dashboard Name: the name of a dashboard
Analysis Name: the name of an analysis
User Id: user login
Day: a between filter for day level searching

Not all filters make sense for each analysis. But just don't use them in such a case. Catalog Area filters are very helpful when restricting queries to certain catalog storage locations. Keep in mind that filtering on Dashboard Catalog Area only returns queries initiated from opening a dashboard or dashboard page while Analysis Catalog Area calculates on queries released from a dashboard or from the OBIEE catalog. Ad hoc reports not saved in the catalog are not longer considered then.

Usage per Queries
Usage trend per queries shows number of queries within a time period (month, quarter or year). Charts illustrate overall query number, query numbers by dashboard, catalog and ad hoc usage and percentage share of these categories.

OBIEE Usage Trend per Queries I

OBIEE Usage Trend per Queries II

Category figures are mutually exclusive. They are calculated as follows:
Dashboard Query #: number of queries initiated from a dashboard
Analysis Query #: number of queries initiated from the catalog and not from a dashboard
Ad hoc Query #: number of queries initiated neither from the catalog nor from a dashboard

Usage per Users
Trend per users equals ot usage trend per queries. Figures are based on distinct active users. Percentage share of categories doesn't apply here, because calculation isn't mutually exclusive for user numbers. A user can use Oracle BI in each category, therefore sum of the three categories is most likely greater than User #.

OBIEE Usage Trend per Users

Period offers Start Hour. When combining start hour with day filter prompt (e.g. filter on today) you can see how many users are active intraday.

Usage per Top 10 Analyses
Top 10 analyses by number of queries including runtime average and average of data rows selected (due to privacy we cannot show names in the table chart).

OBIEE Usage per Top 10 Analyses

Usage per Top 10 Dashboards
Top 10 dashboards by number of queries including runtime average and average of data rows selected (due to privacy we cannot show names in the table chart).

OBIEE Usage per Top 10 Dashboards

Release Notes v2.0
The reports are integrated into two dashboards separated by performance and usage trend. Oracle BI repository and reports are based on OBIEE 11.1.1.7.1. For installation or downgrading support just contact us.

Please feel free to send us your specific analysis requests for Oracle BI report performance and usage trend monitoring. We will try to integrate them in the next release.

Obtain OBIEE Performance and Usage Trend Monitoring
As already mentioned we provide all relevant configuration files completely for free. Just contact us or send an e-mail to info@ga-itbs.de. Please provide your company contact data. We don't use the data for marketing purposes. We just want to know who is using our OBIEE monitoring solution.

Please add us to your network: TwitterLinkedInFacebookGoogle+
We will share additional information, updates, etc. via our social sites.

We allow you to use and modify our solution fully or partially. You can provide it for free to your clients. In any case you agree to our terms of use as follows and you will integrate terms and conditions into each of your OBIEE monitoring analysis based on ideas or code from our solution (just copy it from the Static Text view of one of our reports):

© OBIEE monitoring v2.0 by G.A. itbs GmbH - OBIEE expert training and consulting. Terms of use: Free of charge if this declaration, copyright and links above are not removed. Reselling prohibited. We disclaim all implied warranties with regard to this monitoring model or any analyses based on this subject area. You agree to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless from any liability, loss, claim and expense (including reasonable legal fees) related to the use of this software. You can change the implementation and/or provide it to your clients if these terms and conditions are observed and agreed by all parties involved. Furthermore terms will be integrated into each OBIEE monitoring analysis based on ideas or code from this solution. Documentation and updates are provided in our blog.

Friday, 5 September 2014

OBIEE Change Field Content

Blog article OBIEE Change Analysis Subject Area mentions by the way that you should use Column Formula editor for replacing field content in Oracle BI Answers. Main reason for this approach is to keep appearance of all views where field reference is used. You just want to change the field to show any other content having no effect on analysis' design. If you use the Delete button and add new columns again, then you must edit all views where field should be inserted. In most cases you will addtionally lose some nice settings in your views.

Let's take a simple selection of fields:


You possibly assume that fields shown link directly to the content delivered by OBIEE. That's not the case. Each field section just represents a specific column. It's a reference which is applied to the views in results tab. You can substitute the source of this reference. Subsitution doesn't affect view references. Therefore you don't lose any view settings when changing the source. Press Edit formula in order to change e.g. Query # figure:


Section Column Formula shows the source of the reference. Use subject area navigation on the left hand side or directly type in the new source, e.g. Runtime Avg observing the correct syntax, of course:

"Fact - OBI Usage"."Runtime Avg"

Interested in some more end user topics? Check out Oracle BI useful things.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Oracle BI Mobile HD App

Oracle yesterday released new version 11.1.1.7.0.2418 of Oracle BI Mobile HD App for Apple products (see App Store). Changes are:
  • iPad: Improved Thumbnail Previews. On the iPad, thumbnail previews now refresh every time the analysis is opened. This eliminates the need to remove the app in order to clear stale previews. NOTE: For performance reasons, if a preview is less than five minutes old, it is not updated.
  • iPad: Mobile Layout. By default, analyses and dashboards open with the desktop layout on the iPad. There is now an option that allows you to toggle to the mobile layout. The layout applies to each analysis or dashboard individually, and persists for the duration the analysis or dashboard remains open. Tap Options, then tap Mobile Layout. Toggle back to Original Layout.
  • All Column Values Option for Prompts. For prompts that support the 'All Column' selection option, this is now available in Oracle BI Mobile. In the prompts dropdown, tap All Column Values to select all options at once.
  • iPhone: Spacing of icons in navigation bar. The icons in the bottom toolbar are now evenly spaced.
  • Security Toolkit Enhancement. Now when you get the security toolkit, you also get a sample XCode project along with it.
  • Bug Fixes and SSO Enhancements
Android App was updated to version 11.1.1.7.0.158 a few days earlier providing Google Search integration (see Google Play).

Saturday, 16 August 2014

OBIEE Performance Monitoring with Usage Tracking

We provide the reports below and the OBIEE repository implementation deployed completely free of charge! Find the details for obtaining them at the end of this article.

Oracle BI application operating and users often ask for a simple solution to monitor overall OBIEE analysis and report performance. Question often comes up when discussing service level agreements (SLAs) for Oracle BI. SLA discussions for BI applications can become very complex, because there are many factors which impact reporting performance like database/application server hardware, data growth, number of concurrent users and complexity of user initiated queries ... just to list a few of them. When initiating BI projects normally information on these topics isn't very accurate. Therefore sizing is often a best guess on imprecise preconditions. Furthermore you shouldn't declare "Any report must return results within 10 seconds!" in your SLAs. That's easy to break.

Well, BI and of course OBIEE solutions generally evolve. You will have to monitor and optimise performance regularly. To optimise you need to know what reports users run actually, to be able to decide if you need restructuring (physical or logical). Very often it's sufficient to help users build enhanced analyses. Therefore SLAs are nice, but they don't help you to get a long running optimal Oracle BI solution which causes lowest possible costs.

To get an OBIEE report performance overview we created an Oracle BI performance monitoring solution based on Usage Tracking. Usage Tracking is an internal OBIEE tracking component. Once activated it tracks all data on report performance. For analysing purposes no additional implementation is needed, you just need to retrieve the relevant information. You can obtain the 4 reports within a dashboard and corresponding OBIEE repository for free (see below).

Performance per Bucket
Bucket report returns performance information based on categories. The chart tells you immediately that 87% of queries succeed within 30 seconds and 96% of queries succeed within 2 minutes.

OBIEE Performance per Bucket

Detailed table provides different figures for each runtime category:
Query #: number of queries
Cache Hit #: number of queries having at least one cache hit
DB Query #: number of queries executing only database requests
RT Avg: runtime average (seconds)
RT Cache Avg: runtime average for queries having at least one cache hit
RT DB Avg: runtime average for queries executing only database requests
Rows Avg: average number of selecting data rows per query
Cache Hits per Query: average number of cache hits per query
DB Queries per Query: average number of database requests per query

Performance per Hour
Hour report shows intraday system workload and runtime average.

OBIEE Performance per Hour

Performance per Subject Area
Usage of subject areas and corresponding runtime.

OBIEE Performance per Subject Area

Performance per User
Most active users and how OBIEE system serves their requests.

OBIEE Performance per User

Release Notes v1.0
The reports are integrated in a dashboard to be able to select specific time periods. Oracle BI repository and reports are based on OBIEE 11.1.1.7.1. Reports are additionally provided in OBIEE XML structure. For installation or downgrading support just contact us.

As being the first release for OBIEE performance monitoring we are aware that there are many questions not covered yet, especially for detail reporting. Please feel free to send us your specific analysis requests for Oracle BI report performance monitoring. We will try to integrate them in the next release.

Release Notes v1.1
Added additional filters for Date, Subject Area and User Id to the dashboard prompt allowing you to query for detailed data within each analysis. This should provide good means when users complain about performance.

Obtain OBIEE Performance Monitoring
As already mentioned we provide all relevant configuration files completely for free. Just contact us or send an e-mail to info@ga-itbs.de. Please provide your company contact data. We don't use the data for marketing purposes. We just want to know who is using our OBIEE performance monitoring solution.

Please add us to your network: TwitterLinkedInFacebookGoogle+
We will share additional information, updates, etc. via our social sites.

We allow you to use and modify our solution fully or partially. You can provide it for free to your clients. In any case you agree to our terms of use as follows and you will integrate terms and conditions into each of your OBIEE monitoring analysis based on ideas or code from our solution (just copy it from the Static Text view of one of our reports):

© OBIEE performance monitoring v1.1 by G.A. itbs GmbH - OBIEE expert training and consulting. Terms of use: Free of charge if this declaration, copyright and links above are not removed. Reselling prohibited. We disclaim all implied warranties with regard to this monitoring model or any analyses based on this subject area. You agree to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless from any liability, loss, claim and expense (including reasonable legal fees) related to the use of this software. You can change the implementation and/or provide it to your clients if these terms and conditions are observed and agreed by all parties involved. Furthermore terms will be integrated into each OBIEE monitoring analysis based on ideas or code from this solution. Documentation and updates are provided in our blog.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

OBIEE Change Analysis Subject Area

Assume you created a more or less complex OBIEE analysis with a lot of views and settings. It perhaps looks like:

OBIEE Analysis

If you want to reuse the analysis and report settings in a new report, then there exists a very fast solution for changing the OBIEE subject area which keeps all the settings. Go to Advanced tab and search for subjectArea in the Oracle BI Analysis XML (usually located at the top):


To change the subject area you need to know the name of the new one, e.g. Supply Chain Process. Now just substitute as follows and press Apply XML:

subjectArea="&quot;Delivery Process&quot;"
with
subjectArea="&quot;Supply Chain Process&quot;"

As new OBIEE subject area probably doesn't contain the same fields as the old one you will see a lot of errors that fields cannot be found. Change back to Criteria tab and use Column Formula editor to change to the fields needed in the new subject area. Don't delete the fields and add new ones, because thus you would need to adapt your views again.

Be careful not to overwrite your old Oracle BI analysis. Press Save as first ;-)
Interested in some more end user topics? Check out Oracle BI useful things.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

OBIEE 11g Overview Class (Schedule)


Oracle University released a new overview class for Oracle BI (OBIEE).
Booking via +49 (0) 8709 / 915 202 or training@ga-itbs.de

Course: Oracle BI 11g: Overview
Duration: 1 day 
Location: online (Live Virtual Class)

Schedule
Date 18-Aug-2014
08-Sep-2014
29-Sep-2014
10-Oct-2014
13-Oct-2014
17-Oct-2014
10-Nov-2014
28-Nov-2014

G.A. itbs GmbH is official Oracle University partner and reseller.
Learn Oracle from Oracle and get top service and the best price!


Monday, 4 August 2014

Oracle BI Summary

We sometimes provide summaries on our blog articles separated into the areas OBIEE user interface and Oracle BI server technology and project success. Today's turn is for the second area.

LinkedIn users discussed our OBIEE project success stories and told us, why they use Oracle BI:
 And of course, Oracle released some updates for Oracle BI technology:
Our managing director Gerd is presenting at DOAG 2014 (the German Oracle User Group conference). The talk will be in German, but he would be very pleased about talking to you personally in Nuremberg.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Oracle BI Licence for E-mail Delivers

If you use Oracle BI Delivers and Agents, you perhaps unlocked the functionality to send e-mails directly to recipients (marked red in the image). So, you are adding e-mail addresses of users who couldn't sign in to Oracle BI application and use OBIEE components.

OBIEE Delivers Agent Recipients

Sending e-mails to users registered to OBIEE is another functionality we don't cover in this post. Adding e-mail recipients e.g. implies that agent runs for a specific user for all e-mail addressees (and not extra for a recipient) and this user's security filter rules apply.

You can activate the send e-mail functionality for all OBIEE Delivers users as some clients do. But beware and check your Oracle BI Delivers licence. If you have licenced your Oracle BI server per processor, then your are fine. In case of licencing Oracle BI Delivers per named user you should examine carefully your needs and users' behaviour.
To be accurate each e-mail recipient needs a named user licence. Or you need to licence per processor if you are not able to count the number of users, even if you just have a few users who access agents and OBIEE Delivers to add e-mail recipients. That's not nice, but we checked it by contacting Oracle License Management Services (LMS) officially.

Both alternatives are not really desirable for just dispatching PDFs or Excel sheets. So, you need a solution on Oracle BI delivers licence basis to be able to add any number of e-mail users without having (too much) extra costs for additional licencing. Depending on your concrete situation that's possible. Just contact us. We will assist you and manage the relevant agreements with Oracle.

Monday, 28 July 2014

How to Use a Bubble Chart

We frequently wonder about reporting users creating huge analyses based on table views in their BI application. When asking for the intention we get two oppositional replies:
  1. We need all this data to get the information needed.
  2. The business question is a detailed one and they just seek for one specific information.
From our point of view both statements have the same origin. BI users just don't know how to visualise the business request, because it's a wide field of interest. And tables are well known from Office applications. Reporting and analysis requirements are mainly split into two areas:
  1. How to gather and calculate the required information on available data?
  2. How to visualise the information to recognise context fast and easy?
Implementing BI applications and building analysis covers the first area. For the second one we decided to start a series to show you how you can visualise business information to be able to interpret these data without the need of digging around in raw table data. Have a short look to the following table:


Question: "Is there a correlation on sales volume between number of customers and products assigned to a salesperson? If yes, which situation is the best one for increased turnover?"
It's not possible to find the correct answers within seconds when just regarding the table. But when visualising the demand with a bubble chart you get a quick win:

OBIEE Bubble Chart

Horizontal axis shows number of products and vertical axis indicates number of customers. Green indicates a high turnover for a salesperson (represented by a bubble), blue a normal and red a low one. The answers are:
  1. Yes, there is a correlation!
  2. Increasing the number of customers assigned to a salesperson seems to have a positive effect on turnover, but they shouldn't have to sell too much or too less products.
Why? If there would be no correlation you could find green bubbles spreaded in each quadrant. On the top you can only see green bubbles. Therefore a increased number of customers is good for sales volume. Of course, to get a verified picture you'll have to analyse the situation not only once, but that's the indicator.

Summary
When finding an accumulation of equally coloured bubbles in a bubble chart, then you possibly found a relationship between the other figures applied.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Oracle BI Mobile App

Oracle recently released a new version of Oracle BI Mobile App for Android operating system (see Google Play). Changes and new features are:
  • Support for action links, including action link navigation history
  • Support for dashboard sections
  • Support for Briefing Books
  • Add to Favorites now at the dashboard-page level
  • Location support on maps in dashboards
  • Bug fixes

Oracle BI Coaching

OBIEE Bar ChartAs highly Oracle BI specialised service provider we naturally offer OBIEE coaching to business analysts, designers or developers of Oracle BI reports and repositories. Recently we delivered our Oracle BI coaching services to a client located in Hamburg (Germany). The employee coached was already experienced in implementing an OBIEE repository and building analyses and dashboards, but he wasn't confident if the techniques applied are state-of-the-art.

Well, that's quite the standard setting when we begin providing our Oracle BI coaching. We typically suggest the processing as follows which is adjusted to clients' needs, of course:
  • As a starting point our clients outline the questions on Oracle BI they have.
  • Based on our first understanding we review the current OBIEE repository implementation to get a full picture of the situation. This part typically demands 4-8 hours. As a side effect we give feedback on how to improve the current Oracle BI implementation, if needed.
  • Having done the review we agree upon coaching dates. Usually coaching is done via a remote connection to have access to customers' Oracle BI application and phone. Thus we reduce travelling costs and we enable coaching sessions not taking a whole day.
  • We don't need any further preparation. Normally we can reply to nearly all of the questions directly. Only in few cases we need to perform some investigations and think about a possible solution.
  • Between coaching days client works on the tasks discussed and gathers new questions.
  • During coaching sessions our OBIEE coach gives guidance on how to find a solution, helps to understand how Oracle BI is executing requests and reviews the tasks finished. Additionally he demonstrates solutions by example.
According to experience we discuss more questions with our clients as they had before starting the coaching process. Oracle BI coaching is exclusively delivered by our official Oracle University Oracle BI expert trainer Gerd (he introduces himself in Oracle BI useful things article). He obtained a great feedback from the customer mentioned above: “An experienced coach who responds well to the client and gives very good, competent and practical support for customers’ problems to solve.”

His other ratings in our feedback form were:
How do you rate the quality of our services? Outstanding.
How do you rate our knowledge within the subject? Experts.
Did the coaching fulfill your expectations? Outstanding.
How do you rate our operation method and appearance? Professional.

You can find some more customer voices on our website.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

OBIEE Sum of Average

The image below shows a common business request. Sales Share figure is defined within Oracle BI server with aggregation rule average (avg). Share needs to be aggregated on level Client No and Code, but coming from Product No detail aggregation rule is requested to be sum of Sales Share Avg as highlighted in the waterfall chart. Setting aggregation rule sum in OBIEE server isn't feasible, because report doesn't show lowest level of detail for the fact presentation table. Thus, just removing Product No wouldn't solve the requirement.

Oracle BI Waterfall Chart

Solve the demand by using exclude column and table view aggregation rule. There are several possibilities to implement the sum of average functionality, even if you want to use it for derived calculations in formulas. But report based aggregation can be very complex and needs some more explanations. Therefore it would be great if you join our Oracle BI expert class at Oracle Education (see Oracle BI useful things for a detailed overview and schedule at OU). We elaborate report aggregation in an own section.

Go to edit view, exclude Product No and set Sales Share view aggregation rule to Sum:


Result looks like:


To check just calculate the sum of Sales Share from the first image ;-)

DOAG 2014

Die DOAG 2014 findet vom 18. bis 20. November 2014 in Nürnberg statt. Wir freuen uns sehr, dass die DOAG zwei Beiträge unseres Geschäftsführers Gerd Aiglstorfer zur Konferenz akzeptierte. Wir freuen uns schon heute, Sie persönlich auf der DOAG 2014 zu treffen.

Erfolg mit Oracle BI? Typische Fehlerszenarien und deren Lösung
Zeit: 18.11.2014 um 12:00 Uhr im Raum Helsinki

Oracle BI erhält nicht immer die besten Noten von Anwendern und Kunden. Als einer von nur vier offiziellen Oracle BI Expert Trainern weltweit wird Gerd Aiglstorfer gerade in solchen kritischen Projektsituationen regelmäßig zum Review bestehender Oracle BI Anwendungen beauftragt.
Im Rückblick auf mehr als 10 Jahre ist die Ursache für schlechte Bewertungen von Oracle BI auf typische Fehlerszenarien zurückzuführen, die sowohl technischer als auch organisatorischer Natur sind. Dieser Vortrag zeigt diese Szenarien sowie den Lösungsprozess exemplarisch an einem konkreten Projekt.

Mobile Analytics mit Oracle BI - was steckt in den Apps?
Zeit: 18.11.2014 um 13:00 Uhr im Raum Helsinki

Oracle erweiterte im Laufe dieses Jahres das mobile Oracle BI Angebot, das bis ungefähr drittes Quartal 2013 nur aus einer App für Apple Produkte bestand, um eine App für Android und den Oracle BI Mobile App Designer in Version 2.
Oracle BI Mobile unterstützt damit gängige Basis-Technologien für den Einsatz von Mobile Analytics. Es gibt jedoch Unterschiede in den Einsatzszenarien dieser mobilen Palette. Der Vortrag stellt die aktuellen Apps vor und erläutert Funktionen und Unterschiede.


Success with Oracle BI? Typical Error Scenarios and their Solution
Oracle BI is not always rated best from users and clients. As being one of only four official Oracle BI expert trainers worldwide Gerd Aiglstorfer is requested frequently to review existing Oracle BI applications. Looking back to more than 10 years the reasons for bad ratings result from typical technical and organisational error scenarios. The presentation exemplarily shows these scenarios as well as the solution process based on a concrete project.

Mobile Analytics with Oracle BI - What's in the Apps?
Oracle BI Mobile palette consists of HD App for iOS, Android App and Oracle BI Mobile App Designer in version 2. Thus current basic technologies for mobile analytics are supported by Oracle BI. But there are different scenarios for using OBIEE mobile apps. The presentation introduces current apps and explains functionalities as well as differences.