Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Oracle BI Useful Things - by an OBIEE Geek!

Just let me introduce myself first before outlining some helpful OBIEE topics. My name is Gerd. I'm one of those few OBIEE geeks knowing even nQuire and Siebel Analytics in detail. Oracle University lists me as Expert Trainer for Oracle BI.

Long time ago I finished my studies in informatics with a first-class honours diploma thesis on how to teach efficient algorithms and data structures to teachers. It was a privilege to attend lectures from e.g. Rudolf Bayer, who is one of the inventors of the B-tree data structure. Afterwards I began to specialise on BI technology. For now I can look back to many years in different leading positions on multinational Oracle BI projects. I'm managing director of a BI and DWH company which was founded in year 2008.

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I'm already working on the next posts on optimal OBIEE handling.

We naturally deliver world class Oracle BI solutions to our clients. That means creating perfect OBIEE applications from a business and technology perspective is our baseline. My passion relates to my vision and completes our delivery power: provide effective means to introduce software usage to users having ordinary working know-how. Normally that's a challenge, because having a deep technical background is mandatory but not sufficient to provide high quality training events for BI software.
In general user knowledge on creating analyses is the key factor for success when evolving a BI strategy. They need to be able to find new value sources in their data fast and without support. Find additional information in my presentation on self-service BI at a German Oracle user conference and my article on an Oracle BI training concept for end users.

Finally I integrated my 10 years+ OBIEE and teaching expert knowledge in my expert seminar on Oracle BI Analyses Insights to make my vision come true. Let me outline the content composed of approximately 50 types of practical reporting demands requested frequently:
  • Introduction on Creating Reports, Prompts & Dashboards
  • Useful Techniques
  • Advanced Reporting:
    • Answers Foundation:
      • Best Practice on Field Selection
      • Usage of Fields
      • Pivot Tables
    • Working with Functions:
      • Functions for e.g. Ranking or Time Series
      • Report Aggregation
    • Multi Star Queries
    • Combined Requests / Result Sets
  • Advanced Filtering & Prompts:
    • Global and Local Filters
    • Optimize Prompt Usability
    • Using Presentation Variables on Local Filters
    • Using Presentation Variables on Combined Requests
    • Using Presentation Variables for Dynamic Requests
    • CASE on Prompts
    • Filter Alternatives
  • Dashboards & Navigation
I appreciate to meet you in one of the next online or classroom dates!
Just ask me directly if there are any questions.

So, have a nice day and enjoy OBIEE power,

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Praktikum in Informatik (Landshut)

Als IT-Beratungsunternehmen mit Spezialisierung auf Business Intelligence und Data Warehousing bieten wir interessierten Studentinnen und Studenten der Fachrichtungen Informatik, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Betriebswirtschaft die Möglichkeit, dieses Berufsfeld kennenzulernen und erste wie auch vertiefende Erfahrungen in Beratung, Vertrieb und BI-Training zu sammeln.

Exzellenz, Professionalität und höchste Qualität ist Kern unserer Arbeit bei Kunden. Wir zählen für das Produkt Oracle BI zu den weltweit führenden Know-how-Trägern. Vor diesem Hintergrund sehen wir mit einer Tätigkeit im Rahmen eines Praktikums für Ihr Studium oder auch als Werkstudent die Chance für den Start in eine längerfristige, vertrauensvolle Zusammenarbeit. Abhängig von Dauer, Vorwissen und Ihren Interessen gestalten wir den Ablauf nach individueller Vereinbarung, wie z.B.:
  • 50% Mitarbeit im täglichen Geschäft
  • 40% Kennenlernen neuester Technologien
  • 10% Besuch von Schulungen
Jetzt müssen wir uns nur noch kennenlernen! Sagen Sie uns, was Sie an BI- und DWH-Themen interessiert. Senden Sie uns Ihre Bewerbungsunterlagen.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

OBIEE Mobile App Designer Release 2

By the mid of last year Oracle released Oracle BI Mobile App Designer (OBIEE MAD). Release 2 of OBIEE Mobile App Designer with synonym is now available for download.

New feature overview for the new release:
  • User interface is redesigned
  • New map component
  • New page type "Exploration Page"
  • Creating of global filters
  • Adding calculated fields
  • Filter component renamed "List"
  • Defaults and multiselect is now supported
  • Adding custom components to your apps
For installation you need to download patch number 18794832.
Read OBIEE Mobile App Designer documentation for more details:
Any OBIEE support needed? Ask us for our expert services.
Or have a look to our Oralce BI documentation link list.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Solving OBIEE Issues

In our blog post OBIEE Client Success and Typical Issues we described a situation we find very often when clients want us to review their current OBIEE implementation. When posting we just managed to create a positive end user perspective on OBIEE. There were three steps left to perform:
  • Implement a custom prototype to show OBIEE power.
  • Analyze OBIEE repository implementation in detail.
  • Outline a solution recommendation to implement a running OBIEE application.
Well, building a custom prototype within just one day on an existing data warehouse model - even if it's not really state of the art - isn't a challenge for us. So we did and presented the relevant OBIEE functionalities not available so far in clients' Oracle BI application.

Our detailed review just acknowledged our picture from the first superficial review. Our statement was clear and easy: "Don't use or roll out the current OBIEE repository source code." A software sytem should be sound, robust, with good performance, fault-tolerant and easy to refine. This one reached none of these criteria. From a expert perspective a complete new build of the OBIEE repository is easier and more cost-saving to perform than revising the current version.

What are the next steps to perform? There are just ten working days left until planned application launch - that's a challenge that we accept with pleasure! We recommended the following steps:
  • Create a logical OBIEE model using the current data warehouse objects.
  • Only substitute data warehouse tables if absolutely necessary.
  • Identify and define an optimized target model balancing OBIEE and data warehouse.
  • Implement interim solutions if necessary to succeed on upcoming milestone.
  • Plan, design and implement a state of the art OBIEE solution after first rollout.
Clients' decision makers gave a very positive feedback on our work so far. We are very happy and deeply grateful for customers' faith in us. The client ordered a new OBIEE repository setup. We are just implementing the new solution - on time and fulfilling our promises, of course!

OBIEE End User Training Concept

The German version of this article was published in DOAG Business News edition June 2014.
Our bundle on Oracle BI education implements the following end user training concept.

Operationalize Self-Service BI on Oracle BI

Business intelligence solutions unfold their leading benefit when many users have access on existing information and can gather new insights on their own. BI project leaders often focus technical criteria and the implementation of requirements to get a broad analyzable data foundation. But, to reach a high self-service level, that’s not the key aspect, it’s rather only the fundament. Concerning daily use the end user know-how determines the level of use of BI tools, which are generally expert tools like Oracle BI Foundation Suite. This article shows a proven training approach which allows an ideal introduction of Oracle BI to end users in combination with the development of self-service BI capabilities.

When introducing new software a relevant factor is the end user acceptance. In case of BI software it makes things worse that analyze needs in business departments are changing regularly. Changes have to be available very fast. Limited IT resources and ambiguously defined requirements often constrain prompt roll-out. But the reason is not missing know-how in business departments. The generation of new insights goes along with searching for facts in company data. In such a process formerly important analyses and even key figures are dropped again.
Oracle BI suite allows end users to search existing data independently. To get to know the functionality of Oracle BI for their daily work end user training needs to be a fixed element when rolling out Oracle BI. On the basis of the following baseline study the closing chapter shows a three respectively four level training concept for introducing Oracle BI to end users.
Self-service level in a company will grow when end users optimize their Oracle BI know-how exceeding clearly only distributed usage of existing content. Furthermore teamwork between business divisions and IT will increase, because end users will be able to phrase requirements more precise on the already located insights. As result you will get a higher agility for all stakeholders, load removal of IT capacity and lower costs.

Baseline Study
It’s common for most Oracle BI projects to be rolled out that available budgets for employee training are tight. If training isn’t disclaimed completely, then a short GUI briefing is done for IT employees and business key users who should forward their know-how to colleagues afterwards.
But both groups have different interests. IT employees await answers on administrative questions. End users ask business questions. Due to timelines these trainings only cover foundations, but no strategies how to solve analysis requirements using the GUI. Exercises aren’t performed. Upcoming questions aren’t handled. Intended know-how forwarding to other employees isn’t done neither, because employees trained aren’t save in handling the tool and they cannot access best practice examples.

When investigating reports and analyses of users having no or insufficient training you can see that the power of Oracle BI is hardly incorporated and analyses partially compute incorrect results caused by errors coming from Oracle BI front end usage. As result no self-service BI mindset is growing and BI systems unfold only low benefit despite the potential available.

Best practice for introducing Oracle BI to end users
Therefore an introduction of Oracle BI ideally considers the topics named above: tight timelines and budgets as well as diverse end user groups having different preconditions.
The Oracle BI user interface offers a large palette of functions that support solving even very complex requirements with IT support. For example calculation of new key figures, hierarchy based aggregates, advanced filter techniques and combination of data coming from different functional sources. Normally end users are not able to learn these functionalities autodidactic already due to reason of time.

With respect to all learning groups a training concept for Oracle BI has three or four levels. Composition of such a group depends on previous knowledge and the topics to learn. Learning groups are defined individually for each company. The main objective is achieving the highest possible level of self-service BI capabilities.

The first step builds the foundation. Users learn to handle Oracle BI user interface on all relevant elements. Two days training are sufficient on this stage. The environment for exercises is optimized for training needs. It’s not the customers’ production environment. In the end the attendees know the relevant Oracle BI functions and how to access them.
The participants start using their own Oracle BI application in the second step. Enhancing existing skills and questions gathering is the purpose. Depending on learning group stage is accompanied by a trainer.
About four to eight weeks after the first step an additional one-day seminar should take place. Focus is responding to questions and further training on the solution of concrete and typical reporting requirements with Oracle BI. Attendees learn how to use Oracle BI correct and which possibilities usage of functions opens. Placing of concrete solution know-how is the learning objective for this seminar day. Users learn techniques to build analyses and reports much more versed than before. This phase builds the basis for enhancing BI self-service level. As optional fourth component further work could be accompanied by a trainer for each participant individually.

Independent from groups defined it’s crucial to have extensive exercise lessons. Only by doing it on your own your skills will grow and you learn how to use them in your daily work.

Any questions? Just ask now. And have a look to our Oracle BI training package based on the training concept described.