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.

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.

Monday, 21 July 2014

OBIEE Front End Summary

As you perhaps know our mission is to improve OBIEE user know-how. A lot of things going around consider technical OBIEE questions (that's good and needed), but the key for client success comes from his users knowing how to handle Oracle BI. Therefore our managing director Gerd initiated an OBIEE expert class for end users in cooperation with Oracle Education (please see OU schedule).

Simultaneously we provide additional content for OBIEE front end questions and corresponding training here in our blog. We have several new topics for end users in the pipeline, but for today find a summary on our recent posts to have them at hand without searching:
Additionally we write on our mentioned expert class and different Oracle BI training subjects:

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Oracle BI Bundle Patch OBIEE

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

Detailed patch description on Oracle Support: OBIEE 11g 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
OBIEE 11g: Required and Recommended Bundle Patches and Patch Sets
Overview of Available Update Patches for Oracle BI Publisher Enterprise 11g

Monday, 14 July 2014

OBIEE Substitute a Filter Variable

Have a look to the following report querying some figures on a weekly basis and showing the result per day.

Oracle BI Trellis Chart

The analysis is filtered on ISO week by using a refreshing repository variable called CURRENT_WEEK.

In ISO calendar the week turns on Mondays. When not reporting on real-time data and having a one day load frequency you will see no results each Monday. So it would be best to see previous week data on Mondays and of course having not change the filter criteria in the report. To achieve delete the repository variable filter and add a filter on ISO week using a SQL expression:

As expression insert:

  WHEN DayOfWeek(Current_Date) = 2

Here we go! On Mondays your users will see previous week data.
Interested in some more end user topics? Check out Oracle BI useful things.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Reasons for Deploying Oracle BI

It not easy for decision makers to choose a proper reporting tool to support their business optimally. Having a look to the latest Gartner BI Magic Quadrant and evaluating customer surveys you will see that Oracle BI is in the section of market leaders, but not always fulfilling clients needs concerning quality and support.

But what's the reason? Is it Oracle BI itself or is it the way providers deliver services on Oracle BI? Reviewing existing OBIEE applications gives a clear picture (please have a look to our blog post on OBIEE Client Success and Typical Issues). As Oracle BI supports a wide range of business and user functionalities (see BI Success Factors) it is - due to this fact - sometimes not easy to understand. But that only concerns technical stuff and BI developers. A service provider delivering world class solutions will not struggle with technical questions. Unfortunately clients being dissatisfied with Oracle BI complain only about such technical issues, at least as we can cover.

To be honest, that's not a problem specific to Oracle BI. Each BI tool has general conditions a service provider needs to know. In a worst-case scenario you'll get a "running" solution returning incorrect results. In combination with users just clicking fields together and not thinking about their reporting goal a very critical situation. A BI tool giving you real reporting power has to be complex partially. Without complexity there is no basis for creating a self service BI environment. And sometimes complexity is mixed up with just don't knowing how to do it.
Again, that's not tool specific. You don't agree? Then think for example about a lot of companies using Excel as reporting and data integration tool. Real testing of such reports often results in incorrect calculated entity relationships and key figures being the basis for taking company-wide decisions. Easy to use does not imperatively mean correct in use.

A optimal Oracle BI configuration prevents such a situation. You can build a structure securing correct analyses. It is beyond any Oracle marketing material and Oracle BI components or add-ons (for e.g. publishing, collaboration, mobile, office integration or security) one key reason for deploying Oracle BI. Others are (from a financial perspective and our personal one):
  • Running prototypes are build within 2 days maximum.
  • Full deployable applications can be set up within a couple of days.
  • Oracle BI optimally supports agile development not only for IT departments but also for business users even when handling several data sources.
  • We never had a requirement we couldn't solve using OBIEE for 10 years+ now.
  • None of our Oracle BI clients replaced the tool by another one.
To close this article we posted the question "What's your favourite reason for using OBIEE?" to some LinkedIn groups to gather users personal reasons on Oracle BI. Responses came more from a technical point of view. But that's the foundation for what we stated above. Consolidated:
  • Ease of use when creating reports and dashboards.
  • Drilling in views, graphs, charts and tables.
  • A lot of options for delivering content and layout challenges.
  • Very good performance when using Kimballs dimensional modelling.
  • Creation of shared dimensions like canonical date.
  • Supporting high performance through different aggregation techniques, scalability and high availability even when handling very huge data marts.
  • Integration with other Oracle and non Oracle products.
  • Integration of OBIEE into heterogenous environments.
  • A community and knowledge surrounding OBIEE 11g at a nice mature level that there is comfort and stability.
Many thanks to Marko, Niamh, György and Ernest for your comments.

Friday, 4 July 2014

OBIEE Variable LOGLEVEL and Report Based Logging

In general logging in OBIEE is - respectively should be - turned off for the major part of the users. But sometimes questions from users concerning their reports come up where key users or even report developers need to get into detail. They need to activate logging temporarily to see what's going on. Well, that's quite easy, if your Oracle BI architecture is set up to support logging, but you need in the majority of cases assistance from your IT back office.

Instead of involving administrators you can invoke OBIEE logging only for the report to be analyzed. In analysis editor (Oracle BI Answers) go to Advanced tab. Within section Advanced SQL Clauses enter into Prefix field:


Here you go! Oracle BI now creates detail log entries. When finished just don't forget to remove the prefix again.

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

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

OBIEE Fine Colouring

OBIEE report designers and users sometimes ask: "Which colours should we us when creating a view or chart?" In most cases they are not very pleased about the suggested colours by Oracle BI system.

You shouldn't start thinking about colouring every time you build a new analysis. This will end in a wide range of colours in your reports and users don't get familiar with your colour setup. This constrains efficient interpretation of your key figures.

We use the following colours very often. Users say: "Fine, we like them!"
So, feel free to integrate them into your views:
  • #008000
  • #FF9933
  • #993333
  • #336699
  • #CC3333
  • #FFEE33
  • #6699CC
  • #663366
Interested in some more end user topics?
Attend our Oracle University Expert Seminar on OBIEE Analyses Insights.
Read outline in our recent post on Oracle BI useful things.