Very good sample of Procurement Spend – demo of Data Visualization (DV)/ Visual Analyzer (VA).
OBIEE 12c gives you the capability of working with statistical and R functions right from the ‘Edit formula’ pane. While I have found that this new feature was still not very user friendly, it’s a lot easier than making this functionality work in 11g. For example, to create a simple Trendline with 11g, the developer had to slowly build each step of a calculation to find the slope of a line, and then find the Y intercept. With these answers in hand, the results had to be carefully placed on a graph, so that it could render meaningful results. If you require statistical graphs within OBIEE, 12c may be a great fit for you. For example, below is a graph showing four different Trendlines:
The Criteria for building these four lines would be very intense in 11g; but in OBIEE 12c, it contained only five columns: one for the Calendar Year, and one for each Trendline. The Trendlines were created one at a time, by inserting the new “Analytics” Function in the column’s formula (see below).
This is a dream come true to many of us, though it requires an optional data visualization license. With this new functionality, you are able to use OBIEE along with any excel spreadsheet (XSA) saved on your machine.
You can add a spreadsheet to OBIEE from two areas:
- When you are creating an analysis (in the Criteria tab, and then choosing to add data source as shown below), or
- By going to the Visual Analyzer Home Page.
As this blog focuses on Answers, I will review the first option here.
There are three possible ways of analyzing a spreadsheet in Answers. You either want to:
- Analyze the spreadsheet by itself, or
- Use attributes from the spreadsheet along with fact data from your enterprise system, or
- Use fact data from your spreadsheet along with attributes and facts from your enterprise system.
For options 2 and 3 to work properly, it is important that your joins are properly matched (watch your cardinalities!) from your spreadsheet to your enterprise data. Also, as usual, option 3 will only work along with another fact table when the two tables are joined to a conformed dimension. Cardinalities and conformed dimensions are items that we generally take for granted when working on front-end OBIEE, because these points have been carefully handled during RPD modeling. Since the spreadsheet modeling has to be done in the front end, special caution must be used when modeling them in order to avoid “exploded” results, or simply inaccurate results.
There is also a more intuitive abbreviation of the measures that are placed on a graph. In 11g, when you dragged an amount to an axis, you may recall that the numbers would show up exactly as the raw number. So, if your result was 12,000,000, then that was exactly what you would see on the graph to begin. If you wanted to improve your graph, then you needed to go to the Graph Properties and format the data from the axis to be abbreviated into, for our example above, millions (or 12M). To save you a step, 12c will automatically abbreviate your graph data in the most user-friendly way. So, if the data is 12,000,000, you automatically get 12M!
Easy to use heat matrix!—I mean it: easy. While in 11g, you would have to be somewhat visually savvy and spend a lot of time conditionally formatting. OBIEE 12c gives you a tool that allows you to create a meaningful heat matrix in a matter of minutes—wait—even seconds. All you need is to know the two dimensions and one measure that you would like to use, and drag and drop them. Choose from an array of color schemas and how you would like to use the colors. In no time, your heat matrix is ready.
A new member of the OBIEE family is here to provide a visual solution for very complex activities. The Treemap provides a hierarchical structure that allows you to quickly spot patterns and outliers. At first, it may require a bit of head twisting to look at a graph like this, but remember, this is indeed a graph for complex activities. One of the most ideal usages for this new feature is the grouping by parent/children groups and the displaying of how two measures fair up inside each group.
If you’ve created lots of percent variance columns, it’s probably second nature that you will create your formula and then multiply by 100. In 12c, you can create your percent calculation without multiplying it by 100, then set your % data formatting in the Column Properties. In the same spot where you specify how the data is displayed, you can check the x100 box, which in turn will automatically multiply your results from that column by 100. Pretty sleek solution to simplify your formulas.
This feature is very well described here, so I will give a high level overview: 12c gives you a very easy way to save a complex formula into the catalog. If you’ve built a lot of logic in a column’s formula, and would like to reuse the logic in future reports, you will appreciate the opportunity of saving columns. I remember creating many financial calculations that had to be reused often, and until now there was no easy way to retrieve the column formulas. Trying to simplify my life, I ended up inventing “my own method” of saving complex calculations by saving different analyses that I named as “Master – Calculation” containing the columns that I reused often. I would start many reports based on these Master reports because they had my pre-built formulas; however, this was not a clean method for others to follow. OBIEE 12c gives you this clean and simple method for storing and reusing your most wanted columns. You do this by entering your formula in edit formula and choosing to “Save Column as” for future use.
OBIEE 12c provides a more intuitive way to create calculated columns than previous versions. In 10g or 11g, you needed to add a “whatever” column to the query, and then go in Edit Formula to define the calculation for your new column. While this worked, most new users often wondered why they were “bringing in two revenue columns,” for example. In 12c, you can add only the needed columns to your Criteria, then go straight to Results. In the Results tab, there is a New Calculated Measure icon that brings you immediately to the Edit Formula screen where you can name your new measure and define its formula.
In the real world, the migration between two OBIEE environments is really take time .The last time we did this for a customer migrating from 10g to 11g, we had to spend roughly 2 weeks just running through the dashboards clicking on all objects to do the 1st pass of the upgrade. When a customer asked us to migrate from 11g to 12c we were bracing ourselves for a similar ordeal. But the folks at Oracle have really done a great job this time with the Baseline Validation Tool (BVT). It allowed us to very quickly do a 1st pass through all the catalog objects and do a quick sanity check of the catalog and RPD after the upgrade.
The challenge is you need to make sure the content (analysis, catalog object, charts…) in two environments is same after the migration. BVT is FREE tool that enables the creation of a baseline set of data that can be compared with data from another system. While we used it for the upgrade it can be used in any situation where we need to run through 2 environments
- May be the result of an upgrade, patch or migration, or any change
- Automated regression testing on any two compatible Oracle BIEE environments
BVT as a tool is quit well thought thru and allows for several checks to be done in an automated manner.
Data Validation: Allows to check the numbers in the reports between the baseline and new environment.
- Check on actual data values exported from OBI
- Exported to CSV format
- Comparison report generated
BVT even downloads the data from the report as excel or CSV and it can be used to analyze the differences later.
Visual Verification: The purpose of this is to make sure that visually the 2 environments look the same. During the launch they spoke about using some sophisticated analytics to do the comparison, but whatever they have done it does pretty good job to compare the outputs. BVT generates reports for both analyses and dashboards
- Comparison report allows quick scan of (many) results in addition to a threshold test
- Use in conjunction with data validation
- Can be used to check various prompt combinations.
The tool checks all the reports and dashboards in the catalog and produces a report which can even be shared with the customer.
The output is exported and can be manually checked later of passed to the customer as evidence.
BI Catalog Verification: Compares the metadata of catalog objects (rather than objects themselves)
Logical Query validation: Used to validate the logical query between the 2 environments. Used in conjuction with the data and visual validation gives a complete picture of the 2 environments.
The logical query query is captured as evidence and for the failed ones can be used to determine the reason for the failure. Using the logical query in conjuction with the data and visual verification gives us complete confidence on the outcome of the testing.
You have a decision to make: extended support for Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) 11i is going to end soon – should you opt for EBS R12 or Fusion Applications?
It’s easier for SAP users, who have one single core ERP product to choose from. But Oracle offers two viable options: upgrade to the latest Oracle EBS R12 (either 12.1.3 or 12.2) or switch to Fusion Applications.
The Benefits of Making the Leap to Fusion
It’s certainly tempting to move to Fusion. Here are some reasons why:
- It’s positioned as the next-generation Business Applications solution by Oracle
- It offers the best-of-breed from enterprise solutions acquired by Oracle
- It’s built on a service-oriented architecture and SaaS model.
All in all, it certainly isn’t a bad choice.
Now Why You Might Want to Consider EBS R12.x
Fusion is great but, if you’re using EBS 11i now, upgrading to R12 might be better as an initial step. Here’s why:
- R12 offers significant improvements and advances over 11i
- It’s a direct upgrade – so making the shift is significantly easier
- You don’t have to switch to an entirely new system – like you would for Fusion Applications
- For most organizations, leaping from 11i directly to Fusion is too much to bite off in one go
And…One More Thing to Consider
R12 runs on Fusion Middleware– just like the Fusion Applications do. This means that you can upgrade to R12 and immediately enjoy some of the most advanced ERP functionality available, while also gaining a platform that is very similar at its foundation to Fusion. Your upgrade will be relatively painless compared to bringing in an entirely new ERP (especially if you use an Upgrade Automationsolution), and you can then start bringing in aspects of Fusion Applications at a measured pace (such as Fusion HCM), getting just the parts of it you most want at first, and then eventually building toward a system that is completely Fusion.
Fusion may be the future of Oracle’s ERP offerings. It’s a future that many Oracle EBS “shops” should consider embracing in the foreseeable future, but you don’t necessarily have to make the leap immediately. R12 gives you so much, not the least of which is a convenient entry point to Fusion Applications in an easy and controlled manner.