Advanced Analytics

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).


Data Mashup

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:

  1. When you are creating an analysis (in the Criteria tab, and then choosing to add data source as shown below), or
  2. 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:

    1. Analyze the spreadsheet by itself, or
    2. Use attributes from the spreadsheet along with fact data from your enterprise system, or
    3. 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.




Measure Abbreviation

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!


Heat Matrix

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.



Percent Calculation

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.


Saved Columns

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.

Calculated Columns

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.




We have noticed that the BI Server goes down some times and does not come up after carrying out RPD changes. We tested some cases in our OBIEE 12c environment and that is a Oracle bug of OBIEE 12c until now (so far the latest version of OBIEE 12c is

The error message you can find like below:

Unable to start the server obis1 : Received error message from Node Manager Server: [Server start command for OBIS server ‘obis1’ failed due to:

[Server failed to start up but Node Manager was not aware of the reason]. Please check Node Manager log and/or server ‘obis1’ log for detailed information.]. Please check Node Manager log for details.

In the mean time the issues are solved by Oracle, there is a solution which you can work around and overcome this issue by restoring the default RPD and then deploying the latest version of RPD. Of course, you need to make sure that you already backup the latest changed RPD.

Below are detail steps:

  • Navigate to the directory <obiee_home>/user_projects/domains/bi/bitools/bin/ and run the command: sh to stop all services.
  • After the OBIEE 12c services are stopped, navigate to the directory <obiee_home>/user_projects/domains/bi/bidata/service_instances/ssi/metadata/datamodel/customizations and delete liverpd.* and all other versions of RPD.
  • Clear the content of file default_diff.xmlin the directory <obiee_home>/user_projects/domains/bi/bidata/service_instances/ssi/metadata/datamodel/customizations/default (Note: Please do not delete this file)
  • Navigate to the directory <obiee_home>/user_projects/domains/bi/bitools/bin/ and run the command: nohup ./ & to start all OBIEE 12c services in the background. You can type the command: tail -f nohup.out to view the starting progress
  • The system should come up with default RPD. Login to OBIEE 12c as weblogic user to ensure that you can login
  • Now you need to deploy your latest changed RPD using script in <obiee_home>/user_projects/domains/bi/bitools/bin

Hope this help.