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OBIEE 11g vs OBIEE 12c – What’s new in OBIEE 12c

In this post I highlight a few of the new features of OBIEE 12c, and in some cases show how they differ from OBIEE 11g.

The OBIEE Home Page looks a bit different, and includes a new “Data Exploration & Discovery” option and functionality.

OBIEE 11g
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_OBIEE_11g_HomePage

OBIEE 12c
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_OBIEE_12c_HomePage

OBIEE 12c has a new visualization feature:  Mouse-over highlights the selected area with animation.

For example, the below image shows what it looks like when you mouse-over the “14.8% purple” slice.

Note: In reports where the selection drills on the entire stacked column (such as in a vertical stacked graph), the drilling will operate the same as before – that is – if the drill was done on the selected area only in 11g, then that will continue to occur; If the report was drilling on the entire stack/column when clicked in 11g, that will continue to occur also (even though the animation only happens on the area that was clicked).

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_new_visualization_feature

The Dashboard “Page Options” icon has changed from the “3 lines with the down arrow” to a “gear” icon.

OBIEE 11g
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Dashboard_Page_Options_11g

OBIEE 12c
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Dashboard_Page_Options_12c

OBIEE 12c now provides the ability to Sort in graphs by right-clicking and using the pop-up menu. So, you will now see the Sort option along with the Action Links when you right-click on a graph.

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Sort_in_Graphs

For report developers:

In OBIEE 12c: It is now possible to modify Column Properties from the Results tab – more efficient.

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_modify_column_properties

In OBIEE 12c: There is a new “Scale for % (x 100)” option in the Column Properties – Data Format tab.

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_new_scale_in_column_properties

In OBIEE 12c: You can create a new Calculated Column in the Results tab by clicking the “ruler” icon.

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_new_calculated_column

After adding the column, use the new “Save Column As” option to save the column. This is great feature that will allow for re-using calculated columns instead of having to re-enter the formula each time.

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Save_Column_As

OBIEE 12c introduces 2 new visualization options – Tree Map and Heat Index

OBIEE 11g
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Vizualization_options_11g

OBIEE 12c
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Vizualization_options_12c

OBIEE 12c introduces a new Global Variable type, that can be a value or an expression.

OBIEE 11g  Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Variable_Types_11g                OBIEE 12c Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Variable_Types_12c

In OBIEE 12c, there is a new “Subject Area Sort Order” option available in Account properties.

OBIEE 11g
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Account_Properties_11g

OBIEE 12c
Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Account_Properties_12c

OBIEE 12c provides the ability to search a subject area by keyword entered, and to sort folders and columns in a subject area.

OBIEE11g  Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Subject_Areas_11g                OBIEE 12c Whats_new_OBIEE12c_Subject_Areas_12c

In OBIEE 12c, there are a few new analytic functions.  A new Analytics folder contains new functions Cluster, Evaluate Script, Outlier, Regr, and Trendline. The Aggregate folder contains a new function, Bin. And the Time Series Calculations folder contains a new function, Forecast.

Whats_new_OBIEE12c_New_Analytic_Functions_12c_1          Whats_new_OBIEE12c_New_Analytic_Functions_12c_2          Whats_new_OBIEE12c_New_Analytic_Functions_12c_3

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Creating a Business Intelligence (BI) & Analytics Strategy and Roadmap

This post provides some of my thoughts on how to go about creating a Business Intelligence (BI) & Analytics Strategy and Roadmap for your client or company.  Please comment with your suggestions from your experience for improving this information.

 

When creating or updating the BI & Analytics Strategy and Roadmap for a company, one of the first things to understand is:

Who are all the critical stakeholders that need to be involved?

Understanding who needs and uses the BI & Analytics systems is critical for starting the process of understanding and documenting the “who needs what, why, and when”.

These are some of the roles that are typically important stakeholders:

  • High-level business executives that are paying for the projects
  • Business directors involved in the usage of the systems
  • IT directors involved in the developing and support of the systems
  • Business Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) & Business Analysts
  • BI/Analytics/Data/System Architects
  • BI/Analytics/Data/System Developers and Administrators

 

Then, you need to ask all these stakeholders, especially those from the business:

What are the drivers for BI & Analytics? And what is the level of importance for each of these drivers?

This will help you to understand and document what business needs are creating the need for new or modified BI & Analytics solutions. You should then go deeper to understand … what are the business objectives and goals that are driving these business needs.  This will help you to understand and document the bigger picture so that a more comprehensive strategy and roadmap can be created.

The questions and discussions surrounding the above will require deep and broad business involvement. Getting the perspective of a wide range of users from all business areas that are using the BI & Analytics Systems is critical.  The business should be involved throughout the process of creating the strategy and roadmap, and all decisions should tie back to support for business objectives and goals. And the trail leading to all these decisions must be documented.

Some examples of business drivers include:

  • Gain more insight into who our best customers are and how best to acquire them.
  • Understand how weather affects our sales/revenue.
  • Determine how we can sell more to our existing customers.
  • Understand what causes employee turnover.
  • Gain insight into how we can improve staffing schedules.

 

And examples of business objectives and goals may include things like:

  • Increase corporate revenues by 10%
  • Grow our base of recurring customers
  • Stabilize corporate revenues over all seasons
  • Create an environment where employees love to work
  • Reduce payroll costs without a reduction in staff, for example, reduce turnover.

 

Then, turn to understanding and documenting the current scenario (if not already known). Identify what systems (including data sources) are in place, who are using them (and why and how), what capabilities do they offer, what are the must-haves, and what are the pain points and positive highlights.

Also, you will need to determine the current workload (and future workload if it can be determined) of the primary team members involved in developing, testing, and implementing BI & Analytics solutions.

This will help you understand a few things:

  • Some of the highest priority needs of the users
  • Gaps in capabilities and data between what is needed and what is currently in place (including an understanding of what is liked and disliked about the current systems)
  • Current user base knowledge and engagement
  • IT knowledge and skills
  • Resource availability – when are people available to work on new initiatives

 

What are the options and limitations?

  • Can existing systems be customized to meet the requirements?
  • Can they be upgraded to a new version that has the needed functionality?
  • Do we need to consider adding a new platform or replacing one or more of the existing systems with a new platform?
  • Can we migrate from/integrate one system to/with another system that we already have up and running?
  • Are any of our current systems losing vendor support or require an upgrade for other reasons? Has the pricing changed for any of our software applications?
  • What options does our budget permit us to explore?
  • What options do our knowledge and skills permit us to explore?

 

Once you have identified these items …

  • Identify and engage stakeholders, and document these roles and the people
  • Identify and document business drivers, objectives and goals
  • Understand and document the current landscape – needs (including must-haves), technology, gaps, users, IT staff, resource availability, and more
  • Identify and document options – based on current landscape, technology, budget, staff resources, etc.

… you can develop a “living” Strategy and Roadmap for BI & Analytics. And when I say “living”, I mean it will not be a static document, but will be fine-tuned over time as new information emerge and as changes arise in business needs, technology, and staff resources.

 

Your Strategy and Roadmap for BI & Analytics should include, but is not limited to:

  • BI & Analytics that will be used to satisfy business drivers, objectives and goals
  • Data acquisition and storage plan for meeting the analytics needs
  • Technology platforms that will be used to process and store data, and deliver the analytics
  • Information about any new technologies that needs to be acquired or implemented, and schedules
  • Roles and Responsibilities for all stakeholders involved in BI & Analytics projects
  • Planned staffing allocations and schedules
  • Planned staffing changes and schedules
  • User training (business users) and Delivery team training (technical implementers & developers for example)
  • List dependencies for each item or set of items

When Export to Excel (csv) in OBIEE 12c, rows are limited to 65000 (65K)

After upgrading to OBIEE 12c, you may have noticed that your downloads to Excel CSV files are now getting cut off at 65000 rows.  If you are experiencing this issue, this post may help.

In OBIEE 11g, there was a parameter (instanceconfig.xml parameter) called “DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownload” that controlled the number of rows downloadable to a CSV file.   So, if you had that set to a number higher than 65K, then you would have been able to download more than 65K rows in the past.

However, the parameter that now controls the number of rows downloadable to CSV in OBIEE 12c is “DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownloadCSV“.  You will need to set this parameter in the instanceconfig.xml file based on your needs.

This parameter DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownloadCSV is found within the <Table> section which may look something like this:

<Table>
< DefaultRowsDisplayedInDelivery>1000000</DefaultRowsDisplayedInDelivery>
< DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownload>1000000</DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownload>
< MaxCells>10000000</MaxCells>
< MaxVisiblePages>50</MaxVisiblePages>
< MaxVisibleRows>1000000</MaxVisibleRows>
< MaxVisibleSections>100000</MaxVisibleSections>
< DefaultRowsDisplayed>100</DefaultRowsDisplayed>
<DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownloadCSV>200000</DefaultRowsDisplayedInDownloadCSV>
< /Table>

As always, back up your files before making changes.  Then, change the parameter as needed, and restart OBIEE services.

 

Some workflows not showing in Informatica Workflow Monitor workflow run

If you run a lot of workflows and have noticed that you are not seeing some of the workflows in the Workflow Run window, this post may help.

Your workflows might be running, but you are not seeing some of them because you have exceeded the maximum number of workflow runs that will be stored in each of the folders.

In Informatica Workflow Monitor, change the “Maximum workflow runs per folder” property.  From Informatica Workflow Monitor, select the Tools -> Options menu item.

Informatica_Workflow_Monitor_Options

Then, change the “Maximum workflow runs per folder” to a number that is higher than the highest number of workflows that are run in your cycle for a given folder.

Informatica_Workflow_Monitor_Option_Maximum_workflow_runs_per_folder

Save changes.  You will now see more workflows in the output after your next job cycle.

 

Work-around Solution for ORA-01792: maximum number of columns in a table or view is 1000

When you get this message …

Error message: Caused By: java.sql.SQLSyntaxErrorException: ORA-01792: maximum number of columns in a table or view is 1000

 

This may be a solution for you …

There is a workaround … set the “_fix_control” parameter to ‘17376322:OFF‘.

You can use one of the following statements to set the parameter:

alter session set "_fix_control" = '17376322:OFF';

or

alter system set "_fix_control" = '17376322:OFF';

More information can be found in the following Oracle Documents –  Doc ID 1956038.1 and Doc ID 1951689.1.

Your career in 2018 (referencing 2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics)

How will you grow your career in 2018?

Each year Gartner publishes Magic Quadrants for several technologies, including one for Business Intelligence and Analytics. Let’s take a look at this year’s.

The “2017 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics” document was published earlier in the year, but as we are at the end of the year, it is a good time to take stock of the industry and your career in this field.

Below is an image of the results published by Gartner for 2017.  As you can see, from their perspective, Tableau and Microsoft lead the way, with Qlik also in the leader quadrant.

Source: Gartner

Since the same 3 players were also in the leader quadrant in 2016 and 2015 (along with others), we know they are solid.

So, based on this, if you are primarily an Oracle BI (OBI), IBM Cognos, or SAP Business Objects (BO) person (for example), you may consider learning or at least getting exposure to one or more of the 3 platforms in the Leaders quadrant.  There is still plenty of work out there for OBI, Cognos, BO and other platforms, but having additional technical/platform skills in leading platforms never hurts.

And this is just a broad suggestion, because you may find that developing skills in Salesforce (for example) is a better strategic move for you based on your situation.  The bottom-line is, assess your career/skills/goals/etc., and plan on learning something new in 2018.  Don’t stop learning!

Happy New Year to you, and best wishes for 2018!

 

 

 

 

Working with built-in datasets in R

This is a quick cheat sheet of commands for working with built-in datasets in R.

R has a number of base datasets that come with the install, and there are many packages that also include additional datasets.  These are very useful and easy to work with.

 

> ?datasets                                  # to get help info on the datasets package

> library(help=”datasets”)     # provides detailed information on the datasets package, including listing and description of the datasets in the package

> data()                                       # lists all the datasets currently available by package

data(package = .packages(all.available = TRUE))  # lists all the available datasets by package even if not installed

> data(EuStockMarkets)            # loads  the dataset EuStockMarkets into the workspace

> summary(AirPassengers)      # provides a summary of the dataset AirPassengers

> ?airquality                                    # outputs in the Help window, information about the dataset “airquality”

> str(airmiles)                                 # shows the structure of the dataset “airmiles”

> View(airmiles)             # shows the data of the dataset “airmiles” in spreadsheet format