Wednesday, 8 October 2014

OBIA 11g - No more Informatica

I was interested to hear at Oracle Open World last week that Oracle have finished their development of the BI Apps using Informatica as the ETL tool. The last version of OBIA using Informatica is

The message is clear : to upgrade to OBIA 11g, you will have to re-implement the ETL components using Oracle Data Integrator (ODI).

In my opinion, this isn't such a bad thing! ODI is a very powerful and incredibly flexible ETL tool that Oracle acquired from Sunopsis a few years back. The knowledge module functionality for example, is genius and have saved our team weeks of coding compared to developing the ETL using OWB! With the release of ODI 12c recently and the new 'mappings' functionality, Oracle have made big steps in also making the product a lot more user-friendly for traditional OWB developers. I'm guessing (hoping) that soon OBIA will be certified with ODI 12c also.

I've recently been working on a vanilla implementation of OBIA with ODI 11g and I can tell you that the ETL / DAC components are very different to the prior OBIA / Informatica setup. I'm assuming that Oracle must release a BI Apps 'Informatica to ODI migration'  utility at some point in the near future to ease the way forward so I am looking forward to seeing how that works.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Discoverer 11G Web Services

Great to read about the Oracle Discoverer Web Services that have been released for public consumption as part of Discoverer 11G and Fusion Middleware 11G:

Here and Here

To quote from the User Guide:

The Oracle BI Discoverer Web Services are part of an Application Programming Interface (API) that enables a client to do the following:
- Obtain Discoverer connections, workbooks, and worksheets
- Execute worksheet queries
- Obtain worksheet content using the SOAP protocol (version 1.1 with JAX-WS/document wrapped format)

I've worked on a number of sites that have made a big investment in Discoverer reporting. It will be interesting to see how this new functionality will be used in the future.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

BI Lessons Learnt

Spent an interesting day at a potential customer recently discussing:

- The lessons that I've learnt on recent Oracle BI projects

- How we could apply these lessons to develop an optimum OBIEE rollout strategy.

In no particular order, some of the key lessons that I highlighted and discussed in greater depth were:

1) Releasing too much functionality at once can overwhelm users and support processes.

2) Requirements for Reports and dashboards evolve as users gain more understanding of the tool capabilities.

3) Involve Users as early as possible in Development process.

- Especially if requirements are unclear or poorly understood.

- Report and Dashboard Prototyping often works well.

4) Ensure End Users understand OBIEE Report and Dashboard functionality and capabilities before the Design process starts e.g.

- View selectors, Column Selectors, Dashboard prompts, Delivery options, BI Publisher integration, and so on

5) Develop organization wide Dashboard and Report 'Look and Feel' standards and enforce them.

6) Review quality of data model regularly: e.g. ensure consistent mappings, conforming dimensions, and so on.

7) System performance and perceived 'acceptable' response time is key to end user acceptance.

8) Maintain a library of existing and re-usable solution.

9) End User Training should be focused and timely.

Reviewing my lessons learnt led on to a debate on iterative and agile development methodologies and how they could be best applied in an OBIEE implementation. I'll post some more on that on a future date.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Migrating a Discoverer EUL to OBI EE metadata

OBI EE has been released today on OTN.

One of the areas of new functionality that I am very interested in is the ability to migrate certain components of Discoverer metadata to BI Server / Answers.

The New Features documentation states:

Release includes a utility to accelerate the migration of Oracle BI Discoverer metadata (in the form of an EEX file) to Oracle BI Enterprise Edition Plus metadata (in the form of an RPD file). The utility is a command line executable file that can be found in the \OracleBI\Server\bin directory. An accompanying instruction document can be found in the \OracleBI\Server\Document directory. This release migrates only Discoverer metadata and only for relational data sources.

I'll be examining and hopefully posting further on the migration process in the next few days.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

OBI EE and .NET Framework V2

As promised to Chetan... I stumbled across a frustrating incompatibility whilst installing OBI EE on a Windows machine earlier.

OBI EE requires Version 2 of MS .NET Framework.

During OBI EE installation, it also launches the installer for Microsoft .NET Framework V2.
However, if you already have a later version of .NET Framework loaded, the .NET Framework install will end with an 'Incompatibility' error.

The OBI EE installation completes successfully.

However, it fails to deploy the analytics application to the OC4J instance correctly.

My workaround was to deinstall the later .NET Framework from the machine and then, restart the OBI EE installation process.

Let me know if you have a better solution!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Who Am I? An investigation into R12 UMX Proxy User functionality : Part 1

Just back from a short vacation and I learnt an important lesson.

My tent is NOT waterproof.

Not the best thing to find out at 2.30am on a dark, wet and cold night in the middle of a Farmers field in the English countryside!

A different post from me today.

On my current project, we've been struggling with the requirement to allow Administrators and other Users to perform the functions of another User without knowing their password e.g. submit and review reports, approve documents, perform iprocurement transactions and so on.

My friends at Solution Beacon turned me on to the new R12 User Management (UMX) Proxy User functionality to allow a user to sign on to the E-Business suite and assume ALL the responsibilities of another User WITHOUT knowing their password.

Turns out that this functionality is a perfect fit.... or so we thought!

In this post, I'll walk through the steps to set up the UMX Proxy User functionality. In my next post, I'll discuss the biggest stumbling blocks: auditing and control.

Steps to setup R12 User Management Proxy User Functionality:

Setting up this functionality is actually very simple. To illustrate, I'll refer to two types of E-Business suite Users:
1) MANAGER - this is the User who will delegate responsibility to perform transactions on their behalf to the Administrator user. In my examples, this user name is KWOODROW1.
2) ADMINISTRATOR - this is the user who will sign on to the E-Business suite and assume the responsibilities of the Manager user. In my examples, this user name is JSMITH.

Step 1
- Connect to the R12 E-Business Suite as ANY User (e.g. SYSADMIN) with the responsibility 'User Management' and open the 'Users' form.
- Search for the user name of the MANAGER. In this case, the user name is KWOODROW1.
- Assign the role 'Manage Proxies' to this user name e.g.

Step 2
Now connect as the MANAGER user e.g. KWOODROW1 and navigate to the 'Preferences' form:

Click on the 'Manage Proxies' option and then, the 'Add People' button.

This will allow you to add the User Names of those Users that you wish to perform actions on your behalf:

Step 3
Now, add the user names of all Users that you wish to assume your responsibilities.
In my example, I add the user name of my ADMINISTRATOR JSMITH:

Apply the changes and exit the E-Business suite.

Step 4
OK - now comes the fun stuff.


Note - the new options 'Switch User' and 'Return to Self' available:

As its name suggest 'Switch User' is the magic button that allows you to 'become' the other User without having to enter their password i.e. JSMITH can become KWOODROW1 and access their responsibility list.

Step 5

Select the 'People Icon' to switch your user to that of KWOODROW1:

Step 6
As if by magic, you are navigated to the home page of the proxied user, can access any of their current responsibilities and can perform action on their behalf in the E-Business that they themself are allowed to perform:

Note - the label 'Logged in As JSMITH Proxy For KWOODROW1':

Step 7
OK - to return to the original user session, select the option 'Return to Self'

That's all there is to it! Powerful functionality - but very simple to set up.

In my next post, I'll look at the Auditing and control options available for this new functionality.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

BIP XSL-TEXT Templates : Part 2

Not much changes in Birmingham.

It seems like an eternity ago that I was at university there - but after only a couple of hours and a fine Balti in a BYOB restaurant, I felt like I'd never left.

Anyway, enough of my weekend! Let's get back to XSL-TEXT templates.

Excluding XSL-FO, there are 3 different types of XSLT script templates available in BI Publisher. These are currently not greatly documented in the BIP User Guide. However, the difference between them is the format of the output created by the XSLT script i.e.:

XSL-HTMLA XSLT script to transform an XML document into a HTML file
XSL-XMLA XSLT script to transform an XML document into another XML document
XSL-TEXTA XSLT script to transform an XML document into a TEXT file

Note: The XSL element used to set the output type is:

Generally, it is a lot simpler to use an RTF or eText template to create the report layout - and I would ALWAYS recommend using an RTF or eText template where possible for this reason.

However, there comes a time when it may be easier to write XSL and XPATH directly rather than live with any shortcomings of the RTF or eText template type.

One such example of this is to add blank lines and additional formatting logic into eText templates.

In a previous blog on R12 Payments and eText templates, I built the following text file using an eText template:

Here is a XSL-TEXT template to build the same text file using the same R12 Payments XML data source:

A simple XSLT example... however, the point is that I can reference any XSL element, XPATH or extended SQL function directly. I have complete control over the layout of the text file being created.

Here are the source files:

Sample XML Data File
XSL-TEXT template

I built and tested this example using the BIP Enterprise Server (but this works equally well from Oracle E-Business Suite.)

To test this example using the BIP Server:

1) Create a new report and register the XML file as a data source:

2) Upload the XSL-TEXT layout template:

3) View the final transformed output: