Dylan's BI Study Notes

My notes about Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, OLAP, and Master Data Management

Archive for the ‘BI Work’ Category

Dimension Hierarchy Support in Data Warehouse (1)

Posted by Dylan Wan on June 7, 2011

This is my first post about dimension hierarchy support in a data warehouse.

I will first starting with the requirement assumptions in this post and later posts will talk about the implementations.

Dimension is mainly about “View By”,  “Group by”, and “Filter By”.  You say that you want to view your last year sales by regions.  Last year is a filter and “By region” is the “view by” or “group by”, so there are two dimensions involved here:  the Calendar dimension and the Region dimension.

Each year, such as year 2010, is a dimension member in the Calendar dimension.  Each region, such as the East Region, is a dimension member.

Sometime there are hierarchical relationship among the dimension members.  for example, year 2010 is a dimension member, and the month “January 2010” is also a member and we know that the member year 2010 can be related to another 12 dimension members.  the data for the dimension member year 2010 can actually further break down by those twelves members.  we call this relationship between the member year 2010 and the member month January 2010  is a hierarchical relationship.  The year 2010 is a parent member and the  month “January 2010” is a child member.

The relationship is useful in BI since you can see where the data come from.  Basically if you know that the year 2010 is consistent of 12 child members, January 2010, February 2010, …, to December 2010, it would be great if BI allows you to drill from the group by view with the year 2010 to the view by the child members of year 2010.

If there is hierarchical relationships among regions, it would be great that when you view any region in your report, you can further see what are the other regions that the region is consist of and see the details, especially see how the figure is made from.

For example, if you see the sales for 2010 for the East region is 21M and the east region is consist of three child regions, region A, region B, and region C.  You may want to see how this 21M come from.  Whether the figure is 7M for each region, or the figure is actually unbalanced among regions may mean different for you and different action plan may come up.

The requirement assumptions are

  • Dimension Hierarchy is for supporting drill down reporting.  You should be able to drill into a dimension member and see the further details about the member.
  • Dimension hierarchy let you see the break down.  Browsing the dimension members is not the main purpose.  The purpose of having the dimension support in BI is for viewing the metrics along with the dimension.
  • The number that is associated with the parent dimension members would typically be a number that can be added up from the child members.

Next post, I will talk about BI tool implementation.

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Posted in BI, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle BI Suite EE | 1 Comment »

User Defined Function (UDF) in ODI

Posted by Dylan Wan on March 21, 2011

User Defined Function (UDF) is a very powerful feature from ODI.

One of features that are absent from other ETL tool is to address the need to support different database platforms.  I won’t blame those ETL tools since they are not really designed for pre-package BI Apps.

Who will need to switch database platform like that?

If your data warehouse is deployed on Oracle, you can use Oracle SQL.  If you are using Teredata, you can use Teradata.  You know that your PeopleSoft is running on DB2, you can write the DB2 SQL.  In the custom data warehouse ETL environment, switching database platforms is uncommon, one time only task.  You do not need to switch among different database platforms within your code.

A prepackaged BI apps ETL developers, however, are facing different challenges.  You do not know if the source apps is running on which database platform.  Also, you want to give customers the choices on the database platforms to deploy the data warehouse.

ODI UDF comes very handy.  You can create a UDF to use in your SQL, you can have multiple implementation of the UDF for different database platform.  You can use GetDate() for MS SQL and use SYSDATE for Oracle database in the implementation, but you can create you own function such TODAY() and use in your SQL.

User Defined Function is not a new idea.  You may see something similar in other tools.  However, to be able to use UDF in SQL and to be able to use UDF with multiple implementations under different technologies, I only see the feature in ODI.

I won’t be surprised to see those “me too” products in the near feature.

More and more companies are moving to use prepackaged BI apps.

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, ETL, Infomatica, OBIA, ODI, Oracle, Oracle Data Integrator | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

EDW and BI Apps (Part 3)

Posted by Dylan Wan on November 12, 2010

EDW and BI Apps integration is a fun topic. I heard that more and more organizations are facing this situation. The reason is that many people buy the prepackage BI Application even though they already have an enterprise data warehouse.

I found that an interesting thing is that their existing enterprise data warehouse covers many more subject areas specific to their business, but when they touch the data from the ERP or CRM apps, they still would like to use the prepackaged BI Apps applications. The reason is that it saves a lot of their efforts.

Since BI Applications supports the ERP or CRM apps, their BI Application deployment typically supports the horizontal business functions. On the ERP side, it supports back office operations in financial, procurement, order management, and human resource. Their CRM apps supports marketing, sales, and services. However, the core business system may not be using the prepackaged enterprise apps. The data source for the enterprise data warehouse are industry specific or even in-house built systems.

This leads into the following scenario about integrating the EDW and BI Apps. The integration is really about integrating the Vertical data warehouse with the Horizontal data warehouse. Conformed dimension is a key successful factor for this integration.

There are multiple of technical approaches of doing the integration, such as building a cross reference table or directly sharing the logical or physical layers as I mentioned in the prior posts. No matter which technical approach are taken, I think that they should follow some data warehouse conformance process.

Some people just jump directly into the process of comparing the data warehouse schema. It seems both data warehouse has the party dimension. Let’s merge them. It seems both has the location dimension. Let’s create a cross reference.

I think that it is dangerous to look at the problem in this way. Just because that both data warehouse has something with the name of “Party” does not mean that they are the same thing.

It is important to go through the follow steps if you are involved in a such project:

1. What are the business questions you would like to answer via the conformance and integration?

2. What are the data available in each of your systems?

3. Where are the data required stored?

4. Determine the technical approach to integrate.

Many valuable information you can get from the prepackaged Horizontal BI apps that can be leveraged as part of conformance project:

1. BI Apps collects your people (employee/resource) information from your enterprise apps.
– It may also give your the headcount and reporting structure information.
– The people / resources may have various roles depending on the sets of enterprise apps are deployed.

2. It collects your customer information from your enterprise apps
– It may also provide you the revenue information by major customer related attributes such as geography and industry.
– If financial is being used, you can get the payment and credit information as well.

3. It may have your supplier information if you are using the procurement or Financial payables apps.

4. It has the GL account / Financial reporting structure information
– It already has the cost / expense information collected from various places for accounting

5. It has the internal organization structure information
The org structure defined for business processing as well the org structure defined for reporting / management reporting are there.

6. It has the calendar / fiscal year and quarter definition
If you have the accounting system, the fiscal calendar will be there.

7. It has the product / item information
– It could be the products the organization is selling.
– The items the deploying organization is building
– It can also include the product that the deploying organization is buying.

These of course depend on the nature of the business.

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, EDW | Leave a Comment »

EDW and BI Apps (Part 2)

Posted by Dylan Wan on October 11, 2010

Last week I talked about EDW as a data model offering. I also mentioned that it is possible to use the enterprise data warehouse as the source for BI Apps, but it requires a lot of manual work. The topic discussed is about evaluating if you need to have the EDW data model or BI Apps, or both.

There is another commonly seen scenario that you may already have an existing enterprise data warehouse. If you already have an enterprise data warehouse and already have the integration from various in-house systems, what do you do?

First of all, I think that it is not wrong to co-exist. You have existing investments in your EDW and you should consider keeping it for the value it already provides. However, considering the benefits and the cost and time saving you may get from the prepackaged BI apps, you may still want to deploy a prepackaged BI Apps. There is really no conflict.

The other questions come from those people who think of one plus one should not be two, but more. I think that it is possible to integrate the EDW and prepackaged BI apps in several ways to gain the additional values:

1. Dashboard and report level integration

BI tool, such as Oracle BI EE, allows you to have multiple data sources for your BI. You can put the reports or regions from different data warehouses into the same end user business flow. You can even put them into the same page if it makes sense.

If you include a cross reference table or cross reference from at least one side, you can actually drill into from one to the other.

The integration between the two will be similar from the integration between the BI apps and an OLTP system, such as E-Business Suite. For example, you can navigate to a EBS page as long as the page is callable. You can use URL rewrite to pass the context. The URL can encrypt the identifier so the data can still be secured. You can the URL as an presentation layer attribute that can be a derived attribute that include the object instance ID from the record.

You can also define the page navigation from one BI page to the other.

I will call this loosely-decoupled approach.

2. Logical Layer Integration via Data Federation

We can also use the data federation feature from a BI tool such as Oracle BI EE. The concept of the data federation is very simple. Basically, as an end user of BI, you should not need to know where your data is physically located. Your BI design architect can tell the BI system as part of the metedata repository about where the data is physically located and what the semantic layer of the data mode should be and how the data are related. During run time, the BI tool can get the data from the various physical database systems or even the text files and spreadsheet data. It will merge the results and show the data to the users.

3. Data Warehouse and Database level integration

The data federation is done via the BI tool. There is mot much impact to the ETL process as long as we can identify the share nature key.

The Data warehouse level integration means that you can not only make the BI Apps co-exist with your enterprise data warehouse, you may actually build some integration via the ETL process.

For example, you do not really need duplicate the Date dimension. The Calendar Date is an important dimension in the data warehouse. However, the definition of the Gregorian calendar is defined outside your organizations. Most of data warehouses have the similar design on the Date dimension. If the various facts can get the agreement on how to derive the Date dimension foreign key, you do not really need to have two Date dimension tables.

You need to be careful for going into this approach though. The benefit of using a prepackaged BI apps is not just cut your initial cost, but also reduce your lifetime maintenance. When you upgrade your OLTP apps, or when you want to implement additional modules, it may be the time for you to upgrade your BI Apps. The prepackaged BI Apps can provide the upgraded adapters to the latest version of the OLTP. If you change the out of the box date dimension from the BI Apps, you make need to find a strategy to keep the change isolated from the upgrade to make the change be easily redone or be protected from the upgrade.

(to be continued…)

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, EBS, ETL, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle BI Suite EE | Leave a Comment »

Data Security in Oracle BI Apps

Posted by Dylan Wan on July 15, 2008

I am describing how data security works in Oracle BI Apps.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE, Siebel Analytics | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Use ANSI SQL for Outer Join

Posted by Dylan Wan on July 4, 2008

The OLTP source applications like PeopleSoft and Siebel applications can run on many different databases including Oracle, MS SQL, or DB2. The target data warehouse can also run on different database platforms, incluidng the above databases, plus Teradata.

Various technologies can be used to enable the cross database platform support in the pre-packaged BI apps. Oracle BI Enterprise Edition allows you configure the database connections using the native drivers. ODBC can also be used to access different databases.

In order to deliver to deliver the pre-packaged ETL adapters, two technologies can be used : ANSI SQL and ETL tool specific SQL. It is preferable to avoid the dependency on the ETL plarform and use ANSI SQL92 syntax. When we move from ETL to ELT, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, ETL, Infomatica, Oracle, Oracle Data Integrator | Leave a Comment »

Use SQL*Loader with Named Pipe

Posted by Dylan Wan on June 24, 2008

Typically using SQL*Loader assumes that a flat file will be used as the input. The file will need to be created and generated before the SQL*Loader can take the data from the file and load the data into Oracle. The performance can be improved and the disk space can be saved if you use named pipe with SQL*Loader.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, ETL, Infomatica, Oracle, Oracle Data Integrator, Sunopsis | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Changed Data Capture in ODI

Posted by Dylan Wan on June 9, 2008

ODI is the tool will also be used to develop the ETL (or ELT) for Oracle BI Applications. ODI supports Changed Data Capture by its journalizing module.

My understanding of CDC flow in ODI is as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Oracle, Oracle Data Integrator, Sunopsis | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Oracle BI Applications 7.9.5 is out

Posted by Dylan Wan on May 30, 2008

Oracle BI Applications 7.9.5 is released early this month. Here is a quick summary of the features introduced in this release and where you can get more information about it.

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Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, ETL, Infomatica, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE, PeopleSoft, Siebel Analytics | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

ABC Analysis in Inventory Management

Posted by Dylan Wan on March 11, 2008

 I did some study on the ABC Analysis in Inventory Management.  It is also useful in business analytics.  I will cover what it is and how it is supported in various ERPs. Finally, how it may be used in analytics application. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, EBS, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Supply Chain Intelligence | 10 Comments »

RFM Analysis

Posted by Dylan Wan on March 9, 2008

RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) analysis is used by marketing to determine their campaign targets. It is based on three metrics from the previous sales records: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Marketing Intelligence, Sales Intelligence | 1 Comment »

13 Period Calendar

Posted by Dylan Wan on February 26, 2008

I will discuss the following topics:

  • What is the 13 period calendar?
  • Who uses the 13 period calendar?
  • How is it different from the 4-4-5 calendar?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, Financial Intelligence, Sales Intelligence | 9 Comments »

Data Warehouse Basics

Posted by Dylan Wan on February 15, 2008

Here is a link to my Data Warehouse Basics presentation slides. I explain what is a data warehouse, what is characteristics of a data warehouse, and what the data warehouse deployment looks like.

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Posted in BI Work, Data Warehouse | 3 Comments »

BI Applications and Embedded BI, Part 4

Posted by Dylan Wan on January 29, 2008

This is my 4th post about the embedded BI. The key is that a OBIEE and OBIA warehouse based solution is embeddable to the OLTP system as long as the OLTP system can provide the basic support.

In this article, I will discuss one of the key enabling technology – integrated authentication.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, EBS, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE, Siebel Analytics | 2 Comments »

BI Applications and Embedded BI, Part 3

Posted by Dylan Wan on January 28, 2008

I would like to go over some of the embedded BI related technologies you can use to make the data from BI Apps embedded in the OLTP systems.

In this post I will describe the Micro ETL feature from DAC.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, DAC, Data Warehouse, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE | 1 Comment »

Cost Center Hierarchy and Performance Management

Posted by Dylan Wan on January 27, 2008

Cost Center Hierarchy is an important dimension is the Performance Management system. The cost center concept is described in many Managerial Accounting books. I think that going back to where it was originated help us to understand how it should be designed and used in a Business Analytics Data Warehouse.

A cost center is described as an essential element used in the responsibility accounting reporting system. Here are the major concepts about the responsibility accounting and cost center described in the managerial accounting field.

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Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, EBS, EPM, Financial Intelligence, SAP | 2 Comments »

Oracle BI Applications 7.9.4 is available on OTN

Posted by Dylan Wan on January 8, 2008

The latest version of Oracle Applications is now available in Oracle Technology Network.

http://www.oracle.com/technology/software/products/ias/htdocs/101320bi.html

Here is the direct link to software.

Here are some of the new features of this releases:

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Work, Business Intelligence, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE, PeopleSoft | Leave a Comment »

Oracle VPD and Oracle BI EE (Part 1)

Posted by Dylan Wan on January 4, 2008

Oracle database allows you secure the access to the table rows using the virtual private database feature.  It is one of the enabler for the EBS organization based security.

Oracle BI EE also provide the data security in the BI server based on repository setup.  However, can we also use the database feature together with our BI deployment?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Work, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE | Leave a Comment »

BI Applications and Embedded BI, Part 2

Posted by Dylan Wan on December 5, 2007

This is a topic I wrote in six month ago. In the Part I of this series of articles, I mentioned that a warehouse like architecture is required in a heterogeneous environment. I want to elaborate more about this. In the future posts, I will also describe the integration technology I learned for supporting the embedded BI.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in BI, BI Work, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, DBI, hyperion, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Siebel Analytics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »