Dylan's BI Study Notes

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

Archive for the ‘OBIA’ Category

How to access Fusion Cloud for building custom BI?

Posted by Dylan Wan on December 20, 2016

It was a challenge when we tried to build a BI application for Fusion Cloud application as Fusion Cloud applications, unlike those acquired solutions, such as RightNow, Elouque, and Taleo, do not have web services at that time.

It was the reason why Oracle BI Application Configuration Manager was introduced.  It fills the gap by building an agent at the Fusion  cloud application side.  The agent talks to Fusion Apps like how OTBI talks with Fusion Apps.  It queries the physical layer of the objects from Fusion Apps and download the data into csv files.  It is not a web service based solution but for building a custom BI that requires bulk access any way, it is a goo choice.

Once the data is downloaded from Fusion Apps as CSV files, it can be accessible via FTP.  Here is the documentation about configuring Oracle BI Apps but I guess that it will work for other FTP client as well.

It seems that the situation improved and now multiple alternates are available.

Another possible way is to use BI Publisher.  If you have the BI Publisher Data Model Developer role, you will be able to “data model” in publisher.  Here is the documentation.


Posted in BI, BI Application, Business Intelligence, OBIA, Oracle, OTBI | Leave a Comment »

Using Load Plan for managing your ETL task in BI Apps (1)

Posted by Dylan Wan on May 14, 2013

One of the major change introduced in BI Apps is the way how we manage the ETL task sequence and trim the unnecessary tasks.

This functionality was accomplished earlier using DAC.  The problem we frequently faced was that the DAC repository and the INFA repository are maintained as two separate repositories.  We have to sync up the name of tasks exactly in order to use DAC to manage the task execution of the Informatica workflow tasks.

Load Plan and Load Plan Generator was designed for addressing this requirement.

Here is a good article that describes the story.

Load Plan Generator – An Inside Look

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


Posted by Dylan Wan on October 5, 2011

Several people are curious about what are OTBI and OBIA, and what are the differences between OTBI and OBIA.  I will discuss these in this article.

OTBI stands for Oracle Transactional Buisness Intelligence. 

OBIA stands for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications.

Let’s start with OBIA.  OBIA is the pre-packaged BI Apps that Oracle has provided for several years.  It is the data warehouse based solution.  It is based on the universal data warehouse design with different prebuilt adapters that can connect to various source application to bring the data into the data warehouse.  It allows you to conslidate the data from various sources and bring them together.  It provides a library of metrics that help you measure your business. It also provides a set of predefined reports and dashboards.  OBIA works for multiple sources, including E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JDE, SAP, and Fusion Applications.

OTBI is different.  First of all, it is a real time BI.  There is no data warehouse or ETL process for OTBI.  Second, it is for Fusion Apps only.   OTBI is leveraging the advanced technologies from both BI platform and ADF to enable the online BI queries agains the Fusion Applications database directly.  In addition, in some area, such as Financial, you can also connect to the Essbase cubes.  Unlike OBIA, OTBI does not have a lot of prebuilt dashboards and reports.  The reason is that for some advanced analysis, the data need to be prepared.  You cannot get eveything you can get from the OBIA data warehouse in OTBI. 

Both OTBI and OBIA are available from the same metadata repository.  Some of the repository objects are shared between OTBI and OBIA.  It was designed to allow you have the following configurations:

  • OTBI Only
  • OBIA only
  • OTBI and OBIA coexist

If you implement Fusion Apps, you can enable OTBI.  You can use the BI EE Answer to access the prebuild metadata and metrics those are built against the Fusion Apps.  You may not get the full powerful prebuild dashboard and repost and prebuilt navigation workflow.  However, you can start experiencing what the BI EE based reports look like.  You can start bring the data out from your OLTP system.  You can provide training to the users to get familar with the subject areas, some of which are shared with OBIA. 

If you enjoy OTBI and want to further get OBIA with a data warehouse based solution.  You can implement OBIA later.  Some of the OTBI reports maybe switched to run against OBIA.  Some of OTBI reports can continue connecting to Fusion Apps directly.  They can coexist in a single BI server and a single BI answer client.

Both OTBI and OBIA are accessing Fusion Apps via the ADF.   This is a more advanced topic. 




Posted in BI, BI Application, BI Links, Business Intelligence, Data Warehouse, DBI, essbase, ETL, Infomatica, OBIA, OBIEE, Oracle, Oracle BI Suite EE, OTBI | 1 Comment »

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.

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 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 »

EDW and BI Apps (Part 1)

Posted by Dylan Wan on October 8, 2010

This may be an old topic, but people seem like to see and look for conflicts and arguments which do not really exist, and keep bringing this topic up.

Some vendors sell the data models, particularly, the enterprise data warehouse model, and tell you that it is their BI solution. For me, data model alone is NOT a BI solution. It is solving a small percentage of your problem if it solves problems at all.

What efforts and costs you really need to spend on is to

– Understanding your reporting requirement
– Determine how to use the analytics to get you the competitive advantage
– Determine how the analytics can be used as part of your decision making process which can be through out the organizations everywhere.
– Analyze where the data were originated and captured
– Analyze and determine how the information can be extracted and delivered
– Design how the data can be organized, consolidated, and transformed so the data can become closer to answer your business questions

What so called enterprise data warehouse model, does not answer most of the above questions.

Actually I cannot believe that people are comparing between a BI solution with the full layers of solutions with the enterprise data warehouse model. There is no comparison. The full layers of solutions are the data model design for answering your business questions, the analytics metadata describes how the data are organized and thus can be easily retrieved, the library of the metrics that you can select from, the prebuilt analytics flow with the guided navigation, the prebuilt adapter to the enterprise business applications. The last point includes the analysis about the source system model and features, as well as defining and comparing the semantic meanings from each system and defining the logical mapping. Also, the tuning of the various layers such as SQL tuning for the BI query and the performance tuning the batch job that extract and deliver the data. Even though you buy a EDW model, I guess that those above tasks still exist.

Please note that I also like the enterprise data warehouse concept, as a tool for consolidating data across multiple systems within an enterprise. I also like to read those books such as the Data Model Reference Guide. I like that they describe the business rule and assumptions using a model approach. However, you will need to see if your organization is really follow those same business assumption. Every organization has different business rules and process. Enterprise apps, such as ERP and CRM vendor, try to make their system adaptable to your process or try to sell their solution as the best practice. The truth is that not all business are the same. Same also hold true for the data warehouse model. A enterprise data warehouse model is a reference model, is a starting point, and is valuable, but please do not compare it with the prepackage business intelligence applications that have done a lot of the tasks I mentioned above.

There are questions about how to integrate between EDW and BI Apps. When the question is being asked, I think that one should prepare that there are manual work involved. First of all, as far as I know, many such enterprise data warehouse does not have prepackage ETL. If you have unique data consolidation requirements, you can go for that EDW model, but you will still need to analyze how to consolidate those data. One thing you can leverage from the pre-packaged BI Apps is that they already have the ETL and know how to extract the data, so you may be able to leverage your investment in that way. However, you will need to keep this in mind. The prepackage apps are defined with the reporting requirement in mind so it may not extract all the information. The EDW modeler, however, does not keep the reporting requirement as the model is designed. Many of them are designed for consolidating data, so you can get study the ETL to get the source data structure but you may not get all the attributes if you are thinking of populating the EDW from the extracted prepackaged BI apps data warehouse.

Also, possible solution is to use the consolidated enterprise data warehouse as the source for BI Apps. I can see the flow makes sense since EDW may have more granular data than the prepackage BI apps. However, it is really hard to have a standard assumption of what EDW should be, typically you won’t get the prebuilt adapter, which I feel is one of the major cost of your efforts.

(to be continued…)

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

Informatica ETL Tuning Steps

Posted by Dylan Wan on March 14, 2009

First, we need to identify where the performance problem come from.   The bottleneck can be:

  • Source Extract
  • Transformation
  • Lookup
  • Target Write

I will talk about how to isolate the problems and go over each about how to investigate the problem in each of these area.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business Intelligence, ETL, Infomatica, OBIA | 1 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 »

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 »

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 »