Software // Information Management
Commentary
7/13/2010
06:31 PM
Rajan Chandras
Rajan Chandras
Commentary
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Oracle BI Update Delivers a Mixed Bag

Make no mistake, OBIEE+ 11g is one of the most important happenings in BI this year. But Oracle's BI technology consolidation continues to produce some confusion. Here's a brief take.

Make no mistake, OBIEE+ 11g is one of the most important happenings in BI this year. But Oracle's BI technology consolidation continues to produce some confusion. Here's a brief take.

In a nutshell, OBIEE+ 11g is Oracle's business intelligence "platform" (my quotes), which essentially consists of the following:

  • Common Enterprise Information Model: This is Oracle's data-repository-to-reporting metadata definition and management tool. In other words, it begins with reading the physical model (e.g. your dimensional schemas or other sources), translates it into a logical schema (where you can tweak the model, e.g. add computed attributes) and then presents using a business nomenclature (where you can replace geeky DW table/column names with user-friendly names). Note that this begins with the data model instantiated in the database. If you're looking for integration with ETL, you're out of luck.
  • Presentation Layer: This includes new and improved versions of various reporting/presentation tools, such as Oracle Answers (for ad-hoc analysis/reporting), Interactive Dashboard (for -- you guessed it -- dashboard presentation), BI Publisher (for "pixel perfect" (sic) reporting), and BI Delivers for alerts and the like. From the two lanes on the Oracle BI roadmap (and well may you ask: Which version of the roadmap?), this is the "OBIEE" lane. Then there's the "Hyperion" lane that joins in, which includes Essbase, of course, plus tools like Hyperion Financial Reporting (for formatted finance reports) and Hyperion Interactive Reporting (for ad-hoc reporting).
Right away, we begin to see where the two lanes on the roadmap don't quite merge into one -- for example, the glaring overlap in reporting tools. If OBIEE+ is now one big happy family, why do we need two separate reporting tools for formatted reports, and two separate tools for interactive reporting? Then, how well does Hyperion/Essbase integrate with the EIM metadata management tool? Unfortunately not too well -- for example, you can use Essbase as a source to the EIM, but you cannot enforce the use of EIM to regulate all the Hyperion data access.

For some other perspectives, see this write-up on the release.

For my fellow New Jersey Turnpike sufferers, I'd say that OBIEE+ is now approaching Intersection 8A, where the car and truck lanes merge. It's the time to be alert and aware of the confusion and risks of merging into the combined lane.

With the rapidly spinning OBIEE rubber meeting the high-speed enterprise IT road, it's only fair to expect some squealing sounds and burning smells. And we will know soon enough how effective is the cockpit. However, all that shouldn't take away from the fact that we have a solid engine under the hood, getting noticeably better.Make no mistake, OBIEE+ 11g is one of the most important happenings in BI this year. But Oracle's BI technology consolidation continues to produce some confusion. Here's a brief take.

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