Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Oracle Business Intelligence SE One

Small Business Computing Mon, 25 Jun 2007 9:35 AM PDTOracle today rolled out its new Business Intelligence Standard Edition One, a pre-configured BI package targeted at small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and workgroups.


The MODEL clause of the SELECT statement Oracle 10G

The MODEL clause of the SELECT statement enables you to treat your relational output like a spreadsheet. The MODEL clause identifies which columns to aggregate (measures), which columns serve as unique array indexes (dimensions), and which formulas calculate the values (rules).


The MODEL clause has many options for calculating data beyond what is shown here. For more information on MODEL, see the Oracle Database Data Warehousing Guide, Chapter 22, SQL for Modeling:

Oracle BI Applications

"Oracle’s applications have given the company a large, heterogeneous applications and infrastructure installed base. These customers need an integrated way to access, analyze and deliver information and insight from multiple business applications," the trio notes. "[T]he newly branded Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition from the Siebel acquisition—which Gartner previously rated as visionary [in its magic quadrant]—has given Oracle a new opportunity to create a compelling BI platform strategy and become a significant BI platform and applications vendor in 2007 and beyond."


Business Process Management

I just completed two tutorial for for Oracle JDeveloper which I recommend to every one who consider themselves a BI resource. They are:

Defining Business Requirements using UML Use Case diagram in JDeveloper 10g

Modeling Activities for E-Business Integration

I could not complete the last one since I do not have the menu option to complete "Step 8 - Setting E-Business Integration Properties"

Now days, everyone that works in the BI field needs to take into account BUSINESS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT, BPM, why? Because applications like Siebel Analytics now Oracle BI set a trend in which drilling into analytics dashboards from the OLTP application is a simple technical procedure; nevertheless, not easy to implement effectively.

It is my believe that in order for a BI application to be truly pervasive. It needs to answer the basic questions who, what and when at the instance the user can pro-actively take action from the information which is being supplied through the interface between OLTP and BI applications.

The following quote is from Jim Ericson editorial "Step By Step" BI Review June 2007.
"I think a casual observer at most companies we study would find that the greatest stumbling block in operational Business Intelligence lie in those neglected, unknown or ad hoc business processes. I do catch myself going overboard on this topic, but how many times does it have to be said: Business processes make up the language that is least abstracted from the psyche of the business itself"

Technical people needs to learn how to speak the business language in order to communicate to its pears in the Business team. I also think Business people need to be less resistance to learn new technology and procedures in order to meet its pears in the Technical team half way. Only then we would be successful implementing the next generation of application which Oracle is bringing to the market.

Oracle Data Integrator Technical Brief

Oracle Data Integrator Technical Brief

Oracle Data Integrator is built on several components all working together around a centralized metadata repository. These components—graphical modules, runtime components, and a Web interface—in conjunction with other advanced features, make Oracle Data Integrator a lightweight, legacy-free, state-of-the-art integration platform. This technical brief describes the Oracle Data Integrator architecture in detail

The Oracle Data Integrator architecture is organized around a modular repository,
which is accessed in client-server mode by components—graphical modules and
execution agents—that are written entirely in Java. The architecture also includes a Web application, Metadata Navigator, that enables users to access information through a Web interface.

The four graphical modules are Designer, Operator, Topology Manager, and Security Manager. These modules can be installed on any graphical platform that supports Java Virtual Machine 1.5 (J2SE), including Windows, Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, AIX, and Mac OS, among others.

  • Designer defines declarative rules for data transformation and data integrity. All project development takes place in this module; this is where database and application metadata are imported and defined. The Designer module uses metadata and rules to generate scenarios for production. This is the core module for developers and metadata administrators.

  • Operator manages and monitors production. It is designed for production operators and shows execution logs with error counts, the number of rows processed, execution statistics, the actual code that is executed, and so on. At design time, developers can also use the Operator module for debugging purposes.

  • Topology Manager defines the physical and logical architecture of the infrastructure. Servers, schemas, and agents are registered in the master repository through this module, generally by the administrators of the infrastructure or project.

  • Security Manager manages user profiles and their access privileges. Security Manager can also assign access privileges to objects and features. This module is generally used by security administrators.

All modules store their information in the centralized repository.


WhereScape RED

WhereScape RED provides integrated DW life cycle management functionality for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and Teradata deployments. The company’s go-to-market approach includes direct sales to clients, OEM relationships with transactional application vendors, and a network of resellers and consulting partners in the geographic regions in which it operates. WhereScape also provides a freely down loadable working version of its software, which has been an effective method for allowing prospective clients to test-drive the software prior to production deployment,
by building fully-functional small-scale warehouses and marts with WhereScape RED
prior to purchase.

WhereScape RED is a meta data driven DW life cycle management environment. WhereScape RED includes 5 integrated components that support all stages of the DW life cycle process:

  • Source data extraction and loading facilities (native database connectivity, ODBC, XML, flat file)

  • WhereScape RED Applications: Administrator is a developer’s interface for creating repositories within the data warehouse and maintaining schedulers. Integrated development Environment (IDE) is a desktop interface for designing and managing the data warehouse. Scheduler is an optional interface that is used primarily by administrators for job status information.

  • Repository housed within the target DW, the RED Repository is a set of database tables that are installed in each target DW environment. Meta data tables can be accessed by business intelligence tools for query, reporting and analysis purposes. The data warehouse objects created by WhereScape RED are standard database objects such as tables, views, scripts, procedures and indexes. They are always specific to the details of the target database’s SQL or data manipulation dialect: scripts in Teradata can be Multi Load or Fast Load,
    procedures are PL/SQL in Oracle and Transact SQL in SQL Server. RED uses the database as the data transformation engine and also stores all meta data about the objects created in the target DW and about the dependent objects within the repository.

  • Scheduler polls meta data to identify tasks that can be run. It also manages the work flow of dependencies that may exist among jobs or groups of tasks. Tasks can run in the target database or on a separate scheduler platform and initiate loads or procedures specific to databases being used. The scheduler supports multi-platform scheduling and can be called from an existing enterprise scheduler.

  • Dependent Objects located outside the RED repository, dependent objects include OLAP cubes or exports for other downstream systems whose meta data is stored within the RED repository. The scheduler also manages these objects.

Addressing the DW Life cycle Management Process with WhereScape RED

WhereScape RED provides support for all steps of a DW life cycle. It supports both the developers and business users in their collaborative efforts from the definition stage to deployment stage through a series of iterative steps and feedback loops.

Some of the key strengths of the WhereScape RED software include:

Rapid Prototyping
WhereScape itself describes its software as enabling developers to "fail fast and fail early." With WhereScape RED, developers can create prototypes of candidate production schema, populate it immediately with source data (familiar to business users), and adjust the schema in response to business users’ feedback as needed during joint design-prototype-iterate sessions . all within days and in some cases hours. This practices allows business users to see, in real time, the translation of their requests into working data warehouses and/or data marts, and helps BI/DW
practitioners make appropriate accommodations while they themselves get comfortable, incrementally, with those accommodations.

Self-documentation was highlighted as one of the key features of WhereScape RED during interviews with WhereScape customers. Within RED, meta data is created automatically while an architect interacts with the RED desktop interface during the various stages of the data warehousing process. Meta data and other documentation can also be edited or added manually on an as needed basis.

Single Source for Metadata
WhereScape RED stores meta data not only about source systems and the data warehouse objects, but also about the external dependent objects such as OLAP cubes as well as ETL routines. Having a single source for all meta data related to the various steps in DW life cycle management enables administrators, architects and developers to manage and access this meta data more efficiently than if it was distributed in individual repositories of the component tools.

Users of WhereScape RED can also reuse existing tables designed with third party DW modeling tools. In this case the software automatically recognizes that RED was not used as the design tool and retrofits existing DW tables into the RED Repository. This process has been identified as a considerable time saver at organizations, that for various reasons, may chose to work with another modeling tool. This is an example of WhereScape ensuring its product’s compatibility with existing data warehousing tools and environments.

I was given a demo of this product by WhereScape which I called then a framework to build Data Warehouse Application based on industry best practices. I was literally blown away by it. Kind of the same way when I saw Siebel Analytics SRMW model for the first time. The only way I will work on a stand alone implementation of Oracle BI EE would be if client agrees on purchasing this amazing product. Otherwise, they better buy Oracle BI Application since I do not build Data Warehouse from the ground up. Why reinvent the wheel and add unnecessary risk to project which success rate still below 50% when there are product such as this one and Oracle BI Applications in the market?

I recommend everyone to go for a free demo of this amazing product.


Team Collaboration

I am a strong believer on the following quote:

"When teams work together with a common goal and a passion for success, their projects succeed. When the opposite occurs, everyone loses, including the team, the employer, and their customers.

In the course of my normal consulting assignments, I’m often told that there’s something wrong with the data or with the process models being prepared by the team architects, but what I often find is that there is a significant disconnect between what the architects are doing and what the rest of the team expects them to do.

In this paper, I will look at some of the problems that data and process architects face in working with other IT roles and seven easy and inexpensive steps they can take to ensure a collaborative team environment."