Oracle OBIEE11g Launched - Soon to Ship!

Today Oracle had a Marketing Launch of Oracle OBIEE 11g in London. While this was not an announcement of the launch of the actual product but rather the locked down set of features and demonstrated the product slated for production very soon.

With this launch we can now come out and talk about the product! Vlamis Software has been an active member of the beta testing since last year. And while it has been a very long wait I am glad to say that it is finally getting close to the finish line. And it is VERY IMPRESSIVE!

I would like to take a few minutes to go over the key features that are of special interest to many of our customers and those wanting to do more extensive OLAP based analysis with OBIEE.

Metadata Changes

Outwardly the Admin Tool has not changed much. But there are a few notable changes, support for dimension hierarchies, tighter Essbase OLAP integration and Security and instance management is now handled with WebLogic.

It is now easy to now support hierarchies in queries, simply take the dimension hierarchy in the logical layer and place it in the presentation layer and save the repository. Now you will be able to use hierarchical columns (discussed later). Essbase support is much better in this release as well. Many of the special "tweaks" we had to do before are no longer required. WebLogic is now the the primary application server and Weblogic Server is now used for user security, in lieu of the repository manager. For those of us not used to using WebLogic this has been the biggest change to get used to. Once you get used to using it things are easier to do than before, and it all stays up! WebLogic is also used to deploy the rpd file and webcat. Multiple instances can be started up and maintained all from the central management console.

New Look and Feel

There is now a new unified startup page where you can now see a listing of the objects you recently interacted with, including queries, dashboards, or reports. There are also easy links to create a new Analysis (Answers), Report (BI Publisher), Prompts, Dashboard, Scorecard etc.



It is now much easier to do things and see what you have been doing.

New Analysis Features

There are now a lot of new features added to provide a more OLAP-style interaction with data. These include:
- Hierarchical Columns
- Member Selection Steps
- Custom Groups
- Calculated Items
- Hierarchy / Member Browsing Selections



These features are available for all dimensional data, including relational, and Oracle OLAP and Oracle Essbase data. This included tabular reports and pivot tables (crosstabs). The pivot table also supports drag and drop swapping of dimensions. It is very easy to drag the down dimension and swap it with the across dimension just like we would do in windows based applications like Discoverer! We can also swap with the page dimension. This is a big addition!

New Prompts

There are also several new prompts such as check boxes, radio buttons and most importantly a list box. The new prompt builder allows you to build a prompt by combining these prompts into a single prompt.



I was able to build a Level Selector, where I use a choice list to provide the user a list of available levels and once a level is select a list box displays the members in that level so that the desired member or members can be selected.

Maps

There are also a lot more things to discuss but I wanted to close with one new feature we at Vlamis Software are very excited about. OBIEE11g now supports mapping of the data! Instead of showing the data on a chart you can now show the data on a map. If you can provide geo-coded dimensional data you can plot data on a map. This add a new way companies can visualize their bi data. We are also working with NAVTEQ, the provider of map data, to help bring this data to OBIEE11g customers.



That's all for now.. There is much more to cover but will have to wait for another day! I plan on doing a full review as we get to the actual release.