What is most valuable?
Interactive dashboards are fantastic (business users love them) and BI Publisher – it creates great 'pixel perfect' reports which have a lovely professional look (compared to some other BI products out there), and it is also a very efficient way of delivering CMS data to the user while hiding the complexity from them.
How has it helped my organization?
The OBIEE interactive dashboards delivered trend information to end users, but also enabled them to drill down into the detail themselves when they saw anomalies. This meant that they could investigate the data themselves immediately, without the need for more than basic technical expertise, rather than submitting requests for data and going through iterative versions until they found what they were looking for (which I happen know can take weeks in other organizations, by which time the trend is 'stale').
What needs improvement?
BI Publisher can be a little unstable.
The mapping functionality in OBIEE is still quite immature. We started using it, but it doesn't really hold up compared to other GIS tools (although is very convenient as is packaged with OBIEE so would be great to have all the data visualisation/interrogation available on one tool).
A better searching/cataloguing system would be good. When you have too many reports/dashboards discoverability becomes an issue. Of course, good planning and documentation can get you around this, but it would be nice if the tool had some functionality to make this easy to do (the search function can be very slow and is not that user friendly).
For how long have I used the solution?
I've used OBIEE for six years, this version for four years, and the previous one for two.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Performance drops right down with high levels of users (esp when we have on Oracle RAC – improved when we moved to ODA)
How are customer service and technical support?
Good - but sometimes would take a while to get assistance with trickier issues.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Yes – SAS. We shifted to Oracle as the SAS BI tools were not as slick (several other options were evaluated, but Oracle was chosen). SAS now has Visual Analytics – but it still looks a little clunky compared to OBIEE. And the business users love OBIEE look and feel.
What about the implementation team?
We did an in-house implementation, but had experienced ex–Oracle contractors on the team. I would say a good set up of your RPD and a well planned design of your dashboards/reporting framework is essential – and that takes experience.
What other advice do I have?
The business users love it! To use successfully it pays to plan out your approach – underlying data, RPD, dashboard navigation and layout standards before hand – planning and following best practice are the key to a successful implementation and getting the most out of the product.