- Ad hoc analysis
- Dimensional modeling (Administration tool)
- Security and permissions
For me as a consultant, these are the most valuable features of the product. By using the Analytics feature, users (and consultants) are able to build both simple and complex reports / graphs. The user is able to add complex calculations and to create almost any column he desires.
The Administration tool is the workbench for the implementation consultant; this is where the data warehouse is called, and facts and dimensions are defined and joined. Here we transform data into a business model and make it accessible to the end user. It is possible to join multiple physical sources and combine their data into a single business model. So, if sales are recorded in a sales application and inventory is recorded in a different system, it can be combined right here.
Security and permissions are important when, within a company, specific roles are defined that are (not) allowed to certain areas of data. OBIEEprovides roles and groups and data shielding by role or even user-level to cope with almost any business requirement at this point.
Room for Improvement:
Users find it difficult to understand which combinations of facts and dimensions are ‘allowed’ in a single report. The application does not provide feedback up front, but gives an error afterwards.
The user interface provides subject areas where the user can choose columns for a report. A column can be either a fact (measure) or a dimension (like company, or date).
It is not uncommon to have two measures that cannot be compared by the same dimension. The report will show a blank column, or give an error message saying something like ‘incomparable measures at this level’.
Most of the times, this is a design flaw in the underlying dimensional model, but this does not have to be the case. If a user could see the unavailable columns based on their selection - by greying out options that are not available - this would greatly help the user understand the underlying data model and prevent frustration.
Use of Solution:
I have used it for five years.
I have not encountered any stability issues.
I have not encountered any scalability issues.
Technical support is excellent; there are many companies specialized in delivering technical support for OBIEE.
For the end user, the product runs inside the web browser; technical setup requires a specialist.
Cost and Licensing Advice:
Contact a reseller (such as Ordina) to negotiate the best price. Oracle list prices are always negotiable.
Seriously consider a cloud implementation. Cut back on implementation and maintenance / upgrade costs and very little time-to-market.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is an Oracle partner.