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Oracle OBIEE Review
It has a three-layer repository. I can organize multiple data sources into a common business model.

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Valuable Features:

There are many valuable features. For example:

  • Multiple data sources: I can easily combine multiple data sources and organize them into a common business model.
  • Three-layer repository: With the three-layer repository, the development and interpretation are very simple. The three layers are divided from each other well both in logical and physical meaning. The physical layer is used for importing data, creating aliases, building physical joins, setting up connection pools, managing cache and hints for tables. The business model and mapping layer is used for creating logical columns, fact and dimension tables, hierarchies, measures, using fragmentations and filters, applying business logic. The presentation layer is used to prepare, group and organize the data for users to view.
  • Security management: Security management is very detailed, complex and well defined in OBIEE. I can set up everything that I want; user security, object security, row-level security, etc. For example: I can easily connect users with application roles, different application roles with different privileges or set up data filters, other restrictions for users / application roles or manage subject areas/tables/columns access for users / application roles, etc. 
  • Smart cache management: I can easily manage cache and cache settings. I can use it for common tables only, I can purge it in a scheduled way, etc
  • Interactive dashboards and analyses: Lots of rich visualization (dashboards, analyses, graphs, maps, etc); user interactions: drilling, pivoting, filtering, prompting, sorting, navigation and more.
  • Spatial integration: Lots of rich map visualizations, many supported map suppliers and a wide range of possibilities to use map data.
  • Individual customization using CSS and JavaScript.

Improvements to My Organization:

I have worked for National Public Health and Medical Officer Service on the Child Birth Notification BI project. It was a very successful project both for us and the medical experts as well.

For example, with our analyses, the medical experts could improve healthcare and services at the regions where the child mortality was high.

Room for Improvement:

Of course, there is some room for improvement, because a perfect BI platform does not exist in IT.

The following things would be welcomed:

  • Detailed editing of dashboard prompts: By this, I mean the appearance and localization. If I create a dashboard prompt, I cannot edit freely the columns and texts on the user interface of dashboard prompts. For example, I cannot insert individual text fields that are independent from columns; I cannot use CSS to emphasize my texts of columns and the localization is quite limited as well.
  • Smarter BI navigation using hierarchical columns: By this, I mean the navigation from a measure is quite difficult when I use hierarchical columns. When I use a hierarchical column in an analysis and expand the levels and click on a measure on the second level, for example, the BI does not know the appropriate level using navigation and it will result in wrong amounts. This is a known issue, according to the BI documentation, and there are other solutions, alternative ways to use navigation. Nonetheless, for hierarchical columns, it could be smarter.

Use of Solution:

I have used it for more than five years.

Stability Issues:

I have not encountered any stability issues with BI, but I did encounter stability issues with WebLogic.

Scalability Issues:

I have not encountered any scalability issues. It has worked well.

Technical Support:

I can't rate technical support, because I don't ask for help from OTN. Whenever I find any errors or have any issues, I read solutions or best practices from forums or BI channels.

Previous Solutions:

I used only open-source solutions before OBIEE, but the functionality of these tools is not even close to OBIEE.

Initial Setup:

I think the install of OBIEE is not so complex; it's quite straightforward. Of course, the configuration can be complex, if we would like to use completely different settings from the default.

Cost and Licensing Advice:

Unfortunately, this is the most difficult point with OBIEE. The license is very expensive.

Other Solutions Considered:

When I first encountered OBIEE, I had no choice to use other options, because this platform was preferred at that company. That was five years ago and since that time, I have been using OBIEE and I can recommend using it to everyone.

On the other hand, if our customers would like to use an open-source BI platform, I can recommend using SpagoBI, for example.

Other Advice:

I recommend using OBIEE because of its wide functionality (multiple data sources, interactive dashboards and analysis, spatial integration, delivers and alerts, mobiles, etc.).

In my opinion, it is one of the best BI platforms. It provides a full range of capabilities (from development to user experience).

I have worked on a lot of interesting and special projects, and I haven't been assigned any task that I could not do with it.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company is an Oracle Gold Partner.
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