Oracle, I and everything in between

April 7, 2009

Dashboard Design Tips

Filed under: OBIEE — Prakash @ 9:20 pm
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This topic has been covered by numerous authors but it still surprises me how many people still do not follow basic dashboard design principles. Here are some of the arguments that I have heard for not designing dashboards properly.

  • Didn’t have enough time
  • I am not a graphic designer
  • As long as the data is there, I don’t care if it’s pretty

Poor dashboard design defeats the purpose of having a dashboard in the first place. Here are few simple rules that I following during any dashboard design/development

  1. Readability: Too much data, vertical/horizontal scrolls,
  2. Context: Reports are meaningless without context
  3. Location, Location, Location: Know where the most important metrics should be presented
  4. Performance: Never put a long running report on the dashboard page

If you are in hurry, you can find some more tips on Panorama’s blog here. But if you are someone who does dashboard/reports/data visualization for living, I highly recommend that that you read works of the two prominent experts in the field.

Avinash Kaushik

Stephen Few

February 19, 2009

Its not your problem..

Filed under: Random — Prakash @ 3:43 pm

Yesterday, a colleague and I were stressing about the most elegant way to handle a user requirement within Analytics and we were not even coming close. Then, some body said, “It’s not your problem!” and suddenly we felt a whole lot better. I know that the problem still exists for group as a whole and will come back to haunt us.

Life seems just so much easier when you have SEP field on the problems. For now, I will take it.

December 3, 2008

How to find a good OBI consultant

Filed under: OBIEE,Personal Branding — Prakash @ 7:22 pm
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Oracle market is filled with consultants claiming to be OBI experts. I have been on a number of projects where bad consultants spend a lot of client money and more have to be spent to fix all the bugs left behind.

As a consultant, here is my recommendation for clients looking to start OBI initiative:

  1. Hire a small firm instead of Big-3. Your money will be better spent and you will get better ROI even if rates look higher
  2. Insist on client’s recommendations
  3. Review consultant’s profile. This is the most important in my opinion. Every consulting firm has mix of A and C players. You want to get the A players. Here are a couple of things to look for:
  • Certification: Do they have CBIP certification? Are they vendor certified? OBIEE certifications are not out yet, but from what I hear, Oracle is going to come out with it soon.
  • Personal Branding: Does he participate in Forums and Mailing lists: How is the participation level? Does he blog?

Now, I am not suggesting that blogging is a necessary condition, but it is useful nevertheless. I have worked with many super consultants who have never blogged and rarely visit forums. They just don’t have time! And I don’t blame them. With the growing competition, personal branding would no longer be a choice but become a necessity.

November 4, 2008

Open a Linux hosted Repository in Online Mode

Filed under: OBIEE — Prakash @ 3:09 pm

I just stumbled on Kevin’s blog and found detailed screenshots on opening linux-hosted repository in online mode.

You can read Kevin’s blog for screenshots.

October 6, 2008

Where do you want to go?

Filed under: OBIEE — Prakash @ 7:50 pm

Typical BI project conversation:

Client: Here are my five reports that I run on discoverer. We just bought OBIEE and we would like to port it to OBIEE and by the way, it would be great if you can finish it by end of this week.

me: Sure. We can do that, but what about the other 395 reports that you have?

Client: We will get to them when we have budget next year.

This is a perfect recipe for disaster. In trying to save time and money, many IT managers skip requirement gathering altogether and mistakenly equate existing “reports” to BI. OBIEE is just another reporting tool. Yes, it is, but it is so much more or can be so much more. OBIEE implementation is an opportunity to become an intelligent enterprise. Migrating reports as-is without thinking about the end goal will just propagate the mistakes of the past.

This also reminds me of a piece from Alice in wonderland

Alice: ‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’

‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.

‘I don’t much care where—-‘ said Alice.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.

September 30, 2008

Be a better blogger

Filed under: Personal Branding,Random — Prakash @ 5:35 pm
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I know! I know! I don’t intend to preach on how to become a better blogger. I am not qualified to dole out that advice, yet!

But I did find the two best sources to learn:

You don’t need to go anywhere else other than these two. I hope to be a better blogger soon!

On Cloud 9 or not

Filed under: oracle — Prakash @ 3:20 am
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Cloud computing is the latest buzz word these days. To be honest, it is so loosly used, sometimes I get confused what really is cloud?

Oracle recently announced partnership with Amazon Webservices (AWS) to deploy Oracle database and some softwares on cloud environment.The first use that comes to mind is temporary computing/server requirement during build, prototype, test phase of many projects where the environment can be made available quickly which is an otherwise very very lengthy process. You can find more details on Amazon website where Oracle has provided Amazon Machine Images (AMI). This isn’t a new concept but only recently has Oracle appeared in the cloud per se. Oracle licensing hasn’t changed which means that they are not trying to attract more customers. It is just another offering.

You can find some more thoughts on Oracle cloud computing here and here.

Above all, here is Larry’s take on cloud computing. I couldn’t agree more 🙂

“The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we’ve redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can’t think of anything that isn’t cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women’s fashion. Maybe I’m an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It’s complete gibberish. It’s insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?

“We’ll make cloud computing announcements. I’m not going to fight this thing. But I don’t understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud computing other than change the wording of some of our ads. That’s my view.”

September 29, 2008

Discoverer to OBIEE Migration

Filed under: OBIEE — Prakash @ 8:42 pm
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Discoverer to OBIEE Repository migration utility was released with 10.1.3.4. After hearing a lot about it, I decided to try it out.

I exported a simple Discoverer EUL and ran the command line utility (MigrateEUL.exe under oraclebi\server\bin) and I got the converted repository file. I was initially confused about the repository username and password. Turns out, the username was Administrator with no password (same as brand new repository creation, common sense 🙂 ).

I really liked the simple and clean approach to migration. Ofcourse, this utility just accelerates the migration. There is still manual work involved depending on the complexity of your discoverer installation.

Caveats:

– Can only convert from 10.1.3.2+ Discoverer

– No workbook migration (In Development as of now.

You can find a very good introduction on OBIEE for Discoverer Users here and here

September 25, 2008

Hello World!

Filed under: General — Prakash @ 7:34 pm

When I first started working with Oracle technologies, there were hardly any oracle blogs out there except few notable ones.

A quick search on google today would list hundreds of blogs on everything Oracle and it is quickly becoming the best place to find information.

Little late to arrive on blogsphere, I hope to share my experiences on Oracle and life in general.

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