ClearPeaks´ Visualisation Plugin

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Introduction

If you’ve worked with any kind of data, you know how harrowing reading rows and rows of numbers can be. It isn’t easy to wade through all of those numbers and easily figure out what they mean. That’s the case where visualisation comes to the rescue. Visualisation de-mystifies the data and helps decision-makers derive actionable insights from it. The whole idea of this blog is to delve into the blossoming world of data visualisation. It is hard to ignore the weight that more advanced and more interactive visualisations carry in today’s data-centric world. It is common to get requests to add visualisations or other improvements to the dashboard in order to provide a flashier look or design. Typically, these kinds of requests are handled by embedding HTML and JavaScript to provide data driven, custom visualisations. At ClearPeaks, we have developed a set of Custom Visualisations that allow configurable visualisations to work natively in modern browser technologies.
 

1. Motivation

Following are the main Key factors, which drive the need for Custom Visualization Plugins:

Add new Capabilities to existing chart types for modern reporting tool.
Add brand new Visualization types.

Let us discuss each one of these points in detail.

Add new Capabilities to existing Chart types.
How many times have you received a request that you just could not meet with native chart types because there was not enough ability to customize the chart? For example, imagine that you want to build a line/bar combo chart with a third distinct Y-axis. Oh sure, you can map three metrics, but if the metrics do not have the same unit of measurement or the same scale, then you are screwed. To handle these kind of scenarios, we have to use these Pre-build custom Plugins.

Add brand new Visualisation types.
There is huge scope for improvement in terms of Interactive Visualizations with traditional charts Library and there are so many new visualization Patterns we can build using JavaScript like Donuts, Meters, Pokers or Animated Donuts etc, which is hard to visualize with Traditional Reporting tools.

 

2. How does it work?

ClearPeaks’ plugin is solely based on native browser technologies and doesn't require client side plugins like Flash or Java. The plugin is built with jQuery and SVG. With the ClearPeaks plugin referenced in your webpage, we are ready to use a wide range of highly customizable charts. In case of the Oracle BI implementations, where their servers are isolated from the Internet and protected in internal LAN segments, referencing these resources from Oracle BI means having to first deploy them in the WebLogic Server as static resources.
ClearPeaks’ plugin allows us to easily customize the design of a chart, like its size, colour and fonts. Also, it is possible to include or exclude parts of the charts.
 

3. Data Visualization Graphs

In this section, we present some of the visualization graphs developed by our team:

Gauge Chart: Gauge provides a rich amount of configurable items, which can set options we pass through the plugin invocation.
Figure 1 - Gauge Chart
Donut Chart: A Donut Chart is a circle chart that shows the percentage of an activity.
Figure 2 - Donut Chart
Pyramid: A Pyramid chart displays a single series of data in progressively decreasing or increasing proportions, organized in segments, where each segment represents the value for the particular item from the series.
Figure 3 - Pyramid
TimeLine: Timeline allows to visualise the starting and ending of an activity.
Figure 4 - Timeline

Visualisation also includes the below charts.

Horizontal Bar Chart:
Figure 5 - Horizontal Bar Chart
Vertical Bar Chart:
Figure 6 - Vertical Bar Chart
Bubble Chart:
Figure 7 - Bubble Chart
Percentage Bar:
Figure 8 - Percentage Bar

 

Conclusion

ClearPeaks’ custom visualisation plugin provides some of the best and most unique visualisations available. The charts are highly customizable in terms of size, colour and design. Better yet, the visualisations can be implemented in OBIEE or any custom html reports or dashboards.

Click here if you would you like to know more about this innovative solution!

Oracle BI Cloud Service, Part V: Managing the Service

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How Oracle BI Cloud Service is managed

Parts II, III and IV of our BICS series were dedicated to the basic functionalities of the service. In this post, the last one in the series, we will explain how the BI Cloud Service is managed.

As in the on-premise version of OBI, security of the BI cloud service is managed with users, roles and application roles. All the cloud services you buy will be assigned a unique identity domain that will allow you to manage what users and roles can access to which service associated with that identity domain. Application roles allow you to set permissions to users and roles within each cloud service.

You can manage users and roles from the My Services page of Oracle Cloud with the Identity Domain Administrator credentials.

 

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Figure 1: Oracle Cloud My Services webpage

Application roles are managed from the BI Cloud Service Console with BI Service Administrator credentials.

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 Figure 2: Managing users and roles

From the Service Console you can easily add users, roles and application roles as members to one or multiple application roles, manage pre-defined application roles, and create your own application roles.

 

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Figure 3: Oracle BI Cloud Service - Service Console

A useful feature included in BI Cloud Service is Snapshot: you can capture with one click the state of the service at a point in time including data model, catalog and application roles (but not database elements which should be backed-up separately). You can then save the snapshot in the cloud (maximum 10 snapshots) or download it to a file system, and upload a saved snapshot to restore the service to a previous state. Each snapshot import is total in that it overwrites everything that was in the instance beforehand. Apart from backups, snapshots are useful for moving data from the pre-prod to the prod environment.

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Figure 4: Taking system snapshots

Other common administration tasks of OBIEE are also available in the BI Cloud Service, such as monitoring users currently signed in, analyze or test SQL queries, and monitor usage and other metrics.

 

Conclusion

The Oracle BI Cloud Service is a good option for small and medium companies looking for an easy-to-use BI framework with a fast deployment cycle and minimum capital and operating expenditures. The agility and availability of the system allows companies to start reporting against their business data in a couple of hours. We are still missing some features to consider it as an option for large projects, but it is still useful for any company requiring their BI contents to be available in the cloud and in any mobile device.

So what are your thoughts on the Oracle BI Cloud Service? Would you consider deploying your BI fully in the cloud using the service? Contact us at info@clearpeaks.com or using our web form if you would like more information about the Oracle BI Cloud Service, or leave your comments below!

GASCO & ClearPeaks presented with Finalist Award at Oracle OpenWorld 2015

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Openworld Logo White border Newç

GASCO & ClearPeaks are proud to have been presented a Finalist Award for “Big Data & Business Analytics” at the Oracle Excellence Awards for their successful deployment of a fully integrated, innovative and highly advanced Enterprise BI Platform.

Arguably the most advanced Oil & Gas Analytics environment in the Gulf region, the GASCO BI platform, delivered by ClearPeaks, extends the capabilities of Oracle BI ensuring optimal customer experience and user adoption, whilst leveraging the Oracle platform’s versatility and robustness.

The GASCO & ClearPeaks BI collaboration is proud to announce a user adoption of over 1000 active users across all departments and production sites, from C-level to site management and down to operational analysts, consuming more than 300 corporate reports and over 15 corporate BI dashboards daily. The entire enterprise is now enabled on one integrated platform.

Oracle Excellence AwardsBack in 2010 the picture was very different. GASCO was facing all the common challenges encountered in enterprises, that being the impossibility to enable management insight and reporting due to the lack of integration and consolidation of key business data and metrics. GASCO were working with a plethora of departmental and disconnected data sources, catering for very basic operational reporting, but making it impossible to drive decision making, data governance and to deploy commonly agreed business reporting rules. A further complication was that different technologies were being used across departments, adding to the user frustration of not having common and consistent standards and functionalities.

At this time, GASCO engaged ClearPeaks to embark on the journey of materialising their vision of a fully integrated, scalable enterprise-wide BI platform offering a single, reliable one-stop-shop for all GASCO reporting needs and deploying powerful, state-of-the-art visualizations to enhance user adoption with the following key objectives:

* Enabling a Business Insight across all divisions on a common platform
* Driving key management decision making
* Driving user adoption whilst reducing IT dependencies
* Addressing data quality, integration, governance & consolidation challenges
* Unifying diverse sources of information to optimize reporting performance

Core to materialising this vision, ClearPeaks set out to deploy a centralised data warehouse, integrating the complex array of data sources present at GASCO, harmonising master data and enabling cross-functional, enterprise-wide and strategic reporting.

Advanced Analytics – a Hot BI Opportunity!

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Business Intelligence has matured over the recent years and in the search for ways to secure their competitive advantage companies expect something more nowadays.  The standard techniques are becoming a bit mainstream these days. But this is not only the need for more ´trendy´ BI that is creating this demand for new solutions. Companies have been facing a significant increase in the volume of information that needs to be stored as well as a high velocity of data. A new approach is needed to interpret vast amounts of data and to avoid some interesting patterns being hidden behind numbers and simply overlooked. To efficiently manage interactions with their customers, suppliers and partners, companies need a tool to help analyze the data instead of simply reporting on past occurrences. They will surely be interested in taking full advantage of stored data and in avoiding losing opportunities due to information being locked in data silos without a possibility to fully explore its potential. This is what advanced analytics applications may provide.

Benefits

Advanced analytics is said to be one of the trends to shape the future of BI. Having ties with statistics, advanced analytics is often considered complex and although useful, may not bring expected benefits if results cannot be correctly interpreted. Nevertheless more and more companies now value the advantages of using advanced analytics. Benefits vary from the evaluation of customer´s loyalty likelihood through measuring frequency, means or response rates to producing demand forecasts. There is a wide range of potential applications.

Oracle Data Miner

Oracle also cooperates with partners who provide analytics applications built on Oracle technologies (see our blog article on using R, a statistical programming language, as a part of Oracle Advanced Analytics: http://www.clearpeaks.com/blog/data-warehousing/oracle-advanced-analytics). Apart from Oracle R Enterprise (ORE), Advanced Analytics consists of Oracle Data Mining (ODM). The latest version - Oracle Data Miner 11gR2, which is an extension to Oracle SQL Developer 3.1 - helps explore data, build models and predictions with its graphical user interface. Tables, views and star schemas can be mined, giving a full view of customer´s operations. Additionally, stored models can be applied to new data.

 A sample output for cluster analysis is presented below:

One aspect that should be underlined is that these analytics applications operate inside the Oracle Database where all produced calculations are also stored. They can be accessed from OBIEE 11g with an SQL query. All the output can be displayed using reports and dashboards. The big advantage of storing results in the same database is that the same source of information is used which eliminates potential discrepancies, reduces risks of losing data accuracy and ensures better protection of data. Moreover the entire architecture is simpler.

There are already some competitors - leaders in the market - who focus on this particular field therefore the task would be to offer analytics solutions to the extent customers may need them for their general purposes instead of turning Advanced Analytics into a statistical package; letting the most complex analyses be performed with the special-purpose software. Still, offering some of the analytical features that customers could be interested in to build sales forecasts or to assess likelihood seems to be a smart step. The environment in which enterprises operate is changing rapidly and soon they may find themselves looking for more advanced options to strengthen their competitive advantage. What is now considered a large-scale ambition may become a standard practice in the near future. Surely, it is worth the effort. With these features, much more information can be retrieved from data that are already stored in a data warehouse. Advantages of analytical features such as time series analysis or built-in statistical functions are enormous. Patterns that are impossible to be identified when looking at numbers and figures can now be explored. Advanced analytical features help identify trends, outstanding values, forecast future levels of sales or demand. Although they were available before in a range of statistical packages, they are now delivered to be used directly in OBIEE 11g, as a part of Oracle Advanced Analytics. Not only does it simplify the entire process but also ensures consistency as there is no need to switch from OBIEE to another package.

Available Data Mining Techniques

A wide range of functionalities is offered, with the below among them:

Summary

Advanced analytics is surely a trend to observe. Those who will understand and adopt it may become leaders in their markets. With Data Miner repository installed in the Oracle Database, Advanced Analytics gives a chance to perform more complex calculations ensuring data consistency and accuracy as the application operates within the same database.

Stay tuned to the new blog articles!

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