OBIEE delivers an army of reporting tools for executives and end users, but you should consider the time, cost, and effort required before, during, and after implementation and Discoverer migration.
Before we explore the benefits, drawbacks, and process for migrating from Discoverer to OBIEE, we will walk through the various components of OBIEE and BI Foundation Suite.
What is OBIEE and BI Foundation Suite?
Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) is a component of BI Foundation Suite that allows users to create interactive dashboards and so forth. BI Foundation Suite / OBIEE is part of Oracle's strategic direction for enterprise business analytics.
The Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite provides the industry’s best in class platform for business intelligence, including ad-hoc query and analysis, dashboards, enterprise reporting, mobile analytics, scorecards, multidimensional OLAP, predictive analytics, on an architecturally integrated business intelligence foundation. This enabling technology for custom and packaged business intelligence applications helps organizations drive innovation, optimize operations, simplify IT, and deliver extreme performance at lower total cost of ownership.
Oracle BI Foundation Suite is comprised of the following components:
Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) — OBIEE enables users to create ad-hoc queries, reports, and dashboards that pull data from multiple relational, unstructured, OLAP, and pre-packaged application sources (Oracle or non-Oracle).
Hyperion Essbase (OLAP) — Essbase is an advanced calculation engine with multi-user write back capabilities, flexible data storage options, and 350+ pre-build, out-of-the-box functions to speed up business model development. Essbase is ideal for scenario planning and what-if analytical modeling, and supports trend analysis, root cause identification and allocations, planning, and forecasting for custom and packaged applications.
BI Publisher — BI Publisher is a web-based platform that allows users to create, modify, and produce interactive high-fidelity reports, dashboards, and other types of formatted documents.
Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management — Scorecard and Strategy Management builds consensus on strategic goals and performance measures that are communicated visually to each level of the organization, and linked to KPIs and metrics for each line of business or geography.
Essbase Analytics Link (EAL) — EAL provides a comprehensive management reporting environment by integrating and merging financial analytics (Hyperion Financial Management into Essbase) and operational information into a single data model.
OBIEE Key Features
- OBIEE is geared more towards a management and executive-level audience.
- OBIEE is often selected because clients already own the license and can spin it up faster than implementing and migrating to another application.
- OBIEE can be interfaced directly with Oracle EBS, Fusion, and Forms, which makes it an ideal choice for Oracle customers running Discoverer.
- It also provides pre-built adapters for the integration and synchronization with Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and JDEdwards.
- There is pre-defined star schema for multiple verticals.
- OBIEE provides impressive summary data and enterprise reporting that accommodates formatted templates and reports.
- Detection and alerts that trigger workflows based on business events.
- Spatial intelligence allows users to visualize analytics through map-based visualizations.
OBIEE Drawbacks (or considerations)
1. Cost of Ownership
Migrating to OBIEE/Foundation Suite can incur heavy consulting fees, including the re-development of Discoverer reports in OBIEE, integration with Oracle E-Business Suite/Fusion/etc., maintenance, support, etc.
2. OBIEE Training
OBIEE is a technically-complex system with a higher learning curve compared to other Discoverer replacement platforms. Business users may need to learn how to use multiple tools and aspects of business intelligence to make it work well together.
3. Implementation Time
The implementation process often requires hiring an outside consulting firm, and in some cases, can require multiple months to complete.
4. Cost to License
Each component of BI Foundation Suite is licensed separately, so you may be required to purchase multiple products to accomplish what you need. If you have an existing support contract with Oracle, you may be eligible for a partial rebate on the cost; this can be verified by your Oracle Account Manager.
OBIEE has different "packs" that are licensed separately, including BI Server, BI Answers, BI Interactive Dashboards, BI Delivers, BI Publisher, Oracle Real-Time Decision Server, Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management, and/or Oracle Data Visualization.
Finally, the cost to license OBI or Essbase may not provide due diligence if you require a composite of features not limited to a single application.
See Page 6 in the Oracle Technology Global Price List for a general idea of how each product is priced.
5. Lack of Transactional Reporting
OBIEE is not transactional, which makes it difficult to drill down to granular details and requires a data dump into Microsoft Excel.
6. Maintenance and Support
After migrating from Discoverer, a substantial amount of RPD modeling work and dashboard preparation is required for end users to start utilizing OBIEE. Due to the complexity of the tool, OBIEE users may also experience random bugs in the development that can be hard to trace.
7. Self-Service Reporting? IT Reliance?
OBIEE tends to be less dynamic and agile than Discoverer, which means users cannot easily alter reports, and IT help is required for building and customizing dashboards.
Organizations that require management-focused analytics and dashboards might prefer OBIEE, while those looking for day-to-day operational reporting gravitated towards other (non-Oracle) applications.
Migrating from Oracle Discoverer to OBIEE
Is the migration process automated?
No, there are no tools that can automatically migrate Oracle Discoverer workbooks to OBIEE. The conversion process is manual and all queries will need to be re-created from scratch.
Can you migrate the Discoverer End User Layer (EUL)?
Yes, the EUL can be migrated automatically using Oracle's Discoverer Metadata Conversion Assistant.
Here's how a standard Discoverer to OBIEE conversion process might look when using the Metadata Conversion Assistant:
Elements that you can migrate from Discoverer to OBIEE
Here are the objects and elements that can be converted from Discoverer to OBIEE:
|Business Areas||Subject Area|
|Simple Folders||A physical table is created in the physical layer for each folder, and a logical table is created in the Business Model layer.|
|Complex Folders||Logical table in the logical layer|
|Custom Folders||A logical table in the business layer and a table in the presentation layer (if it is set to be visible to the user)|
|Columns||Columns in the physical layer table and presentation layer (if set to be visible to the user)|
|Joins||A foreign key in the physical layer and logical join in the Business Model layer.|
Mandatory Conditions — Conditions over a simple or custom folder are applied to the logical table source of that folder. If there is a complex folder, the conditions are applied to OBIEE group "Everyone" as a security filter.
Optional Conditions — not defined in the OBI repository and should be migrated manually to the catalog of OBI.
|Hierarchies||Hierarchies based on Simple folders.|
Elements that cannot be migrated from Discoverer to OBIEE
Some elements in Oracle Discoverer do not exist or have an equivalent in OBIEE, which means they cannot be migrated and need to be re-built.
Non-migrated elements include:
|Item Classes||No equivalent in OBIEE|
|Summary Folders||Not migrated to OBIEE|
|Complex Folders based on other complex folders||Not migrated to OBIEE|
|Complex Folders that are dimensions||Not migrated to OBIEE|
|Hierarchies based on Complex Folders||Not migrated to OBIEE|
|Optional Conditions||Not migrated to OBIEE|
Migrating to OBIEE is ideal for organizations:
With an IT footprint that includes a number of Oracle technologies.
With complex enterprise reporting requirements.
Planning to migrate their on-premise ERP to Oracle Fusion or ERP Cloud.
Pre-defined star schema for multiple verticals, so the star schema does not need to be built from scratch.
- Oracle Cloud-ready.
Pre-built adapters for the integration and synchronization with Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and JDEdwards.
Excellent platform for executive-focused analytics and dashboard requirements.
The Discoverer to OBIEE migration process is complex and requires rebuilding reports due to a lack of equivalent elements and objects.
Migrating to OBIEE may not be feasible for organizations that need to carry over a large number of reports from Discoverer.
OBIEE requires a substantial up-front investment in cost and capital for implementation, migration from Discoverer, training business users, maintenance, and support.