What is a figure without any context?

We are currently living in the information age. Several devices, (mobile) applications and computer programs are generating and collecting lots of data. A lot of decisions are made based on a “gut feeling“. In a lot of cases, this will not be any problem. If you cannot trust your gut, who or what can you trust? Still, I think that your gut is based on several years of experience. Why not use data to validate your gut? It will improve your decision-making process. You do not only have your gut, which might be difficult to understand for others, but you have the figures to prove it. Sounds easy, right? Just report some figures and you are done. The real added value to the decision-making process comes when you are able to really understand the data.

Lately, we have seen several examples of not being able to put data into the right context. The public was absolutely sure that Brexit was not going to happen. Who would have thought that Trump would be the next US President? A lot of data about these matters has been collected. Still, it was not possible to predict the outcome. Some important questions can be asked. How was the complete data set constructed? Was the data set representative for the total population involved?

“A picture says more than a thousand words“. This sounds like a true statement. Our brains are better suited to process images than they are able to make sense of a table of figures. But what does a certain visual tell you? What does it exactly mean if we see a decrease in sales for the year 2016? It is not enough to make decisions solely based on the output of a chart. It is the story behind the chart that counts. If we had known the weather was bad in June 2016, we might have been able to explain the drop in ice cream sales in that same month. Being able to visualize the data is one thing. Applying context to the visual is key to make the right decisions.

“Drive change by converting Data into Insight”

If we want to stay ahead of our competition, we need to do things differently. This means the organisation has to change, as in doing things differently and better. Better than last time and better than the competition. Change can be driven by converting data into insight. This whole process consists of a few different steps. First, you have to capture the data. Think about data sources already present within the organisation. Sometimes, it can be valuable to add additional data sources. It might be good to add data about the weather to predict or clarify ice cream sales for a certain period. After the data is captured it needs to be processed. Different data sources need to be combined and some attributes and / or measures might need some additional formatting. If the data sets are ready to be presented, it’s time to think about the best way to visualize data. Not all visualizations are equally suitable to present figures. It makes no sense to present time series in a pie chart. Also the choice of colors can have a huge impact on the interpretation of a visual.

Traditional BI is really focused on answering known questions. How were sales in 2016? Who achieved the highest revenue in 2016? These questions can be modeled upfront in a BI system. The answers to these questions can lead to new questions: why were sales so low in the month of June in 2016? These questions may require new data sources. These data sources can be combined with existing (modeled) data sources. A combination of data sources might yield different insights. This is the process of data discovery. Adding data about the weather or adding information about visitors to a city or a store can give valuable additional information. This additional information adds more value and makes the insights more complete. It gives the possibility to identify interesting patterns, opportunities and previously unknown trends.

Eventually the insights can be shared among other people like your colleagues. A story can be told based on the different insights as a result of the data discovery.

 

“See the Signals”

The Oracle Business Analytics philosophy is to support both traditional BI as well as data discovery. Traditional BI is a process, which is supported by IT. In a traditional BI environment, the IT department guarantees the validity and availability of the data. This data can be traced all the way back from the presentation to the source. Although one can really trust on this data, these environments are not as flexible as the business would like them to be. Sometimes, the business wants to play around with some other data. They want to explore data, which is not yet modeled and governed by the IT department. This data discovery needs to be a self-service process. Waiting for an IT department is not an option. The business wants to be able to visualize their data when they need it.

Oracle’s answer to self-service BI is Oracle Data Visualization (DV). Oracle DV offers the opportunity to add different data sources. With some lightweight ETL capabilities, Oracle DV is able to support the combination of different data sources and the manipulations of the different columns within these data sources. Like the name of the tool tells us, Oracle Data Visualization is a tool to visualize various sources of data in an easy way. This means that complex data sets can be turned into easy to digest and supporting insights. These insights can be shared in separate visual, which allows you to both visualize the data as well as telling the story behind the data.

Oracle Data Visualization is available both on-premise as well as in the Cloud. Moreover, Oracle DV is available as part of a platform (OBIEE and / or BICS) and stand-alone (Oracle DVCS). If you have acquired a license for Oracle DVD, you are allowed to use the Oracle Data Visualization Desktop (DVD) tool. Oracle DVD cannot be licensed separately. It comes with an Oracle DV license. Using Oracle DV allows you to “See the Signals” on any device. Desktop, tablet or browser, it does not matter.

Oracle DV uses the same platform whether you use it in the Cloud or on-premise. This means that you can start very small. If you start with an Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service, you can start with a subscription of 5 users for as little as $75 per user per month. If Oracle DVCS proves its value, you can easily choose to move to e.g. the Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS) without the need to start all over.

The Quistor Business Analytics and Big Data practice is specialized in the Oracle Business Analytics offer. If we need to put the offer into more context, we are happy to help you out. Although Oracle Data Visualization is designed to be easily executed by the business, you might need some help to get started. Again, we are happy to put you on the right track.

Please get in contact with me, so we can start telling the story behind your figures.

This article was originally written for the 4th edition of the Quistor QPulse.

The Quistor Business Analytics & Big Data Practice is expanding

Working at Quistor

 

We are expanding our Quistor Business Analytics & Big Data Practice. Therefore we are looking for new colleagues. Please find the vacancies for a Senior Oracle Business Analytics Consultant and a Senior Oracle Data Integrator Consultant below.

Please get into contact with me or send a mail to jobs@quistor.com. If you are not interested yourself, but know someone who might be, I would really appreciate it if you would let me know.

Thanks in advance.

Daan Bakboord

Managing Consultant Quistor Business Analytics & Big Data. Managing and developing the Oracle Business Analytics Practice in the Netherlands. Because of the DNA of Quistor I have a strong focus on Oracle Business Analytics (OBIEE, BICS &OBIA) and Oracle JDEdwards. Next to that I have strong interest in (the Architecture of) Business Analytics and Data Warehousing in general (TOGAF, ArchiMate and CBIP) and Oracle Business Analytics Architectures in specific.

New pricing for Oracle BICS & DVCS

For those who have missed the news, Oracle has lowered the prices for Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) and Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service (DVCS)!

Find below the list pricing per month for both products:

** BICS **

Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service: 130 euro per month, per user

Oracle Database Schema Service: 868 euro per month

** DVCS **

Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service: 65 euro per month, per user

Call for Papers Tech Experience 2017 is open!

English version below

Op donderdag 15 en vrijdag 16 juni 2017 organiseert de OGh haar eerste Tech Experience 2017, dit is een samensmelting van de succesvolle OGh Fusion Middleware Experience en de DBA & SQL Celebration Day. Dit tweedaagse event zal dus de complete Oracle Stack bedienen. Het zal gehouden worden in de rijtuigenloods in Amersfoort (de locatie is nog onder voorbehoud). De OGh wil haar leden en andere geïnteresseerden vragen een bijdrage te leveren aan het programma. We zijn dan ook op zoek naar aansprekende klanten presentaties en technische presentaties.

De eisen die we stellen aan de presentaties zijn:
– Een onafhankelijk, niet-commercieel verhaal
– De business case wordt bij voorkeur door de klant zelf gepresenteerd
– De technische aspecten worden bij voorkeur door een technisch inhoudelijke expert belicht
– De betreffende case is actueel, met andere woorden, maximaal 1 jaar oud.
– De presentatie dient een uitdagend/vernieuwend karakter te hebben, liefst zodanig dat het de bezoekers aan het denken zet en discussie uitlokt.

Heeft u een aansprekende presentatie die u wilt delen met uw vakgenoten? Dien dan uiterlijk 15 januari 2017 uw abstract in via http://www.tech17.nl. Nadat we uw inzending hebben ontvangen zal het organisatiecomité deze beoordelen en u hierover informeren.

Voor meer informatie en sponsorinformatie kunt u contact opnemen via: secretariaat@ogh.nl


Thursday 15th and Friday 16th of June, the Dutch Oracle Usergroup (OGh) is organising the Tech Experience 2017, last year’s Oracle Fusion Middleware Experience and DBA & SQL Celebration Day will join forces in one event, covering the full Oracle Stack in this two day event. The location (with reservation) will be rijtuigenloods in Amersfoort. The OGh wants to ask its members and other interested parties for a contribution to the program. We are therefore looking for compelling customer presentations and technical presentations.

The requirements we place on the presentations are:
– An independent, non-commercial story.
– The business case is preferably presented by the customer.
– The technical aspects are preferably illuminated by a substantive technical expert.
– The case is relevant, in other words, not more than one year old.
– The presentation must have a challenging / innovative character, preferably to let the visitors think about the topic and provoke discussion.

Do you have an inspiring presentation you want to share with your peers? Please fill in the form at http://www.tech17.nl before the 15th of January 2017. After we’ve received your form, the programme committee will judge the presentation and contact you.

For more information and sponsorship information please get in contact with OGh: secretariaat@ogh.nl

Self Service Business Analytics is great but there is more.

Last week I read an article from Bernard Marr about why #SelfService #BI, #Analytics and #Reporting might not be such a good idea.

There is a growing need with Business Users to do things themselves. The world is changing fast and there are situations where people want to act quickly to stay ahead of the competition. In this situations the use of various (sources) of data is essential. Some of this data is available in environments managed by IT. This data is modelled, governed and validated. Everyone who looks at these figures will get the same results; ‘One version of the Truth’. But what if there is additional data necessary? What if Sales data needs to be combined with figures about vistors or weather data. This kind of data normally is not available in an IT managed Data Warehouse. Still this data can be essential to make deciscions about increasing Sales based on visitors and weather conditions. In these case it might not be desirable to wait for IT before they combine and deliver the different data sources. Self Service capabilities would offer a Business User the tools to analyse this data.

“Oracle’s Business Analytics Product offering focusses on IT as well as the Business. It’s Oracle’s vision to support both to be able to realize the full potential of Analytics.”

Early this year there was a lot of noise about the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platforms. I wrote about the differences of opinion between Oracle and Gartner.

Gartner writes the following in their Summary; “The BI and analytics platform market’s multiyear shift from IT-led enterprise reporting to business-led self-service analytics has passed the tipping point. Most new buying is of modern, business-user-centric platforms forcing a new market perspective, significantly reordering the vendor landscape.”

Oracle’s Business Analytics Product offering focusses on IT as well as the Business. It’s Oracle’s vision to support both to be able to realise the full potential of Analytics.

Oracle’s Business Analytics Product offering

From what you can see from the picture below is that Oracle’s Business Analytics offers a Business Driven Data Visualization Suite. This suite includes products like Visual Analyzer and the Oracle Data Visualisation Desktop (DVD). Read some more about Oracle Data Vizualisation License Pricing here. Next to the Business Driven Data Visualization Suite Oracle offers IT Supported integrated platforms like OBI 12c and the Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS).

Oracle’s strategy is to deliver the Oracle Business Analytics Product offering both On-Premise as well as in the Cloud. It does not matter where you use Oracle’s products, they are build on the same footprint.

One of the great advantages of the Oracle Business Analytics Product offering is that Oracle is able to combine IT curated data and additional data at runtime. If we go back to the previous example of the Sales Data combined with figures about vistors or weather data. Oracle Business Analytics allows you to upload a sheet or connect another Data Source. A Business User is able to connect the Sales data from the IT Supported Data Warehouse with external Data Sources (visitors, weather). All of this without interference of IT.

See the picture below. There is one Source of Truth where we can retrieve Revenue Data. The Oracle BI Server’s Computation Engine allows to combine Revenue Data with personal Forecasts. Both Data Sources can be combined into one visual. No need to export data to e.g. Excel and analyse data there.

 

I believe in Oracle’s strategy when it comes to Business Intelligence and Analytics. If necessary or desired, I would be happy to put things in context.

Daan Bakboord

Originally written for LinkedIn.

Oracle Data Vizualisation License Pricing

One of Oracle’s focus points within the Oracle Business Analytics Suite is Oracle Data Visualisation. The Oracle Business Analytics Strategy is based on three pillars. One of these pillars is; “See the Signals”, Visual Analytics in every solution.

It doesn’t matter whether you run Oracle Business Analytics in the Cloud or On-Prem, Stand-alone or integrated in the platform, Oracle Data Visualisation is available.

oracle-business-analytics-product-landscape

A few months ago you could have been able to read a blogpost about Oracle Data Visualisation License Pricing. One of the products within the Oracle Data Visualisation offering is the Oracle Data Visualisation Desktop (DVD).

Is it possible to buy only DVD?

We had a discussion about this question in the #obihackers IRC channel. The answer to the question wasn’t as easy as the question itself or maybe we made it more difficult then necessary. Basically it comes down to the following:

You cannot buy “only DVD”. A customer buys Oracle Oracle Data Visualisation (DV) License. The fee is $1250 per named user (minimum lowered to 1). For this the customer gets both  (1) the ability to use DV with OBI 12c if they have it and (2) the ability to use DVD. So if the customer does not have OBI 12c then they effectively do buy “only DVD”.

Why would you buy “only DVD”? That’s the question. It might be better to start with a DVCS subscription and start from there.

If you want to know more about the Oracle Data Visualisation offering, the following resources (thanks to Mike Hallett from Oracle) will be helpful:

Cheers.

Daan

OTN Appreciation Day : Dual Table

otn-appreciation-dayI have been working with Oracle products for about 20 years now. One of the great things about Oracle is the Oracle Community. Central platform within this community is the Oracle Technology Network (OTN). I have been frequenting OTN loads of times (downloading software, exchanging knowledge on the forums, etc. ). A lot of people I know in the Oracle Community, I have met via OTN.

Today I read the OTN Appreciation Day announcement on Tim Hall’s blog.

“considering OTN is all about community, I figured it would be fun if we got as many people as possible to write a small blog post about their favourite Oracle feature and we all post them on the same day”

I immediately thought about the Dual Table in the Oracle database.

Dual Table

What I like about the Dual Table, is that something which looks so simple can be so powerful. You can select the date, the length of a string, the result of calculation and so on. One simple table, with just one varchar dummy column is able to tell you almost everything you want.

I can illustrate how powerful the Dual Table is by a short anekdote. The story could be a little bit different but it’s all about the scope. One of my former colleagues (I won’t tell his name) wanted to test part of his code. Therefore he decided to insert a record in the Dual Table. I think it was in the Oracle database version 7 / 8 timeframe. It might have been a smart move in his mind, but it was disastrous for the application running. Very slowly the application collapsed. The application code expected one row when selecting from the Dual Table. It took some time to realise that the Dual Table contained an extra record. As far as I know the functionality of the Dual Table has changed since then, but I guess there is no need at all to mess with the Dual Table.

Curious what other people have to share on OTN Appreciation Day, check here.

Cheers,

Daan