Connecting to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) Cloud using Visual Analyzer(VA) and DV Desktop(DVD)

The following Article is written as of April 2018. Since, the Cloud is evolving rapidly, it may not apply in full, in future.

The aim of the Article is to demonstrate the possibilities of connecting to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) Cloud (via OTBI) without any data extraction (ETL). Thus, only using declarative approaches offered by Visual Analzer (VA) of Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) /  Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) and the downloadable version of VA, the Data Visualization (DV) Desktop (DVD). The following diagram re-iterates the scope of this Article:

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The following Version and respective features are used as baseline for this Article (as available of April 2018)

 

Product Version
Oracle Fusion Applications Cloud / OTBI R13
BICS 18.1.6.0.0
OAC 18.1.3
DVD 12.2.4.2.0

Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) Cloud comes bundled with OTBI, which provides pre-built BI Subject Areas to access the data stored in FA:

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However, OTBI does have some limitations when it comes to extensibility (no access to metadata model) and adding of additional data sources (limited to data connection of respective FA instance).

The Oracle Cloud offering for “stand-alone” analytics are BICS (and in the future OAC). Hence, there maybe the need to connect from BICS/OAC to Fusion Applications. This is possible by two general Options:

This Article only focuses on the latter three options (declaring the connection details without any data movement).

Connecting from DV Desktop to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) via OTBI

DV Desktop represents a offline Version of Visual Analyzer and can be downloaded from OTN. Once  installed, it can be used to create a Connection to Oracle Fusion Applictions from the top right create Menu:

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One of the Options from the “select connection type” list is “Oracle Application”:

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This “Oracle Application” is the reference to Oracle Fusion Application’s Cloud via the OTBI URL !

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It will not work with only the Oracle Fusion Application Cloud URL e.g. https://<IdentityDomain>.fs.em3.oraclecloud.com/homePage/faces/FuseWelcome , but only the respective OTBI URL e.g.: https://<IdentityDomain>.fa.em3.oraclecloud.com/analytics

If the URL is entered incorrectly, e.g. when using a trailing “/” it will not save the connection:

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Once the correct OTBI URL, Username and Password are entered and saved, the connection is added to the list of available Data Connections:

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As stated before: These “Oracle Applications” connections will only work with the respective OTBI URL, since the metadata (such as subject areas or Report from Catalog) is retrieved from this URL only. Once the connection is created, the Subject areas are available and the Analysis can be created in DVD:

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Connecting from Visual Analyzer (VA) of BICS to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) via OTBI

The equivalent of DVD for the web is Visual Analyzer (VA), which is part of OBIEE 12c as-well as BICS (and OAC). The same connection to Fusion Applications Cloud can also be created within VA of BICS. To do this, the VA Projects needs to be selected from the BICS (Classic) Home Page:

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Within VA, click on “Add Connection” under the “Add new Data Source”:

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And choose “Oracle Application” as connection type once again:

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For the web version, the list of available data connections is also much smaller (only Oracle Applications and Oracle Database) compared to DVD. The connection details need to be entered in a similar way for VA e.g. as shown below:

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After the Connection was saved successfully, the Connection can be used to create a Visual Analysis. However, VA of BICS will only provide the possibility to access saved Reports, but not the Subject area’s itself (compared to DVD)!

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Connecting from Visual Analyzer (VA) of OAC to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) via OTBI

The steps for connecting from VA of OAC to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) are very similar to VA of BICS. Select VA from the OAC Homepage:

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And create the connection in the same way. After successfully creation of the connection, it is listed as Connection in the Data list:

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VA of OAC is not limited to create Analysis on predefined Reports (compared with VA of BICS). It is also possible to create an Analysis based on the subject area (similar to DVD):

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The screenshot shows, the data preview from the Subject areas:

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Important for Reports and Dashboards

(as of April 2018) The possibility of connecting from BICS/OAC to Oracle Fusion Applications (FA) Cloud is only available with VA. This is not (yet) available for Reports and Dashboards:

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For Reports and Dashboards only a Database Connection can be added, but not a Oracle Applications connection.

Conclusion

  • Oracle Oracle Applications connection Type refers to the OTBI URL of Oracle FA
  • The possibility of connecting from BICS/OAC to Oracle FA is limited to VA
  • DVD can be used to connect to OTBI, but cannot be used to connect to BICS/OAC directly, only to the underlying database
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Translation of multi-lingual attributes within Oracle Fusion Cloud and OTBI

Oracle Fusion Cloud allows to enable text fields as multi lingual enabled attributes. As part of the batch upload process e.g. from Fusion Product Hub, these enabled attributes can be specified within different languages:

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Within Oracle Fusion Cloud, these attributes are displayed in  the respective Language of the logged in User. These is also true for OTBI. E.g. for US the respective item description is displayed in US:

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If a user logges into OTBI with RUS language, the item description is automatically displayed with RUS description:

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Link

Link to information about business questions and answers for Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI) Embedded Analytics Cloud, HCM Subject areas:  http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/documentation/otbi-hcm-2225528.html

And for OTBI-E subject areas. The advantage of this is, that it is indeed very similar to Oracle BI Applications (OBIA) and can easily be applied for the same:

http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/documentation/otbi-e-2247768.htm

Link

Oracle recently announced that it will enhance the EU Cloud in Germany/Frankfurt with additional services for PaaS and IaaS. This additional services are expected to be available during the second half of the calendar year and are enhancing the current SaaS services which are already available within the EU Cloud in Germany.

This expansion of the Oracle Cloud EU Region in Germany will consist of three high bandwidth/ low latency sites providing the required levels of failure protection and availability. As part of the EU Cloud Region, this will also ensure a single data jurisdiction (together with other sites in the UK and Amsterdam).

The full press release can be found here.

Thoughts on the Cloud, IT Vendors and Enterprises

IT Vendors and Enterprises are in a middle of a generational change, as computing moves from On-Premise (from lots of customer data centers) to a smaller number of “super” Data Centers of IT Vendors: the Cloud.

This means that the IT as an Industry has caught up with other Network services e.g. Water or Electricity Networks where the production happens at the utility and else taps into the Network to consume the service. This allows taking advantage of the Economy of scale, commercialized labor leading to a better service at a lower price.

At the end of this change Enterprises will consume the data and IT from Utility Computing providers where all the complexity of running servers etc. is hidden behind a simple device such as the desktop Browser (similar to other Network providers using a water tap or power socket).

The Cloud provides all three layers: Applications (SaaS), Platform and Infrastructure as a service for consumption and more and more Enterprises are moving from buying on-Premise and Hardware to buying Cloud. This has been pioneered by Amazons.com’s AWS which provided basic computing services like storage and Servers in the beginning.

However, basic computing/storage (excl. Security and Reliability)has become a commodity like electricity. When buying commodities cost is one of the most important decision factors since there is no much differentiation. The major differentiation of Clouds is on the Platform and Application layer where the cost of these services can be looked at two days: the acquisition costs on day 1 or a more complex calculation of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) which is the cost of owning & running for a certain period of years. E.g. the TCO would also include estimated costs for the required integration of two or more Cloud applications.

A decade of Coexistence and a Unique differentiator for Oracle

For many of the Enterprise customers, the journey to the Cloud is increasingly combining on-Premise and Cloud Solutions and Oracles ability to promote a long term co-existence Strategy is a unique differentiator in the marketplace.

Digital Transformation and the Cloud

Many markets currently see a movement towards digital services offered by Start-ups Companies. While this is not a new shift e.g. eBay for second hand /Used articles, it now also arrives at less elastic markets like the Financial Services. Since this also means a shift of revenue streams, the current market incumbents (like Deutsche Bank) try to react  by introducing Digital Labs within their Company to offer the same kind of service to their customer base.

However, there are a few Pre-requisites for offering good & competitive digital services:

  • Agile culture & development methods
  • Networking capabilities within the markets and required suppliers (digital supply chain)
  • Data-driven decisions

The above pre-requisites are probably best supported by a Cloud solution rather then a on-Premise Solution. For Cloud Applications the customer does not need to take care of all the layers below, since HW, OS, Virtualization etc. are provided as a service. Also the deployment off a new Application version is much faster. Given that most data is now generated by devices or interactions of the User many surrounding entities such as Twitter or Facebook are available from the Cloud via a interface, Channel or Cloud Adapter. This data can also be analysed directly within the Cloud making data-driven decision much easier.

Companies who are reacting quickly to this change and execute this change along their customers might be able to become the new platform in a more and more automated exchange of data between different participating parties.

Crossing the chasm

Both, software vendors and customer’s Organizations are facing a new model, where Software is not delivered as a on-Premise installer, but as a Service, the Cloud.

crossing chasm

While large Software Vendors such as Oracle or SAP still provide a very feature-rich on-Premise version of their Software there are two real advantages for a Cloud delivery model: 

Agility of Software deployment: With many on-Premise Applications a new release takes approximately 2 Years until the software becomes generally available and another Year to upgrade and actually deploy the new release within the customer’s Organization. Currently a new release of the Oracle Fusion Applications (currently Vers. 11) takes approx. 6 Month and this will be shortened to approx. 3 Month until CY17. The Cloud allows to provides the innovations much faster to the Market and the customer to consume the innovation much earlier. Additionally, the downtime associated with new Releases is targeted to be also reduced by half.

Real customer Feedback: Since most customer within the use the public Cloud, the development (Engineering) Organization has access to real application usage patterns of the Customers using the software. For most Oracle’s on-Premise software there was also some form of Feedback from Customers e.g. Market Requirement Documents (MRD) or the Customer Advisory Boards, but this has the actual accuracy of the real interactions from the Users with the Cloud. This feedback provides the data to improve the areas of the product which get used the most.

Combining the feedback and agility (speed to market) also to improve the software much faster then in any other model.

For Oracle, the strategy remains to provide a complete set of SaaS Business applications as modules such as ERP, CX or HCM in the Cloud. Additionally a Marketplace is available where Independent Software Vendors (ISV) or Partners may provide additional software packages or point solutions:

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Oracle’s Cloud also supports a wide spectrum in terms of deployment and use of the Cloud. A customer might also choose to migrate a bespoke legacy application in the Oracle Cloud using the IaaS or PaaS. This can also be used within large transformational programs where not all functionality can be provided from the Oracle Cloud. Certain bespoke applications can be moved to the cloud to be blended together with other Oracle cloud modules.

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Together with the Customer Success and Customer Management team, Oracle has a very good understanding of how the software is actually being used and where the software needs to be improved e.g. which features are performing well and which features are not being utilized.

With Cloud Projects, customers also engage differently with a Consulting Organization, they expect to be pro-actively guide through all phases of the cloud Journey, anticipate their needs and Best Practices.

Oracle now provides pre-scoped services at every stage of the customer cloud lifecycle:

  • enable usage of SaaS Subscriptions -> Core Implementation Packs for Fast Go-Live
  • if using but not fully exploiting the Subscription -> Advanced Enablement Packs (e.g. Optimize usage)
  • if they want to do more with Saas -> Add-On Packs for Integrating with other cloud modules and other business extensions with PaaS

IT disrupting Organizational Pillars

From a Software Vendor perspective (like Oracle or SAP) most Organizations follow a disjoint approach on the Business or “Go To Market” Model.

Each Organization can be devided into three Pillars:

  • Planning
  • Operative (Execution)
  • Analytical

And within each Pillar different Software Vendor Products are used to organize and share the data. This might be Excel for Planning purposes or a Purchasing System for buying required Products.

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The Planning and Analytical excersice is often done for many Supported HR or ERP Processes. E.g. Planning on Sales and Analysis of the Sales data. However, the Sales data might be stored in a different System then the HR data and even the HR data might be spread across different System to facilitate Workforce Management and Recruiting.

Of course, this is not only disruptive to the Business but also very complex (& Expensive) in nature.

As Oracle can be considered as one of the two “Full Stack” Vendors the Solution to this Problem is one broad set of Software Solutions that cover as much as possible of the required Functionality and to Integrate the Organizational Pillars and the different Operational Business Units.

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To even reduce the Technical Complexity further, Oracle offers all its Fusion Products as part of the Cloud Solution. Meaning the Software is provided to the Business using a simple web Interface over the Internet.

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