Art of BI: Installing and Configuring OBIA — Do It Yourself or Hire It Out?

Oracle BI Applications (OBIA) is a pre-packaged BI solution that is installed as a layer on top of the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) platform. This out-of-the-box BI solution contains a number of transactional and analytical reports and dashboards that can be used for almost any industry vertical including insurance, energy, automotive, and financial services — to name a few.

Since these reports and dashboards are pre-built, they enforce reporting and metadata best practices from the ground up, saving BI professionals a lot of effort. This reduces the total cost of ownership and deployment time, in addition to providing a host of other benefits.

As a user of OBIEE thinking of using OBIA, the question that you might be facing is whether to install, configure, and implement OBIA on your own as an internal effort, or find a managed services company with specialized skills in this area. Let’s look at the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, both pros and cons, to help you arrive at the decision.

Advantages of the DIY approach

1. Reduced costs

Using internal resources to install and configure OBIA can help reduce costs since the services of an external vendor are not used. If budget is tight, this can be the best route – however, consider the salary and time-commitment a given employee might put into this endeavor. If they are taking a first shot at this and don’t know what to expect, the cost could end up being higher than that of a partner who is familiar with the process and can execute the install and configuration quickly and efficiently.

2. Installation process is well-defined

The entire process of installing and configuring Oracle Business Intelligence Applications is well-defined and documented by Oracle. There is not a single step that is missing, and all prerequisites are mentioned clearly. In theory, nothing can go catastrophically wrong and issues and requirements can be resolved through a planned and organized approach by using internal resources. However, the process is complex. The biggest investment is going to be time – even if things can’t go catastrophically wrong, steps may need to be repeated or the install restarted from step

3. Process Control

If you find yourself needing to have your hands involved in every step of the install process, you might find the DIY approach more comfortable. While a skilled partner should be able to define your expectations from the beginning and deliver on them throughout the process, handling the install on your own is a viable alternative.

4. In-House Skill

If you have an existing employee who is experienced in installing and configuring OBIA, it makes sense to make use of that resource – why pay for a skill set you already have? Unless this employee’s skill sets could be more valuable elsewhere, it makes sense to task them with the OBIA install.

Let’s look at a few of the reasons why installing and configuring OBIA with your internal team may turn out to be an inefficient option and may prove expensive in the long run because of incomplete implementation and training.

1. Configuring OBIA for your business needs is difficult

OBIA is a complex product with an architecture that consists of a number of components. Because of its complexity successful installation isn’t enough. In order for users to be able to drive maximum benefit from the product, it is necessary that the product be configured and implemented thoroughly, not just from a technical deployment perspective. It also needs to be configured specifically to the needs of your business. Even though you know your business best, professionals who have been through many implementations with a variety of business requirements, across industries, will know and help guide your implementation with the best approaches to configure OBIA for your specific needs.

 2. An in-house effort may not yield maximum ROI

A measure of effective implementation of a BI analytics and reporting system based on OBIA, is that it is actively used to drive business decisions. Users should not just be retrieving data and viewing reports; the system should be configured with alerts, actions, and agents so managers can spend less time building or restructuring reports and more time making decisions. Often a 360-degree management reporting system is what is most effective for getting the maximum ROI.

 An organization that wishes to implement OBIA might not have the in-house expertise for creating such systems. Even if the expertise exists, an external vendor can provide a lot in terms of knowledge, experience, and skills to design and create such systems from the ground up — therefore increasing ROI.

3. OBI Security and data visibility rules need to be well established

The security model of OBIA can enable role-based user access where users can view data that is relevant to their roles. Operational users should be able to view relevant transactional reports and managerial users involved in decision-making should be able to view consolidated and summarized reports. Users should see only the data they are responsible for and have one-off configuration for security profiles that extend beyond the source system’s security, if needed. There should be no overlap in visibility of these reports unless part of the business requirements. This task may require not only an external perspective but also skills that may not be available in an organization to make extended security and report visibility capable.

 4. Training

Training is a critical component that ensures successful implementation of the OBIA system. In-house or online training programs offered by companies like Datavail can be an option to provide employees with the know-how to manage OBIA and ensure all users are using best practices. This simply provides the various departments using the platform with the skills and understanding they need to create reports and communicate according to one set of standards.

 5. Optimum mix of cross-functional skill sets

A successful installation and implementation of OBIA requires a mix of BI data professionals, subject matter experts, and technical resources that can provide training and support. Such a mix of resources may not be available within an organization —hiring a vendor that offers such specialized skills can help in a successful implementation of OBIA.

Why Hire Datavail?

With an employee force of more than 800 data management professionals and the ability to offer our services on a 24×7 basis, Datavail has expertise in installing and configuring OBIA, building reports and dashboards, and provided outcome based advanced analytics, data visualization and data warehousing projects. We can accomplish the following for your OBIA implementation as a certified Oracle Platinum partner for Oracle Business Intelligence:

  • Deploy technical components required for OBIS solutions
  • Install and configure OBIA modules
  • Support the configuration of existing OBIA setups
  • Design, architect, test, and implement OBIA structure to support current and future business needs and decisions
  • Translate business requirements into a dimensional model, key subject areas, hierarchies, attributes and measures extending the OBIA system modules
  • Collaborate with IT and BI teams to define delivery components, high-level reporting and analysis, iBots/alerts, and overall intelligence dashboard functionality
  • Develop reporting procedures within the OBIA environment
  • Train your team and departments on best practices for working with data and pulling reports

Datavail is a specialized IT services company focused on Data Management with solutions in BI/DW, analytics, database administration, custom application development, and enterprise applications. We provide both professional and managed services delivered via our global delivery model, focused on Microsoft, Oracle and other leading technologies.

For additional resources please download our white paper: Oracle BI Applications: Understanding Levels of Customizations.

Christian Screen
Christian is an innovator in analytics and data warehousing design, best practices, and delivery. With more than fifteenyears of decision support and data warehousing with key experiences at Office Depot HQ, Sierra-Cedar, and Capgemini, he oversees the Oracle Analytics Practice which includes the technical development and delivery of Oracle BI collaboration software, data warehouse solutions, Oracle BI/EPM projects, and packaged analytics solutions at Datavail.

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