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An Inside Look At Oracle BICS Data Mashup

Author: Sherry Milad | 4 min read | April 18, 2017

If you are running a B2C type of a business, customer information generated by your company can be extremely valuable for making the right business decisions using the power of business analytics. However, if you were able to combine customer information with other information sources — either internal or external — using data mashups, the benefits for your company could be exponentially larger.

Merging data from different business data sources can be a complex task. However, Oracle BI Cloud Service, released in 2015, introduced a handy tool known as Oracle BICS Data Mashups, which makes combining data from different data sources as easy as drag-and-drop.

What is a Data Mashup?

“A data mashup is an integration of two or more data sets in a single graphical interface. A business dashboard is a prime example of a data mashup hard at work — most dashboards pull data from multiple, disparate sources to provide end users with an at-a-glance view of their business performance.” — Wayne D. Van Sluys, interRel Consulting

With Oracle BICS, you can add your own additional data sources into the analytics and reporting environment directly without changing the enterprise data model. The Oracle BI Cloud Service will map this external data into the enterprise data that’s already curated.

The benefits of using Data Mashups

Before Oracle BICS introduced Data Mashups, combining data from multiple information sources and analyzing it collectively had been an IT challenge. This is because it required a lot of work from data engineers who had to create different connectors and make sure that the relevant data sources were properly feeding data to the BI applications. With the introduction of Data Mashups, business users can now easily upload multiple data sets and analyze them collectively without the need to involve IT.

Additionally, Data Mashups allow businesses to utilize secondary information sources which would otherwise go unused. According to Chris Gray, Director of IT at Swiss Farms, most of his company’s call-center information – and the data from the business’ other data sources – has gone unused in the past. The use of a data mashup tool for business analytics enabled the business to efficiently use these secondary data sources for more accurate and timely decision-making.

Here are some additional real-life examples that show how BICS Data Mashups can help in decision-making:

  • An insurance provider analyst can download information on natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes from the FEMA website, and mash them up with the company’s corporate data, which allows both data domains to overlap on the same map.
  • An agricultural company analyst can use the precipitation data from the National Weather Service website against the company’s production output and mash it up to understand the impact of the precipitation on the harvest.

Using Data Mashups on Oracle BICS

With Oracle BICS you can connect the external data source in to an existing subject area or create a new analysis project without a subject area. Below are the steps for adding an external data file for analysis — which could be an Excel file, text file, or a database file:

1. Open the analysis in Edit mode.
2. Click on Add Data Source in the Criteria tab.
3. In the dialog box that opens, select the data file to add and click Open.
4. If the data file is an Excel file and contains multiple data sheets, select the data sheet that is needed for the analysis, and click OK.
5. Edit the Data Source Name and Description fields, if necessary. It is a best practice to give a meaningful name and a proper description of the data set.
6. Select whether the attached source file is to add measures or to add attributes. Selecting the first option indicates you are adding measures/facts to your subject area, while selecting the second option indicates you want to extend your existing subject area with additional attributes/dimension

7. Preview sample data and their mapping. Oracle BICS automatically matches the external data to the existing data model, if they are named properly.
8. If you need to remove a particular column from the analysis, simply deselect it from the column list.
9. Click Load to accept the data associations and start loading external data to the analysis.

To learn more about Data Mashups and other exciting features of the latest Oracle BICS, please read the new white paper from Datavail, Getting Started with Oracle BI Cloud Service or contact Datavail today.

Datavail is the largest provider of data and database administration (DBA) services in North America with more than 800 DBAs, analysts, developers and consultants. We offer 24×7 managed services and project consulting in database administration, BI/Analytics, data warehousing, and enterprise performance management. Datavail’s expert consulting team specializes in integrations, implementations, and upgrades for applications across the Oracle stack, including Hyperion, OBIEE, OBIA, GoldenGate, Weblogic and more.

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