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Art of BI: Public Sector Case Study – 4 Steps to Infrastructure Success with OBIA

Author: Christian Screen | | December 13, 2016

Imagine a public sector organization with 45,000 employees running Oracle EBS. The organization has recently purchased Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA) and is ready to install and roll out the instance to all employees involved in reporting finances.

If you were in charge of a public sector entity’s finances, how would you handle the OBIA rollout, budgets, and expenses of all the departments whose cash flow you control? No matter your industry, these four steps we took during this organization’s OBIA implementation can be applied:

  1. Analyze how each department utilizes the finance system(s) in the organizationCarrying out an analysis of the current departmental finance systems is vital in order to determine the custom and optimal changes to implement with the installation and configuration of OBIA. This user-involved step is necessary as it enhances the communication and reporting clarity of the integration in order to effectively enable the type of holistic reporting required from the data warehouse and OBIEE dashboards and reports.
  2. Customize and segment based on holistic needs of each departmentWith OBIA, you can customize to the unique needs of the organization’s finances and simplify complex budget, expense preparation, and management processes by department. Delineation of departments (or business units) can be achieved through the utilization of security mapping functionality that allows viewing of vital data points in a timely manner without violating the security rules attached to each data set or departmental privacy laws as already determined by the organization’s system of record. Security can easily adapt to the ERP system and integrate it with the Microsoft Active Directory Security or other network security LDAP system.

    Oracle BI Applications provides the end user with full functionality through a secure, centralized data warehouse system on which they can carry out budget, actuals, encumbrances and other financial analysis. Through additional customized development, ad-hoc budget scenarios and what-if scenarios can be input and data immediately analyzed to test allocation hypotheses. This enables multiple staff to work on different parts of the same budget simultaneously with in-built security using a wizard that helps guide preparers and analysts. Custom development solutions by Datavail can even create a user-defined electronic workflow that seamlessly moves budget and expense data throughout the process with alerts and notifications based on business-defined rules.

  3. Integrate OBIA with ERP SystemYou can carry out full and incremental OBIA ETL Data Loads from the ERP system to the data warehouse database after completing the core configuration tasks based on input extrapolated from the ERP system and working with the business sponsors.  Be sure to document all processes, migrations and support for the OBIA Financial Analytics module. Once the full load validates without errors one can move to customizations of the solution based on the specific needs of the business where there is a gap between what is delivered out of the box with OBIA and what the organization needs for reporting and information.

    After configuration of the data warehouse, enable Full and Incremental OBIA ETL data to be loaded from ERP system to the OBIA data warehouse on a scheduled frequency in order to allow all report information to be pulled out accurately daily, etc. If real-time data is required or if intra-day data visibility is required, then Datavail can assist with incorporating GoldenGate or DBVisit Replicate.

    With additional OBIA modules available and the smooth integration of third-party financial and human capital management systems, timeframes for executing financial reporting can be simplified and drastically reduced.

  4. Synchronize planning and budgeting with OBIA Financial AnalyticsLining up planning and budgeting with financial analytics can help departments carry out evaluations and analysis on the impact of employee compensation, benefits, or general spend on overall budgets. Budget balances from multiple sources can also be loaded into general ledger systems to enable budget preparers to drill down to ledger details for further analysis of the actual spending during budget preparation.

    The following is an overview of how to handle the budget and the expenses for all departments without violating privacy laws:

    • Create a process for management functionality that allows configurable process control
    • Create a matrix, which enables notifications to multiple reviewers on budget preparations and adjustments
    • Set up and configure data validation constraints for prevention of budget submission beyond departmentally-defined thresholds
    • Construct an out-of-the-box report that will act as a base guide for departments to standardize and closely match their existing reports
    • Educate senior management and respective departments on how to use custom dashboards which enable them to get exactly what is relevant and needed
    •  Implement best practices to help clear confusion on the usage of technical terms, report building, and submission processes. An example would be to be add text areas to each dashboard to explain what the report significance is and explain any vagueness in prompt filter usage for the report or dashboard.

To learn more about how Datavail completed these strategic initiatives for public sector analytics, download Datavail’s recently released white paper, Improving Public Sector Analytics with Oracle Business Intelligence.

Datavail is the largest provider of data and database administration (DBA) services in North America. The BI & analytics expertise of Datavail’s more than 600 DBAs, analysts, developers and consultants has resulted in a powerful resource for your integrations, implementations, and upgrades across the Oracle stack, including Hyperion, OBIEE, OBIA, GoldenGate, Weblogic and more.

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