BITeamwork 2.7 is Now Released. At the time of this post BITeamwork has seen a solid increase in legitimate download requests for the Oracle BI Tool since last quarter, Q4 of 2013, and we are excited that BI experts in the enterprise are starting to care and believe in Collaborative BI. For us the uptick of queries, responses, and feedback have been confirmation that what we are building has true value in the enterprise.
Even Howard Dresner recently blogged about the recognition of Collaborative BI , of which we couldn’t resist responding with a bit of our thought leadership and domain knowledge from developing BITeamwork .
What is interesting though is the myriad of ways that customers of Oracle BI are actually using the Oracle BI product to deliver information throughout their organization and that they all face similar challenges. Companies small and large face many integration and user engagement challenges that can actually be either resolved or positively impacted by the BITeamwork model of Collaborative BI.
At this point BITeamwork has been downloaded by companies all across the globe. From the US, to France, Kuwait to the Middle East, New Zealand to Taiwan, countries in-between, and back around to Canada, companies are using BITeamwork to drive business use case reviews and there are several production implementations.
We are happy to release BITeamwork 2.7, the latest version for Oracle BI Tool for Collaboration. This release carries no homage to any remarkable pioneer in technological advancement as some of our previous milestone releases. We’re saving that very special attribution for the BITeamwork 3.0 release due out in the May/June 2014 timeframe.
BITeamwork 2.7 Features
Most of the new features in this release are enhancement requests from existing customers and potential customers of BITeamwork. Here are a few of the highlights:
Exacting Cell Comment Viewer Pointer
This one makes good common sense but now when you hover over a cell comment, the comment viewer actually points to that cell to persist the visual reference to cell you’ve selected. As if the cell icon or background color feature wasn’t enough this is just another nice touch.
One customer was concerned about the myriad of comments they expect to appear on a dashboard because they have an active set of users. So, in addition to the BI Administrator having the option to delete comments (by user, date range, comment type, etc.), they can now simply archive comments. Archiving also has an exacting option to prevent the archival or deletion of a comment which has been voted (this is similar to “Like” on Facebook) on so that the relevant importance of this comment may be preserved not matter what other archival/deletion criteria is selected.
Always On Context Awareness
As we’ve described before the biggest challenge with Collaborative BI is context. As Art of BI Software has a lot of invested Intellectual Property (IP) developed around this concept, our domain knowledge of Collaborative BI appears to overshadow any other BI vendors’ solutions for collaboration. Working with our customers we’ve developed several toggles which allow individual users of BITeamwork to specify how they would like to reference comments when viewing a dashboard or report. Questions such as , If a user changes a prompt value, do they still see the same comments?, How does a user link back to any comment being viewed that is out of context?, How can a user see only comments that are in context?, How can a user see all comments regardless of context?, What happens when a user dynamically moves a column in a Pivot Table view?, etc. The list of questions goes on and the permutations are deep which is why we’ve spent so much time developing this seemingly glossyless functionality within BITeamwork. “Unfortunately no one can be told what Collaborative BI Comment Context Sensitivity is. You have to see it for yourself.”
Yes, of course, there are quite a few more nice tweaks and updates that are subtle within this release. One can always view the BITeamwork change log to see what modifications have taken place between releases. And, when interested in seeing where BITeamwork is going, one can always view the BITeamwork Road Map.
The new features of BITeamwork 2.7 have taken us to the edge of our 2.x roadmap for the product before we begin our alpha and beta testing for version 3.0. This version includes something called “Embedded BI”. If you aren’t familiar with the concepts of Embedded BI you are probably in the same position you were in 2 years ago before we introduced the concept of Collaborative BI to you. We’ll have more blog posts on this ground breaking aspect of what Oracle BI will become but for now, suffice it to say that Embedded BI is a means to deliver Business Intelligence capabilities outside of the core BI portal. This provides the enterprise with the ability share analytics outside of your central user base, into other job roles, and provide cross-department collaboration via other applications. Years ago, I wrote a very popular blog post on Integrating Oracle BI with SharePoint Server. BITeamwork will provide the true solution for this once nebulous integration. What BITeamwork will provide through Embedded BI will be the go-forward solution for sharing your Oracle BI tool content in other applications such as your Intranet portal, Salesforce.com pages, SharePoint, and even Oracle WebCenter. If that gets your ears perked then download BITeamwork today to begin familiarizing yourself and your infrastructure with how BITeamwork integrates into OBIEE. Sure, we’ll be expediting some customer enhancement requests between now and 3.0 via minor release versions, but Embedded BI is now our fundamental focus for expanding Collaborative BI throughout any aspect of an organization’s web-based reach. We’ve already solved commenting within Oracle BI with our BITeamwork framework. Embedded BI is simply the next logical progression for Collaborative BI.
Don’t be shy about telling your fellow OBIEE practitioners about BITeamwork. We are still looking for a few strategic partners across the globe, so perhaps mention that to your friendly neighborhood Oracle BI System Integrator.
The BITeamwork Dev Team
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Ultimately the goal of commentary in OBIEE is to have a system for persisting feedback, creating a call to action, and recognizing the prolific users.