Art of BI: BITeamwork 2.8 Releases May 13th, 2014

The new version of BITeamwork, BITeamwork 2.8 Releases May 13th, 2014, and we are inviting you to get a sneak peek download before it is officially generally available.

After months of pulling in product enhancement requests and working with customers across the globe we are happy to announce the sneak peek release, BITeamwork 2.8 RC1.  We are still on trajectory to for our colossal 3.0 release but there’s nothing wrong with announcing on our milestone 2.8 release to stop and smell the flowers. And, these flowers smell sweet! In this blog post we are going to walk you through the key new features of Collaborative BI for Oracle BI. We’ve also included a video so that you could see a real-time look at the new Oracle BI Mobile HD iPad application integration with BITeamwork. Yes, commenting on the iPad for OBIEE is here. You’ll want to see this, video (http://vimeo.com/93869683).

Why we are stoked about this Release
Industry expert Cindy Howson at BIScorecard recently released a blog post about how BI Adoption [is] Flat and provides a chart for the most import improvements and innovations in a Business Intelligence for 2014. The fact that Collaboration in Business Intelligence (Collaborative BI) ranks higher than Cloud BI is just a testament that what BITeamwork is providing is tremendous in the value it gives existing customer installs of Oracle BI. Wait a minute is Collaboration even higher than the priority to attain an Analytic Appliance?  Hmmm.

cindy-howson-2014-bi-innovations

Let’s Discuss 2.8’s Features, Shall We?
Starting at our favorite new features and working down we are delighted to present the following short list of functionality that we’ve been able to incorporate into BITeamwork:

  • Oracle BI Mobile HD Integration
  • Category Security
  • BITeamwork QuickStart RPD
  • Advanced Comment Panel Form
  • New Application Configurations
    • Custom Vote-Up Icon
    • Max Length of comment characters input
    • Advanced Maintenance Mode Form
  • Upgrading to BITeamwork 2.8

Oracle BI Mobile HD Integration
We were jazzed when we uncovered the integration capability for BITeamwork to integrate into the Oracle BI Mobile HD App.  This is not the Mobile Application Designer plug-in integration. This is the mobile application that you download from iTunes.  In this release users are able to click on the Add Comment button which opens up the standard BITeamwork comment window.  This then give the ability to add a dashboard comment. No, cell commenting via the iPad application is not available at this point in time and if you’ve actually used the Oracle BI iPad app you’ll understand that this would not be an intuitive feature and thus no need to be added.  Take a look at the screen shots of the BITeamwork to Oracle BI Mobile App integration below.  We haven’t certified the new Oracle BI Android application but plans are in the works for that in the 3.0 release. Watch the video and see this short post on how easy it is to integrate.

biteamwork_mobile_bi
 

Category Security and Attributes
Security being the big deal that it is has allowed us to work with our customers to further refine commentary restrictions.  By using Comment Categories the BITeamwork administrator can now determine which users (or application roles) can view or enter comments by a particular category.  This means that if I’ve created a category called “Financial Reporting” and you are not given permission to this category, you cannot leave a comment associated to this category nor can you read a comment created with this category taxonomy.We took it even a step further just because we like having fun.  Regardless of the security applied to a comment, comment categories may now have independent attributes such as cell comment icon and cell comment background associated with them.  This will allow cell comment to show with a specific look to visually indicate which category the comment is actually in.

BITW_Cat_Security
 

BITeamwork Quick Start RPD
As if creating a comment wasn’t good enough, we’ve been requested by multiple customers now to provide an RPD that allows for the comments to be displayed within the dashboard page under which the comments were created. We even had customers beginning to develop their own RPDs to do this.  So, we’ve worked with them to create a simple Quick Start RPD for BITeamwork that allows you to quickly develop an Analysis (Answers) report that will allow you to reference a dashboard or dashboard page and view the comments associated with it by pulling directly against the BITeamwork repository.  You should think of this just as Oracle BI comes with the schema and the template RPD for the OBIEE Usage Tracking system.  As you know the Usage Tracking RPD model is light-weight and can be tailored based on your configuration and what you seek to get out of it by way of reporting.   The same thing goes here for the quick start BITeamwork RPD. We’ll be interested to see enhancements that get made from you.  The RPD is packaged with the downloaded BITeamwork file.

bitw_rpd
This now gives customers of BITeamwork the ability to incorporate answers based reports inside of dashboards to show comments based on tables or graphs or the dashboard in-line with the other natively developed content on dashboards and reports.
 

Enhanced Comment Form Panel
It did not seem like a no-brainer during our version 1.x days but after seeing it in action, we impressed ourselves at our new Advanced Commenting Form.  Another customer requested that we tell the story of BI through not just words but through pictures – adding color when necessary.  A simple use case is that of showing a competitor’s product that may rival sales for the quarter or a picture of Store #1092 in our Retail Division Sales Dashboard showing why the hurricane impacted sales. You get the picture? (Hah).This type of collaboration creates the story board collaboration we’ve been talking about and it delights us that our customers get it and so do many other users of Oracle BI.  Do you get it? Or are you still in the dark about Collaborating in the BI tool?

bitw_adv_cmtr
 

New Application Configurations
Our Collaborative BI framework continues to stand-up to requests onslaught we’ve gotten since the first of this year.  We’ve added some nice user and administrative features since then and this release is no stranger to subtle enhancements that don’t get the glory of their own section.  In the BITeamwork Control Panel, we can:

  • Set the max length of characters that a comment can have
  • Change the icon for the vote-up button on each comment
  • Create a Maintenance Mode message using HTML tools via an Advanced WYSIWYG editor

Upgrading to BITeamwork 2.8
As usual BITeamwork provides an upgrade path to move from any of the BITeamwork versions 2.x to the latest 2.8 version.  The necessary files are provided and the SQL scripts for MS SQL SERVER and ORACLE are available to execute. One noticeable change is that in this release we have modified one of the major security privileges in BITeamwork.  Since the 2.1 release we had the ability to turn on/off access to the BITeamwork Collaboration Pane and the Toolbar.  However that was set up in the security panel privileges selection as “Cannot Access Collaboration Pane”.  This was counter-intuitive and bassakwards especially since all of the other privileges started with “Can Access …”.  We’ve modified this privilege and its logic in BITeamwork 2.8 to be a positive privilege instead of negative which means unless you have the privilege assigned, you won’t have the privilege in question. So, if upgrading from a previous release, after running the upgrade scripts, you will need to access the BITeamwork Control Panel and ensure that the application roles and/or users you wish to have access to BITeamwork are associated with this privilege.  Users will of course need to refresh their browsers and clear any cookies just like with an OBIEE upgrade.

Getting Here to Get You There
Without a doubt we’ve effectively provided the key solution for adding comments and collaborating in Oracle Business Intelligence.  You should download a copy at least to see how it works in the Oracle BI Mobile iPad application. We’re always open to suggestions and working with you to understand your business use cases for collaborating in the BI System.

Contact Us
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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