Art of BI: BITeamwork 3.8.6 Released – Certified for Oracle BI 12c

By | In 11g, Art of BI, OBIEE | June 13th, 2016

Users of BITeamwork can now rejoice! BITeamwork 3.8.6 has been released and it is certified for Oracle BI 12c.

This comes on the heels of now having dozens of OBIEE customers now using the Oracle BI BITeamwork collaboration tool for commenting on OBIEE Dashboards, annotating Oracle BI reports, and justifying their data from Hyperion or other data stores with commentary that can be exported, or published in to templates. Currently, real-world customers are using BITeamwork in production for justifying their monthly financials variances, for capturing UAT information, for providing maintenance alerts, for adding collaboration capabilities to their enterprise BI tool and are getting great feedback from their internal users.

So what about OBIEE 12c for Oracle BI 11g

We decided to take a bit more time before we released this version of BITeamwork. This has allowed us to make the leap into the OBIEE 12c platform with BITeamwork. We’ve updated a few things but for the most part the same core functionality of BITeamwork 11g exists in the BITeamwork 12c release. While there’s still a lot to do with the product by way of product roadmap functionality, we believe that the current release, with certification on OBIEE 12, is stable and ready for prime time.

Many of customers are starting to move to OBIEE 12c from OBIEE 11g and keep in mind that Art of BI offers our Oracle BI 12c Upgrade service to ensure Oracle customers have success with their OBIEE upgrades in a time period that brings value and certainty.

New Features In This Release

ILC Comment API Enhancements –

By far utilizing inline cell comments for Oracle BI end users is a very advantageous feature of BITeamwork. Once customer recently spend the time of 3 internal resources for 4 months to build a proof of concept internally with OBIEE write-back. After the 4 months, the user could not use the write back functionality for trying to input commentary as it was too limited, the number of changes to the OBIEE system too many, and the development and maintenance not something they see benefit in expanding. They now have BITeamwork and in two weeks of having the Oracle customer in their final QA environment testing, the user is anxious to get BITeamwork into production after prototyping its main features, and the commentary is exactly what they were looking for. On top of that the 3 internal resources are delighted to have BITeamwork in-place with no remorse since their internal customers’ requirements for commenting in OBIEE have been more than satisfied, they don’t have to maintain or redevelop their RPD or a new schema, and they have comfort in a supported commercial-of-the-shelf (COTS) solution, that is BITeamwork.

A few new API features that found its way into the latest release are:

Regular Expressions – If you aren’t familiar with Regular Expressions, one of your best developers should be. RegEx, as it is shortened, provides a syntax for declaring a specific structure of characters that can be input in order to be considered valid. Almost any website you can think of today uses RegEx. It is perfect for use cases such as validating the structure of input such as phone numbers, email address, or postal codes. For BITeamwork, in OBIEE, a use case such as entering ILC input such as numeric values only, or input must have a decimal or comma, or be a specific length are what we’ve seen. writeback could never do this, but BITeamwork can. Think about the possibilities.

Ignore Comment Length – Similar to the idea of providing end users with flexibility, some comment columns may require the comments to be deleted entirely, or they can have any length of value other than what is declared globally. So, we’ve added this override which gives the ability to ignore the global minimum and maximum comment length. Use this with the Regular Expression API and you’ve really got some great flexibility.

Menu Removal for Streamlined Rows – A handful of customers gave the feedback that with inline comments, the users need only to enter a few words to justify the data, and the idea that a larger box was created with a menu beneath the input box, created a height that offset the height of the row, if the comment box had not been there. This aesthetic issue was valid. Now, especially with the Auto Save Comments feature, the OBI Developer, can add the API attribute to minimize the comment box footprint in the table so that the input box is the same height of the default OBIEE table row. It looks amazing and seamless and we couldn’t be happier with the result of this new API attribute.

Auto Save Comments

We recognized that the way users want to enter comments to justify financial data and other types of information in the Oracle BI dashboards, can be summed up by the term “fluid”. Users would at least like to have the option to click in a comment field, enter their justification or comment for the business data row then click on the next row’s comment column, and progress without having to enter a master submit button. Users might want to sit on the page to review their comments, and accidents such as page refreshing, accidental navigation away from the page, or even timeouts can occur and if that happens after a user has entered multiple well though out comments to their data, they’ll be quite frustrated and may loose a bit of confidence in your writeback commentary system. This is a must try feature which cannot be accomplished with Oracle BI write back. BITeamwork auto save now saves the day.

Hyperion & OBIEE SmartView Connection Management

If your Oracle BI or Oracle EPM team has ever spent time around SmartView, then you know that that providing the sheer list of SmartView connections to your end users can be rather confusing depending on the number of Hyperion or Oracle BI solutions implemented. And, depending on how your users are released to access, you may be unsure who has access to which links. And are all the links provided against the production environment only? So how do you managed the spaghettin work of links that are possible for users accessing SmartView? BITeamwork is the answer. BITeamwork now has a SmartView Provider Manager centralized access point which makes deploying new SmartView connections, and managing a single point of connectivity to your Hyperion or Oracle BI systems much more efficient.

Splash Page Embedded Images

BITeamwork splash pages provide instant ability to notify all users of the Oracle BI system about any type of message your administration needs to send without mucking with email distribution list or the like. Use cases are obvious, such as new development being deployed, maintenance window alerts, and other intraday message. Multiple Splash pages can be created and scheduled independently to notify based on your calendar schedule for as far out in advance as your need. Set it and forget it and your splash page renders on time for when you schedule it. One thing that has been missing from the splash pages is the ability to embed images directly into the splash page content. Now this is available out of the box. Click on the embed icon, pick an image of your desktop, and save the splash page. Once rendered, your image will display with your content.

What’s More

With Oracle BI 12c now enhancing its ability for data visualizations you can count of BITeamwork to begin aligning with commentary and telling the story with more user input through commentary and data justifications.

Be sure to talk about BITeamwork at your next conference or Oracle user group. Oracle customers don’t know what they don’t know, and we’ve realized at that BITeamwork is a fit for almost every Oracle customer with Oracle BI implemented. This goes especially for customers having both Hyperion and Oracle BI in a new implementation or mature footprint.

Lastly, we are always looking for more enhancement suggestions for BITeamwork for annotating or justifying data, or simply managing OBIEE. Please feel free to send us your input or thoughts on how you think BITeamwork and Oracle BI can be improved to BITeamwork@datavail.com

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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