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“When we made the decision to acquire the Oracle BI Applications we knew that we needed an integration partner. We have worked with BICG for many years with OBIEE. They have been on site, and we have worked with them remotely. They have been extremely helpful over the years. We looked to them to be partners with us on the deployment of the Oracle Bi Applications. They provide training, consulting, direction, guidance, and knowledge transfer. BICG provided everything that we needed to be successful..”

Tina Suttle – Diebold
Manager of Business Information systems includes Business Intelligence and Websolutions

“We implemented off the shelf service analytics proponent. We were very pleased with BICG’s performance. They really came through for us. We couldn’t have done it without them. Folks they had on the project came through not only in terms of helping deliver, but also helping our technical teams come up to speed on the technology. BICG has helped us to become self sufficient.”

George Woods - Motorola
Software Development Manager for Oracle Apps and Siebell applications

OBIEE Tips & Tricks

At Business Intelligence Consulting Group, we happen to know a LOT about Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBI EE - formerly Siebel Analytics). So, from time to time, we post tips & tricks to help you use OBI EE to its fullest.


Using 2-D Charts Instead of 3-D Charts

Although 3-D charts might look fancier, human factors studies have proven that 2-D charts are easier to read. This is particularly true for bar charts, where the user might be required to determine the value of a bar by comparing the height (or width) of the bar to the y-axis (or x-axis).

The 3-dimensional top of a bar makes it much less clear what the real value is. 2-dimensional bar charts avoid this problem. So our advice is to do without the “fanciness” in this case, and stick with a chart that will provide faster insight.


Using the Modify Request Option Instead of the Modify Link

If you need to edit a Dashboard report that contains “Is Prompted” filters, the best method is to open the Dashboard editor and select the Properties > Modify Request option for the report you wish to edit. The alternative method (selecting the Modify link on the actual Dashboard), may work in some situations, but it often comes with adverse side effects – you may inadvertently end up overwriting your “Is Prompted” filters. This adverse effect occurs if any prompt has been set in the Dashboard page prior to clicking the Modify link. The prompt setting will be hardcoded into the report filter, so when you re-save the report within Answers, the “Is Prompted” will be replaced with the hardcoded filter setting from the Dashboard prompt. This change actually won’t affect the report at run time because the Dashboard prompt will always override the report filter, but it will cause the report to have a new default if no prompt selections are made.


Using a Dashboard Prompt as a Column Selector for Multiple Reports

Dashboard prompts are typically used for filtering data values in reports, but you can also use Dashboard prompts to switch out columns on multiple reports, similar to the way a column selector would work on an individual report, but on a broader scope. Here is an example along with the high level steps:

  1. Identify the names of the columns to include in the Dashboard Prompt Column Selector, in this example: Region and Market
  2. Create a logical column that will produce these values:
    CASE WHEN Paint.Periods.”Year” < ‘2001’ THEN ‘Region’ ELSE ‘Market’ END
  3. Create a new Dashboard Prompt that contains this column and populates a Presentation Variable based on this column:

Click to read more ...


Creating a Clear Button for Dashboard Prompts

In the past, Dashboard users have typically had two options for clearing or resetting values in the prompts:

  1. Reset each prompt value manually
  2. Use the Clear My Selections option under the Page Options drop-down menu

Thanks to the sample Dashboards introduced in the release, we now have a third option: creating a Clear Button. To implement a Clear Button, simply add a Text Object to your Dashboard, and insert some HTML code, similar to this:

<div class=”XUIPromptEntry minibuttonOn”><a href=”#” onclick=”return PersonalizationEditor.removeDefaultSelection(false)”>Clear</a></div>

You may have to reformat and rearrange your Dashboard a little to achieve a nice look, but this shouldn’t be too much work. The end result is a Clear Button which acts just like the Clear My Selections option:


Controlling Column Space on Dashboards

Do you ever wish you could control the amount of space OBIEE inserts between columns and sections?

In the Dashboard Editor, open the Column Properties or select the Section Properties > Format Section and expand the Additional Formatting Options section. Setting the padding fields to 0 will reduce the amount of space between the columns and sections. Try exploring the difference in setting the Top Padding and Bottom Padding to 0 versus setting all padding cells to 0. Your end users will thank you for fitting more data onto their screens.


Eliminating Dashboard White Space

Work to eliminate “white space” from your Dashboards by formatting tabular and pivot table reports to “fit” into 100% of the available width of the Dashboard columns. You can do this by entering 100% into the Width entry under Additional Formatting Options in the Table View Properties


Avoiding Horizontal Scrolling

You should strive to have fewer than three pages of scrollable vertical content on any given Dashboard page, and a Dashboard page should NEVER require any horizontal scrolling. If you find that your Dashboard pages are longer than three pages down, either break the reports across an additional Dashboard page or two, or consolidate multiple report views into a single report using a view selector. 


Collapsing Dashboard Sections

Take advantage of the ability to collapse sections within the Dashboard. You can do this by placing each report into its own section, and use the Rename button on the section (in the Dashboard editor) to name the section the same as the report. Then check the Collapsible option under the Section Properties. This will allow the user to collapse that section when needed, moving the content below into a higher position.

You should always place Dashboard prompts into their own section, and check this option as well. This will allow the user to save valuable real estate on the Dashboard screen by hiding the prompt when it’s not needed.


Adopting Dashboard Standards

For every OBIEE implementation, it is important to adopt Dashboard standards. Guidelines and styles should be defined for report format and Dashboard layout.

For example, when using a tabular layout, is alternating row “green bar” styling enabled or disabled? Either is fine, just pick one and make it a standard.

When using bar charts, do you use a cylindrical style, triangular style, or neither? Just pick one, and make it the standard. Standards drive two things - user confidence because all reports and Dashboards are familiar to them and appear professionally produced, and, it reduces development time because you can save the standard formats as “templates” and then apply those templates for new reports with similar views. 

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