VSS Newsletter February 2004

In this monthly newsletter we inform you about recent and upcoming events in Vlamis Software and the Oracle business intelligence and data warehousing communities. We hope you find this information helpful.

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Vlamis Software Solutions is a consulting company specializing in Oracle-related business intelligence and data warehouse solutions. Learn more about us at our web site at www.vlamis.com. Contact us at sales@vlamis.com or (816)781-2880.

OSA to BI Beans Migration

We recently completed a proof-of-concept project for a customer where we took their existing Oracle Sales Analyzer data and moved it to an Oracle9i OLAP analytic workspace and ran BI Beans against it. This is relatively simple to do for any OSA database. If you are contemplating what to do with your OSA data, we can show you EXACTLY what it will look like in a BI Beans environment, enabling you to make a more informed choice on technology direction. Once we have converted your data to Oracle9i OLAP, you can run any of the following applications against it: VSS Business Analyzer (thick or thin), Discoverer for OLAP (available soon from Oracle), the new spreadsheet add-in (available soon from Oracle), or a custom BI Beans application. In addition, via the SQL views that BI Beans uses, you can run any SQL-enabled application against this data. We believe that the natural migration path for most customers using Oracle Sales Analyzer will be to Discoverer for OLAP. With a small sample EIF file from your system, we can show you what your data looks like in a matter of days in BI Beans. Email us at sales@vlamis.com or call us at 816-781-2880 if you would like more information.

Discoverer for OLAP and Excel Add-in are Real

We've now seen them and played with them. The new Discoverer for OLAP and Excel Add-in are real and look great! Finally, Oracle has an answer for the question "Just how do I look at my 9iOLAP data?" Look for availability of these products in the next few months, but in the meantime, if you want to learn more about them, give us a call. Briefly, here is what they do:

Discoverer for OLAP is an ad-hoc query tool that is built in BI Beans. It allows a user to browse through 9iOLAP cubes (ROLAP star schemas and MOLAP analytic workspaces). It is built in BI Beans and exposes much of the power of BI Beans in a pre-built application.

The "spreadsheet add-in" allows Excel to run BI Beans against 9iOLAP cubes. In effect, Excel serves as the "middle-ware", launching the BI Beans query wizard and the calculation wizard. The results are then dropped into an Excel spreadsheet, along with drill-down and paging capability. If you users require direct access to their data from Excel, you will be interested in this tool. No more exporting to Excel--access your entire OLAP cube directly!

Both of these were shown and discussed in detail at OracleWorld in the fall, but now we have seen them in action. Contact us if you are interested in these tools. We can provide more details when you call or email us.

Oracle Announces Pricing Reduction

Oracle has cut the pricing of 10g Standard Edition One for small and midsize businesses. Prices have been reduced from $5,995 to $4,995 per processor and from $195 per named user to $149 per named user. Prices for the Standard and Enterprise editions are unchanged, although Oracle now provides its Real Application Clusters technology, previously an extra-cost option, free with the Standard Edition. For more information, take a look at Oracle's press release or give us a call at 816-781-2880.

Dan's OLAP Tip: Create Fact Table Placeholders for AW Measures

The OLAP DML language has a very capable expression language for all sorts of multidimensional calculations. The best way to incorporate these measures into a BI Beans application is to follow the procedure outlined in Chris Claterbos' OTN article "Clearing the Path to OLAP". If you are proficient with the Express language, you can prototype extra measures by adding extra columns to your fact table and replacing the formulas created with your own formula. Be aware that when you refresh your AW from the relational cube, you will wipe out your formula and watch out for how the "dummy data gets aggregated". If these caveats don't deter you, here's what you can do:

If you are planning on creating an analytic workspace from a fact table you are creating, consider adding a few extra "fact columns" as placeholders for your own custom measures. Unless you populate these extra columns with data, your analytic workspace variables will contain all NAs, but you can replace the analytic workspace formula with any expression you want. This can be done seamlessly, without having to refresh the AW, or re-BI Beans-enable the AW. Just use OLAP Worksheet to change your dummy equation, reconnect your BI Beans application and you can be using any OLAP DML expression in BI Beans. It's the easiest way to set up proof of concepts in analytic workspaces.

Look for other tips in upcoming VSS Newsletters or contact me at dvlamis@vlamis.com for more information.


Prior Newsletter Articles

We feature breaking news in the "Headline" section of our home page at www.vlamis.com. More news items can be found on our news page at www.vlamis.com/news. An archive of our newsletters going back through 2002 can be found at http://www.vlamis.com/newsletters.

Our January 2004 newsletter featured the following articles:

Our December 2003 newsletter featured the following articles: