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Friday, 13 April 2012

Is Power View supposed to be a replacement for Oracle BI Answers in OBIEE 11g

In response to my last blog, I received the question: ‘Is Power View supposed to be a replacement for Oracle OBIEE 11g?’ This blog is aimed at answering that question. Before we start, however, I would like to say that these opinions expressed here are mine, and no-one else’s opinions. Therefore, if I’ve got some of the Oracle details incorrect, please do feel free to correct me and I will be grateful that you’ve pointed me in the right direction.

Power View, as I’ve said previously, is about helping business users to ‘surf’ their way through their data. It is designed to help them to think fast about the results of the data, and ask questions of it. It is therefore contrasted with other reporting packages which require a more ‘developer’ oriented focus, such as Business Objects WebI, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services.

My experience with users would make me put Oracle BI Answers in more of a ‘developer’ pot rather than a ‘think as fast as you click’ pot. If you take a look at the Microsoft Books Online Power View documentation, it shows you how easy it is to create small data visualisations in Power View. There is no discussion of variables, or syntax, or anything that requires typing.

On the other hand, when we look at Oracle BI Answers manual, we find that the discussion changes to include variables, custom date/time strings, formatting results and so on. Although this may be in the reach of many business users, it isn’t for everybody. This is in contrast to Power View, which requires minimal typing, drag-and-drop functionality with no requirement to create new formulae, making it simpler to use and assumes that the underlying data model is clean, correct and in place.

I’m not criticising the Oracle BI Answers solution; instead, I’m saying that it seems aimed at report writers who expect to do additional work to meet a particular reporting requirement. On the other hand, Power View is aimed at those users who expect the data model to be cleansed and sorted for them already, without requiring further work to deliver the data visualisation other than point, click and publish.
To answer the initial question: Is Power View supposed to be a replacement for Oracle OBIEE 11g? I don’t think that is the case. I look forward to your comments on this question.


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