1 Introducing Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer

This chapter introduces you to Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer, and contains the following topics:

1.1 What is Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer?

Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer is an intuitive ad-hoc query, reporting, analysis, and Web publishing toolset that gives business users immediate access to information in databases.

Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer enables business users at all levels of the organization to make faster and more informed business decisions. Using any standard Web browser, you have secure and immediate access to data from both relational and multidimensional data sources. Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer provides a business view to hide the complexity of the underlying data structures, enabling you to focus on solving business problems.

Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer consists of several integrated components that work with the Oracle database to give you a complete and integrated Business Intelligence solution.

Figure 1-1 The Oracle BI Discoverer components

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Description of "Figure 1-1 The Oracle BI Discoverer components"

The Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer component you use depends on the task you want to perform.

  • To create new worksheets and analyze data from both relational and multi-dimensional data sources across the Web, you use Discoverer Plus (Relational and OLAP)

  • To create new worksheets and analyze data from relational data sources using a Windows application on a PC, you use Discoverer Desktop

  • To analyze data in existing worksheets, you use Discoverer Viewer or Discoverer portlets (that have been added to an Oracle Portal page or Oracle WebCenter Spaces using Discoverer Portlet Provider)

  • To obtain Discoverer connections, workbooks, worksheets, and execute queries in Oracle BI Publisher, or from a Java client application using the SOAP protocol, you use Discoverer Web Services

  • To display Discoverer worksheets as gauges in dashboard-style portals, you use Discoverer Portlet Provider and Discoverer portlets

  • To manage the end user view of relational data, you use Discoverer Administrator

The Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer components use definitions of Discoverer objects stored in the Discoverer End User Layer or the Discoverer Catalog.

1.2 Why use Discoverer Viewer?

Decision makers today need a business intelligence solution to track up-to-the-minute company information and key performance indicators. Part of Oracle Business Intelligence, Oracle BI Discoverer Viewer is an intuitive ad hoc query, reporting and analysis tool that gives business users immediate access to information from data warehouses, datamarts and online transactional processing systems.

Using Discoverer Viewer, business users can easily turn data into information and publish it seamlessly throughout the enterprise using a familiar and intuitive user interface, the Web browser.

Reasons why you use Discoverer Viewer are as follows:

1.2.1 Easy-to-use Interface

Discoverer Viewer is easy to use and enables you to interact directly with data using familiar terminology and a Web browser. Anyone familiar with using a browser can use Discoverer Viewer.

1.2.2 Consistency with Discoverer Plus and Discoverer Desktop

Existing business views of the database are immediately available to Discoverer Viewer users. Any reports (workbooks) created using Discoverer Plus or Discoverer Desktop can be run from Discoverer Viewer immediately.

1.2.3 Familiar Browser Facilities with Discoverer Viewer

All the usual facilities of your Web browser are available:

  • bookmark your favorite reports

  • use the Back and Forward buttons to navigate

  • use the browser Print function for print output

  • launch registered applications to process data exported using Discoverer Viewer

1.2.4 Database Security

Discoverer Viewer uses the existing database security as defined within Discoverer Administrator. No additional setup is required, and no one can view data they are not authorized to see. When used with Oracle Applications, Discoverer Viewer uses the Oracle Applications security model, including the use of roles and responsibilities. Discoverer Viewer is the only business intelligence product to integrate directly with the Oracle Applications security model.

1.2.5 Integration and Customization

Discoverer Viewer can be used as a standalone business intelligence tool or can be used to integrate database output into your Web site and portal. In addition, Discoverer Viewer is easily customized to fit in with your Web site look and feel, to incorporate your company's logo or other artwork, or to build custom Discoverer applications for the Web. For more information, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware Configuration Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer.

1.2.6 JavaScript Enhanced User Interface

Discoverer Viewer uses JavaScript to enhance the user interface. To benefit from this enhanced user interface, you must have JavaScript and Cookie support enabled in your browser. For more information on JavaScript and Cookie support in your browser, see the browser's documentation.

1.2.7 Language Support

Discoverer Viewer supports many different languages. You can specify your preferred language by choosing from a drop down list on either the Connect page or the Options page. The drop down list on the Connect page defaults to your preferred language (as set in your browser). For more information on setting your preferred language, see your browser's documentation.

1.2.8 Publish to Oracle Portal

Using Oracle Portal, you can publish Discoverer workbooks and worksheets to an enterprise information portal quickly and easily. Oracle Portal's intuitive user interface guides you through the publishing process step by step, enabling non-technical business users to create powerful business intelligence portals with ease.

1.3 What are the new features in Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer 11g Release 1 (11.1.1)?

Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer 11g Release 1 (11.1.1) contains the following new and improved features:

1.4 What are workbooks?

Workbooks are Discoverer files that contain worksheets displaying data retrieved from the database. If you are familiar with spreadsheet applications (for example, Microsoft Excel), think of a workbook as a spreadsheet file. Discoverer workbooks are stored in the database (for relational data) or the Discoverer Catalog (for multidimensional data).

Workbooks typically contain data that is related in some way but organized to show different perspectives.

1.5 What are worksheets?

Worksheets contain the data you want to analyze, and several features to help you analyze the data. For example, a worksheet can contain parameters, totals, percentages, exceptions, and calculations.

If you are familiar with spreadsheet applications (for example, Microsoft Excel), think of a workbook as a spreadsheet file and worksheets as different sheets in that spreadsheet file.

1.6 About Discoverer worksheet types

In Discoverer you can display data in two different ways:

1.6.1 About table worksheets

A table worksheet lists data in rows and columns. The figure below shows an example table worksheet analyzing profit values for cities within a region.

Figure 1-2 A table worksheet

Description of Figure 1-2 follows
Description of "Figure 1-2 A table worksheet"

Note: The table worksheet style is only used for analyzing relational data.

1.6.2 About crosstab worksheets

A crosstab worksheet (short for cross-tabulated worksheet) relates two different sets of data and summarizes their interrelationship in terms of a third set of data. The figure below shows an example crosstab analyzing profit values for regions by department.

Figure 1-3 A crosstab worksheet

Description of Figure 1-3 follows
Description of "Figure 1-3 A crosstab worksheet "

Key to figure:
a. Top axis, containing the Region item.
b. Left axis, containing the Department item.
c. Data points, containing profit sum figures for each region in each department.

The region and department items are displayed as rows and columns on the crosstab. Each row and column intersection shows a data point, which in this case is the profit total for a particular region and a particular department.

1.7 What are the components of a cube?

A cube in a multidimensional data source has the following components:

  • A measure, which is the name given to the data itself.

  • One or more dimensions. Dimension is the name given to the parts of the cube that categorize the data, such as Product, Geography, and Time. Dimensions have dimension members, dimension hierarchies, and attributes.

The cube contains a measure value for each possible combination of the different dimensions. It is therefore very quick for applications such as Discoverer Plus OLAP to find the value for sales of a particular product in a particular city in a particular year.

1.7.1 What are measures?

In OLAP metadata, measures represent data that can be examined and analyzed in crosstabs and graphs. Examples include Sales, Cost, and Profit.

1.7.2 What are dimensions and dimension members?

Measures have dimensions that categorize the data in the measure. For example, a Sales measure might have Product, Time, and Geography as its dimensions. When a measure has a particular dimension, the measure is said to be dimensioned by that dimension. For example, Sales is dimensioned by Product. The group of dimensions for a measure constitute the dimensionality of that measure. For example, the dimensionality of Sales is Product, Time, and Geography.

Each element in a dimension is a dimension member. For example, January 2001, February 2001, March 2001, Quarter 1 2001, and the year 2001 are likely members of the Time dimension.

1.7.3 What are dimension hierarchies?

A dimension hierarchy describes a hierarchical relationship between two or more dimension members.

Individual dimension members might be related to each other in a hierarchical way. For example, a specific day belongs to a particular month, which in turn is within a particular year. To reflect such relationships, dimension members are organized into dimension hierarchies.

A dimension hierarchy is a logical structure that uses ordered levels to organize and aggregate data. For example, the Time dimension might have a hierarchy to aggregate data from the Month level to the Quarter level to the Year level.

A dimension can have multiple hierarchies. For example, in addition to the Month-Quarter-Year dimension hierarchy, the Time dimension might also have a Day-Month-Year dimension hierarchy. Note that where multiple dimension hierarchies exist for the same dimension, one dimension hierarchy must be specified as the default hierarchy.

1.7.4 What are dimension attributes?

A dimension attribute describes a characteristic that is shared by dimension members. Dimension attributes enable you to select data based on similar characteristics. For example, a Product dimension might have a Color attribute that enables you to search for all red products.