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Oracle® Fusion Middleware User's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Plus
11g Release 1 (11.1.1)

Part Number B40105-02
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1 Introducing Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer

This chapter introduces Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer (Oracle BI Discoverer), and includes the following topics:

1.1 What is Oracle BI Discoverer?

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

Oracle BI 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 BI Discoverer provides a business view to hide the complexity of the underlying data structures, enabling you to focus on solving business problems.

Oracle BI 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 Oracle BI Discoverer components

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

The Oracle BI Discoverer component that you use depends on the task you want to perform.

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

For more information about the Oracle BI Discoverer components, see "What are the different components of Oracle BI Discoverer?".

1.2 Why should I use Oracle BI Discoverer?

Comparing Oracle BI Discoverer with other ways of accessing data that you might have used helps you understand why Discoverer is so powerful. Imagine that you want to analyze information in a database. In the past you typically had to:

With Oracle BI Discoverer, you simply open a workbook containing the data you want to see and start analyzing. You do not have to know anything about databases. You do not have to wait a long time to get information. You do not have to use another application to analyze your data.

Oracle BI Discoverer's powerful and intuitive user interface enables you to:

1.3 How do I access information using Oracle BI Discoverer?

You use Oracle BI Discoverer to analyze information by creating and using Discoverer workbooks and worksheets.

A workbook is simply a named collection of worksheets. Each worksheet contains the data and graphs that you require to extract business information from the database. Each worksheet contains the result of a query.

Worksheets can show information:

You can create and analyze worksheets using Discoverer Plus and Discoverer Desktop.

You can view, analyze, and customize worksheets using Discoverer Viewer and Discoverer portlets.

1.4 What is a typical workflow with Oracle BI Discoverer?

As you become more familiar with Oracle BI Discoverer, you will find a workflow that suits you best.

Typically, using Oracle BI Discoverer is a three-stage process:

1.4.1 Stage 1: Getting the data you want

When working with Oracle BI Discoverer, you get the data you want by:

  • using existing workbooks created by the Discoverer manager or by other Discoverer users

  • creating new workbooks to analyze data in a new way using Discoverer Plus or Discoverer Desktop

1.4.2 Stage 2: Analyzing data

Your ultimate goal in using Oracle BI Discoverer is to analyze data to arrive at a profitable business decision. To do this, you might ask yourself questions about your business. For example:

  • What is the average time for a hospital stay for heart transplant patients?

  • How many engineers have we hired in the last twelve months?

  • Which telephone lines need greater bandwidth?

With Discoverer's data analysis tools, you can find the answers to these and other business questions by:

  • pivoting data to create comparisons

  • drilling up and down in data to see consolidated or more detailed information

  • drilling out to analyze data in other applications

  • creating totals, calculating percentages, and creating custom calculations

  • displaying data visually in graphs and charts

The result is a collection of worksheets and graphs that persuasively support your business decisions.

1.4.3 Stage 3: Sharing data with other people

When you have retrieved and analyzed data, you probably want to share your results with other people at your organization, with customers, or with business partners.

If the people you want to share data with also use Oracle BI Discoverer:

  • you can share your Discoverer workbooks and worksheets with them (for more information about sharing workbooks, see "About sharing workbooks")

    Discoverer Plus users can open worksheets and save their own personal copy to the database. Discoverer Viewer users can view worksheets, and save their own personalizations (personalizations do not affect the source worksheets in the database).

  • you can use Discoverer Portlet Provider to publish worksheets as portlets on Oracle Portal pages (for more information, see Oracle Fusion Middleware Guide to Publishing Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Portlets)

If the people you want to share data with do not use Oracle BI Discoverer, you can export Discoverer worksheets in popular application formats (for example, Microsoft Excel, HTML). For more information about exporting worksheets, see "About exporting Discoverer data to other applications".

1.5 What are the different components of Oracle BI Discoverer?

Oracle BI Discoverer comprises the following components:

1.6 Who is the Discoverer manager and what do they do?

The Discoverer manager is the person in your organization that is responsible for setting up and maintaining Discoverer. In some organizations, the Discoverer manager also creates predefined workbooks for Discoverer users.

The Discoverer manager uses the Discoverer Administrator component to:

The Discoverer manager also maintains the Discoverer Catalog.

For more information about the role of the Discoverer manager, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer.