This chapter introduces Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer (Oracle BI Discoverer), and includes the following topics:
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.
The Oracle BI Discoverer component that 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
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 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?".
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:
understand databases and a programming language called SQL to find the data (or ask a programmer to find the data for you)
wait a long time for the data to be retrieved
reformat the data to analyze it (often by exporting the data to a spreadsheet package, graphics package, or statistical analysis package)
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:
find data that you know is in the database
access data quickly without waiting for the computer to search through the entire database
view data in a familiar spreadsheet-style format that is easy to read and understand
analyze data using a variety of powerful techniques including:
drilling up and down through data
finding data that meets certain conditions or that falls within ranges that you specify
prepare reports showing the results of your analysis
share data with other people, and in other applications (for example, Microsoft Excel)
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:
as data points in cells (formatted as tables or as crosstabs)
as graphs (Oracle BI Discoverer supports many different graph types)
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.
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:
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
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.
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".
Oracle BI Discoverer comprises the following components:
Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Plus
This component runs over the internet or intranet and enables you to:
create new worksheets and graphs to get the data you want
analyze the data
share worksheets and graphs with other people
For more information:
about using Discoverer Plus Relational, see "Using Discoverer Plus with a relational data source"
about using Discoverer Plus OLAP, see "Using Discoverer Plus with a multidimensional data source"
Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer
This Oracle BI Discoverer component runs over the internet or intranet inside a web browser. Use Discoverer Viewer to analyze the data in worksheets created in Discoverer Plus, and Discoverer Desktop. You can personalize worksheets (for example, by repositioning items) and save your changes.
For more information about Discoverer Viewer, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware User's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer.
Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Portlet Provider and Discoverer portlets
These Oracle BI Discoverer components run over the internet or intranet inside a web browser. Use Discoverer Portlet Provider to include Discoverer worksheets as areas (or portlets) within existing Oracle Portal pages. Discoverer Portlet Provider enables you to publish the following types of Discoverer portlet:
a List of Worksheets portlet
a Worksheet portlet
a Gauges portlet
You can personalize worksheets (for example, by adding stoplight formatting) and save your changes.
Oracle BI Discoverer Desktop
This Oracle BI Discoverer component is a Windows-only application that enables you to build new worksheets to analyze data from relational data sources. The worksheets you create in Discoverer Desktop can be used in Discoverer Plus, Discoverer Viewer, and Discoverer portals.
For more information about Discoverer Desktop, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware User's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Desktop.
Oracle BI Discoverer Administrator
This Oracle BI Discoverer component is a Windows-only application used by the Discoverer manager to create and maintain a business oriented view of relational data. Discoverer Administrator provides wizards and dialogs to:
control access to data
manage summary data
administer batch scheduling
For more information about Discoverer Administrator, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer.
Oracle BI Discoverer End User Layer (EUL)
The Discoverer End User Layer component is a repository for storing and retrieving definitions of objects used when querying relational data sources.
For more information about the End User Layer, see the Oracle Fusion Middleware Administrator's Guide for Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer.
Oracle BI Discoverer Catalog
The Discoverer Catalog component is a repository for storing and retrieving definitions of user objects when querying multidimensional data sources.
For more information about the Discoverer Catalog, see "What is the Discoverer Catalog?".
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:
organize the data in your organization's database into business areas
give Discoverer users access to data that they are authorized to see
optimize Discoverer performance
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.