Oracle® Business Intelligence Discoverer Plus User's Guide
10g Release 2 (10.1.2.1)
This chapter introduces Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer (OracleBI Discoverer), and includes the following topics:
OracleBI Discoverer is an intuitive ad-hoc query, reporting, analysis, and Web publishing toolset that gives business users immediate access to information in databases.
OracleBI 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. OracleBI Discoverer provides a business view to hide the complexity of the underlying data structures, enabling you to focus on solving business problems.
OracleBI Discoverer comprises a number of integrated components that work together with the Oracle database to give you a complete and integrated Business Intelligence solution.
Figure 1-1 OracleBI Discoverer components
Which OracleBI Discoverer component you use will depend on what you want to do. For example:
if you want to create new worksheets and analyze data from both relational and multi-dimensional data sources across the Web, you will use Discoverer Plus
if you want to create new worksheets and analyze data from relational data sources using a Windows application on a PC, you will use Discoverer Desktop
if you want to analyze data in existing worksheets, you will use Discoverer Viewer or Discoverer portlets (that have been added to an Oracle Portal page using Discoverer Portlet Provider)
if you want to display Discoverer worksheets as gauges in dashboard-style portals, you will use Discoverer Portlet Provider and Discoverer portlets
if you want to manage the end user view of relational data, you will use Discoverer Administrator
The OracleBI Discoverer components use definitions of Discoverer objects stored in the Discoverer End User Layer or the Discoverer Catalog.
For more information about the OracleBI Discoverer components, see "What are the different components of OracleBI Discoverer?".
Comparing OracleBI Discoverer with other ways of accessing data that you might have used will help you understand why OracleBI 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 OracleBI 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.
OracleBI 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 (e.g. Microsoft Excel)
You use OracleBI 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 need 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 (OracleBI 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 OracleBI Discoverer, you will find a workflow that suits you best. Typically, using OracleBI Discoverer is a three-stage process:
When working with OracleBI 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 OracleBI 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 end result is a collection of worksheets and graphs that persuasively support your business decisions.
When you have retrieved and analyzed data, you will 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 OracleBI 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 "Publishing worksheets in OracleAS Portal")
If the people you want to share data with do not use OracleBI Discoverer, you can export Discoverer worksheets in popular application formats (e.g. Microsoft Excel, HTML). For more information about exporting worksheets, see "About exporting Discoverer data to other applications".
OracleBI 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 OracleBI 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 (e.g. by repositioning items) and save your changes.
For more information about Discoverer Viewer, see the Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Viewer User's Guide.
Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer Portlet Provider and Discoverer portlets
These OracleBI 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 (e.g. by adding stoplight formatting) and save your changes.
OracleBI Discoverer Desktop
This OracleBI 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 Business Intelligence Discoverer Desktop User's Guide.
OracleBI Discoverer Administrator
This OracleBI 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 Business Intelligence Discoverer Administration Guide.
OracleBI 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 Business Intelligence Discoverer Administration Guide.
OracleBI 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 Business Intelligence Discoverer Administration Guide.