Oracle® Business Intelligence Answers, Delivers, and Interactive Dashboards User Guide > Basics of Working with Requests in Oracle BI Answers >

Overview of Oracle BI Answers

Oracle BI Answers provides answers to business questions. It allows you to explore and interact with information, and present and visualize information using charts, pivot tables, and reports. You can save, organize, and share the results.

Requests that you create with Oracle BI Answers can be saved in the Oracle BI Presentation Catalog and integrated into any Oracle BI home page or dashboard. Results can be enhanced through charting, result layout, calculation, and drilldown features.

Many features in Oracle BI Answers are self-explanatory, and definitions and summary information appear on each page. When more information is available than will fit on the page, a Help button appears. Click the button to see more detailed information.

Table 3 provides definitions for common terms in Oracle BI Answers.

Table 3. Definitions of Common Terms in Oracle BI Answers


Columns indicate the columns of data that your request will return. Together with filters, they determine what your results will contain. To run a request, you need to specify at least one column to return.


Request criteria consists of the columns and filters you specify for a request.


A dashboard is made up of sections of information that can contain items such as results from Oracle BI Answers, external Web content, HTML text, graphics, links to other sites, embedded objects such as requests, and so on. Dashboard content is organized into pages. The pages appear as tabs across the top of the screen in Oracle BI Interactive Dashboards.

Dashboard Prompt

A dashboard prompt is a special dashboard filter object that affects all content on a particular dashboard page, and potentially the content on additional dashboard pages.

For more information, see Using Prompts to Simplify Filtering in an Oracle BI Request.


A filter is a mechanism that restricts the result set, such as including only the ten best-selling items in results. Together with columns, filters determine what your results will contain.


A folder is an organizational construct that holds any kind of content you want to see in your dashboard, including requests created with Oracle BI Answers. A folder is similar to an operating system directory or subdirectory, or a Microsoft Windows folder.


A query is the underlying SQL issued to the Oracle BI Server. You do not have to know a query language to use Oracle BI Answers.


Results are the output returned from the Oracle BI Server for the request criteria you specified. The Oracle BI Presentation Services formats the data for presentation to you.

SELECT statement

Oracle BI Answers uses a modified form of the SELECT statement from Structured Query Language (SQL). Oracle BI Answers sends your request criteria in the form of logical SQL to the Analytics Server. The server then generates one or more requests for data, or queries, against one or more data sources. When the server gets the raw data back, it is in the form of tables that contain rows and columns. The server merges the data from multiple sources, and when necessary, applies any additional calculations or filters that pertain to the results. The server then sends the results back to Oracle BI Answers.

Subject Area

Oracle BI presents data in subject areas. A subject area contains columns that represent information about the areas of your organization's business, or about groups of users within your organization.

Subject areas have names that correspond to the types of information they contain, for example, Marketing Contracts, Service Requests, and Orders. Columns also have names that indicate the types of information they contain, such as Account and Contact.

Presentation Catalog

The Oracle BI Presentation Catalog stores content created with Oracle BI Answers and Oracle BI Interactive Dashboards. Content can be organized into folders that are either shared or personal. Types of content that can be stored in the Presentation Catalog include requests created with Oracle BI Answers, HTML content, and links to other images, documents, and sites.

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