Oracle Business Intelligence overview
Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) is a platform that allows people to build dashboards and reports over a database. You can load data into it from across the organisation and multiple systems to give you a consolidated view. Oracle provides the software in order to do this; you have to create the reports and dashboards yourself.
Oracle Business Intelligence Applications (OBIA) a pre-built set dashboards, reports, and interfaces that allow you to load data straight from Oracle E-Business Suite into OBIEE. You can customise these to meet your needs.
The history of Business Intelligence
OBIEE was originally a product called nQuire, which was acquired by Siebel in 2002. They rebranded it as Siebel Analytics before Oracle acquired Siebel in 2005 and rebranded the product as Oracle BI Suite. Oracle produced two version: Enterprise and Standard. The Enterprise Edition was far more popular, hence the abbreviation of OBIEE.
Oracle does not seem to have touched the underlying code since the product was acquired, which is why some of the files still reference ‘nQuire.’ This is a product that sees very little innovation. In fact, the latest version, V 11.1.1.x 1, has already fallen out of Premier Support and will fall out of Extended Support by the end of 2021. All other versions of this product are not supported.
Common problems with Business Intelligence
This product sounds great in principle, but often, the information on the dashboards can be wrong. This can be because the underlying data is wrong (some organisations do not tidy up their systems to ensure the information is accurate), or because OBIA did not pick up the right data. To fix this, you have to play with the scripts that interface data into it from Oracle E-Business Suite to make it work. It’s also an old-fashioned data warehouse; systems such as Salesforce offer easy-to-use, built-in reporting features that allow end users to create reports easily and quickly (OBIEE will require a technical consultant to work on one report over the course of several days).
As a result, most organisations do not get OBIEE working to the standards they expect. The ones that do, tend to have to invest a lot of time and money (on top of the licensing and support costs) just to get the system to show the right results. What’s more, you’ll need to have a small team of people continuously working on OBIEE as systems change and new customisations are added.
You end up paying a lot more than you had originally budgeted for with this software, which is why many organisations abandon the product and it becomes shelfware.