How Oliver Wyman Empowered Users with Self-service Visualization and Automated Data Flow from OBIEE to Tableau with BI Connector
Erick Nizard, the Director of Data and Analytics at Oliver Wyman faced a showstopper problem. The Tableau to Oracle Business Intelligence(OBIEE) web data connector that his company tried to use for about a year literally stopped working when they upgraded to the 2019 version of Tableau. His users were stuck and they had to look for a replacement solution.
Erick’s team is responsible for empowering the analysts and users in Oliver Wyman with the right datasets and reports at the right time. Oliver Wyman is a management consulting firm and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies. Operating globally with presence in around 60 cities across 25 countries, they offer expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation for their clients. Their analysts are spread across the globe as well and are experts in multiple functions including finance, marketing, and human resources.
How OBIEE and Tableau came to coexist at Oliver Wyman
Oliver Wyman has been using OBIEE for over a decade. Over the years, they have created a single version of truth in OBIEE with a vast amount of data gathered from many sources. “The Presentation Layer, catalog, and data security are the strengths of OBIEE. We could create great queries and calculations” says Erick. But the lack of modern visualizations and the need for technical expertise to create reports in OBIEE started to frustrate the users at Oliver Wyman.
To meet the user expectations for self-service visualization, Oliver Wyman decided to use Tableau. The users found Tableau’s dashboarding, presentation, and distribution aspects to be compelling.
Manual data export frustrates users
Since Tableau didn’t have a built-in connector for OBIEE, users extracted data manually from OBIEE in the form of flat files, spreadsheets and csv files. The users were soon losing interest as the data is not real-time and the manual steps were cumbersome. Also, manual export was not a scalable process for the organization. “Going to OBIEE, running a query, exporting to excel or flat file, and going to Tableau lacked scalability and defeated the purpose of having an integrated solution” says Erick.
Recreating the entire OBIEE data model and security in Tableau was not a viable option for Erick and his team. “Bypassing OBIEE and going directly to the database to recreate things including data security that are already done in OBIEE is a waste of time” mentions Erick.
They needed a connector that could automate the data flow between Tableau and OBIEE.
Web data connector approach didn’t work
A consulting partner recommended a web data connector as the solution. Oliver Wyman used the solution for a year, but the users found several limitations with the connector. The web data connector didn’t work for several types of complex queries such as UNION queries. When Tableau released the new version in 2019, the web data connector stopped working and the users were stuck. Left with no other choice, Erick started looking for an alternative solution.
Creating an end-to-end data flow using BI Connector
Fortunately, Erick came across BI Connector. He took advantage of the 30-day free trial to evaluate if BI Connector solved the problems faced by the user community.
Erick described the installation of BI Connector as a non-event. He was impressed with the responsiveness of the BI Connector team which handled his questions directly on the phone or via the ticketing system. “We were very happy and quite impressed with the simplicity of BI Connector. We could literally streamline the process and create an end-to-end flow.” says Erick.
After the trial period, Oliver Wyman decided to purchase BI Connector. The transition from free trial to production deployment was as simple as updating the license key. With BI Connector, users are now able to query OBIEE data directly from Tableau and visualize them without any technical support. They’re also able to consume OBIEE data that is automatically refreshed in Tableau Server using BI Connector.
More queries, questions and an engaged user community
“We see the involvement of the user community. Users see the value and we see the increase in the number of questions or queries when new Tableau models get published” says Erick. He continued “It’s a bit of an investment, in terms of time, to create it, but once you set up your connection and create your query, you literally could leverage the best of the three – which is OBIEE, BI Connector, and Tableau.”
Erick and his team are happy that the users are now able to see and realize the full value of OBIEE data in Tableau automatically without the need for any manual steps. To sum it up, the users are Oliver Wyman are successfully leveraging the full potential of both OBIEE and Tableau, thanks to BI Connector.
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