Options available for OBIEE 12c users

The Road Ahead for Businesses Using Oracle OBIEE 12c

Oracle OBIEE is a traditional BI tool. Its latest release was a few years ago. However, many enterprises are still using OBIEE 12c for Business Intelligence, despite its data visualization limitations.

In this blog post, we’ll see the different ways available for organizations using OBIEE 12c (or older versions) to eliminate their data visualization challenges.

  1. The Shortcut For Quick Wins (Achievable in 5 minutes!)

The shortest way out is to complement OBIEE’s data visualization limitations with a self-service analytics tool such as Power BI or Tableau.

Many enterprises using OBIEE connect modern data visualization tools such as Power BI or Tableau to OBIEE(or OAC/OAS) in minutes, and smartly avoid million-dollar migration projects!

Here’s a quick snapshot of the critical factors used to evaluate a Power BI OBIEE or Tableau OBIEE Connector:

Critical FactorPower BI OBIEE IntegrationTableau OBIEE Integration
Connectors availablePower BI certified OBIEE ConnectorTableau certified OBIEE Connector
Data Source – Use OBIEE Reports as flat tablesSupportedSupported
Data source – Use OBIEE Subject Areas with retained joinsSupported, retains OBIEE joins with simple workaroundSupported, retains OBIEE joins with simple workaround
Connectivity modesImport and Direct Query modes supportedLive and Extract modes supported
Client compatibilityWorks with:
Power BI Desktop 
Power BI Server (via On-premise Gateway) 
Power BI Report Server
Microsoft Excel
Works with:
Tableau Desktop
Tableau Prep
Tableau Server (both user-based and CPU-core based)
Tableau Online
Connectivity to Oracle Analytics – OAC & OASSupportedSupported
Free trial and Pilot/POC support, 24/7 Customer supportAvailableAvailable

Connect Power BI to OBIEE

Power BI is an advanced, cost-effective data visualization tool. You can simply use your OBIEE as a data source in Power BI through BI Connector (a Power BI certified OBIEE connector).

With BI Connector, you can easily connect Power BI to OBIEE Subject Areas or Reports in minutes. The connector supports both clients – Power BI Desktop and Server. It also works seamlessly in both modes – Import and Direct Query.

BI Connector enables users to retain the existing OBIEE joins in Power BI with a simple workaround instead of recreating them manually in Power BI.

BI Connector also enables organizations with a drastic cost-cutting that they would have otherwise incurred for migrating from OBIEE to Power BI.

Connect Tableau to OBIEE

Tableau is another data visualization tool that competes closely with Power BI. Tableau’s visualizations are top-notch. Hence, many organizations look at Tableau as another attractive option for connecting to OBIEE.

Again, BI Connector is Tableau certified OBIEE connector. Like Power BI, Tableau also connects to OBIEE in both Live and Extract modes. BI Connector seamlessly integrates both Tableau Desktop and Tableau Server to OBIEE Subject Areas and Reports.

BI Connector also provides a simple workaround to retain your existing OBIEE joins, so you can avoid the duplicate effort of creating them again on the Tableau end.

Connecting Tableau to OBIEE also helps organizations eliminate the need for million-dollar migration projects and get started with OBIEE data visualization real quick!

  1. Upgrade to an Oracle Analytics Platform

Is your organization an Oracle shop? If yes, upgrading to one of the Oracle Analytics products is the best option. 

Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) and Oracle Analytics Server (OAS) are Oracle’s offerings to overcome OBIEE’s self-service data visualization limitations. Both the tools offer self-service capabilities with simple drag-and-drop and point-and-click data visualization features. 

OAC is a cloud offering, whereas OAS is on-premise. Apart from hosting, OAC and OAS are almost the same, with minor differences.

The migration from OBIEE to OAS is an attractive option for many organizations, as Oracle allows a free upgrade from OBIEE to OAS. The upgrade process is as simple as downloading the content from OBIEE and uploading them in OAS.

Despite upgrading (or newly implementing) to OAC or OAS, some organizations are still using BI Connector to connect Power BI or Tableau to OAC/OAS. This is because these users are already well-acquainted with Power BI or Tableau, and they don’t have to learn OAC or OAS from scratch.

  1. Migrate to a Non-Oracle Analytics Platform

If you’re choosing to neither go with BI Connector nor with OAC or OAS, the last (and the most complex) option is to replace your OBIEE with a data visualization tool such as Power BI or Tableau.

Currently, there are no tools to partially or completely automate the migration from OBIEE to an advanced, non-Oracle data visualization tool.

Hence, this is the most complex, cumbersome, and costly option you have. On average, it requires 6 months to migrate one Subject area and it costs around $250,000.

So if you have 10 subject areas, it would cost around $2.5million and would consume 5 years. It’s not a practically viable option for budget-conscious organizations. However, a few organizations with a high-risk appetite, are following this migration approach, while equipping users with BI Connector until they completely make the switch.

  1. The Costliest (Yet Ineffective) Excel Path

A lot of OBIEE 12c users are exporting data from OBIEE (or OAC/OAS as well in some rare cases) via Excel and analyzing the data in advanced data visualization tools.

However, it’s the most ineffective approach, as it is manual and cumbersome. If the dataset is quite large, each user will spend up to 5 hours per week exporting and importing data, and building the data models. This approach is error-prone but doesn’t cost a buck unless you account for the hidden costs.

When the overhead time spent on the excel export and import and the time spent on rebuilding the models for each export is monetized, the organizations incur about $10,000/user/year.

Conclusion

All the possible way out from OBIEE 12c is discussed in this blog post. BI Connector is the best choice if your organization wants an optimal solution in terms of cost, time, and effectiveness.

If effectiveness is the only thing that matters to you, then upgrading to OAC/OAS (and connecting them to Power BI or Tableau for a few users) is the next best path. If a majority of your users prefer a non-Oracle Analytics tool, then migrating to Power BI or Tableau is the next best solution. It’s good to avoid the Excel path at all costs, as it’s the most costly, ineffective, error-prone, and cumbersome path!