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Implementing business intelligence with Oracle's E-Business Suite, part 2

This tip covers the merits of using Oracle's Sales Analyzer, Financial Analyzer and Enterprise Planning and Budgeting features to implement BI.

This tip is brought to you by the International Oracle Users Group (IOUG), a user-driven organization that empowers Oracle database and development professionals by delivering the highest quality information, education, networking and advocacy. IT is excerpted from the paper "Using Business Intelligence with Oracle's E-Business Suite," by David Fuston. Become a member of the IOUG and gain access to thousands more tips and techniques created for Oracle users by Oracle users.

This tip follows from part 1, which discussed Oracle's Embedded Data Warehouse, Business Intelligence System and Daily Business Intelligence features.

Implementing business intelligence with Oracle's E-Business Suite

Along with the different modules in Oracle's E-Business Suite, some analysis of the data may need to be done with other Oracle BI/DW software or third-party tools. This tip covers the merits of using Oracle's Sales Analyzer, Financial Analyzer and Enterprise Planning and Budgeting features for the tasks.

Sales Analyzer (SA), Financial Analyzer (FA), and Enterprise Planning and Budgeting (EPB)

SA is the Oracle product that is the server-centric approach for the Express databases, in that it is a read-only application. It has the ability for end-users to create custom measures and aggregates. It also has the ability to deploy in any OLAP Mode: ROLAP, MOLAP, or Hybrid OLAP (HOLAP). The disadvantage to SA is that is not tightly integrated with any of the Oracle Apps modules, and could accurately be described as an informational silo.

Oracle Financial Analyzer, in contrast, is a true analytical product, with a distributed approach using Oracle Express technology under the covers just like SA. Express is Oracle's multi-dimensional database engine that they purchased from Information Resources, Inc. in 1995. Express has traditionally been a separate and distinct database from the relational RDBMS engine. Using FA, users have the autonomy to create and manipulate their own scenarios of data, including the ability to write data back, such as budgets and forecasts created in MS Excel or from flat files. FA has the ability to create asymmetric reports. FA integrates with the Oracle General Ledger via GL Link. All three of these features, write back data, asymmetric reports, and GL link separate FA from all other packaged applications in the Oracle product line. In fact, an FA administrator can create custom facts (Financial data items or FDIs), but knowledge of Express Stored Procedural Language (SPL) may be needed.

FA can integrate with the Oracle GL or non-Oracle data sources, so it is generally regarded as Oracle's analysis and planning tool of choice. You can use the GL Link to Load Data from Oracle GL RDBMS to OFA Express database, or map structures from Oracle GL directly to FA Structures using forms in Oracle GL, or you can alter the number of segments brought over from the Oracle GL, or you can combine segments. FA also supports a tool set to customize FA and use other non-Oracle data sources.

The FA GL Link, however, does have some limitations, identified below:

  • Supported in Oracle GL 10.7 (6.3 only), 11, and 11i
  • Limitations on some new features not available with link to 10.7
  • Drill to GL detail
  • Uses Oracle ADI
  • Budget Write-back Redirect
  • Write Back to New Budget
  • Avoid Overwriting Previous Iterations
  • Can Switch to Different GL Instance (new in 6.3) in same Express OFA instance
  • Solve Profile after Balance Load
  • Will only solve the portion of the database that has new data
  • Option to Create Attributes Between 2 GL Dimensions during Balance Load
  • Can then be used on worksheets

Enterprise Planning and Budgeting, in contrast to FA, is not inherently a stand-alone application. Instead, EPB uses an integrated business process, the same workflow that the rest of Oracle Applications uses. This integration comes at a price, the price of migration to the new structures. A white paper found on the Oracle Web site discusses migration issues. Since EPB is going to have a limited beta program and is expected to ship in the late summer of 2004, the information regarding migration is subject to change.

About the author: David Fuston is a principal consultant at the Michael Taylor Group. He is a technical and functional consultant with over 18 years of experience in applications development, IT management, and financial controller positions for Fortune 500 and World 200 companies. He has been an officer, speaker, and sponsor in OAUG, BI/DW SIG, OracleWorld, AppsWorld, IOUG, ODTUG, KCOUG, and ICCA.

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