Monthly Archives: April 2016

‘Unboxing’ Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS): Procuring Your Environment

April 21, 2016

Author: John McGale, Performance Architects

You can quickly provision an Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) environment and start building dashboards within a day. For purposes of this discussion, we focus on a “self-starter” model, where we assume you will upload small personal data sets to get started.  Below is the typical end-to-end process for setting up BICS, from provisioning the environment to building reports.

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BICS Service Workflow

The obvious first step is procuring your environment.  As mentioned previously, BICS is part of the Oracle Cloud Marketplace, which is similar metaphor to the Apple “App” store.  You can review pricing here.

You can either click on the “Buy” button on this page or go to the main BICS web page to start a software trial by clicking the “Try It” button at the top of the page.

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BICS Procurement Summary

The depiction above shows a summary of the process for purchasing.  Once an order is placed, the Oracle Cloud Marketplace maintains an automated workflow to process your order and simultaneously set up your BICS instance.  As soon as you receive an email containing all the information related to your environment, you will be able to log into the environment immediately.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

An Explanation of Oracle Database Cloud – Schema Service in Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS)

April 13, 2016

Author: John McGale, Performance Architects

Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) comes with a specific instance of the Oracle Cloud Database environment called “Oracle Database Cloud – Schema”.

Oracle Database Cloud – Schema Service is a managed single schema instance of an Oracle database. The Oracle database version is 11g R2, and all of the underlying components are managed by Oracle.

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Administrative access is provided by Oracle Application Express (APEX) and the schema itself can be accessed remotely using the Oracle SQL Developer “cloud connector” feature. You must log into a separate URL in order to access this console. This will be provided to you upon registration.

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APEX admin console

These services include point-in-time recovery and automated backup, as well as ongoing maintenance. You have the ability to purchase the full Oracle “Database as a Service” if you require multiple schemas for your data.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Join us at COLLABORATE16 in Las Vegas!

April 7, 2016

Author: Melanie Mathews, Performance Architects

We are busy prepping for the annual COLLABORATE Conference, the largest meeting of Oracle user groups representing the full family of Oracle business applications and database software. COLLABORATE 16 is co-hosted by Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), and Quest International Users Group (Quest), in Las Vegas, Nevada! We have nine sessions starting this Sunday and we are also exhibiting at Booth #1336 so be sure to stop by and say hello!

Also, please join the Performance Architects team at the  Hyperion Connect Reception during Collaborate16. Don’t miss this opportunity to network with your fellow Oracle Hyperion users. Share ideas, make connections and meet Oracle’s top Hyperion executives and product developers. Enjoy music, cocktails, food and good times. Join us on Tuesday, April 12th from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in Islander C, North Convention Center.

Our COLLABORATE Schedule is below:

Stay tuned for our post show blog with updates and news from the conference and be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PerfArchitects) to keep up with us during the event!

We would also like to invite you to schedule a 15-minute meeting with one of Performance Architects’s business analytics experts at Collaborate16 and be entered into our drawing for the new Apple Watch! A calendar where you can reserve an appointment is available here: http://performancearchitects2.setmore.com/.


© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Introduction to Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) Components

April 6, 2016

Author: John McGale, Performance Architects

Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service or “BICS” is a cloud-based business intelligence (BI) platform that is based on the same underlying technology as the full on-premise version of Oracle Business Intelligence 12c. BICS is part of Oracle’s cloud ecosystem and is integrated with the Oracle Database Cloud Database “Schema” Service. BICS is mobile-ready at no additional cost. Content that is created in BICS does not need to be reformatted for mobile, this is all done seamlessly using Oracle’s BI Mobile HD application.

Although BICS is based on the OBIEE code base, there are a few key differences. These are summarized in the figure below:

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BICS environments can be procured in a few days (depending on payment processing), for a relatively low-cost monthly subscription. You must sign up for a one to three year commitment, with an additional monthly cost for the Oracle Database Cloud Database Schema Service. In a way, you are really subscribing to both services at once. The price of your monthly subscription provides you two full instances of BICS and two instances of the Oracle Database Cloud Database Schema Service. The subscription must be purchased with a minimum of at least ten user licenses.

There is no application installation or maintenance with BICS. Upgrades and system outages are handled by Oracle in a way that produces no disruption of service for your BICS environment. All user controls are simplified and streamlined for business use. There are intuitive screens for general application administration as well as data integration.

BICS includes the following main components:

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Visual Analyzer (VA Projects): Oracle BICS Visual Analyzer Projects is a web-based tool that enables you to explore formal data stores within BICS and load data from external sources (spreadsheets) sets to give you a blended view. A project enables you to dynamically explore multiple data sets in graphical way, all within a single interface. Visual Analyzer allows you to hand pick attributes or use a search feature – which gives you a more exploratory interaction with your data.

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Visual Analyzer

Analyses: An analysis (OBIEE “Answers”) is a query against your data that provides you with answers to business questions. Analyses enable you to explore and interact with information visually in graphs, pivot tables, and more traditionally in tables, and pivot tables. There are also a whole host of other specialized visualizations. You can also save, organize, and share the results of analyses with others.

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Analyses (criteria tab)

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Dashboards: Dashboards can include multiple analyses to give you a complete and consistent view of your company’s information across all departments and operational data sources. Dashboards provide you with personalized views of information in the form of one or more pages, with each page identified with a tab at the top. Reports within dashboards are usually parameterized and “dashboard filters” are added to drive a more dynamic user experience.

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Object Catalog (Catalog): VA Projects, Analyses, Dashboards, and other objects are stored in the Object Catalog in a manner consistent with files and folders in Microsoft Windows. The Object Catalog can be accessed directly through its own interface or in some cases, like constructing dashboards, indirectly – allowing you to pick analyses to place on your dashboard. Permissions can then be set on individual objects such as reports or on a wider scale using folders.

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Thin Client Modeling Tool (Modeler): A data model is a design that presents business data for analysis in a manner that reflects the structure of the business. Data models enable analysts to structure queries in the same intuitive fashion as they ask business questions. The Data Modeler tool allows you to create a semantic or logical model representing the relationship of underlying physical tables or flat files. The Data Modeler also allows you to create your own custom calculations and formatting for attributes to be represented within Analyses. Once a model is completed it is published as a new “Subject Area” which then becomes the basis for Analyses, and VA Projects.

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Thin Client Service Admin Console (Console): The admin service console allows you to manage the day-to-day operation of BICS. Common tasks include reviewing session logs, inspecting SQL, clearing the BI server cache, and running logical SQL.

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Thin Client Data Loader (Load): Data Loader is a wizard-driven browser-based tool for loading text files (TXT and CSV) and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets (XLS and XLSX) into the Oracle Database Cloud – Database Schema Service included with Oracle BI Cloud Service. The Data Loader can handle input files of up to 500,000 rows.

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BI Cloud Service Academy (Academy): The Academy provides tutorials to help you learn about BICS and get the most out of your experience with the solution. The text is broken out in to various workflows and tasks and includes many how-to videos.

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© Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog, 2006 - present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Performance Architects, Inc. and Performance Architects Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.