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How to Empower Your Business Users with Oracle Data Visualization

Many shifts are happening today, with technology changing at such a pace, business users are relying on data to keep up with the industry and beat the competition. Business users are expecting more than dashboards and reports. They don’t want to be handed off with a set of reports and dashboards which are pre-built by IT for them; they are demanding seamless self-discovery and dashboarding. They want to be able to take what is given and combine that with other data sources and be able to tell a more powerful and compelling Visual story with narrative and snapshots. IT is being challenged to provide the business what they want. Flexible Analytics that meet the needs of many types of users is key.

As business users are relying on tools and data, they are achieving higher levels of proficiency and therefore demanding more self-service analytics. Organizations, specially the business user community who had purchased a standalone data visualization tool are now moving away from Standalone data visualization tools that are not able to provide data governance, single source of truth or enterprise level security. Organizations realize that to Protect your business you have to Empower your users.

Although the cloud adoption is accelerating, most organizations still have hybrid applications with both on premise and cloud data sources. Business users want to be able to combine data sources regardless of where they are, fairly quickly so timely decisions can be made and acted upon.

IDC predicts that by 2020, spending on self-service visual discovery and data preparation market will grow 2.5x faster than traditional IT-controlled tools for similar functionality. Those that have a plan will see great reward over their competitors. IDC projects $430 billion dollar advantage.

However doing so will have its own set of challenges. It is not going to be easy. IT has to adapt to the digital transformation.

For business users to be able to focus more on strategy, means streamlining everyday activity to free up resources.

What is Oracle’s strategy? Oracle understands that when starting out, you need a system that will fit your needs right away without causing major disruption to your other systems or architecture while adding significant value to your business users every step of the deployment and adoption process.

Oracle’s strategy is to ensure whichever capabilities and deployment choices customers need. As they grow, they can easily expand into the next level without any loss of work or content. There are mainly three product’s that is part of the overall strategy:

First, Data Visualization Cloud service or DVCS is for smaller deployments that most often see teams or departments owning the analytics themselves without reliance on IT.  Oracle has Introduced a Groundbreaking Visual Analytics in the Cloud with New Data Visualization Cloud Service. Allows users to perform Better Data Visualization in the Cloud. Oracle manages the environment.  Customer’s also have the option to use Oracle Data Visualization Desktop. This is what is covered in this blog post for the most part.

Next is BI Cloud service or BICS, which is for medium deployments that require a more sophisticated analytics solution.  As such the business cannot operate entirely on its own requiring IT to manage things like the semantic layer. A semantic layer is built by automating a process to pull data from your various on-premise or cloud applications like ERP or CRM. You need a functional knowledge to be able to pull the data and structure it in a format that will simplify reporting. Again, Oracle manages the environment for you.

Third, there is Oracle Analytics cloud or OAC which is for larger deployments where IT will own the deployment as it is customer managed.  Customer management introduces more flexibility to how IT can deploy/manage/administrate their analytics.  With IT managing their OAC platform they can provide analytics as a service to the rest of the organization.

Each solution builds on the previous solution(s).  Each introducing another level of analytics ending with Oracle Analytics Cloud or OAC that provides everything from data visualization, through to governed metrics and dashboards to advanced analytics and scenario modeling.

Liberate All Data From All Sources: Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service eliminates the complexity typically associated with blending and correlating data sets. Easy, automatic data blending allows you to combine data from a variety of sources—Oracle and other SaaS applications, on-premises systems, external sources and personal files—and immediately gain new insights using visual analysis.

The quality of decisions is always affected by data and time.  Having the right data that has considered as many possibilities as possible means greater chance that the right direction can be chosen.  That data must of course be current and accurately reflect reality at the time of the decision.

The data landscape however is changing fast.  Data is not located in a single well defined view, instead its fragmented across the enterprise and even outside in 3rd party or public sources.  New technologies continue to arise providing new and difficult approaches to data storage, organization and access.

Tools required for connecting to and retrieving data from sources, enrichment and visualization have been fragmented, often with multiple different vendors, requiring multiple skillsets to simply retrieve and visualize the results needed.

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Guide to Oracle Cloud: 5 Steps to Ensure a Successful Move to the Cloud

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With Oracle Data Visualization you can connect to the right data from any source.

  • That means access to a vast number of supported data sources, on-premises and in the cloud, databases and applications.
  • And ensuring that as new industry leading sources arise, that Oracle will continually add connectors to those sources.
  • Once you have connected those data sources, users can blend and enrich that data with powerful built-in data preparation capabilities.

Improve All Data with Powerful Data Prep: Simply being able to connect data is not enough. You need a tool that has Artificial intelligence and Machine learning built into it to automatically infer connections between data sets, and be able to display in an easy interface so you can see how data is related and add or change connections as necessary.

The solution is to make sure that you can always connect to the right data at the right time.  That means accessing all relevant data that is needed to support your activity, decision or process, regardless of where it may be stored.

It means you can stay ahead of the curve with the help of proactive analytics that are smart.  Knowing where you are or who might be calling you.  That can trigger your analytics to ensure you have your numbers ready to go.

Finally, a singular process, in a single tool, that requires little training, that can be driven by a standard user, is able to perform all that is required from data access to data visualization, and everything in-between.

Find Hidden Patterns with Smart Data Discovery: With Oracle Data Visualization you can automatically detect different data patterns. Visual analytics masks complexity, enabling very sophisticated data exploration by simply clicking to apply filters and drill, and dragging and dropping to create compelling dashboards. You can take your analysis even further with an easy Expression editor, where you can use prebuilt functions to visually create custom filters and calculations, to quickly extend and enrich your data.

A unified user experience blurs the lines between dynamic discovery, dashboarding, and presentation, creating a seamless and richly contextual environment that keeps your exploration fast and fluid.

Talk to your data and tell better stories: Sometimes you know the data you are working with, and sometimes you don’t. You need some guidance and the ability to search your data. Oracle Data Visualization has Powerful search, guided navigation, and sophisticated filtering that work together intelligently to provide an easy, interactive path through your data, helping you find exactly what you’re looking for.

You can also use your voice to search through your datasets and ask it to generate a report for you.

Dashboards and reports would add more value if it were able to tell a story. Oracle Data Visualization gives you the ability to tell your story and share your content with other users. With built algorithms and Artificial intelligence, it is easy to capture insights as visual stories, saving story points (snapshots of the analytical moment-in-time) and adding comments to highlight key points and discoveries. Stories are live and can be securely shared with anyone with permission; co-workers can click a link and be brought into the story, build upon it, and share it in turn, enabling the rapid, dynamic collaboration that drives improved decision-making and faster action.

Governed Self Service at Enterprise Scale: Being able to balance user autonomy with governance and policy is part of building a BI competency centre for every organization. With Oracle Data Visualization, organizations can find their own balance between user’s self-service and governance. The scale is now adjustable by you.

This allows for the combining of all relevant information including governed systems of record and un-modelled personal data, third-party data or other external information that becomes that perfect custom combination that can contribute to your business activity. And, know that you won’t be kept waiting for your results because intelligent queries optimized for the specific data sources will keep performance high.

The Pivot to Self Service: In the past, deployment of Enterprise Data warehouse platform meant, the data requirements had to be known before the start of the engagement and then you would be able to roll out analytics solution for different business user group whether it Finance or Sales or HR for what was captured.  With the adoption of Business Intelligence platforms, users are now asking for self-service discovery tools so they can mash-up the datasets provided by IT with other data sources and be able to perform self-service analytics.  They want to be less reliant on IT so they are able to analyze and make decisions on time-sensitive information. Be able to combing for example Enterprise Data warehouse with your flat files or social media data to be able to perform more intelligent marketing analytics, so it is a top down approach than what it used to be before.

Today, with Oracle Data Visualization you can combine Enterprise Data which has a single-source-of truth, data governance framework and security infrastructure with other data sources to be able to perform Departmental self-service analytics. Enabling business users to spend more time on analysis than creating a service request with their IT trying to add a new column or a field to the existing data warehouse.

For customers who own prebuilt BI Applications, this would mean allowing your Business Users to use Oracle Data Visualization to source from subject areas that are in production along with any other flatfiles, Essbase cubes to be able to mash-up the data and perform rich visual exploration and tell a more powerful story.

Where do we start? We hear from many Analytics customers that they understand WHY they should move to Cloud, but the immediate follow up is: WHERE DO WE START?

There are three important steps on your journey to cloud. Starting with the easiest and quickest to deploy and each successive step builds on the previous step.

First, the quickest and easiest step is known as having “Data Hybrid.” This is analytics in the cloud with live, on-demand access to existing data sources, both cloud AND on premises!  This is definitely what our customers are talking about as a popular starting point for moving to cloud.

Second, Lift and shift is the next logical step that requires a little more effort but also brings even more value. Transporting analytic applications which includes content, security, users and data to and from the cloud.  When considering a move to the cloud, you’re are faced with a key decision: re-architect the application(s) or employ a “lift-and shift” approach. Re-architecting the application requires extensive planning, time, significant effort, and costly resources to implement. The lift-and shift approach, however, is gaining popularity because it offers hybrid cloud business intelligence without having to worry about data security and recreating metadata in the cloud.

Third and The next logical step is to expand your analytics to realize the greatest potential to innovate in the cloud.  This includes enabling machine learning and artificial intelligence and the addition of cloud capabilities like modelling, big data discovery, mobile access, or into other SaaS, PaaS and IaaS options.

You want to be able to roll-out new applications quicker and Enable self-service on existing applications.


Shiv Bharti is the Practice Director of Perficient’s (NASDAQ:PRFT) National Oracle Business Intelligence Practice. Shiv has solid experience building and deploying Oracle Business Intelligence products. He has successfully led the implementation of more than 75 Business Analytics and custom data warehouse projects.

Shiv is a thought leader in the Business Analytics space and a frequent speaker at large conferences like – Oracle Open World, Collaborate, KScope as well as Oracle User Group, sharing his perspectives and thoughts on industry trends,strategies, best practices and case studies.


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Shiv Bharti

Shiv is the Practice Director of Perficient’s National Oracle Business Intelligence Practice. Shiv has solid experience Building and Deploying Oracle Business Intelligence Products. He has successfully led implementation of over 75+ Oracle Business Intelligence and Custom Data Warehouse Projects. Shiv has worked in multiple industries and with clients that include fortune 500 companies . He has Expertise leading large global teams, as well as in-depth knowledge across multiple verticals and technologies. Prior to 2008, Shiv was a member of the Oracle and Siebel Core Engineering Teams and responsible for the Design and Development of numerous Business Intelligence Applications.

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