We all know or have heard that the Cloud brings many benefits for both software development companies and consumers of Cloud software. Nowhere is this more evident than in the pace of enhancements and upgrades. In the old days of on-premises computing, software companies had to make sure that their software and all up upgrades worked with many operating systems, databases, middleware and security platforms. Managing this chaos was often done via a spreadsheet jokingly referred to as the ‘matrix of death’. How times have changed and we, the consumers, reap the benefits!
Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) is automatically upgraded every quarter. These upgrades are not just for fixing known issues, they often include significant enhancements and the 5.9 update to OAC is no different.
With the 5.9 update Oracle continues the tradition of improving and simplifying the end user experience through easy-to-use but powerful features that let users do more while doing less.
Top 10 New Features of Oracle Analytics Cloud 5.9
1. Text Tokenization – with this new feature you can easily analyze text fields. For instance, let’s say you have a database with complaints about different car models and the complaint descriptions are in a free form text field. In OAC, you can create a data flow and use the text token capability to analyze how many times different words occur for different car models. There is no coding required for this feature.
2. Improved Sorting Capability – when analyzing data there are few utilities that are more frequently used than sorting. The correct sorting makes data much easier to understand. OAC 5.9 has added a number of sorting enhancements:
- changing the secondary sort of a chart will have no impact on the primary sort
- sorting by a measure will take priority over sorting by attributes
- it is now possible to sort by measures or attributes that are not directly displayed on the chart but rather are in the ‘Size’ area or ‘Tooltip’ area.
3. Data Preparation Enhancements – you might be aware that Oracle Analytics Cloud comes with a powerful set of capabilities related to data preparation/wrangling. These days business analysts are doing a lot of the data preparation work that previously might have been done by IT and tools/shortcuts are greatly appreciated. OAC 5.9 includes the following data prep enhancements:
- automatically, with one click, fix missing leading zeroes in US zip codes
- single click trim function – remove leading or trailing extra spaces
- validation of formulas – can quickly validate formulas created during the data preparation phase.
4. Filter Improvements – OAC allows users to establish filters at the dashboard level, which will apply to all the visualizations on the dashboard, as well as at the individual visualization level. With the new 5.9 enhancements, users can now easily drag filters established at the visualization level to the dashboard level and vice versa. This allows users to move more quickly as they analyze data sets.
5. Frequent Itemset Analytics (Market Basket) with Data Flows – this enhancement is a great example of increased integration between Oracle Analytics Cloud and Autonomous Data Warehouse. For many years the Oracle database has had advanced analytics like market basket analysis built into it – however previously you had to be a database programmer to access these capabilities. With the integration of OAC and ADW, business analysts can easily take advantage of the advanced analytics capabilities built into the Oracle database through a simple point and click interface in OAC called ‘Data Flows’. With this enhancement a business analyst will launch the market basket analysis from within OAC but the actual processing will be done leveraging the power of the Oracle database (this is called ‘function shipping’). The results of the market basket analysis are then available in OAC for analysis.
6. Ability to Visualize Oracle Machine Learning Model Metadata in OAC – this enhancement is another great example of leveraging the increased integration between ADW and OAC. First a little background. With Oracle Machine Learning, Oracle has built into the database over 30 machine learning algorithms that can be used by professional data scientists to create machine learning (ML) models ((https://www.oracle.com/data-science/machine-learning/). With this enhancement available in OAC 5.9, machine learning models created in the Oracle database can now be registered for use within OAC. Additionally, all the metadata related to those ML models can now be visualized in OAC through the standard OAC interface.
7. Explain Predictions on Your Data Using OAC Machine Learning Model Output Options – being able to explain the predictions made by machine learning models has emerged as a critical requirement. When machine learning models developed in the Oracle database are processed, they create output that explains how the prediction was arrived at for each and every record (i.e., what attributes contributed to the prediction with the weighting factor identified). This enhancement allows that output to be automatically available for analysis in OAC. This puts business analysts in the position of being able to explain how a model arrived at its predictions (rather than just saying “the model said so”).
8. Add New Map Backgrounds Using Web Map Service (WMS) or XYZ Tile Maps – with this enhancement it is now possible to add new map backgrounds from the Console of Oracle Analytics Cloud (you need to have access to the Console). Spatial analytics can add very important context to visualizations and the map background can bring visualizations to life.
9. Increased Limits on the Number of Rows Returned for Queries – great to see the power of OAC increasing. The maximum number of rows returned when you query data for visualizations, analyses, and dashboards has increased to:
- 2 million rows (2-12 OCPUs)
- 4 million rows (16 – 52 OCPUs).
10. Improved Progress Bar Behavior – the OAC interface and user experience continues to be enhanced. Previously when data was refreshed a horizontal blue bar would appear across the screen. Now a small circle in the upper right corner indicates data refresh progress (like when you download an app on a mobile phone). It might seem like a small thing but it is more subtle and improves the overall visual experience.
We hope you enjoy these new features of OAC 5.9!