Business models drive agility

In this post I want to show you one of the key components to achieving an agile data warehouse – the business information model. We use this capability to drive everything in and about the warehouse – its structure, its content and its ability to rapidly change. The business model gives us a common language that both IT and business people can understand. Take a look at the video to get a quick tour of what the business model is about. Read more

Upgrade Protection from Noetix has been a Key Success Factor at FICO

Long-time customer, John Hendrickson from FICO, shares how the seamless upgrade protection from Noetix has been a key success factor in their organization. FICO, the leading provider of analytics and decision management technology for helping companies to improve their financial health, has implemented four major Oracle EBS upgrades over the past nine years and is now looking forward to Release 12.

Watch Video (3:44)

What’s New in Operational Reporting?

Noetix Rounds Out Its Global Views Offering for E-Business Suite!

NoetixViews, the most widely adopted operational reporting solution for Oracle E-Business Suite, now includes global views for Oracle Financials, U.S. Federal Financials, Supply Chain, Discrete Manufacturing, Projects, and Enterprise Asset Management. This new offering joins the previously released global views for Oracle’s Human Resource Management System application suite, Process Manufacturing and Service suites, and Advanced Supply Chain Planning.

The global views represent the smallest-ever footprint of NoetixViews without compromising its unparalleled coverage of Oracle E-Business Suite. The global views for each NoetixViews module provide the ideal foundation for standardized, enterprise-wide reporting by delivering data from all business groups, ledgers, operating units, and inventory organizations in the Oracle E-Business Suite instance. Coupled with row-level security—a feature that assures end users see only the data in their reports that they have access to in Oracle E-Business Suite—the enterprise-wide reach of the global views delivers a complete operational reporting solution. This means more users can cost-effectively gain access to their data faster.

Parallel enhancements to the Noetix Generator products deliver row-level security with the global views for users of SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos BI, and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition.

The new global views are available to current NoetixViews customers as an add-on to their existing NoetixViews environment. Please contact Noetix for more information at or call 866-4NOETIX.

NoetixViews transforms the complexity of the Oracle E-Business Suite database into recognizable business views of data that are used by both IT professionals and business users to create custom reports and ad hoc queries. Using patented Noetix MetaBuilder technology, the views are automatically configured to support customer-specific setups, including key and descriptive flexfields.

Is Data Quality Dead?

At the Gartner MDM Summit this spring, Ted Friedman pronounced that the Data Quality Magic Quadrant would probably disappear soon. (I’m sure an analyst of Ted’s caliber will find a new Magic Quadrant to own.) Recently, I was on the panel of the TDWI MDM/Data Governance/DQ Super Webinar. Another panelist and a respected figure in data management expressed a similar sentiment. Is data quality dead? Read more

Noetix Generator: Your Oracle EBS Content in the Platform of Your Choice

Noetix has been working on new versions of Noetix Generator for each of the major BI platforms: IBM Cognos, SAP Business Objects, and Oracle BI.

Noetix Generator automates the administrative task of building the metadata models for the different BI platforms. Each platform uses a different name for these models – Business Objects has a “universe”, Cognos has “Framework Manager packages”, and Oracle BI has an “Enterprise Information Model” (which is stored in a file referred to as an “RPD file”, based on the filename suffix it uses). While these models have some differences and distinctions, they all have a common purpose: they provide the BI platform with a “map” to the database content.

Each of the BI platforms also has administrative tools to build these models. However, the actual process for building the models can be tedious, and defining the links between objects can be extremely tricky. In addition, specifying user-friendly names for fields requires an often painful amount of repetitive typing.

The Noetix family of products greatly reduce that effort by building the models automatically. They create the connections between objects, define the appropriate data types (and usage hints) for all the fields, and organize the information into a structure that makes sense to business users who need to build reports.

The newest releases – version 3.0 of the Noetix Generator family of products – add some exciting features. Most importantly, the generators will now support the next generation of NoetixViews. Along with this support, we’ve improved the presentation layer, creating an even more intuitive experience for business users with greater ease of use.

These new releases also include support for our newest addition to the product stack, Noetix Analytics. Now customers who purchase Noetix Analytics for strategic reporting will be able to generate the models for their BI platforms automatically, just like customers using NoetixViews for operational reporting. If customers have both NoetixViews and Noetix Analytics, they’ll be able to generate all of their Noetix content into the same BI platform!

Finally, the new releases of Noetix Generator for Cognos BI and Noetix Generator for Business Objects will add the ability to automatically generate charts using the NoetixAnswers metadata. This provides functional equivalence with Noetix Generator for Oracle BI, which has included chart generation since last year.

We’re excited about these new releases – a lot of engineering, testing, and documentation effort has gone into them. We look forward to hearing your feedback on our new features.

Announcing The Cascaded Data Warehouse

Today we made an announcement about a very cool new capability in the Kalido Information Engine that we call a “cascaded data warehouse.” This new capability delivers a no compromise approach to getting BOTH fast data loads AND fast query response to users. The result is greater flexibility, faster speed and much stronger performance for customers. Read more

Driving Data Governance Past Cultural Roadblocks

Recently, I wrote about getting caught in such data governance traps as pursuing quality for the sake of quality and imposing change on an organization without considering the cultural impact. In this post, I’ll explore the issue of corporate culture and what it takes to overcome barriers to change. Read more

My BI platform comes with a set of administrative tools that enable me to build the model. Why would I want to further invest in a product like Noetix Generator to assist with this process?

QUESTION: My BI platform comes with a set of administrative tools that enable me to build the model. Why would I want to further invest in a product like Noetix Generator to assist with this process?

ANSWER: You’re absolutely correct – each BI platform comes with a tool for building the model (or semantic layer) for that tool. Before tackling your question, let me first provide a bit of background on this technology.

Every major BI platform includes a “metadata model” or “semantic layer” or “abstraction layer”. The model provides a “map” to the data for the tool to follow and, more importantly, hides the details of the underlying complex data structures from the business user. The model allows the presentation tool to use standard business terminology that makes sense to those users.

In Oracle Discoverer, that model is called an End User Layer (EUL). Business Objects calls it a Universe. Cognos uses Framework Manager packages. Oracle BI EE uses the BI Repository (which is often referred to as an RPD file, after the file extension used for the file that contains the model). They all serve a similar purpose – providing a friendly presentation to the user, while hiding the complexity of the underlying data sources.

Now, getting back to the question. Noetix provides a family of Noetix Generator products – there is one for SAP BusinessObjects, IBM Cognos BI, Oracle Discoverer, and Oracle BI. Each Noetix Generator builds the model for that BI platform automatically, using details from NoetixViews or Noetix Analytics (or both). So, what’s the value? What does the Generator do beyond what you get out of the box from the native administration tools in the BI platform?

The answer is, a lot!

  • Creates joins between objects
    One of the trickiest things to do in building a model is to define the joins between tables and views. I won’t go into all the details here, because each tool is different. You need to plan your “logical model” and then figure out how to fit your existing tables and views into that model. This is especially complicated in OBI EE, because that platform has very rigid (and poorly documented) rules on how to do this. Noetix Generator automatically defines the joins between related tables and views for you.
  • Manages complex join relationships
    Defining those joins gets even more difficult when you have a lot of inter-related objects. If your data source is NoetixViews (or any other set of views and tables that isn’t designed as a star schema), you’re going to have some trouble getting this right. Even with Noetix Analytics, getting all of the joins correct can be very complicated. Again, OBI EE wins the prize as “most difficult platform” for this kind of modeling and Noetix Generator can greatly simplify the management of this process.
  • Links to “Lists of Values”
    When your users build reports, they’ll want to create prompts for parameters, which show a list of allowable values for those parameters. In most cases, you’ll want to provide a fast way to retrieve and display those lists of values. Noetix Generator sets up those lists automatically, saving you the tedium of doing it yourself.
  • Populates descriptive text for views, tables, and columns
    Your model will be much easier to use if you add in detailed descriptions of each view, table, and column in the model. Unfortunately, this is a painfully monotonous task (because much of the descriptive detail isn’t imported automatically by the administrative tools). Noetix Generator automatically populates the descriptions with the details from NoetixViews and Noetix Analytics.
  • Specifies column attributes
    In each BI platform, you need to specify (for each column) the data type, the aggregation rule (i.e. whether it’s a numeric column that can be summed up or whether it’s something to be counted or some other rule), how the data should be formatted, and a number of other properties. Again, Noetix Generator defines this information automatically, saving you the repetitive task of doing it yourself.
  • Creates hierarchies
    Much of the data in NoetixViews and Noetix Analytics exists in hierarchies (including every Key Flexfield structure). Noetix Generator automatically creates dimensional hierarchies in each BI platform. This enables the automatic drilling features of those platforms to be enabled, which allows business users to create rich interactive reports that support “drill to detail” with no additional effort.

All of these tasks can, of course, be done using the administration tool that came with the BI platform, but the work is typically slow, tedious, and error-prone. Modeling tasks that would take (literally) weeks of effort by a highly skilled administrator can be done automatically, in minutes, by Noetix Generator. In addition, Noetix Generator integrates seamlessly with those tools. As a result, if you do additional modeling within your administrative tool, the work you’ve done isn’t lost. It remains in the model and is preserved each time you re-run Noetix Generator.

In the end, you get the best of both worlds. The repetitive work is done automatically by Noetix Generator. That leaves you free to do other more important tasks like integrating additional data sources or adding other modeling details required by your business.

Submit a question to Noetix and check back for the answer in an upcoming blog post!


Does your data hurricane have a name?

I’m sitting here in Boston listening to all the weather prognosticators about Hurricane Earl which is currently bearing down on the Eastern seaboard. What’s fascinating is the wide variance of reports; I swear some of these reporters are being paid by Home Depot so people buy more “storm supplies.” While a hurricane is no laughing matter, it gets me thinking about the data “hurricane” sweeping across companies worldwide. Read more