I didn’t set out to answer this question last week but the great City of Chicago is flush (and openhanded) with terrific, publicly available data. And as it happens, I was on the hunt for a simple data set to showcase one of the most powerful new features of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery (OEID) 3.0, Self Service Business Intelligence.
As mentioned in an earlier post by my colleague Dan Brock, there’s a real push to take the power of the Oracle Endeca platform and place it into as many hands as possible. Key to this effort is the ability for users to upload their own data sets, do some light manipulation and get down to the business of discovering new insights and unlocking value. With OEID 3.0, users have this capability built natively into OEID Studio.
Self Service BI – Seven Minutes to Heaven
To get started, I downloaded the “Current Salaries” of all 32,443 employees of the City Of Chicago in Excel format. Then, I log in to the newest version of OEID Studio and click the “Create a new application” button:
I upload my Excel file and click Next. From here, the Endeca Provisioning Service takes this Excel file, does some “light crunching”:
And when it completes, it flashes up a screen, shows you some preview data and asks you to pick your Excel Sheet:
After clicking Next, Studio uses the Provisioning Service to do introspection into the Excel data (I believe Apache POI is used under the hood for some of the Excel work) and presents you with a “best guess” as to data types and formats. If something doesn’t look right or you want to tweak further, it gives you the opportunity to make some light data modifications and formatting changes:
This is extremely useful for sparsely populated, dirty or jagged data where you want to clean things up a bit. You can default in values such as “UNASSIGNED” or “Not Available” for blank cells, you can specify “Invalid Data” for types that don’t match what is expected. One fun note is that while creating this application, I was called away to help my son with his trains. When I got back to my computer, I was presented with this:
This is really nicely done, allowing a continuation of a “wizard-based” approach is always appreciated. I was able to pick back up where I left off and click Create Application to complete the ingest. From here, the Oracle Endeca Provisioning Service automatically provisions a new Data Domain on the Endeca Server, ingests the data with proper typing, and creates the “Base” view. Once you’re done, you get a nice message imploring you to get going:
From here, as a power user, you can create your own charts and views, run interactive metrics, you name it, all without picking up the phone and calling anyone to assist you. Of course, there’s the standard Endeca learning curve but once you’ve gotten up to speed, you can get cracking. I’ve included some “5 minute metrics” after the jump, you’ll need to scroll to the end for Hizzoner’s (or do we only call the New York City mayor “Hizzoner”) salary:
And the grand finale….
The mayor makes roughly 40K less than the Police Commissioner here in the Windy City.