Special uses for Life Cycle Management (LCM)

In my previous post, I showed how to use LCM to back up or copy an entire planning application environment.  Here I’ll expand on that subject a bit by showing some other uses you may find handy.  This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive collection – just a few suggestions you may find useful and which may provoke ideas for other uses.

Copy single dimension from one app to another

This can be done for any dimension, including the standard planning dimensions.  Here, to expand on the subject we are also going to export from the “Organization” dim in one planning app & import to the “Entity” dim in another.

Select the artifacts to export (no harm in copying everything).

Click thru the next screen to this one.

Since we need to change the dimension name, we must export to files, not directly to the other app.

Then click thru the remaining screens to execute the migration.

After the export finishes, go to the \Hyperion\Common\Import_export directory. Under the Username@Directory folder find the files you exported.

In the “info” directory, edit “listing.xml” changing all instances of “Organization” to “Entity”.

Now find the XML file for the dimension to be migrated with name change.

Rename to the target dimension name.

Now edit the file to change “Organization” to “Entity”.

In Shared Services->Application Groups->File System, open the extract and select the (newly renamed) Entity dimension.

Define Migration…

…and click thru the remaining screens to execute the migration.

Lights-out Operation

In Shared Services select the artifacts to be backed up and define migration.

We need to back it up to files so type in a folder name…

…and click thru the remaining screens until you get here.

Now, instead of clicking the Execute button, click “Save Migration Definition.”

You will get this screen…

…click “Save.”

Shared Services wants to save “MigrationDefinition.xml” where you tell it to.

You can name the file any name you want (I suggest using naming conventions to differentiate the operation being saved) and anywhere you want.

After saving the file you will get this…

…click “Close” and the backup definition will be saved.

Now look in the Automation folder where the xml file was saved.

The file has everything Shared Services needs to run the backup from the command line utility except the USERID and PASSWORD.

Edit in TextPad or other text editor and type in a Userid and password.

After running the job the password is automatically encrypted.

The job is run from an Oracle supplied process, “utility.bat.”

…and you pass the path information to the migration definition file you created above.”

You should channel the output to a log file so you will have a record of success or failure.  The following message is an excerpt from that log which, in turn, lists the detailed log location & name and whether the process was a success or failure and it will also tell exactly where any failure occurred in the process.

I hope I’ve shown you enough to get you started using LCM.  It can certainly be a valuable tool, whether you want to do one-time tasks or perform lights-out operations such as regular backups.  The important thing to remember is to test it and see what, if any, problems you will have and either fix those or work around them.

Business Intelligence Technology Environment – Welcome to the Buffet

Business Intelligence Technology Environment or BITE is my own little tag line and acronym (maybe I should copyright it) to express the host of solutions available in the Business Intelligence application world today. (It could also be used as a verb to describe the plethora of poorly designed solutions… ahh but that is another story.)

My current blog series will be Oracle EPM/BI+ solution centric while remaining Oracle EPM/BI+ application agnostic (now dictionary.com is paying off). I hope that you will enjoy this real life approach to the process of decision making on software solutions interspersed with some genuine tips and tricks of the trade — some that you have seen before and some you have never imagined.

In other words, I hope that you will not find this blog to be represented by my newly coined acronym — BITE.

Rules of conduct while at the Buffet

First we need a definition. Yes a definition! Don’t be afraid, definitions are a good thing, they keep us grounded, they set limits and finally they determine if we are true to our mission. I define BITE as processes, software and goals needed to precisely solution the business data critical to the legal, accounting and business decision needs of a specific entity.

Inventive techno junkies, single tool consultants and one track sales people – CLOSE YOUR EYES / SHEILD YOUR COMPUTERS for this next statement else you might go blind. “Precisely Solution” in the definition of BITE includes the moral imperative of not misusing software for intent other than its design and picking software that fits the current business life cycle of a company. (Those of you with Software Misuse problems, I will be posting a number you can call to get help. Remember the first step is admitting you have a problem.)

The application stack for EPM / BI+; HFM, Essbase (with all its add-on modules), Smart View, OBIE, OBAW, FDM, DRM, ODI and a few products you might not have heard about or you’ve heard about but never assessed for your purposes. NO, NO, No, no folks this is not a software sales blog, it’s a solutions blog and in our solutions toolbox we need to do more than use a single hammer creatively to remain competitive from an efficiency and business life cycle standpoint.

The Personalities in the Buffet Line

Now that we have some parameters (and I know it was painful for you left brainers) by which we can solution, we need some realistic company situations to solution. Let’s start with four companies each different in their business life cycle, staff sizes and demands for a BITE at success. You can email me if you will absolutely die without a very specific company example however, I cannot boil the ocean here in this blog (small ponds are all that will be possible).

Our four companies need to be different to see solutions in the work. Let’s pick a manufacturer, a technology company, a retailer and a commodity group. In my next addition we will outline the companies, their mission, their needs and their resources.

Creating an OBIEE Repository for Relational Data Source

OBIEE (Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition)

In this part of my OBIEE blog, I’ll guide you through basic steps to create an Oracle server repository and use it to bring over a relational data source for use in OBI Answers. As of OBIEE version 10.1.3.3.2, Essbase is supported as an OBI data source allowing the user to integrate Essbase data with OBI Answers, OBI Interactive Dashboards, and OBI Publisher. The latest version of OBIEE is 10.1.3.4x. Refer to my part 2 blog (OBIEE and Essbase – Defining OLAP Integration) for importing Essbase content into OBIEE.

For the below steps, I will be using SQL Server 2005 relational database as my source but you can use Oracle 10g or older versions of either tool.

To create an Oracle repository, open the Oracle BI Administration Tool and select File | New and name your new repository.

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Set security by selecting Manage | Security. Assuming you are the admin, select Users | Administrator. Right click Administrator, select Properties to enter an admin password and confirm the password. Close out Security Manager.

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To import a relational data source, select File | Import | from Database.

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Select a connection type.

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Select the relational data source, enter login credentials and click OK.

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Enter the relational table to import. Deselect all but Tables, Keys, and Foreign Keys and click Import. If you are using Views instead of Tables, change accordingly.

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The relational table will import into the Physical layer of the Administration Tool.

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Test the import by right clicking a column (Branch_Name is selected in this example) and select View Data. Values for the selected column should populate in a view data table.

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Drag the imported relational table folder from the Physical layer to the Business Model and Mapping (BMM) layer. In the BMM layer, here you can create logical tables and joins to develop the type of model needed for presentation.

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Next, drag the relational table from the BMM layer to the Presentation layer to finalize its presentation for the user. Manipulation by presentation can be performed in this layer for Subject Area use in OBI Answers.

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For your reference and as a recap from my part 2, here is the significance of each layer:

1. Physical layer – imported tables and views come from the relational data source; physical joins can be performed here
2. BMM layer – this layer organizes imports from the physical layer into logical categories
3. Presentation layer – BMM entities are organized for user presentation

Once your Presentation layer is complete, it can be made available for OBI Answers to create dashboard content bringing both relational and multidimensional data sources into one view. A sample of an Answers view is displayed below combining both relational and multidimensional data sources into a combo box allowing for choice among regions. Any selection of region updates both relational and multidimensional tables for view.

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This is just one simple example of the product’s capabilities. OBIEE is redefining how we approach BI with the evolution of this product improving on how we develop it. There is a great deal of flexibility within OBIEE for relational and multidimensional reporting and those who understand how to leverage this tool will see its impact upon their organization for the better.