A friendly game of laser tag between out-of-shape technology consultants became a small gold mine of analytics simply by combining the power of Essbase and the built-in data visualization features of Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC)! As a “team building activity,” a group of Edgewater Ranzal consultants recently decided to play a thrilling children’s game of laser tag one evening. At the finale of the four-game match, we were each handed a score card with individual match results and other details such as who we hit, who hit us, where we got hit, and hit percentage based on shots taken. Winners gained immediate bragging rights, but for the losers, it served as proof that age really isn’t just a number (my lungs, my poor collapsing lungs). BUT…we quickly decided that it would be fun to import this data into OAC to gain further insight about what just happened.
Analyzing Results in Essbase
Using Smart View, a comprehensive tool for accessing and integrating EPM and BI content from Microsoft Office products, we sent the data straight to Essbase (included in the OAC platform) from Excel, where we could then apply the power of Essbase to slice the data by dimensions and add calculated metrics. The dimensions selected were:
- Metrics (e.g. score, hit %)
- Game (e.g.Game 1, Game 2, Total),
- Player Hit
- Target (e.g. front, back, shoulder)
- Bonus (e.g. double points, rapid fire)
With Essbase’s rollup capability, dimensions can be sliced by any one item or at a “Total” level. For example, the Player dimension’s structure looks like this:
- Red Team
- Red Team Player 1
- Red Team Player 2
- Blue Team
- Blue Team Player 1
- Blue Team Player 2
- Red Team
This provides instant score results by player, by “Total” team, or by everybody. Combined with another dimension like Player Hit, it’s easy to examine details like number of times an individual player hit another player or another team in total. You can drill in to Red Team Player 1 shot Blue Team or Red Team Player 1 shot Blue Team Player 1 to see how many times a player shot an individual player. A simple Smart View retrieval along the Player dimension shows scores by player and team, but the data is a little raw. On a simple data set such as this, it’s easy to pick out details, but with OAC, there is another way!
Even More Insight with Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC)
Using the data visualization features of OAC, it’s easy to build queries against the OAC Essbase cube to gain interesting insight into this friendly folly and, more importantly, answer the questions everybody had: what was the rate of friendly fire and who shot who? Building an initial pivot chart by simply dragging and dropping Essbase dimensions onto the canvas including the game number, player, score, and coloring by our Essbase metric “Bad Hits” (a calculated metric built in Essbase to show when a player hit a teammate), we discovered who had poor aim…
Dan from the Blue team immediately stands out as does Kevin and Wayne from the Red team! This points us in the right direction, but we can easily toggle to another visualization that might offer even more insight into what went on. Using a couple of sunburst type data visualizations, we can quickly tie who was shooting and who was getting hit – filtered by the same team and then weight by the score (and also color code it by team color).
It appears that Wayne and Kevin from the Red Team are pretty good at hitting teammates, but it is also now easy to conclude that Wayne really has it out for Kevin while Kevin is an equal opportunity shoot-you-in-the-back kind of teammate!
Reimagining the data as a scatter plot gives us a better look at the value of a player in relation to friendly fire. By dragging the “Score” Essbase metric into the size field of the chart, correlations are discovered between friendly fire and hits to the other team. While Wayne might have had the highest number of friendly fire incidents, he also had the second highest score for the Red team. The data shows visually that Kevin had quite a few friendly fire incidents, but he didn’t score as much (it also shows results that allow one to infer that Seema was probably hiding in a corner throughout the entire game, but that’s a different blog post).
What Can You Imagine with the Data Driving Your Business?
By combining the power of Essbase with the drag-and-drop analytic capabilities of Oracle Analytics Cloud, discovering trends and gaining insight is very easy and intuitive. Even in a simple and fun game of laser tag, results and trends are found that aren’t immediately obvious in Excel alone. Imagine what it can do with the data that is driving your business!