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Welcome to the Beyond Blog

As you'd expect from the winners of the Specialized Partner of the Year: Business Analytics at the Oracle UKI Specialized Partner Awards 2014, Beyond work with leading edge BI Applications primarily within the UK Public Sector. We intend to share some of our ideas and discoveries via our blog and hopefully enrich the wider discussion surrounding Oracle Business Intelligence and driving improved insight for customers

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With a lot of E-Business Suite customers looking to upgrade to R12.2.x within the near future (if they haven't already), I thought it might be useful to illustrate some of the key differences. I'll spread this out over a number of different posts, however for today I am going to look at database tables. Prior to Release 12.2, the following structure was used for E-Business Suite tables.

Old Table Structure

So we have tables created within their application owning schema which are then granted up to the APPS user. Typically the process for doing this (for a custom development) would be:

-- As your custom application user, i.e. XXJK.
Create Table xxjk_demo (
  id       Number,
  val      Varchar2(100),
  a_field  Varchar2(10)
);

Grant All On xxjk_demo To Apps With Grant Option;

-- As Apps
Create Synonym xxjk_demo For xxjk.xxjk_demo;
-- Apps grants out any further privileges required.

However... this changes with R12.2 due to Online Patching. We no longer have the simple model above, but something (only slightly) more complicated.

Last modified on Continue reading
Tagged in: E-Business Suite R12.2
in Technical 4084 6
0

Oracle BI 12c (which is compatible with both the "Oracle Data Integrator" versions of BI Applications from 11.1.1.9+ and also the "Informatica" version 7.9.6.4 ) comes with many improvements over previous releases.  One I want to look at here is that of "Advanced Analytics".  There are a number of new analytic features that are built into the product based on the "R" language that allow us to simply perform analysis such as Forecasting, detect Outliers, group related items into clusters, add trendlines, etc.   
For example, there is a Forecasting function which allows quite sophisticated forecasting via a number of models such as ARIMA ( Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average ) and also ETS ( Error, Trend, Seasonal ). 
Below we show sales data for a couple of years (shown in blue) and use the Forecasting function to forecast spend for the next two years (shown in green) using the ARIMA function.


 
Toggling this to use the ETS methodology we see a slightly different forecast as we'd expect via a different model, but what i'm really highlighting is that there are of course a number of models that allow us to forecast by utilising prior data and various sensitive parameters that allow us to create a scenario that best fits the purpose to which were are looking to utilise it ( e.g. the forecasting of budgeted spend, the forecasting of absenteeism, etc ).


 Identification of statistical outliers is also very important.  I'll leave the discussion of what determines an outlier within a specific dataset for now as concepts such as "Mahalanobis distance" are somewhat statistical in nature, but as an example here we use the new Outlier function to process billed quantity for a specific product category and highlight any outlier in both a table and also in a scatter chart. 


 
Outliers would be very useful in a local authority for numerous reasons, perhaps such as identification of P2P data to ringfence customers that have unusual payment patterns or employees with interesting absences.
As a final example of just some of the different types of analysis that can be performed, here's a Trendline within some payment data.  We can plot the complex payments over a number of months and then apply a Trendline function so that we can clearly see the direction of travel. 


 
Here we can see that it is gently rising, which would be positive.  This again would be useful in a local authority to see that reduction in absenteeism is heading in the direction we would want or the speed at which SME's are paid is improving. 


Last modified on Continue reading
in Techniques 2487 0
0

So a couple of weeks back I had a quite an exciting moment. Why? Well I downloaded myself an E-Business Suite R12.2.4 Vision virtual machine from Oracle E-Delivery.
After the initial pain of unzipping many gigabytes of zip files, concatenating chunks together etc and finally importing into virtual box, I finally got it up and running. This is the single-tier install and here are the specs of the virtual machine I am using:

Base Memory 7Gb
Processors 2
Network Host Only Network
Disk Drives USB External Drive

This is running on my laptop which is an Intel i7 with 16Gb RAM.

Post importing, after changing the default user passwords (which the system prompts you to do on login), I set up the machine to use a static IP address (note I had the adaptor set on a host-only network). To do this I simply executed /u01/install/scripts/configstatic.sh and as I was happy to re-use the existing domain (ebs.example.com) I didn't have to do anything thereafter. Ensure you create an entry in your windows host file for ebs.example.com for the static IP address you're using though.

Starting up the instance is done in two stages - the database and then the app.

/u01/install/VISION/scripts/startvisiondb.sh
/u01/install/VISION/scripts/startvisionapps.sh

The database starts up relatively quickly on my machine, however the app takes literally forever! This is part due to weblogic server now being used in the underpinning architecture, and of course partly because it's running on a humble laptop. It's literally a case of start it off, leave it running, and go and do something else for half an hour or so. You'll see it going through the various startup steps.

Startup Steps

Eventually (!) you should see everything is done. Once you've successfully started then you should be able to hit the login screen on ebs.example.com:8000, which as you can see looks a bit different to the R12 vanilla screen.

Last modified on Continue reading
Tagged in: E-Business Suite
in Technical 3563 4
0

Oracle BI Enterprise Edition 11g has been around for many years now and there are many people using 11.1.1.7 versions.  This goes out of error correction support on the 14th May 2016, so something you want to be planning for if you're using that in production.  You've got a couple of interesting options though:

1) Upgrade to BI EE 11.1.1.9 - yes there wasn't a 11.1.1.8 version - which you can do as an "in-place" upgrade and you'll get a new version of BI EE with a few extra bits and pieces too, such as a new chart type and you can save measures, etc.

2) Upgrade to the latest 12c release.  If you're using BI Applications 7.9.6.4 or 11.1.1.9.1 onwards then this is supported for you too.  12c comes with a more "modern" look and feel - certainly if you've seen the cloud offerings it'll be familiar - but it's much more than a pretty face, there's a lot of back end changes that make environmental management easier.

Why wouldn't you go straight for 12c then?  Well, make sure you pay careful attention to the certification matrix to ensure that your infrastructure is upto date enough to support it and also read the full upgrade document so you know what you need to do before you embark.  You need to migrate BI Publisher too if you use it.

If you do have any specific questions then drop me a comment.

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in Installation and Patches 1464 2
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Oracle Application Express (APEX) is increasingly being used to produce custom developments within Oracle E-Business Suite. I've posted previously about how to configure your custom applications to use E-Business Suite context for purposes such as foundation API's, MOAC security, profile values and such (using fnd_global.apps_initialize), however I've generally put in a note of warning that such techniques may not work with Human Resources Security. So here I will explain why that is, what you might be able to do to get around that. This assumes the Embedded PL/SQL Gateway (EPG) is being used.

First, let's recap how HR Security is implemented with E-Business Suite, taking People table as an example.
We have the base table per_all_people_f which is not secured (by VPD or otherwise). Built upon this are a set of secure views such as per_people_f which are queries from the base table however with a call to the API hr_security as follows.

per_people_f snippet

The key call in this code is to hr_security.show_person(...) which evaluates the users access to that person record based upon the security profile the user is currently using (the actual method for this depends on whether Cross Business Group security is in use).

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in Technical 3593 2
0