6 Replies Latest reply on Oct 14, 2019 4:11 PM by ToolTimeTabor

    Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX

    ToolTimeTabor

      Greetings,

       

      I have recently been working on a NOETIX BI upgrade that was very problematic.  Since then, I have moved jobs and been asked to help with establishing a BI system more or less from scratch.  In early discussions, they have told me "we already have OBIEE" and want to know if this was a viable "alternative" to something like NOETIX.  Nobody really seems to be able to get their mind around starting a BI system from scratch.  So, here are a couple of questions, from a newbie.  So, if my terminology is flawed, please help set me straight.

       

      Q1.  Is OBIEE about the "tools" that help you build reports, cubes, dashboards, etc. or does it also drive the underlying data warehouse?  NOETIX appears to me to be a "data model" more than a set of BI tools.  Magnitude has preselected a set of tables from each functional group (e.g. HR - Human Resources) and has an out-of-the-box ETL that brings down those Oracle tables into their ODS database and then moves a further subset of that ODS data into the DM database, where the reports, cubes, etc. draw their data.  Does OBIEE have a similar out-of-the-box "data model" that pulls the Oracle data into an ODS or are we going to have to develop our own ETL structure to populate a data model of our own making?

       

      Q2.  Does OBIEE have an ETL toolset?  Since NOETIX is my only prior experience, let me compare it in this way.  Does OBIEE have tools that supplant the Informatica ETL engine used by NOETIX?  I am thinking Oracle Warehouse Builder is the starting point.  I am assuming this is the tool set that allows you to define your sources, targets and transformations.

       

      Let's start with those.  Thanks.

       

      Rob

        • 1. Re: Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX
          Gianni Ceresa

          Hi,

          The 2 solutions are at different levels.

           

          OBIEE is the analytical platform itself: it comes out of the box empty. No database, no model, no analysis or dashboard. You can link various sources to it, model those sources into logical models and use the result to create your analysis and build your dashboard. It's really just the tool (the brain doing the job).

           

          Noetix is more like a packaged solution including a bunch of components, including a database model they load and things pre-built on top of that.

          A similar solution in Oracle would be Oracle BI Apps: https://www.oracle.com/middleware/technologies/bi-applications/

          BI apps is a package with few products inside, ODI for the ETL and OBIEE as the analytical platform. It comes with a datawarehouse model and the prepackaged ETL and a bunch of OBIEE models and tons of analysis and dashboard pre-built. It has connectors out of the box to use some ERP and similar products as sources.

          The older version of BI Apps was using Informatica as ETL, the newer version moved to the Oracle own ETL: ODI.

           

          OBIEE itself doesn't have an ETL inside. The newer version, called OAS, which will come in some months (announced back in June and again at the last OOW) will have a lightweight ETL (if we can it like that) to create datasets from existing sources. It's really not an ETL as you know it, it's more something end users can use to transform or merge data easily (like one would do with VLOOKUPS and other things in Excel for example) without having to ask for a full ETL process to be developed. It's part of the self-service approach, making end user able to do all they need.

           

          OBIEE doesn't come with an ETL mainly because it doesn't need it. OBIEE can use any kind of source, it doesn't require a nicely built data warehouse or data mart. It can also take your existing sources and build models on top of it (obviously if you have a data warehouse it's easier to model things). This capability is what make OBIEE powerful: it can merge various sources, even mixing an Oracle databse, a SQL server database and some XML files all together exposing to the front-end a unified logical model to be used for analysis.

           

          ToolTimeTabor wrote:

           

          Since then, I have moved jobs and been asked to help with establishing a BI system more or less from scratch. In early discussions, they have told me "we already have OBIEE" and want to know if this was a viable "alternative" to something like NOETIX.

          Based on what I wrote above, you easily see that the answer to this question is that the 2 tools aren't really comparable: you can have just OBIEE and don't need anything else. The question is more what are your sources, how "friendly" they are already or what kind of ETL jobs they would require. If a lot of ETL is required you can decide between a DIY solution where you take an ETL tool, you design the data warehouse and start loading it. Or if you prefer to take a tool like Noetix or BI Apps which comes with a pre-built ETL and model. The pre-built solutions have generally a down side: you have to stick with what has been done by those developing the tools. You can customize them but it's a lot more work and it could make upgrade challenging in the future.

          While OBIEE itself doesn't really affect anything else as it's loosely coupled: just connections to existing databases.

          • 2. Re: Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX
            ToolTimeTabor

            GC,

             

            This was very helpful.

             

            Next round of questions, if time permits.  This time, I want to focus a little on how to start-from-scratch.  As a first step, I want to eliminate NOETIX as my ETL engine and data model for this discussion.  So, as I see it, from your comments there are two basic approaches.  First, we could use Oracle BI Apps (or potentially some other vendor's product) as the basis of an out-of-the-box data model and OBIEE as the tool to develop our analytical products (e.g. reports, cubes, etc.).  Second, we could build-our-own data model, then use OBIEE against this data.

             

            Q1.  Do I understand it correctly that, BI Apps can provide the ETL engine for a custom build-our-own data model?  In this case, BI Apps would be used for ETL purposes and OBIEE for developing the reports, dashboards, etc.

             

            Q2:  Are the Oracle BI Apps licensed as a complete package or package-by-package?  The link to BI Apps shows HR, Order Management, Supply Chain, etc. analytics links, but those links do not work.  So, I am assuming each represents a set of ETL definitions that are used to create a corresponding data model in the warehouse and corresponding reports, dashboards, etc. as its user interface.  For example, if we license HR, we would use the Oracle BI Apps administration tools to "install" the HR ETL definitions and to start assembling that data.  In contrast, if we don't need Supply Chain, we don't have to a) pay for it, and b) load its data, but c) we don't get any pre-built reports or dashboards.

             

            Q3.  Assuming we have one or more Oracle BI Apps licensed, installed and populated, do we need OBIEE?  Obviously, if we want "extend" the out-of-the-box reporting, we will need some type of tools like OBIEE.  However, for understanding purposes, if we installed one of the BI Apps (e.g. HR), then its out-of-the-box reports and dashboards would they be usable without any additional development in OBIEE?

             

            Rob

            • 3. Re: Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX
              Christian Berg

              ToolTimeTabor wrote:

               

              Q1. Do I understand it correctly that, BI Apps can provide the ETL engine for a custom build-our-own data model? In this case, BI Apps would be used for ETL purposes and OBIEE for developing the reports, dashboards, etc.

              Yes. OBIA (except for old versions) comes with Oracle Data Integrator as ELT engine.

               

              OBIEE is much more than just "reports and dashbaords". The core, key and brain of the whole thing is the RPD. While you can simply read any DB model you have and pass through data the RPDs core strength is logical modeling on heterogeneous data sources.

               

              ToolTimeTabor wrote:

               

              Q2: Are the Oracle BI Apps licensed as a complete package or package-by-package? The link to BI Apps shows HR, Order Management, Supply Chain, etc. analytics links, but those links do not work. So, I am assuming each represents a set of ETL definitions that are used to create a corresponding data model in the warehouse and corresponding reports, dashboards, etc. as its user interface. For example, if we license HR, we would use the Oracle BI Apps administration tools to "install" the HR ETL definitions and to start assembling that data. In contrast, if we don't need Supply Chain, we don't have to a) pay for it, and b) load its data, but c) we don't get any pre-built reports or dashboards

              Yes you don't have to buy all modules as that would be kind of expensive and pointless. Likewise you don't need to drag all the extra content of modules oyu don't need around with you.

               

              ToolTimeTabor wrote:

               

              Q3. Assuming we have one or more Oracle BI Apps licensed, installed and populated, do we need OBIEE? Obviously, if we want "extend" the out-of-the-box reporting, we will need some type of tools like OBIEE. However, for understanding purposes, if we installed one of the BI Apps (e.g. HR), then its out-of-the-box reports and dashboards would they be usable without any additional development in OBIEE?

              Yes the content is usable without additional development. It's a turn-key solution.

               

              And yes you need OBIEE. Buying OBIA and then using another tool on top would be about as wasteful as it can get. You'd waste money / licenses. You'd waste know-how and resources as you need to manage multiple technology stacks. Etc. etc.

              • 4. Re: Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX
                ToolTimeTabor

                Thanks to both,

                 

                I could have marked either as a "correct" answer, but it only allows one.  Both sets of comments were very useful.

                 

                Rob

                • 5. Re: Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX
                  skull

                  Rob,

                   

                  We too are running Noetix and OBI 11.1.1.9 for Oracle EBS 12.1.3.

                   

                  What version are you on?

                   

                  Thanks.

                  • 6. Re: Newie needs help understanding differences between OBIEE vs NOETIX
                    ToolTimeTabor

                    I was working with a NOETIX 5.6 on-premise system.

                     

                    My new employers are asking for some input into their BI path forward.  My experience with NOETIX was problematic, at best.  It is an amazing tool, but it comes with significant costs.  It is complex, requires a well seasoned administrator, uses a lot of storage, is highly twitchy (perhaps no more so than any other product), etc.  As a result, I am looking at framing the options for my new employer.  While I am a newbie to BI, I have spent the last six months troubleshooting a NOETIX 5.4 to 5.6 upgrade.  It is based upon that experience that I am looking at alternatives.

                     

                    As I see it, the range of options spans from a home-built system through an industry standard like NOETIX.  Somewhere in between, but closer to NOETIX in capability, is the OBIEE (OBA) option.  As I understand it, OBA supports its own data model with an ETL scheme, pre-defined views and dashboards, etc.  I don't know if it would be considered "the standard" in the industry, but it is clearly closer to that benchmark than on home-built system.

                     

                    In the middle ground, I see a variety of Microsoft products and/or their associated vendors.  Power BI is the leading solution.  However, these appear to be to focus more on the reporting (views, dashboards, etc.) than on the data warehouse.  So, if you already have a data model (e.g. NOETIX or OBA) then Power BI might help you exploit the do-it-yourself analysis.  I don't see a data model here, but I could be wrong.

                     

                    Finally, the other extreme is a home-built system.  In this scenario, the data warehouse is constructed in consultation with the company user community.  You effectively bring into your warehouse only the data you need.  For example, the NOETIX GL, AP, and AR modules import nearly 100 tables.  In my limited experience, we only needed about 10 of those tables to get the analytics we needed.  So, we were incurring longer ETL times, more DW storage, more nightly load hiccups, etc.  In contrast, a home-built data warehouse would have brought in only those 10 tables and then built the pre-defined reports, dashboards, etc. off of this "micro" warehouse.

                     

                    I am aware of more "failures" using the big, vendor provided, out-of-the-box systems than focused home-built systems.  However, there is an institutional bias against home-built.  It somehow is not grand enough.  Almost like being a "reporting" project on steroids.  Moreover, if your customers won't buy-in to helping you get the "right" data, it can flop.  So, my goal is to research these various options and get as many opinions as possible.

                     

                    Ideally, what I would like to find is a vendor product that is more focused (i.e. smaller and less costly) than NOETIX, but provides a good set of analytic tools out-of-the-box.  So far, it seems like "enterprise" or nothing.

                     

                    Rob