Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hyperion Essbase Book


One good news for people who wants to learn Hyperion Essbase on their own.
There are not many books available on Essbase and I know only one book which is available 'Look smarter than you are with Hyperion Essbase' by Edward Roske.

Sarma and Joseph have written a 444 page book on Hyperion Essbase 9 with the title

'Oracle Essbase 9 Implementation Guide'.

The book covers Installation, Essbase cube designing and creation, loading data, Excel add-in, MDX, Max-L, calculation scripts, reports etc and explained them with real time examples in sufficient step by step details with the help of pictures, Notes and Hints.

The book is for students who are new to Essbase and Multidimensional OLAP concepts as well as professionals who are already working on the Essbase technology wants to refresh their knowledge.

For those who feel that Essbase is only for financial applications, this book will completely change their belief as at one place the author mentioned as
"Oracle Essbase is widely known as a financial analytical tool. We want to change the mindset just a bit, right here and now. Oracle Essbase absolutely is a superior financial OLAP tool, but it is an equally superior OLAP tool for just about any type of data analysis."
As the Authors have rich real time implementation experience in a Motor company, most of the examples are from that domain only. I am sure the readers would greatly benefit from these real time examples.

I am happy to see that Venkat has reviewed this book and feel proud to have worked with him in Oracle.

Though this is a great attempt to bring out such a nice book there are few points which I think should have been added in this book to make it more useful and practical.

1. As Essbase is not like other BI tools where you can visualise the schema and how dimensions are joined or related to facts, it becomes difficult in Essbase to visualise that. For that reason, it would have been helpful if a small cube have been designed with some small dimensions and facts and a relation is shown with a OLAP schema diagram. I am saying this because I myself was not able to understand how the data which is getting loaded into the Essbase cube is related to each other and it took me so much time to understand that. Please excuse me if I am the only one having this problem.

2. I do not think Essbase is complete without EIS(Essbase Integration Services) in version 9.3.1 or Essbase studio in Version 11.
Even though you can do almost all of the Essbase stuff without them but it would have been much better even if a small portion has been described about either of them in the book. As going forward Essbase studio is going to replace EIS, a small chapter on Essbase studio is desirable.

You can download one complete chapter Essbase Data and Design Considerations. By downloading this chapter in pdf format you can also see the list of chapters and table of contents.

All in all, a great attempt and thanks to people involved in bringing out a much needed book on Essbase.

Manohar Rana

Friday, July 24, 2009

Qlikview Personal Edition


Qlikview is the emerging name in the Business Intelligence world and becoming very popular among the user community due to its easy to use interface, fast deployment and very strong visualisation.

Qliktech released its version 9 recently with a new Edition called Qlikview 9Personal Edition having all the developer features.

Earlier Qlikview use to provide only 15 days of evaluation period for people who want to give it a try which is really a very small duration to try or evaluate a Business Intelligence Tool.
This limits the user to use it beyond that period.

Now with version 9, Qliktech allows to download the personal edition from their website for free and use the product for personal use for an unlimited period of time and does not require any key.

So, that in real sense a very good news for the student community as well as for startup businesses or small growing businesses to use Qlikview for their personal use.

As small business generally has lot of data in flat files or excel files, Qlikview becomes a very handy Business Intelligence Software as Qlikview is very easy and effective when you have lot of excel files or combination of flat files, desktop database and relational databases.

Now you can develop or get developed Business Intelligence applications and do your analysis to know more about your business. You can export the reports/charts to excel,pdf,gif or png images and email it to your business partners or other members of your Business.
You can also copy/send the complete Qlikview document to another machine where Qlikview free personal edition is installed.

And in future as your business grow and you have the right budget, you can get your personal edition converted to a licenced version without affecting your Qlikview Business Intelligence Application that you had created.

But there are some limitations of Qliview personal edition. As your Qlikview is not a licensed one, you cannot ask for any support from Qliktech which I think is not a big issue. You can manage your application without any support which generally is required for big deployments.

Another limitation is that you cannot use an application developed in Licensed version in your personal edition however an application developed in personal edition can be used with a licenced version.
The application developed in a licenced version when opened in personal edition does not load the data hence a reload of the Qlikview application with the fresh data is required which effectively means that the person having the personal edition should have all the data(flat files or excel files) or access to relational databases to reload the application.

Another limitation is that you cannot publish your dashboards over the web to share it with other users as the personal edition does not provide the web component which allows the users to access the application over the web using Internet browsers.
However, you can use utilities like desktop sharing, remote login or web conferences to allow someone to use that application but in that case you will have to expose your complete application. The person accessing the application through remote login can delete the application or make any modifications.

These limitations may not be relevant to most of the Students or Business Owners to use Qlikview personal edition for learning Qlikview or Using for your analysis.

Replacing scattered excel files with one single source of information will be a great benefit in terms of managebility, reusability and productivity which will save lot of your time and efforts.
Top class visualisation in reports and dashboards and ease of perfoming analytic operations like drill down, Top N analysis, Pivoting,identifying problems etc will be an added advantage.

From Qliktech's perspective, they have made a very strategic move and will give them benefits in the coming years and will also help them in growing their prospects base and users base. This will definately make Qliktech's reputation much better in the market and help in developing Brand.

Qliktech's major install base or user base is small business or large business with small deployments and this move will make its presence more stronger in this area. Also, the buyers risk on investment will be greatly reduced.

Not many companies provide free unlimited period evaluation versions of their Busniess Intelligence softwares. I know only one name i.e Oracle. Even SAP Business Objects and IBM Cognos does not provide more than 30 days evaluation.

I am hopeful that Qliktech very soon will appear in Gartner's Business Intelligence Magic Quadrant and will give a direct competition to the bigger vendors.

Manohar Rana