OAC Series: Finally released!

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And today it’s finally happened! Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC), which includes Essbase Cloud (EssCS), Business Intelligence Cloud (BICS), and Data Visualization Cloud (DVCS) has finally been released! What is OAC? This is a bundled product suite, with different software options based on customer need. BICS and DVCS have been out for some time already, but EssCS is new.

My EPM and BI friends…EssCS has been a loooooooong time coming. I remember flying out over a year ago to provide feedback on initial impressions of EssCS. Back then we thought the product would be released in spring 2016. Then they made enhancements and we thought it would be released in summer…then fall…now it’s finally here!

Why are we all so excited? For the long-time EPM’ers, EssCS represents the next iteration of Essbase. Now this iteration is not your mama’s version and it’s not your grandma’s version…but something slightly new and different. It’s still Essbase under the covers (and 12c at that), but the interface is now web-driven and the concept of building cubes is more transient. What do I mean? Keep reading below!

A group of us put together a blog hop to commemorate this important day. If you follow the blog hop (links down at the bottom), you’ll hear a variety of perspectives on OAC (including personal experiences to date), get information about product positioning and pricing, as well as see some sneak previews of features that come with OAC.

My post in this hop will focus on the process of building cubes in EssCS through an Excel workbook and the web interface. I’ll show you the super quick steps of building the Sample Basic BSO cube from the provided spreadsheet template. If you haven’t heard the buzz yet, EssCS is not your traditional Essbase tool. It doesn’t come with EAS – most of the administration features are now pushed to the web interface. And the way you build cubes is faster and more dynamic. You create cubes using spreadsheets. Need a quick Essbase cube? Build out your cube using one of the standard templates. It builds in seconds. Need to take it offline for a while? Export it and put it back online later when you need it again. And yes, these imports and exports can include data. The concept behind EssCS is more about on-demand Essbase cubes that any user can build. There is no longer this multi-step process of creating the app, then creating the cube, then creating and loading dimensions through load rules, then creating and loading data through load rules. This is all now handled through a single Excel workbook.

Let’s take a look at this feature. I’m going to make it very easy and use the handy dandy Sample Basic sample, which is an Excel template that comes out of the box to get you acquainted with this new cube building process.

But first, a few upfront explanations about this set-up:

*#SafeHarbor. The following information is based on what I currently know. It’s quite possible that some of this will change (and quickly) since EssCS just went GA.

Cube Designer at a Glance

  • You must have the new Cube Designer add-in installed to Excel to really harness the power of designing cubes. Yes, the Cube Designer add-in comes out of the box with OAC.

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  • You must have Smart View release at a minimum (Smart View is backwards compatible)

Sample Basic at a Glance

  • Type: BSO (although there are options for building ASO and Hybrid cubes, too)
  • Dimensionality: 5 standard dimensions and 5 attribute dimensions
  • Alias tables: 2
  • Dynamic Time Series: turned on
  • Calc scripts: one – CalcAll, which is also defined directly in the spreadsheet template
  • Dimension build type: Parent-Child (although it looks like free form with generational builds and/or mixed parent-child and generational builds are allowed, too)
  • Data load: yes, and in conjunction with the application/cube build – separate spreadsheet

Some screenshots of the (current) Sample Basic Excel template to give you a feel of how these spreadsheets are set up:

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Now let’s take this for a whirl!

*Note: parts of the above video were edited – the duration of some of these processes do not reflect real-time. It’s estimated that the process to read and upload the Excel spreadsheet with minimal data and members takes less than 20 seconds and the process to create, load, and aggregate both the application and cube takes less than 60 seconds.

When I pull this up in Smart View, I see data! And it’s aggregated! Time from zero to ad hoc analysis on a fully built (simple) EssCS cube with fully aggregated data: less than 5 minutes.

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Cool, huh?

Head over to Brian’s blog post on OAC to find out what happens after cube creation.

If you want to learn more about OAC, check out the blog hop participant posts below! What is a blog hop? A blog hop is a group of bloggers who all get together to blog on a particular topic. We promote each others blog posts in an attempt to share a lot of great information in one place. Enjoy!

Bonus: Check out Sarah’s second OAC post of the day on EssCS Command Line Scripts!

And a tip from Tim: the official OAC online documentation.

And a new OAC Play It Forward video from Glenn.

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