Replacing Oracle Discoverer and Leveraging Automation

Still stuck on Discoverer? We’ve created a guide based on the standard replacement platforms and migration paths that our clients have used to successfully retire Oracle Discoverer.

“Extended Support” Ended After June 30, 2017 

The general consensus is that Disco music died on July 12, 1979 after the infamous  “Disco Demolition” event hosted by Chicago radio disk jockey Steve Dahl.

Though Disco records continued to be released during the early 1980’s, mainstream musical taste had already undergone a “lift and shift” to other genres.

If you use the Oracle Developer Tools suite, Oracle E-Business Suite, or Banner ERP, you’re probably familiar with Discoverer, Oracle’s 20-year-old, ad-hoc querying and analysis reporting tool. Prior to announcing the official end of life for Discoverer on June 30, 2017, Oracle has been transparent about its strategic direction for business intelligence, which focuses on two platforms; Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) and Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS).

Numerous reporting tools have been introduced and matured since Discoverer reached its apex. As self-service reporting becomes industry standard, it’s imperative to select a the right replacement for Oracle Discoverer that addresses business needs, is cost-effective, eliminates “shadow BI” projects, and provides an optimal migration path that maximizes the investments made in Discoverer.


Discoverer Replacement & Migration Options 

  1. Do nothing
  2. OBIEE / BI Foundation Suite
  3. Tableau
  4. Power BI
  5. Microsoft SSRS
  6. Cognos
  7. ennSight
  8. Free Migration Assessment

1.

Do nothing

Discoverer is not broken and it still delivers the same basic reporting features that many know and love. So, why fix something that still works?

  • An upgrade is still available to the terminal release 11gR1.
  • Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) customers can still utilize the pre-packaged integration with Oracle EBS and EBS Federal Financials.
  • If you have thousands of reports, the amount of time it would take to migrate is reason alone to stay put. Though, chances are that many of those reports are either duplicate, triplicate, or outdated, so scrubbing down to only the essential reports is an exercise that will help reduce report count and development time.

Considerations for staying on Discoverer

Oracle’s Sustaining Support policy excludes the following:

  • New updates, fixes, security alerts, data-fixes, and critical patch updates
  • New tax, legal, and regulatory updates
  • New upgrade scripts
  • Certification with new third-party products/versions
  • Certification with other Oracle products

While day-to-day reporting and licensing will remain the same, the cost of a few iterations can exceed that of a replacement or migration project.

There’s also the potential of failed integration with later versions of E-Business Suite, and any new desktop, browser, or Windows OS updates.

Additionally, migration is necessary to remain compatible with the latest Oracle E-Business Suite R12.2.x releases, Oracle Database 12c, and to use any of Oracle’s Fusion Cloud Applications.

Inevitably, both business and users will need a more accessible solution that provides stronger data visualizations and interactivity. Continued usage increases the cost of reports development, and the complexity of transforming that data into actionable insights to support strategic decision making.


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2.

Oracle BI Foundation Suite / OBIEE

Oracle Business Intelligence (Enterprise Edition), OBIEE, is part of Oracle’s strategic road map for business intelligence.

Features

  • OBIEE is geared more towards a management and executive-level audience
  • IT help is required to build dashboards and reports
  • OBIEE is often selected because clients already own the license and can spin it up faster than implementing and migrating to another application.
  • It can be interfaced directly with Oracle EBS, Fusion, and Forms, which makes it an ideal choice for Oracle customers running Discoverer.
  • Organizations that require management-focused analytics and dashboards tended to choose OBIEE, while those looking for day-to-day operational reporting gravitated towards other (non-Oracle) applications.

While OBIEE delivers what it promises, An army of reporting tools for executives and end users alike, it’s important to consider the time, cost, and effort required before, during, and after implementation and Discoverer migration.

Migration from Discoverer to OBIEE

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Our Recommendations
  • Complex migration from Discoverer to OBIEE
    • There are no tools available to automatically migrate Discoverer workbooks, so all queries need to be re-created from scratch.
  • The End User Layer (EUL) can be migrated automatically using Oracle’s Discoverer Metadata Conversion Assistant.
    • Converted elements: business areas, simple, complex, and custom folders, columns, joins, conditions, and hierarchies.
  • Many Discoverer elements cannot be migrated as there is no equivalent in OBIEE.
    • Non-migrated elements: item classes, summary folders, optional conditions, complex folders (either dimensions or based on complex folders), and hierarchies based on complex folders. Click to read the full list.
  • Licensing: each “pack” is licensed separately
    • BI Server, BI Answers, BI Interactive Dashboards, BI Delivers, BI Publisher, Oracle Real-Time Decision Server, Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management, and/or Oracle Data Visualization.
    • The cost to license OBI or Essbase may not provide due diligence if you require a composite of features not limited to a single application. See Oracle Technology Global Price List
  • Training: There is a considerable learning curve in OBIEE, which requires learning multiple tools and aspects of business intelligence in order to make it work well together.
  • Maintenance and Support: After migrating off Discoverer, a substantial amount of RPD modeling work and dashboard preparation is required for end users to start utilizing OBIEE. Additionally, maintenance and support will require hiring additional resources.

tableau-logo

 3.

Tableau

Tableau’s powerful packaged BI offering allows users to drag and drop to analyze data, connect to data in a few clicks, and visualize and create interactive dashboards with a few more.

Features

  • Easy to use for non-technical users and does not require programming knowledge or extensive training to learn.
  • Can be connected to many different data sources to import and use data.
  • Subscription-based licensing can help organizations optimize costs
  • Ability to deploy Tableau in the Cloud or on a local server
  • Ideal for data visualization

Migrating from Discoverer to Tableau

Our Recommendations
  • In our experience, the primary reasons for selecting Tableau have ranged from the amount of available features, data visualizations, scalability via ease-of-upgrade, and affordable licensing.
  • We have used our automated “ennSight” tool to extract and migrate Discoverer reports to Tableau.
  • The migration process is almost identical to that of Power BI (see 4. Migrating from Discoverer to Power BI)

A comparison of a Sales Orders report before and after migrating from Discoverer to Tableau:

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power-bi_logo

4.

Microsoft Power BI

Over the course of the last few years, Microsoft has continued to beef up its Power BI analytics tool. Power BI has ascended from a middle-of-the-road solution to the leading business intelligence and analytics platform of 2017.

Features

  • Features include “out of box” data modeling and self-service analytics.
  • Ideal for predictive modeling and reporting
  • Seamless transition for those familiar with Microsoft products (Azure, Office 365, Excel, etc.): Power BI uses existing Microsoft systems (Excel, SQL, Azure) for building data visualizations.
  • Cost-effective licensing for Power BI Professional, and a free version is bundled into Office365.
  • Self-service (web, tablet, mobile access) and easy to use ,
  • Ideal for non-technical users, rather than data analysts.
  • Performance can become slow when handling bulk data (as a workaround, use direct connections rather than the import functionality).
  • Security options are somewhat limited compared to other platforms.

Migrating from Discoverer to Power BI

In our experience, Discoverer to Power BI is the most straightforward migration, and can be done without having to rebuild your existing Discoverer reports. Using our automated “ennSight” tool, we recently helped a subsidiary of a global semiconductor manufacturer migrate to Power BI without any loss of data or rebuild.

Download the Discoverer to Power BI migration white paper here.

Our Recommendations
  • The migration path is the least intensive in terms of cost, time, and resources. In many cases, we have helped clients migrate from Discoverer to Power BI in conjunction to an internal Windows OS, desktop, or hardware upgrade, or Office365 migration project. These initiatives can be executed simultaneously without exceeding budget or requiring a significant commitment from client resources (should the client decide to hire a third party consulting company to lead the migration).
  • Power BI has a very low learning curve, which makes it easier for non-technical users to transition from Discoverer.
  • Once the SQL is extracted from Discoverer, it can be manually migrated into Power BI. Power BI does not allow users to automatically import bulk, raw SQL.
  • We recommend migrating the Discoverer reports “as-is” into Power BI, so they match the same output in Discoverer. This will help reduce errors during testing and migration, and allow the business users to enhance the reports in Power BI however they see fit.
  • Power BI Professional version is required to import the SQL of your Discoverer reports. This cannot be done in the free version. Power BI Pro enables users to share data, security details, roles, and access information.

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Download the Discoverer to Power BI migration white paper here.


sql server reporting services ssrs logo svg@3x

5.

Microsoft SSRS

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) is a server-based reporting solution that customers deploy on their own premises for creating, publishing, and managing reports, then delivering them to users via web browser, mobile device, or as an email. SSRS offers mobile and paginated reports, as well as a modern web portal to access all reports in one location.

Key Features

  • Provides a Report Builder tool for end users to design and format simple reports
  • Interfaces directly into Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Role-based security: strong on-premise security control
  • Requires purchasing SQL Server licenses
  • Supports ad hoc reports
  • Installation, configuration, and management can be cumbersome
  • Lacking in report visualization capabilities compared to other platforms (i.e. Power BI)

Migrating from Discoverer to SSRS

The migration process is relatively straightforward. ennVee recently helped a private university migrate from Discoverer to SSRS. Using our automated “ennSight” tool, we successfully extracted the SQL of hundreds of reports from Discoverer and migrated it “as-is” to SSRS.

Download the Discoverer to SSRS migration case study here.

Our Recommendations
  • Migrate the reports to SSRS without any additional enhancements to the front-end UI to significantly reduce the duration of the migration process.
  • Test, test, and test the migrated reports before deploying to Production. During this part of the process, feedback from the business users is critical to ensure that the reports function and perform as expected. In our experience, this is also the optimal time to enhance front-end of the reports in SSRS.
  • If you own a license for Power BI, you can use it to augment the analytics and visual effects of the converted SSRS reports.

Download the Discoverer to SSRS migration case study here.


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6.

Cognos

IBM’s BI and performance management software suite, Cognos, allows business users to easily extract and analyze data and build reports.

  • Can be used with relational and multidimensional data sources from vendors like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft.
  • High cost to license, maintain, and support as opposed to Microsoft BI.
  • Not effective for real-time reporting
  • Requires assistance from IT to build reports and dashboards

Migrating from Discoverer to Cognos

Cognos does not provide an automated migration or conversion tool for Discoverer reports. Traditionally, the Discoverer reports must be re-created from scratch in Cognos, which can be cost, time, and resource-intensive if you have many reports that need to be migrated.

ennVee recently helped a university migrate from Discoverer to Cognos. Using our automated “ennSight” tool, we reduced the time it took to extract the reports from Discoverer by 50%. You can read the Discoverer to Cognos migration case study here.

Our Recommendations
  • Often overlooked is the amount of training required to start using a new platform. In our experience, clients that were already using Cognos internally or within a different business unit were able to transition from Discoverer faster than those that were not. This point may seem like common sense, but the business users need to be comfortable and competent in using the platform, and IT needs to be know how to support it.
  • Converting parameterized and cross-tab reports is complicated. As a workaround, the parameterized reports can be built through “Prompt Value” to get the parameter value for all the reports.
  • You do not have to migrate every report into Cognos. If you’ve extracted the report metadata from Discoverer, you can import it and build reports in Cognos whenever required.
  • Test, test, and test the migrated reports before deploying to Production. During this part of the process, feedback from the business users is critical to ensure that the reports function and perform as expected.

Download the Discoverer to Cognos migration case study here.


7.

ennSight: Automated Migration to Power BI, Tableau, SSRS, Cognos, Qlikview, and more.

Understanding the highly-manual, cost, time, and resource-intensive nature of Discoverer migrations, ennVee developed a proprietary tool that we apply to automate the migration process. Using our “ennSight” accelerator, we automatically identify and extract the SQL of all reports from Discoverer before migrating them to your platform of choice. Through automation, the extraction time is reduced by 50% and the entire migration is completed in 2-10 weeks (based on the number and complexity of the reports to be migrated).

Automated Migration Process

discoverer migration automation process wordpress

Features & Benefits

Extract & Migrate all Discoverer objects to your platform of choice in 2-10 weeks
  • Target Platforms: Power BI, Power Query, SSRS, Tableau, Qlikview, Oracle APEX, OBIEE*, MicroStrategy*, Pentaho, and Open Source platforms.
    • *Additional rebuild is required for OBIEE and MicroStrategy, as some elements can not be migrated from Discoverer.
  • Extracted & Migrated Objects: Reports, Infrastructure, Folders, Calculations, Filters, Workbooks, Sheets, Conditions, Joins, Classes, Hierarchies, Business Rules, Security, and Roles.
  • Reduce migration cost and time by 70% (2-10 weeks, fixed-bid).
  • Reduce total report count by consolidating duplicates and retiring obsolete reports.
  • Includes zero-dollar assessment: conversion timeline, fixed-bid pricing, roadmap, and prioritized migration plan.

Download the data sheet here.


Click here to sign up for a Free Discoverver Migration Assessment


Resources

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