A Private, Women’s Liberal Arts College Migrates from Oracle Discoverer to MS SSRS in 8 weeks.
Retiring legacy reporting tools
The client is an internationally-recognized, private, women’s liberal arts college located in Massachusetts. As an IT-savvy institute they use Oracle Discoverer for all MIS requirements. After Oracle stopped supporting Discoverer in mid-2017, they sought an optimal migration path to migrate their analytical reports to a more intuitive platform, ultimately selecting Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (MS SSRS) to replace Discoverer.
Having already installed and used MS SSRS for years, the client avoided the need for a separate implementation project and additional user training. In this case, the three primary constraints were time, cost, and resources needed to migrate. The client’s internal IT team did not have the availability to manually migrate from Discoverer to MS SSRS, and needed ennVee’s help to automate the migration process.
Customer Snap Shot
Private women’s liberal arts college
Location: Massachusetts, USA
Annual endowment: ~$2 billion USD
Due to the constraints for both cost and time, we aimed to automate as much of the migration process as possible by utilizing our proprietary ennSight tool, which automatically identifies, assesses, and extracts all reports from Discoverer, including security and business rules.
To start, we conducted a comprehensive assessment of the client’s Discoverer reporting environment. The assessment produced a detailed snap shot of all reports broken down by department, owner, duplicates, complexity of the SQL, and estimated effort to migrate. to help them determine which reports to migrate, sunset, and consolidate. Then, the client went back to its business users and had them scrub the list for any duplicates or obsolete reports. The final decision for what to migrate consisted of 500 essential reports covering four tracks, HRMS, FINANCE, FACULTY, and PAYRPT.
After, the ennVee team used ennSight to automatically extract all 500 identified reports from Discoverer, identifying all user roles and user assigned schema. Based on the extraction each report was divided into one of three categories, Simple, Medium, or Complex. This categorization allowed us to determine the complexity and effort required to convert and test the workbooks and reports. Post-extraction, we automatically migrated each report “as is”. This allowed us to significantly expedite the migration process, and gave the client the opportunity to review and decide whether any enhancements were required in the final MS SSRS output. Finally, each report was unit tested before being deployed to the client’s server.
All 500 Discoverer reports were successfully migrated to MS SSRS in eight weeks without any loss of data or disruptive rebuild. Automation helped the customer reduce the amount of complexity involved, as well as time, cost, and resources required to migrate. Rather than dedicate its internal staff to manually migrating the reports, the ennVee team handled and automated the process, affording the customer additional time to focus on strategic projects.
Additionally, Discoverer users are able to create substantially more intuitive reports via the self-service MS SSRS reporting platform. They can also move reports to Microsoft Power BI to augment the analytics or visual effects. Overall, automation has enabled the college to dedicate more time to strategic initiatives, while simultaneously migrating from Oracle Discoverer in just eight weeks.
Oracle Discoverer is de-supported as of July 1, 2017. You’ve likely started to evaluate self-service alternatives, but how complex is the actual migration?
“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 host ed by Chicago radio disk jockey Steve Dahl. Even though artists continued to release Disco records during the early 1980’s, the populace had already lifted and shifted to a different genre.
If you use Oracle E-Business Suite or Banner, you’re probably familiar with Oracle Discoverer, a 20-year ad-hoc querying and analysis reporting tool that has officially retired as of June 30th, 2017. Since 2009 Oracle has been transparent about its strategic direction for business intelligence, so the announcement of retirement does not come as a shock to those still using Discoverer.
Numerous BI and reporting platforms have been released since Discoverer reached its apex. As we lift and shift to a new standard of self-service reporting, it’s imperative to select a scalable, sustainable, and cost-effective replacement that solves existing business needs, eliminates the possibility of “shadow BI” projects, and is desired by both end users and IT.
Discoverer Replacement & Migration Options
OBIEE / BI Foundation Suite
1. Do nothing
If it’s not broken, why fix it? There still exists the option to upgrade to the latest release 11gR1, and utilize the pre-packaged integration with Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) and Oracle EBS Federal Financials.
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 Applications.
Inevitably, both business and users will need a more accessible solution that provides stronger data visualizations and interactivity. Continued usage increases the complexity of transforming that data into actionable insights to support strategic decision making.
2. BI Foundation Suite / OBIEE
Oracle Business Intelligence (Enterprise Edition), OBIEE, is part of Oracle’s strategic road map for business intelligence.
From what we’ve encountered helping customers migrate, OBIEE is often selected because they already own the licenses and can spin it up faster than implementing and migrating to another application. OBIEE is still “in” support, and can be interfaced directly with Oracle EBS, Fusion, and Forms, which makes it an ideal choice for Oracle customers running Discoverer. Customers who wanted 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
Migrating from Discoverer to OBIEE is complex. For starters, there are no tools available to automatically migrate workbooks, which means all queries must be re-created from scratch.
Many elements cannot be migrated simply because there is no equivalent in OBIEE. These include: 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.
Other Considerations for OBIEE and BI Foundation Suite
Licensing OBIEE requires separate licensing costs for each “pack”; 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.
Based on the Oracle Technology Global Price List, 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.
Training, Maintenance, and Support 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. 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’s powerful packaged BI offering, Tableau Desktop, 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.
Over the course of our past Discoverer to Tableau migration projects, the primary factors for selecting Tableau has ranged from the amount of available features, data visualizations, scalability via ease-of-upgrade, and affordable licensing.
ennVee’s Discoverer migration accelerator automatically transfers all reports and objects to Tableau. Provided below is an example to highlight the comparison of between a Sales Orders report before and after migration.
What makes Power BI an attractive replacement for Discoverer is the “out of box” data modeling and self-service analytics capabilities. We have helped many customers migrate to Power BI by way of our accelerator, which automatically extracts complete Discoverer reports and imports them into Power BI without requiring a rebuild.
Power BI and Power BI Desktop are available to use for free, while Discoverer power users may opt for the Pro version ($9.99/user/month). The Pro version is required in order to migrate from Discoverer, as it is the only version that enables users to share data, security details, roles, and access information.
Aside from cost-effective licensing, Discoverer migration to Power BI has become a feasible route for the growing number of companies that are switching over to Office365. If you’re in the process of moving to Office365, Discoverer to Power BI migration would be a synergistic side-effect.
5. Automated Migration to Tableau, OBIEE, Qlikview, Power BI, etc. in 2-8 Weeks
Our accelerator completes the Discoverer migration in 2-10 weeks. We provide a live interactive demonstration, PoC, and assessment free of cost. The cost of the actual migration is fixed based on the number and complexity of reports.
The increasing pace of change in technology is reshaping business as we know it, and customers must gravitate to Service Delivery Automation and Technology Innovation, which acts as a catalyst and an enabler to ramp up business value.
Today’s intensely competitive business arena requires companies to be agile in the marketplace, and the strategic importance of business systems cannot be undervalued. The increasing pace of change in technology is reshaping business operations, and customers must gravitate to Service Delivery Automation and Technology Innovation, which acts as a catalyst and an enabler to ramp up business value. Progressively, Service Delivery Automation (SDA) is using innovative technology to replace a series of human actions. Essentially, SDA helps improve business usage effectiveness through sustained support which is accurate, repetitive and quick.
What can be done to accomplish these objectives?
At ennVee, we have significant experience in providing service delivery to our clients using large and complex ERP systems such as Oracle E-Business Suite and SAP. Over the years, we have fine-tuned our service delivery mechanism embracing the latest technological innovations to an extent where we have built a series of tools and accelerators for automating service delivery. The primary drivers for these automation tools are accuracy of delivery, repeatable perfection and quick turn-around time to resolve.
Listed below are some of our key tools and accelerators which differentiate our Service Delivery offering and add value to customers.
1. Custom Migration Tools
ERP Service Delivery involves code changes and assessing the impact of the same on the overall system. Hence, the custom code is migrated from one ERP instance to the other for unit testing, integration testing, user testing, deployment, etc. Our migration tool allows for seamless migration of code leading to high level of repetitiveness avoiding human errors and ensuring quicker availability of migrated code for testing and deployment. Thus, reducing the overall time to use the system with rectified custom code.
2. Upgrade Automation for EBS R12.2.x
As a part of service delivery, we come across scenarios where the product encounters a defect or a bug. In such cases, we reach out to the product principles such as Oracle to provide the resolution. Oracle may release a patch which may lead to upgrading a functionality or module to the next point version. In such cases, the impact of such upgrade need to assessed on the associated custom objects. The objects may need a remediation before they work with the new standard functionality.
Our upgrade automation tool provides for seamless assessment, remediation and testing of the code. Additionally, if the client Oracle EBS version is older than the current one, we can provide a free assessment service to determine the extent of upgrade complexity and potential effort involved in remediating the required custom objects.
Successful service delivery leads to effective utilization of the business systems by the users and this can only be achieved by having a robust knowledge repository. Such a repository not only leads to reduced resolution time for similar incidents, it also provides a high level of reusability for custom code changes. Invariably, it provides for a service delivery which meets the desired service levels agreed with the client. At ennVee, our long years of service delivery experience have helped us build a solid repository of incident resolutions and re-usable components helping clients get an accurate, repetitive and quick service delivery turnaround.
4. Service Delivery Dashboard
Feedback is essential in improving service delivery. Our Service Delivery Dashboard ensures just that! Using simple, intuitive and open source analytic tools, we have built a framework for capturing transactional service delivery data and converting this data into a visually appealing and easy to assimilate dashboard.
The information covers strategic information for effective decision and operational information for efficient execution. Some of the key service delivery aspects such as incident trends, incidents by functional areas, SLA compliance, violation and penalties, RCA, SIP, service delivery performance, etc. are graphically depicted in the dashboard.
Service Delivery Automation ensures quicker resolution of incidents more accurately. In turn, this leads to user satisfaction and improves the effectiveness and efficiency of the business systems. Ultimately, a robust business system provides accurate information in near real-time allowing organizations to be more competitive in the marketplace.
ennVee offers Service Delivery Automation capabilities that compliment competitive growth objectives and achieve higher benefits realization. We continue to work with customers to streamline and optimize business processes, while reducing manual intervention for customers across industry verticals like manufacturing, logistics and transportation providers, financial services and banking institutions. Our partnership has helped to improve accuracy, efficiency, and delivery schedule for support and enhancement projects.
About ennVee TechnoGroup, Inc.
ennVee is backed by over 15 years of delivering optimal enterprise resource planning and custom developed solutions. Our seasoned team is comprised of more than 180 technology experts committed to delivering quality solutions to customers across a deep range of industries. ennVee is headquartered in Chicago, IL and has four global development centersin Bangalore, Chennai, Mangalore and Pune in India.
Interested in discussing manual pain points? Feel free to leave a comment or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Oracle Discoverer will no longer receive support after June 2017. ennVee has developed a cost-effective tool that helps businesses migrate all Discoverer data into Microsoft Power BI.
What’s your exit strategy?
After June 2017, the inevitable will occur- Oracle will no longer support its business intelligence tool, Discoverer. Organizations will no longer receive Discoverer support and are at risk of not being able to integrate with your other applications as they continue to receive new patches and updates.
The thought of even having a backup plan is overwhelming but again, inevitable. The demand to migrate to another BI tool is overwhelming and one that is not accounted for in your budget. Companies are shying away from Discoverer’s savvy and more expensive cousin, OBIEE. The cost is significantly higher than Discoverer, but all reports and data could be migrated without much issue. What if there was a way to reduce the cost complexity entirely?
Consider this…Migrating to Microsoft Power BI
ennVee TechnoGroup has developed a custom tool that automatically migrates all Discoverer workbooks and sheets into Power BI. The tool enables Discoverer users to maintain all filters and data with the increased ability to generate meaningful graphs. Microsoft’s Power BI application is packaged into all Office 365 subscriptions (along with Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.) at no additional cost. It provides similar functionalities as Discoverer including: ad hoc querying, data analysis, reporting, and publishing capabilities, all at a similarly structured price (‘Pro’ version billed annually per user, or ‘Free’ version packaged into Office 365).
How does this impact your business?
A single workbook can be displayed in one dashboard and shared across users
Craft meaningful interactions with your audience
Generate actionable insights immediately
Universal usability, meaning non-technical employees can build reports without any extra training required