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.