Saturday 31 May 2014

OBIEE Supports IE11! Please get EPM Supported! +Workarounds

Just read that the latest OBIEE (OBIEE now supports IE11 at last! Now please follow it up with EPM Oracle!

Windows 8.1 has made life really painful for supporting Oracle BI products. If you did not know, Windows 8 comes with IE10 and Windows 8.1 with IE11. You cannot roll back or install an earlier version than what it comes with. This makes it very tricky when various web apps such as EPM Workspace do not support or work at all in these versions (OBIEE 11 has supported IE10 for a while now and EPM supports IE10 if you're lucky enough to be there already!).

If you are stuck in this predicament (OBIEE or EPM) these are the workarounds I know about:
  1. Probably the least simple- Use citrix to offer your users IE8 through a published app. It is pretty seamless however the user will need to remember to go into IE8 whenever they want to connect to EPM. The published app cannot be made the default browser as far as I know.
  2. Probably the least practical- You can switch IE10/11 to emulate IE8 in the developer options. I say least practical though because you have to do it every time you visit the website. Developer options can be accessed through the Tools menu or by pressing F12. You need to find the emulation tab (IE11 has little icons down the left to change tabs/sections.. I think CTRL-8 also goes there).  You can then change document mode to '8'.
  3. IE11 has an Enterprise Mode which enables users to permanently set the browser to use IE8 emulation for a specific page. This requires the Windows 8.1 Service Pack to be installed and this is why I haven't been able to try it out yet although I should be able to next week. Apparently there are two options for administrators to allow this setting. They can allow users to turn on and off Enterprise Mode via the tools menu or they can maintain a whitelist on the users computer of sites that should use Enterprise Mode by default. I'm assuming this should work like the emulation in option 2 and therefor assume (hope) it works.
There was also an article on The Art of BI blog recently detailing some steps to alter the code on the server-side to work with IE10. Click here to go check that out.

Thanks to the Oracle Proactive Support blog for the heads up on OBIEE support.

Anyway, I just got excited that IE11 was finally supported in OBIEE and somehow ended up writing all of the above. Have a good weekend!

- Update (15-09-2014): Oracle have specified the following in regards to running EPM in Enterprise Mode:

Oracle has not certified EPM System on Internet Explorer 11 in Enterprise Mode and Oracle guidance is to use a certified release of Internet Explorer.  However, Oracle Support will assist customers running EPM System products on Internet Explorer 11 in Enterprise Mode by providing support for issues that are known to occur in a certified browser release.

There are a couple of minor exceptions and other notes. is meant to properly support IE11. Check out the KB article for full details.

Monday 19 May 2014

OBIEE - Formatting Calculated Items in a Pivot Table

I have been spending a lot of time with OBIEE and Essbase lately (quite often much more time than should have been necessary!) and so my first blog in much too long is about my latest hurdle. It seems that OBIEE is full of hurdles and sneaky workarounds (and also some amazing customisation/extension opportunities using third party visualisations). Using Essbase and OBIEE together probably exponentially increases the amount of hurdles but I am still enjoying the product.

I recently wanted to create a table with measures in the rows and years and organisations in the columns. I also wanted to have a increase % column added.


Genmind CorpStockplus Inc.Tescare Ltd.
FY13FY14Increase %FY13FY14Increase %FY13FY14Increase %
# of Orders11314024%25028112%25728611%

This seemed easy enough to do using a calculated item on the Fiscal Year column in the table.

It quickly became apparent however that the formatting options are very limited for this new column. Basically you only get style formatting and cannot change the number format and therefore you cannot choose to display the output as a percentage.

A quick thinker might instantly just try to concatenate a percentage sign onto the end of the number but would be even more quickly disappointed when the editor only allows numerical calculations/output.

The solution is not particularly convoluted thankfully. All you need to do is add a conditional format onto each of your measure fields with the condition that when the column ('Per Name Year') is null, then apply the percentage data format. So the steps are:
  1. Go back to the criteria tab
  2. Edit the column properties for the 'Revenue' column and click on the Conditional Formatting tab.
  3. Click Add Condition and select 'Per Name Year'
  4. Select Operator "is null' and press OK
  5. Select your formatting options. I have selected the 'Data Format' tab and selected Override, Percentage, Parantheses (red).
  6. Select OK and you should see something like the following screenshot.
  7. Navigate to the Results tab and you will see the result.
Notice that the second measure is still not formatted (# of Orders). You will need to repeat the conditional formatting on every measure.

The final result will be:

It should be noted that this would only work if you only had a single calculated column or you wanted all your calculated columns to have a single format.

There you have it. Hopefully that gets someone out of a bind. I would be keen to hear any other options people use, especially if they are better! I'm sure another option would be to modify the XML which would work for different formatting on multiple calculated columns.