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Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher: Conquering The Reporting Landscape-Made Easier, Better And Faster

 

Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher: Conquering The Reporting Landscape-Made Easier, Better And Faster

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Very often companies have different issues in reporting. BI Publisher is a product within the Oracle BI Foundation that enables the creation of highly formatted reports and documents. BI Publisher is not just a tool but a complete reporting solution. This post helps one to make reporting simpler, easier and faster than what most conventional reporting tools have to offer.

BI Publisher is a product within the Oracle BI Foundation and enables creation of highly formatted reports and documents.

Often companies have different issues in reporting. They have different ways of generating invoices, labels, government forms, high fidelity reports and many more. The most common issue faced is that data sources from different databases and applications and output is required in different formats with different delivery destinations as targets.

BI Publisher is a product within the Oracle BI Foundation and enables creation of highly formatted reports and documents. BI Publisher is not just a tool but a complete reporting solution. It makes reporting simpler, easier and faster than what most conventional reporting tools have to offer.

The key feature that sets it apart from other reporting tools is that it makes reporting simplified and better managed by separation of data, layout and translation. While development, generation and maintenance of reports using traditional reporting tools is cumbersome, time consuming, rigid and harder to adopt, BI Publisher is a single solution for developing, generation and even delivering reports. With simplified development and maintenance, it is faster and easier to implement, and at reduced costs.

BI Publisher can be used as a standalone platform for various reporting and publishing needs. It can be used to publish everything that an organization requires to operate, such as: Invoices, Customer Statements, Purchase Orders, Item and Shipping Labels, Bank EFTs and Checks, Financial Statements, Government Forms, Salary Reports and also Interactive Reports (using BI Publisher Enterprise). It is capable of producing a wide range of Report Styles and Output Formats. It supports multiple layouts per report so you can format and display data in whatever ways suitable. Output can be rendered in various formats like HTML, PDF, MS Office formats (Word, Excel, and Power Point) and text formats among others.

Formats can also be used to leverage BI Publisher’s powerful Bursting Engine. The Bursting Engine can take a large report output, split it into smaller sections and deliver each of these sections to the required one or more delivery destinations according to preferences. The various delivery destinations could be Printer, Fax, Email, Web, e-Commerce and FTP to a different Repository or File System among others.

Key Innovations that set it apart from other tools in market:

Most Reports can be built in MS Word leveraging the BI Publisher Template Builder as an Add-In, in RTF format and generate outputs in a wide range of Output Formats like HTML, PDF, RTF, Text etc. Excel and Adobe are the other tools that can be used to build templates. These are the tools that you are used to using and what more? You can now design your own template using these familiar tools.

Most Government forms can be downloaded, marked up and directly used by just adding data fields. You can now have a new report populated with data within a small time. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to recreate the entire formatting in your report as you would with a traditional reporting tool. It is provided in the forms readily available for download from government websites.

Layout features like the complete range of charting capabilities, conditional formatting, interactive reports, use of formulae and functions, multiple layouts, watermark and drilldown support make it highly efficient and scalable.

What you can do:

  • Design your own dashboards
  • Make it work your way with Interactive Reporting
  • Create Enterprise Class, Boardroom-ready reports in a matter of minutes!
  • With a robust Scheduler, it can be used to schedule the report output to be generated and delivered using Bursting as per preferences. This has been made more flexible with more recurrence patterns, custom calendars and scalability.
  • Implement advanced security by using features such as, Role Based Authorization, PDF password protection, control on printing or copying of contents, Digital Signatures etc.
  • Generate and print Pixel-Perfect reports

Advantages:

With simplified development and maintenance, it is faster and easier to implement. This way you can eliminate other expensive solutions and also reduce the administrative cost that comes with them.

You can view reports in various formats directly in the browser with no proprietary plug-ins required.

Data from multiple systems can be combined into a single data model that can be used by multiple reports.

With Interactive reports, you can have Excel like features - filtering and sorting data while viewing the report. It also gives mouse over feature for graphical representation of data in interactive formats.

Superior Scheduling and Bursting capabilities.

Enhanced User Experience.

Being as efficient and scalable as it is, it enables generation of thousands of documents per hour, using low levels of CPU and memory on data sources, resulting in minimal impact to the actual transactional systems.

BI Publisher is built on open standards, which makes it easy to integrate.

With support for over 150 languages, there is no dependency on installed languages and database character sets.

Eliminates the need for expensive language specific printers with font sub-setting and embedding.

With reduced complexity, it is simpler to maintain

Support for multiple languages and territories along with translated User Interface make it the perfect candidate for a Single Global Instance model

Reporting tool for Oracle EBS:

BI Publisher is a tool of abundance for report delivery in most of Oracle’s application suites. BI Publisher was first released as ‘XML Publisher’ with Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.10. Now, with Oracle’s key move to BI Publisher in R12, it has replaced most standard reports with data extracts and templates. Coming with benefits of putting reporting in the hands of the business user, it is empowering, minimizing dependency on IT staff for all reporting needs and enhancements. End users can easily design report layouts using familiar desktop tools, dramatically reducing the cost, time and resources needed to develop, extend, customize and maintain reports.

Oracle Reports versus BI Publisher:

Oracle Reports is a batch/ scheduled reporting solution offered as a part of Oracle’s Classic Development Tools. The execution environment and programming language for Oracle Reports is Oracle PL/SQL.

The world is now moving away from static reports, towards BI analysis and dashboards. Even though Oracle Reports is a stable tool and has a very large installed base and many reports are built for Oracle EBS already using Oracle Reports, newer tools are here to evolve the way the new world will create and use reports more smartly. With continuously evolving needs of the reporting world, existing tools will have a growing list of short falling features it needs to address. Adaptability to this requires continuous innovations with the evolving insights. Following are some challenges Oracle Reports faced and there rose a need for a reporting solution like BI Publisher to catch light.

  • Powerful but complicated and difficult to use
  • Requires a significant learning curve for even a technical developer to get proficient
  • Proprietary tool and not based on Open StandardsProprietary tool and not based on Open Standards
  • Translations are tedious and laborious
  • Difficulty in exporting data and use of multiple formats for same report

The Future:

Being the one-fits-all reporting solution that it is, keeping with the changing needs with the reporting world, BI Publisher is Oracle’s strategic reporting solution now. Oracle remains committed to the support of its traditional tools and the support cycle is aligned to Oracle’s Fusion Middleware tools. In its Statement of Direction for various tools, Oracle recommends customers to adopt its strategies to protect investment in traditional technologies and encourages allowing new tools and technologies to be adopted.

With this strategy, Oracle allows customers to continue to leverage their existing investments for many years while offering a path to incrementally move to new technologies, at their own pace to start using the productive and familiar development environment of BI Publisher.

Author Bio:

Ifath, a diligent Technical Lead at Sonata Software, works for its Oracle ERP group. She has been a passionate programmer for Oracle EBS Technologies and a Consultant who has worked for top companies like Oracle Corporation. Being a creative solution designer, she handles challenging professional tasks with her expertise that comes from more than 11 years of consulting experience working with Oracle EBS for a wide variety of customers from various verticals. A self-driven individual, she spends most of her time bettering herself by improving her skills and learning new technologies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering.

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