Tag Archives: obiee skills

NULL value in multi-select prompt

There is a NULL value in the Multi Select Prompt. When this blank value is selected with other selections from the prompt, the prompt either blanks out or the results of the report returns all values of the field instead of filtering only for the selected criteria.

The cause of the issue is to have a NULL value (it comes from the datawarehouse) as an option in the multi-select prompt because when is selected, in the textbox this symbol ” appears as the selected option and the filter does not work.

It was tested inhouse adding NULL values in the dimension and fact tables of a business model.

There are four options to resolve this issue:

1.- Validate if NULL values are relevant for the bussiness analysis (for some reason in the datawarehouse NULL values were stored). If they are not, you have to delete them in Dimensions and Fact tables.

2.- Change the physical table type in your rpd in all tables you have NULL values and use a SELECT like this:


Doing this, you only have NON-NULL values in your Multi-select prompt.

3.- Replace the NULL value with a new name like UNSPECIFIED in ALL tables you which are related.

4.- Log an enhancement request to review that multi-select prompts works with NULL values.

Customer decided to apply the third option, change the NULL values by a value like UNSPECIFIED. They couldn’t delete the NULL values so that was the best option for them.

Also I’ve already logged an enhancement request to review that multi-select prompts works with NULL values or display an error or warning message.

BI Forum 2010 is going extremely well

I wish I was there …

I’m very happy that BI Forum 2010 is going well. It seems as all BI consulting gurus and those wishing to join their rank are having a blast – just read their Twitter feed Bi Forum tweeter feed.

I want to make a point to attend next year. Unfortunately, due to some passport-visa circumstances beyond my control (hint – New Schengen visa rules which invalidates passports issued more than 10 years ago – even if they’re still valid) , it’s not possible for me to travel to Europe until I replace my passport. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one affected by this – I know that there’re many people from India in the US (issued passports with 20 year validity) who are not able to travel to Europe due to new Schengen rules, and for them, it’s burdensome to travel to India, since they have to get the new passport at the same place where it was issued.

My warm greetings to everyone. I hope I can make it to DC this year for Kaleidoscope.

OBIEE expert forum is up and running

I’m delighted to announce that a new useful OBIEE forum / discussion board is open. Idea was up in the air for a long time – and it seems as multiple people planned this for awhile independently (rnm1978, Mark Rittman, Adrian Ward, and other guys and myself included). Part of it was frustration with moderation on official Oracle’s board, and part of it was a need for a resource where OBIEE and business intelligent professionals could share secrets of the trade. The difficult part is keeping balance between sharing knowledge as well as  providing a moderated environment.

The board is already active with several interesting topics going. If you’re interested in participating – please apply at Google OBIEE group

Thanks to Mark Rittman who organized the movement and to all those who agreed to become moderators.

Some news from OBIEE world

1. Just like everyone else, I got excited about Content Accelerator Framework. Christian Berg posted about it here “OTN: CAF” and Venkat posted about it on his blog as well content accelerator framework. Unfortunately, it’s only going to work with version which hasn’t been released yet. It’s a good step forward though, as the developer community has waited for such a tool for quite some time now. I’ve seen numerous service requests on Metalink asking Oracle about such functionality.

The most interesting thing about this sitation is that I was going to post about various issues of maintaining several OBIEE environments on the same day. And on the same day, I got the same assignment – to figure out a better and newer way to parallely run development, issue maintenance fixes (such as adding new users), and keep environments in sync.

2. OBIEE OTN forum has become a very competetive place – frequently questions are answered within minutes. mma1709 (please let me know if that’s ok to state your name), Christian Berg and Naresh Meda have gained Pro Status. Congratulations! Please keep up the good work!

3. OBIEE Job market. Judging from Dice –  it’s down. I’ve been tracking Dice’s posts using OBIEE keyword for a few months now. It’s been declining steadly for past few months (not a big surprise really, since the total job postings fell from 90+k to 48k).  For OBIEE the number went from 300 in fall 2008 to 186 today. Some of the postings are clearly for the same positions (through different vendors). Again, I’m sure that there’s always a project for someone with relevant OBIEE experience and skills, however, I’m sure that it hurts less experienced folks as companies are trying to reduce staff. Also, the situation is decreasing rates as desperation forces some people and companies to work for less. Stability is more important than a higher paycheck these days, so some companies use it as an excuse to lower salary / rate. Moreover, hurting financial sector makes it difficult to start new capital IT projects.  I’m unwilling to predict the future at this time, however, I’d like to say that – if you have the right skills and personality – do not be afraid – this time might be an opportunity.

Important skills for an OBIEE developer?

Part 1

Initially, I was going to write about whether or not the ETL skills are important for a BI developer, however, I’ve significantly broadened the focus of the post since.

There were few articles that have kept my attention for a while – discussion of the skill-sets that business intelligence developers should have. The articles are “Functional Expertise in a Technical BI Consultant” by Jeff McQuigg and “What Skills Does an Oracle BI Developer Need in 2009?” by Mark Rittman (I think I’ve mentioned that one before). I have a big respect and admiration of both experts and have found inspiration in their blogs and forum posts (both OTN and Toolbox). They both list multiple skills that intersect (such as ETL, database, and dimensional modelling). I think the difference between the articles is that Mark is putting the emphasis on application tools (Hyperion Applications, BI Applications, OWB, and others) while Jeff is emphasizing the importance of the general knowledge of BI and DWH concepts such as dimensional modelling and ETL backed up by OBIEE tools proficiency.

“Domain experience in BI, Data Warehousing, BI Tools, Dimensional Modeling, ETL, BI Apps, etc. is what you should be focusing on…”

I should add that Mark also mentions the importance of possessing various applicable skills, however, I felt that he was more elaborate about software applications.

“In addition to these product skills, you also needed to have a fair bit of database knowledge, partly because all of these tools worked directly with database data, so you had to know your indexing, materialized views, explain plans and so on…”

My only two additions to both lists would be web development and html/css skills for front-end OBIEE customization. It might not be very complex, but I’ve had a few instances where clients have asked me to work on such things as changing Answers text / links, modifying some style sheets, and revamping the Dashboard look.  The other skill is LDAP security and various SSO implementations.

One thing is clear – there’re many technologies, tools, and concepts that a good BI consultant should be comfortable with. Not only that, he/she should be proficient in critical thinking, information search, and just-in-time learning flexibility – being able to learn new tools/concepts on the fly.  I don’t even mention such items as communication skills, attention to detail, dressing appropriately – since those are given for those who’re working in an enterprise scene.

Christian Berg (an OBIEE and Hyperion expert)  has recently started a blog of his own and called it hekatonkheires, which apparently means “three giants who possessed a hundred and fifty hands”. I think it’s a very good description of someone working with OBIEE (Siebel Analytics).

(to be continued…)

Comments are appreciated as usual.