Tag Archives: OBIEE Training

The Rittman Mead BI Forum

If you’re in the UK  in late May and eager to improve your OBIEE skills, do some networking, and meet top experts in the field – I suggest you attend The Rittman Mead BI Forum. Kurt Wolff will be present (expert on all OBIEE-related topics, who worked on OBIEE’s grandfather product) for a very advanced session , where some of the topics will include:

Data modeling topics will include fact tables with different grains, solving complex security requirements, inputting user choices into formulas (for example, calculating a discounted price) without using variables, ragged hierarchies, using dynamically named physical tables, the use of specialized tables to avoid errors at query time or when setting prompts, preserving dimension values, calculations that require inner and outer joins among multiple tables, modeling a near real-time transaction environment, modeling a multi-tenant architecture.

Attendants will include: ” John Minkjan (OBIEE), Venkat Janakiraman (OBIEE, Essbase, Fusion Middleware), Mark Rittman (OBIEE, OLAP), Craig Stewart (ODI), Adam Bloom and Mike Durran (Oracle BI EE), Tony Heljula (OBIEE) and Emiel van Bockel (OBIEE, Database) and this year we are pleased to have Gerard Braat (OBIEE) and Robin Moffatt (OBIEE, Database).”

Sounds like a great opportunity to learn directly from the great OBIEE minds.

OBIEE Certification

Still there’s nothing from Oracle in regards to official OBIEE certification. Latest official info is here: http://blogs.oracle.com/certification/2008/09/obiee_certification.html

My personal opinion is that although a certification program would be nice, but not by any means necessary. I see several major problems with Oracle’s OBIEE certification:

a) possible requirement for compulsory training at Oracle University before taking certification – while taking training is not a bad idea in itself, financial issues arise. Who’s going to cover costs of this training? I’m sure that many people wouldn’t get reimbursed by  their employers at this economy.  Should they be paying by themselves? I’m sure that shelling out thousands of dollars out-of-pocket isn’t an attractive option for many people.  My last argument is that some people don’t really need (or feel that they need) to take training in order to pass the qualification exam.

b) Passing the majority of certifications is rarely requiring more than just answering multiple-choice questions. So in reality, it’s just about how well someone answers the questions, not the level of knowledge / proficiency with the technology. Of course, someone who’s adept at OBIEE would have no problems whatsoever answering the questions, but so is someone who just crammed the documentation well. There’s no way objectively distinguishing between them if they both passed the exam. I’m not even talking about brain dumps where one can get all the questions.

To be successful, the certification should involve some lab work. It should be accessible to anyone who could prove OBIEE proficiency (maybe with some preliminary test). And it shouldn’t be burdensome, Oracle shouldn’t use the certification as a revenue maker, but instead focus on building relationships and trust between consultants / developers and clients.

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.

OBIEE Training

I decided to write this post after seeing numerous basic OBIEE questions on OTN OBIEE forums. I think people are answering those easy questions (including myself) because of easy points (i noticed that frequently those don’t get assigned) and because of experts’ generosity. Problem is that most of the time, those questions can be easily found using search feature. Moreover, 80% of the time, just searching the documentation would do the trick.

OBIEE has become an attractive career opportunity and numerous course offerings have come out.

I just wanted to warn fellow consultants about some companies promising to make anyone an OBIEE expert in a week. Remember that when something sounds too good to be true – it probably is. OBIEE is a rather complex tool by itself, not only that – one also needs to know about various ETL processes, dimensional modeling, databases and more.

Mark Rittman published a very thorough article on what’s required to be a successful Oracle BI Developer – What Skills Does an Oracle BI Developer Need in 2009? By the way, congratulations on the new US office!

Some of the things he mentioned include OWB and Hyperion Essbase (I realized need to work more on my Hyperion skills – I was putting it away) .There’s no way one can learn those in 1 week.

Again, there’s nothing wrong with training, especially taken from reputable vendors, however, I suggest you conduct a throrough research first.

Also, I don’t want to discourage anyone, but I believe that theoretical training by itself is mostly useless unless followed or accompanied by real-life problems and examples.