Oracle BICS (BI Cloud Services) – Visual Analyzer

This blog entry is based on some feedback from a quick live demo I did at the UKOUG joint BI and Finance SIG in Birmingham last week. Here I show how easy it is to throw a spreadsheet into the Cloud using Oracle BICS (BI Cloud Service) and use Visual Analyzer to perform data discovery. The original presentation had its grounding in some work we are doing for a large UK council with regard to classifying and analyzing their spend data. I’ve already given some insight on how to perform spend classification, so let’s take it a step further and consider we have a subset of some classified spend data we wish to analyze. N.B. The data I have provided here is all “fake” and for demonstration purposes only, it is not the actual spend of any UK Council!

Here I start with a spreadsheet of spend data, showing the amount, the category, the cost centre whom authorized the send, the supplier, etc. Using Visual Analyzer I can simply point to the sheet and upload it.

It successfully loads and adds the data to my project.

This gives me the “pallet” of data elements

Now I can select 3 of them and then press “right click” and let Visual Analyzer select the best visualization for me. I have selected 2 measures ( The Suppler and the Year ) and also 1 fact ( the amount )

Let’s see what it creates for us to allow us to see the spend by supplier per year. I can then hover on a bar to see some values.

Pretty good. Let’s just quickly sort it by amount …

That’s better

Well, that took about a minute and now I can clearly see what i’ve spent the most on and with whom, when and how much it was. So, let’s throw up some other visualisations to get the feel of some of the other capabilities and how easy it is for us to perform some more discovery.

Clicking add visualisation gives me a range of available options, so let’s choose …. “Tag Cloud”.

Drag and drop the Amount and Spend Classification

This should create a tag cloud with the relative size of the Spend Category being determined by the amount we have spent. It becomes instantly obvious that we’re spending a lot on Cleaning on Security.

Now, wouldn’t it be good if we could see who’s been spending the money? Let’s select the amount and the cost centre then

Let’s create another visualization of Treemap to see what we can determine from that. We just set the visualisation to tree map, drag the fields across and we can see this visualization, where the size of the tile is determined by the relative spend to highlight the biggest spenders.

Now we can see all the three analyses together on one screen to give us different perspectives on spend and we can hover the mouse over anything to see how much has been spent. Here we look at what the Office Management Services have been upto, they have been the ones spending considerably more than everyone else.

Finally, let’s create a classic stacked bar chart to see the amount by spend category by supplier. That should be interesting.

I can easily just expand the new barchart visualisation to focus on what that’s telling me.

Hovering over again I can see I’ve spend 6k with SecureCam

and in comparision I can see a 100k going to Securex

I can actually now focus all these 4 visualizations just on that security data so they are all restricted by that.

I just highlight and right click on “keep selected”

And that shows me this

All the analyses have synchronized and i’m looking at them all in the context of the data I have requested to remain in focus. I selected “Security” and that’s what they are all showing me based on the perspectives I set up, so running from top left I can see the breakdown between the relative spend on security between all the suppliers whom have spend categories like that, clearly the tag cloud will just show me “security”, the tree map is showing all the departments whom have spent in that area and the stacked bar is focused on that selection i’ve ringfenced.

I can of course cleaer that filter and ringfence say Security, IT and Software and that shows me this

So the actual operation is very straightforward. I hope that’s given you a flavour of what’s possible VERY QUICKLY, but we’ve clearly not investigated all the capabilities of Visual Anlalyzer in this blog. For example, what if we just wanted to look at the smaller spend elemets, say all the things where invoices had been raised for values between say 0 and 1000 GBP?

I can just go and drop the amount fact into the filters at the top and tweak to my range

All the analyses are “listening” out for this, so they all oblige

So can now just focus on the smaller amounts that have been spent.

Let’s clear that amount filter out and go and try something else interesting. How about we drill into the invoice detail to learn more about the individual invoice spend and let’s do it for something specific; for the IT Equipment.

To start, we highlight the IT Equipment on the bar chart

Now right click and select “Drill”

We can select “Invoice Description” and see everything by Invoice Description. Here I can now see the individual invoices that made up the spend of IT Equipment. Mice and Keyboards and we’re spending a lot on mice…..

I hope that’s whetted your appetite to learn more about Visual Analyzer and please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like any advice on how we can help you explore your data

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