Oracle describes its Business Intelligence Discoverer product as “an ad-hoc query and analysis reporting tool oriented for end users to have easy access to relational and multi-dimensional data” that “enables business users at all levels of an organization to make faster and more informed decisions”. Oracle Discoverer gives users direct access to their data; be it a custom installation, or part of the Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), and allows them to apply some basic analytics to provide different views of the information.
You would think that a product with that kind of power, versatility and ease-of-use would be a very popular member of the Oracle product line, and you would be right. Discoverer is an integral part of the Oracle infrastructure in huge numbers all over the world. In fact, the only real problem with Discoverer is that Oracle also says that “no new features or enhancements will be made to Discoverer beyond 18.104.22.168.0.” With extended support of that release ending in June of 2017, a large number of Oracle customers are left with the question, “Where do we go from here?”
Where do we go from here?
After 2017, Oracle Discoverer users will of course have the option to continue to use an unsupported version of Discoverer, as many probably are already. However, using unsupported software is always risky. Change will continue to take place in the infrastructure that houses Discoverer. Unsupported means uncertified; and most likely, it will be a change in some peripheral piece of hardware or software that will ultimately cause some nearly impossible to track-down issue. Hopefully, the issue will materialize immediately after a patch or upgrade. All too often though, the problem is with a seldom used but important piece of functionality.
For users that are not willing to accept the inherent risks of using unsupported software, there are a multitude of options available to replace the functionality of Discoverer, both from Oracle and third party vendors. We will explore some of these options below.
Oracle Discoverer Replacement Options: Third Party
With Reporting WorkBench by Polaris, Associates claims to offer “the complete reporting solution for Oracle E-Business Suite users.” The tool offers ad-hoc querying capabilities to modify existing or create new reports. Reporting workbench also gives users the ability to create dashboards and integrate with Microsoft Excel. There is also a specific financial reporting solution that is part of the package. All of these reports can be output in a wide variety of popular formats as well as integration with Oracle BI Publisher.
Hubble offers a “Oracle Discoverer Replacement in a Box” software package. Furthermore it claims to be able to replace a Discoverer installation “in as little as 2 weeks”. This package allows users to “build and run their own reports” and also contains “EBS-specific templates, integrity reports and Discoverer migration tools”.
Global Software offers a Discoverer report replacement product called Spreadsheet Server. Along with their Query Designer, it has the ability to convert Discoverer reports. Global lists two main benefits in replacing Discoverer reports with their product. The first is the ability to leverage your existing data objects as well as improved performance over Discoverer. The second is improved performance thanks to the ability to easily retrieve subsets (chunks) of their data using Excel functionality. The tool also offers easy aggregation functions, as well as an extensive library of highly customizable pre-built queries.
EiS Technologies offers a tool called SplashBI that has “a built-in Discoverer migration utility that seamlessly converts Discoverer workbooks.” The import utility allows reports to be modified without the need to modify the Discoverer view, while offering additional features such as mobile capabilities, an Excel front end and dashboards. Unlike some other third-party products specializing in EBS reports, the product supports all types of Discoverer data sources.
These are just few of the third-party options available. Many offer free trials to show what they have to offer, and how they will fit into your architecture. Again, what you need is going to depend on what types of reporting your business relies on.
Oracle Discoverer Replacement Options: Oracle Solutions
According to Oracle, there are two paths you can take forward from Discoverer. The first is migrating to Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite or. The second, for EBS customers, is moving to Oracle BI Applications. While these are both sound suggestions, they both require the purchase of additional licenses.
There is, however, another solution from Oracle that you already own, and so requires no additional licensing costs. That solution is Oracle APEX; a no-cost add-on to Oracle database that can provide sophisticated reporting and export capabilities as well as ad-hoc querying capabilities. Of course, APEX isn’t an exact replacement of Discoverer. However, it can accomplish almost all of the tasks that you were using Discoverer to do.
It is possible that a single tool may completely replace everything that Oracle Discoverer is doing for your organization now. The first step is to identify what types of reporting you need. Then, you must find the cost-effective tool that has the most overlap with needs. It could be on of the above-mentioned tools. There are other options available, of course. If you are interested in exploring the advantages of transitioning to Oracle APEX, get in touch, we’ll be glad to help.