Oracle Smart Space with Essbase overview

Stas Belkov

Stas Belkov

The author of the article. A well-known specialist in the IT world. Oracle Products and Solutions Consultant. Practicing programmer and database administrator. More about.

Oracle Smart SpaceOracle Smart Space, Fusion Edition is a way for people to connect to the whole of the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) stack. It provides direct connectivity to the EPM Workspace (and so to Web Analysis and Financial Reporting documents), OBIEE, and Oracle BI Publisher. Smart Space also provides Essbase developers and administrators easy access to calculations, load rules, and even the status of cubes.

Rather than needing to go to each of the documents of interest, users of Smart Space have the documents come to them! Smart Space uses gadget technology to serve appropriate content directly to the user.

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Smart Space is always on, so when you log in to your Windows-based computer, Smart Space automatically connects and shows you what is most interesting to you. Figure 1 shows a sample Smart Space desktop.



Smart Space Desktops

The core of the user interface is the Smart Space desktop. The desktop allows you to personalize your installation by installing only those gadgets that are relevant to you. In addition, you can have many different desktops, to represent different functions or working practices. For example, the set of gadgets and the list of favorite reports that you use may differ during the month—during the close cycle, you may want access to


Smart Space gadgets on a desktop

Figure 1. Smart Space gadgets on a desktop


all your statutory reports, but then during a budget reforecast cycle, you may need access to information from your Planning system. By having multiple desktops, you can avoid information overload during key cycles.

You can create, edit, and select desktops using the Smart Space Palette. In Figure 2, the current desktop is highlighted, and the default desktop is marked with an asterisk (*). You can add gadgets to the current desktop simply by dragging them from the palette.


Smart Space Gadgets

Oracle supplies a set of standard gadgets with Smart Space. Any number of these gadgets may be flagged as Recommended by the administrator, which means that they will be installed by default. The following are the standard gadgets:


Managing desktops with the Smart Space Palette

Figure 2. Managing desktops with the Smart Space Palette


  • Collaboration The Collaboration gadget allows secure, audited discussions to take place around Oracle Enterprise Performance Management System and OBIEE Plus content using instant messaging technology. Any Smart Space content can be shared within a Collaboration discussion (one to one) or meeting (many users), to ensure that everyone has the same information. For example, let's say that you initiate a conversation with a colleague, Frank, about the Net Revenue Details report. As you can see from Figure 3, Frank can open the report directly from the discussion window, ensuring that you are both looking at the same version of the numbers.
  • Key Contacts The Key Contacts gadget allows easy communication with your most common contacts. You can see the instant messaging status of your contacts and use the gadget to start a Collaboration discussion or meeting. Figure 4 shows how the contacts and their status are displayed.
  • Notification The Notification gadget records a history of alerts that have been received. When an alert is triggered, a message is displayed immediately, and the alert is logged in the Notification gadget, as shown in Figure 5.


Open documents directly from the Collaboration gadget.

Figure 3. Open documents directly from the Collaboration gadget.



Keep your contacts list handy using the Key Contacts gadget

Figure 4. Keep your contacts list handy using the Key Contacts gadget.



. An alert message is displayed and logged in the Notification gadget

FIGURE 5. An alert message is displayed and logged in the Notification gadget.



 A report displayed in the Smart Book gadget

FIGURE 6. A report displayed in the Smart Book gadget


  • Smart Book The Smart Book gadget allows for a selection of Oracle reporting and analysis documents or URLs to be available directly on a user's desktop. Figure 6 shows how any reporting documents you add can be (optionally) displayed as a live preview in a preview panel. A selected document can be viewed fully within the Smart Book gadget. Additionally, you can open the item in the EPM Workspace or use it to initiate a discussion through the Collaboration gadget.
  • Favorites The Favorites gadget contains a user-defined list of shortcuts to any web-based tool (via a URL) or Smart Space content. Figure 7 shows a sample Favorites gadget. The shortcuts can be organized into a folder structure to ease navigation. You can have a different set of favorites within each of your desktops.
  • Search The Search gadget allows a quick search of any keywords within the EPM Workspace, without having to open it. Figure 8 shows sample search results. You can open any of the resulting items in a viewer or the EPM Workspace, or you can drag an item directly into another gadget, such as a discussion window or Smart Book.



Figure 7. The Favorites gadget with some shortcuts


Search an EPM Workspace without opening it.

Figure 8. Search an EPM Workspace without opening it.


Run Essbase calculations with the Essbase Calculation gadget

Figure 9. Run Essbase calculations with the Essbase Calculation gadget.



  •  Essbase Data Load and Essbase Calculation These two gadgets enable you to execute Essbase load rules (to perform both data load and restructures) and calculation scripts from the desktop with a single click. When initiated, the icon next to the selected rule/calculation changes to indicate that it is in progress. Upon completion, the status changes so that you can see the outcome of the process. For example, Figure 9 shows a list of Essbase calculations, with one calculation underway and others available to be launched. Any executed calculations would display the appropriate status (complete, in progress or failed).

In addition to the standard gadgets, Smart Space also makes content available directly from Windows Explorer. Similar to the Search gadget, you can navigate all of the EPM Workspace, OBIEE Plus, and BI Interactive Dashboards content, to view locally, discuss, add to other gadgets, or launch into the EPM Workspace. Figure 50 shows how a new folder, called Smart Space Content, is added to Windows Explorer to allow access to the different sources.


Software Development Kit

Smart Space is designed to be an open, extendable solution to enable partners and customers to create and publish their own gadgets. The Smart Space Development Kit provides a software development toolkit (SDK) designed for use with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.


. Windows Explorer with the Smart Space Content folder displayed

Figure 50. Windows Explorer with the Smart Space Content folder displayed


The SDK offers a full range of functionality, including the following features:

  • Gadget user interface for modifying a gadget's user interface
  • Security Services for using the user's single sign-on token to launch content
  • Catalog and repository access for listing, administering, and launching documents from OBIEE Plus catalogs and repositories
  • Collaboration Services for using the Collaboration gadget, including the ability to programmatically send notifications to users from external applications via .NET or Java, and through a web service

The SDK enables you to implement the standard gadgets in ways that suit your business needs. For example, the Notification section in Figure 4 (shown earlier) shows an alert message about negative sales variance coming from Essbase. To communicate this information to the appropriate people, a developer created a Java function that calls the SDK's Collaboration Services. The Essbase script that calculates the sales variance was then modified to call the Java function whenever certain conditions were met—in this case, a negative variance.

Developers can also create custom gadgets. The developer of the gadget deploys it using the Smart Space Administration Utility, and your users can then include the custom gadget on their Smart Space desktops. Various Oracle partners have created custom gadgets and deployed them at customer sites. Examples of custom gadgets are the Outline Browser gadget from Applied OLAP and the Cube Freshness gadget from Kerdock.

As you have seen, Smart Space gadgets serve appropriate content directly to the users on their desktop. The Essbase gadgets make it easy to run and monitor calculations scripts and load data, and custom gadgets can be created to manage other Oracle Essbase tasks.


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