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Second Oracle Usability Advisory Board (OUAB) Meeting Held in Burlington, MA: Business Intelligence & Data Visualization

 

Alisa Hamai

Author: Alisa Hamai Usability Engineer and Co-Chair, Oracle Usability Advisory Board
Nov. 25, 2008




The Oracle Usability Advisory Board met for their second board meeting at Oracle's Burlington, Massachusetts campus on August 1, 2008. A total of 15 customers attended from the following industries: aerospace, chemicals, education and research, financial services, insurance, life sciences, manufacturing, and public sector. Four new customers (from the aerospace, financial services, life sciences, and manufacturing industries) were introduced and discussed their top usability needs. Also in attendance was the local Business Intelligence User Experience team who hosted the meeting.

The theme of this meeting was business intelligence (BI). During the morning session, presentations were given on "Enabling Fusion and Custom Web Applications with Oracle's Data Visualizations" by Henry van den Broek, Senior Development Manager – Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF) Data Visualization Tools; Katia Obradovic-Sarkic, Senior Product Manager – Oracle ADF Data Visualization Tools; and Florian Schouten, Development Director – Oracle Fusion Analytics (see Figure 1 and Figure 2 for ADF visualization screen shots).

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Figure 1: A dashboard showing product sales data, using ADF DVT graphs and gauges.

In the Web 2.0 world and the era of rich Internet applications (for example, interactive Web pages, Flash/Flex, Adobe), modern Web applications are required to be visually pleasing, interactive, and easy-to-build. Oracle JDeveloper 11g ADF offers a powerful and productive environment for building rich Internet applications and is the foundation for Oracle Fusion Applications. Data visualizations that exist in the market today include:

  • Fusion Charts (provides extensive set of Flash-based charts)
  • Adobe Flex (provides a limited number of charts, all Flash-based)
  • llog Elixir (provides a library of charting components for Flex)
  • Tableau Software (provides data exploration and visualization applications)
  • Spotfire (now owned by Tibco – provides analytics software for ad hoc analysis and guided analytics)
  • Oracle Data Visualization Tools(provides a set of rich data visualization components as part of ADF).
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Figure 2: ADF DVT geographic map and pivot table showing product sales data and warehouse stock levels for western U.S.

With Oracle ADF Data Visualizations, you can build Web applications that are:

  • Visually appealing (increase user acceptance)
  • Consistent in their look and feel (provide a shorter learning curve)
  • Animated (helps users to focus on the task at hand)
  • Interactive and responsive (allows users to intuitively manipulate data)
  • Real-time (users can act on current events)
  • Data-driven (always present the latest available data on the same page)
  • Informative (helps users to make informed decisions)

Oracle Fusion Applications will take advantage of both the ADF Data Visualization Components and Oracle’s Business Intelligence platform to provide unprecedented reporting and analysis capabilities out of the box. The ADF and BI toolsets have been designed to work together and will provide Fusion Applications customers with a solid, integrated platform that enables applications with embedded intelligence.

Jeremy Ashley, Vice President, Applications User Experience, gave a Fusion User Experience demonstration using prototype software. Following the demo, the board participated in three working group sessions: Consistency & Design, Integration & Performance, and Web 2.0 Technologies (including social networking, tagging, and uses of Web 2.0).

Jeremy Ashley led the Web 2.0 Technologies working group. Key discussions during this working group included: attracting and retaining the next generation (Gen Y) workforce, how to make adoption of these technologies easier for the boomer workforce, and the differences in company culture.

George Hackman, Jr., Senior Director of Applications User Experience, and Madhuri Kolhatkar, Director, Applications Unlimited & Industry Solutions User Experience, facilitated the Consistency & Design working group. They discussed topics such as mobile solutions, participating in usability activities, enhancements, and customer involvement in the design process.

Sherry Mead, Applications User Experience Architect, led the Integration & Performance working group. This group discussed: migration from Applications Unlimited (PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Oracle E-Business Suite) to Fusion and Oracle Secure Enterprise Search.

Afterwards, Anna Wichansky talked about planning for future events and activities including working group webinars, Oracle OpenWorld activities, and proposed dates for our next board meeting in Denver, Colorado.

Things got pretty exciting at the end of the day when there was a power outage during Rally Pagulayan’s presentation on Field Data Collection for Business Intelligence. Rally, Principal Usability Engineer, continued with his presentation, as customers discussed and provided input on field data collection activities.

Meeting notes have been disseminated to the board, and working groups have action items to follow-up before the next meeting. The board meeting results include:

  • Working groups are clearly the most popular and important aspect of Oracle Usability Advisory Board meetings.
  • The Consistency & Design group will standardize on reporting format for UX issue submission.
  • The Integration & Performance group hosted technical webinars open to the whole Board. Topics included: Secure Enterprise Search, WebCenter, and Applications Integration Architecture (AIA).
  • The Web 2.0 Technologies group is learning about features via the Fusion prototype and providing feedback on user issues such as the Generation Y workforce.

Our next board meeting is scheduled for December 9, 2008, at Oracle's Denver campus. The theme of the meeting is “Enterprise Applications for Mobile Devices.”

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