Application Composer: Exposing Your Customizations in BI Analytics and Reporting

Introduction

This article explains in simple terms how to ensure the customizations and extensions you have made to your Fusion Applications are available for use in reporting and analytics. It also includes four embedded demo videos from our YouTube channel (if they don't appear check the browser address bar for a blocking shield icon).

If you are new to Business Intelligence consider first reviewing our getting started article, and you can read more about the topic of custom subject areas in the documentation book Extending Sales.

There are essentially four sections to this post. First we look at how custom fields added to standard objects are made available for reporting. Secondly we look at creating custom subject areas on the standard objects. Next we consider reporting on custom objects, starting with simple standalone objects, then child custom objects, and finally custom objects with relationships. Finally this article reviews how flexfields are exposed for reporting.

Whilst this article applies to both Cloud/SaaS and on-premises deployments, if you are an on-premises developer then you can also use the BI Administration Tool to customize your BI metadata repository (the RPD) and create new subject areas. Whilst this is not covered here you can read more in Chapter 8 of the Extensibility Guide for Developers.

Custom Fields on Standard Objects

If you add a custom field to your standard object then it's likely you'll want to include it in your reports. This is very simple, since all new fields are instantly available in the "[objectName] Extension" folder in existing subject areas. The following two minute video demonstrates this.


Custom Subject Areas for Standard Objects

You can create your own subject areas for use in analytics and reporting via Application Composer. An example use-case could be to simplify the seeded subject areas, since they sometimes contain complex data fields and internal values that could confuse business users.

One thing to note is that you cannot create subject areas in a sandbox, as it is not supported by BI, so once your custom object is tested and complete you'll need to publish the sandbox before moving forwards.

The subject area creation processes is essentially two-fold. Once the request is submitted the ADF artifacts are generated, then secondly the related metadata is sent to the BI presentation server API's to make the updates there. One thing to note is that this second step may take up to ten minutes to complete. Once finished the status of the custom subject area request should show as 'OK' and it is then ready for use.

Within the creation processes wizard-like steps there are three concepts worth highlighting:

  • Date Flattening - this feature permits the roll up of reports at various date levels, such as data by week, month, quarter, or year. You simply check the box to enable it for that date field.
  • Measures - these are your own functions that you can build into the custom subject area. They are related to the field data type and include min-max for dates, and sum(), avg(), and count() for  numeric fields.
  • Implicit Facts - used to make the BI metadata join between your object fields and the calculated measure fields. The advice is to choose the most frequently used measure to ensure consistency.

This video shows a simple example, where a simplified subject area is created for the customer 'Contact' standard object, picking just a few fields upon which users can then create reports.


Custom Objects

Custom subject areas support three types of custom objects. First is a simple standalone custom object and for which the same process mentioned above applies. The next is a custom child object created on a standard object parent, and finally a custom object that is related to a parent object - usually through a dynamic choice list. Whilst the steps in each of these last two are mostly the same, there are differences in the way you choose the objects and their fields. This is illustrated in the videos below.

The first video shows the process for creating a custom subject area for a simple standalone custom object.

This second video demonstrates how to create custom subject areas for custom objects that are of parent:child type, as well as those those with dynamic-choice-list relationships.



Flexfields

Dynamic and Extensible Flexfields satisfy a similar requirement as custom fields (for Application Composer), with flexfields common across the Fusion Financials, Supply Chain and Procurement, and HCM applications.

The basic principle is when you enable and configure your flexfields, in the edit page under each segment region (for both global and context segments) there is a BI Enabled check box. Once this is checked and you've completed your configuration, you run the Scheduled Process job named 'Import Oracle Fusion Data Extensions for Transactional Business Intelligence' to generate and migrate the related BI artifacts and data. This applies for dynamic, key, and extensible flexfields.

Of course there is more to consider in terms of how you wish your flexfields to be implemented and exposed in your reports, and details are given in Chapter 4 of the Extending Applications guide.

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