OBIEE 11g New Feature - Hierarchy Columns

Although OBIEE 11g won't be launched for a few days, I'm going to start giving you a sneak peak at some of the features of the upcoming release. I've enlisted the help of some of our top OBIEE consultants who have been working with the product and Oracle Development for a while now.

Sharing his thoughts on the new Hierarchy Columns in this post is guest blogger Doug Ross. Doug is one of our top OBIEE consultants and is a 15 year Oracle veteran.

OBIEE 11g Hierarchy Columns

by Doug Ross

OBIEE 11gR introduces the concept of a “hierarchical column” which allows for encapsulating the presentation of a dimension hierarchy in an Answers analysis report within a single column. The advantage of the hierarchical column is that it offers a better user experience in navigating within a hierarchy.  

In prior releases of OBIEE, navigating through a dimension hierarchy was limited to drilling down from one level to the next which added new columns to the output. For example:




Clicking on the Type of column header results in adding a new column, "Brand", to the results.

This drilling behavior is still available within OBIEE but OBIEE 11g provides a more powerful method for interacting with the hierarchy by offering the ability to expand and collapse individual levels within the same report column using the plus (+) and minus (-) icons adjacent to the displayed member values.



This screenshot shows how the user selects a hierarchical column in OBIEE 11g Answers. Notice the new icon for the hierarchy column type.



Here are some sample screenshots of the hierarchy column in various states of expansion. Notice how all the drilling occurs within the same column.




There are two basic types of hierarchical columns: level-based and value-based. As with OBIEE 10g, the hierarchies are configured in the Business Model and Mapping layer of the OBIEE repository (RPD) using the Administration tool. The hierarchies can then be exposed within Subject Areas in the Presentation Layer.

A level-based hierarchy follows the general style where a dimension column serves as the parent to a different child level column. The product hierarchy in the examples shown above would be an example of a level-based hierarchy.

A value-based hierarchy uses the same dimension column for all levels but relies on other structures in the data model to identify the parent-child relationship. A good example of a value-based hierarchy would be within the employee dimension where the manager to staff relationship exists.

In the screenshot below, the Sales Rep Hierarchy is added to an analysis. The same Sales Rep column is used for all levels of the hierarchy and there are other data elements that define which Sales Rep reports to another Sales Rep.

Picture 7.jpg

Drilling into various Sales Rep values shows the organization reporting hierarchy.


Picture 8.jpg


As you can see, the new hierarchy column feature of OBIEE 11g provides a very powerful way to increase the usefulness of drilling within an Answers analysis view.


Great Blog thanks - the new Hierarchies look great. Any idea when it will be available for download, the rumours are not for a couple of months yet, is this true?

Posted by Matt T on July 05, 2010 at 08:54 PM CDT #

Hi Rob, Greate article! I have one question though, is it possible in 11g to define value based hierarchies for relational data sources? Greetings, Marcin

Posted by Marcin on July 09, 2010 at 02:18 AM CDT #

Hello Rob, It's a nice posting. I have a question regarding 'Hierarchical Column' introduced in OBIEE 11g. In most of the blogs I have seen examples of hierarchical column usage only in Pivot view. Does it mean that these can be used only in Pivot view or other views will also support this type of columns? Thanks, Jayesh

Posted by Jayesh Rao on July 14, 2010 at 02:54 PM CDT #

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