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An Oracle blog about BI Publisher

We want Excel!

Every one of you I meet has a set of internal customers that are never quite satisfied with the output you produce, they dont want PDF or HTML, CSV only just about cuts it ... Im talking about finance users. In their world, Excel is king, they want to live and breath it every day. I have a friend who used to work in a finance department ... his life was spent day in day out in Excel, he built the most fantasticly complex spreadsheets that aggregated data from all over the company, pulling from dbs, flat files and other spreadsheets ... it was a marvel of modern Excel engineering. He had got him self a job for life so when he left the company there was pandamonium ... there's a lesson in there somewhere.



Now you have BIP to do all that aggregation for you across dbs, files and Excel and the spreadsheets can become simpler again. 



In the 5.6.2 Standalone (sorry Apps users) we gave you Excel Analyzer, with the 10.1.3.2 release we have added an extra peice of what we consider to be very useful functionality. For those of you not familiar with the Excel Analyzer, you will get a button you can hit on the BIP UI. This generates a binary Excel file that can be downloaded to their disk and opened.



Excel1a:



On opening and taking a first look you'll think ... so what? You gave me a flat list of of data in a sheet, I can get that from any other tool.



Excel2:



 But thats just the start, you or your users can now go in and use as much Excel functionality as they wish, charts, pivot tables, what if, etc all based on that one sheet of data which can of course be hidden. So with a little effort we can get the data to something like this.

Excel3:



OK, great ... but so what? Well now you can keep that spreadsheet or distribute to colleagues and say next week, month, quarter you can then reopen the file, connect to the server and refresh the data ... now thats something different. When you download the file there is a new BI Publisher menu that lets you do a bunch of stuff.



Excel6:



This will let users that have access to the report data connect to the server and refresh that data.
On top of that, if there are parameters associated with the report then those will be rendered on a tool bar for the user to set prior to refresh



Excel5:



Even better you can now deploy the Excel template back to the server via the BI Publisher menu dialog and make it available to be scheduled as a regular report.



Excel7:



Excel8:

 Of course once its 'scheduleable' (is that a word?) you could have the Excel file mailed to a bunch of folks on a regular basis eliminating the need for them to even bother logging in from Excel every month ... the report is there, in the format they want i.e. Excel in their inbox.
You are now the star of the department ... the only downer is that you are now expendable because of Publisher ... sorry :0)



As an experiment I have created a thread in the Publisher forum for any discussion you might want to share on this article. We are painfully aware of how poor the commenting thang is on this blog host ... things will change. But in the meantime use the following link on the OTN forum:



http://forums.oracle.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=508714

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