Monthly Archives

June 2017

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An Open Letter to Discoverer Users…

By | Blog

Dear Discoverer User,

As you know, Oracle has now placed Oracle Discoverer into Sustaining Support this month. Oracle defines Sustaining Support as a service which, “maximizes your investment protection by providing maintenance for as long as you use your Oracle software. Features include access to Oracle online support tools, upgrade rights, pre-existing fixes and assistance from technical support experts.” However, what they don’t tell you are the following implications of how this change can affect your business.

Technology Risks
Oracle
Currently, all customers are continuing to use the version of Java that Oracle Discoverer needs. That version has long been de-supported by Oracle. Furthermore, as operating systems and Java versions are upgraded, at some point the version of Java required by Discoverer will cease to work.

As an example, many years ago when Oracle/Sun released an upgrade version of Java, Oracle had to issue a special patch for Discoverer. With Oracle moving Discoverer to Sustaining Support, patches will not be available.

In summary, Oracle Sustaining Support does not include:
• New updates, fixes, security alerts, data-fixes, and critical patch updates
• New tax, legal, and regulatory updates
• New upgrade scripts
• Certification with new third-party products/versions
• Certification with other Oracle products

Microsoft
Microsoft continues to develop new technologies for its Microsoft Office suite. The Java version required for Discoverer will always need to be in sync with the Microsoft suite of products, otherwise you run the risk of losing the ability to run and view outputs when reports are run in Discoverer.

If customers cannot stay current on the latest and most secure releases of both the Microsoft Operating System and Java, there is an increased risk of their systems being hacked (as was the case with the latest ransom ware “WannaCry” for Windows XP, which lead to significant loss of data for those affected).

Another example of this risk: Windows 8 and beyond pose great challenges to customers continuing to run the Discoverer administrator, and it is highly probable that versions beyond Windows 10 will not work at all.

In short, this means that Discoverer cannot be guaranteed to work with any future release or patch of Oracle database, Oracle EBS, or Microsoft. Given how heavily many organizations rely on Discoverer for financial and operational reporting, we consider this a significant risk to your Oracle Operational Reporting Platform.

Business Risk
Reporting, Visualizations, and Business Intelligence have become an integral part of running a business, sometimes to a crippling extent. Therefore, it is imperative that businesses assign a monetary value to the business risks associated with such systems. Are you able to monetize the value and risk of each of the following?
• Competitive Advantage
• Decrease in Productivity
• Decision Making
• Governance
• Government Compliance
• Decrease in Stock Value
• Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)

Financial reporting is a key requisite of all stock exchange listed companies, and therefore anything that puts this at risk needs to be communicated to the shareholders. This is normally done in the company’s risk register.

Global Stock Exchange corporate governance code requires companies listed on a Stock Exchange to report their risk management activities. The publication of information on risk management activities enables shareholders (and other stakeholders) to evaluate the attention that the company pays to the management of significant risks it faces. Good standards of risk management reporting help to give confidence to shareholders that the company is resilient and is more likely to be successful in the short and long term.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) requires the chief executive and chief financial officers of public companies to attest to the accuracy of financial reports (Section 302) and requires public companies to establish adequate internal controls over financial reporting (Section 404). SOX resulted in an increased focus on IT controls, as these support financial processing and therefore fall into the scope of management’s assessment of internal control under Section 404 of SOX.

We have been talking for some months now about the need to replace Oracle Discoverer as part of your plan for a new Oracle Operational Reporting Platform. Hopefully, this letter serves as a comprehensive explanation of the risks that a company faces should Discoverer continue to be used as a main source of reporting. We are happy to discuss these with you further and help put together a plan to ensure Discoverer related risks are eliminated.

Let’s discuss further how we can best help your team mitigate its reporting risks!

Yours sincerely,

SplashBI Discoverer Migration Team

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Discoverer Discussion: EBS Support Implications for Discoverer 11G in June 2017

By | Blog

https://blogs.oracle.com/stevenchan/ebs-support-implications-for-discoverer-11gr1-in-june-2017

This article on Oracle’s website goes over the implications of the Discoverer de support in June 2017. It has a lot of great information on what that entails, what they recommend next (OBIEE of course), and some Q&A.

For those who didn’t read it though, here is the TLDR (too long, didn’t read): No new patches for Discoverer 11gR1 or its E-Business Suite (EBS) Discoverer-based content will be created after June 30, 2017.  EBS customers will continue to have access to existing released patches and other published resources.

What does this mean for IT? Any upgrades to your environment run the risk of impacting Discoverer, and without Oracle’s continued support, you run the risk of “breaking” the reporting tool your business depends on. This article even points out some unknowns, like, “Will Discoverer work with new desktop client updates after June 2017?”. The answer they list for this is literally, “This is unknown.” Is that a risk you can afford to take?

Another key question from this article is, “Can EBS customers continue to use Discoverer after June 2017?” The answer is yes, but, “customers should minimize changes to their Discoverer-related infrastructure with the goal of keeping Discoverer environments stable: e.g. limiting changes that might affect load, hardware infrastructure, or business processes.” At the very least, this could send your key reporting tool to the Risk Register.

Maybe you aren’t IT, so what does it mean for business users? Discoverer may work fine now, but with every upgrade patch IT applies, the chances of your reporting solution having a problem are increased. Oracle is recommending OBIEE as the “migration path”, but are quick to point out, “No, there are no automated tools for migrating Discoverer content to OBIEE, OBIA, or Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.” So where does that leave you? Probably with a lot of manual work.

Go find a friend or colleague that has tried to use OBIEE for transactional reporting and see how that worked out…

The bottom line is neither side should run the risk of their key reporting solution being negatively impacted. Oracle is recommending OBIEE as the next tool after Discoverer, but again, this article specifically says, “No, there are no automated tools for migrating Discoverer content to OBIEE, OBIA, or Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.”

There are a handful of solutions out there that boast to be a replacement for Discoverer. SplashBI can migrate your reports automatically, with minimal manual effort from the business. It migrates the entire infrastructure, compared to many solutions which just migrate SQL (which limits your capabilities later down the road if you need to ad hoc or make changes).  Read more about how SplashBI can take your reporting to the next level, or join our upcoming webinar with Discoverer guru, Michael Armstrong-Smith and hear more about the future of Discoverer and how you can protect your investment!