Thursday, February 15, 2007

Questions, Questions

Why have I not written a blog for ages ?
Does Siebel Analytics work on IE7 ?
Is there a version 8 of Analytics, if so what is it called ?
What is the difference between Siebel Analytics and Oracle BIEE ?
Where are all the best Analytics consultants ?
How do I find good crew for the next racing series ?
Is disconnected Analytics a good idea despite the technical challenges ?
How do you get more skilled in Analytics ?
What is the MAD system ?
What makes a good consultant ?
What does Siebel 8 look like ?
Is it better to be an employee or go contracting ?
When is a good time to buys flights to Portugal ?
Where is the next big Analytics Project ?
How do I pay my tax bill ?
Should I go on the Marketing Server Architect course ?
What technical questions should I ask an Analytics candidate ?


I better stop there. Since my last blog things have been busy, very busy. During that time I have been trying to think of a subject to write about, but so many things come to mind. Should it be technical, personal (to show that I'm a nice guy!) or political (don't get me started). So I'm going to give my views on all of the above.



Why have I not written a blog for ages ?

Because I went on a skiing holiday, went live at the Royal Mal on their 7.8 project, spent every weekend taking the kids sailing, did my tax return, invoiced clients, did my LTd company accounts for 2005/2006, had Xmas lunches and dinners(the Majendi one was really good), watched some rugby, developed the MAD system, had a kids night out due to sons birthday, paid lots of bills, updated the Majendi Accounts system, interviewed some candidates, ran some Analytics master classes and finally got some sleep. phew!



Does Siebel Analytics work on IE7 ?

I installed Analytics on my new laptop this week and it seemed to work fine. I've had some trouble with Oracle 10g Enterprise manager. It became corrupted so I had to uninstall everything and start again. EM is now a web based system which looks much better than the previous version and is easy to use but this corruption has been a royal pain.



Is there a version 8 of Analytics, if so what is it called ?

I don't think so. I've had a good look at the Oracle website and can still only find 7.8.5. I'll keep my eye open for news on this front, but let me know if you find anything.



What is the difference between Siebel Analytics and Oracle BIEE ?

Good question. I installed both this week on my Laptop, BIEE first. The first product worked well except the manual said the username/pwd was admin/admin, turns out it was Administrator/Administrator - Thanks! I liked the xml Publisher which is new, but the rest was mainly a renamed Analytics system, placed into a different folder structure, for example, C:\OracleBI\Server\.
Oracle BIEE looks like it's just a replacement for Analytics Platform, I can't see where you get the applications part from, other than installing Analytics Applications itself. When I tried this, it recognised that there was an existing Analytics platform so didn't create it owns structures (e.g. C:\SiebelAnalytics). I'll investigate more this week so let me know if you have a specific issues.
(I'm off to check Mark Rittman blog for more details)



Where are all the best Analytics consultants ?

I wish I knew. Majendi is always looking for consultants who have lots of experience with Analytics. I am looking for permanent consultants for Inforte. If you know of anyone who has at least a couple of Analytics project sunder their belts then please let me know ASAP.



How do I find good crew for the next racing series ?

I nearly didn't enter the Warsash Spring Series due to lack of crew. Biggest problem is that one of our team is getting married in the middle of the series, even worse, he's having a stag do the week before so taking out both weekends.
I would like to be competitive so need the best possible sailors. After some badgering I've now got a team that can compete most weeks so we should get better as the series progresses. Follow our results at WSS.



Is disconnected Analytics a good idea despite the technical challenges ?

I still don't think so. In the age of 3G and broadband everywhere it must be far better to get people to work online than go through the major hassle of disconnected Analytics




How do you get more skilled in Analytics ?

I read the ITToolbox posting with a mixture of glee and annoyance. So many beginners are being placed on analytics projects that clearly have not been on a course. They ask stupid questions which demonstrate a laziness to read the manuals, support web and even previous toolbox postings. The consulting firms that hire these people are not investing properly in their people and dong their clients a disservice. The clients who outsource to the cheapskates get the system they deserve, but the cost is that the general image of Analytics is undermined and investment is moved to other reporting tools. As an industry we really are shooting ourselves in the foot. I would like to see Oracle step in and really classify their partners so the clients know what they are getting.



What is the MAD system ?

It's a brilliant Analytics Design and Documenting system that we use to design a and document Analytics systems. It will analyse your current system and look for redundancy and flaws. It saves me weeks in a project and removes the boring work. I'm trying to get some reverse engineering in there now, along with embedded Visio diagrams.
Perhaps I should sell it?




What makes a good consultant ?

Patience, hard work and diplomacy. One of my pet hates is to see consultants surfing the net in Client time, but there are other things which are more subtle like remaining positive about Analytics even when it does do what you want - never let the client see you undermine the product as it is our lifeblood; Also, Keep you politics to yourself, even outside the office. You are never off duty with a client.




Is it better to be an employee or go contracting ?

On balance, being an employee gives you a better lifestyle. Having spent half my working life employed the other half a contractor I am leaning towards the employed model. Whilst contracting I have spent so many nights and weekends doing accounts, payroll, tax returns, company returns, VAT returns, meetings with solicitors, accounts and HR people. On the face of it the financial benefits are greater, but this UK government has found many new ways to tax anyone who dares to start up a business, even if you get away with IR35 there is other taxes that they will apply, and There's no getting away from National Insurance. Better to find a good employer who cares about your development and sees a partnership between you than try to go it alone.



How do I pay my tax bill ?

Don't you just hate Tax, especially when the government don't have a clue how to spend the money wisely. I paid mine online, ontime; lets see if I still get a fine.



When is a good time to buys flights to Portugal ?

Last year. We saw prices on BA flights go up by the day in January. Trying to buy online the system failed several times, and at the very end of the process - all very annoying, but even worse when you log in the next day and the prices have gone up 20 pounds, and the next. Ended up paying 150 pounds more for the flights, and cut down the holiday by two days. Next time we book really early. Come on BA get your act together.



Where is the next big Analytics Project ?

I think I know! The UK analytics market is getting more mature due to the reduction in the number of new CRM installations - companies are concentrating on upgrades. The German market is going very strong so time to brush up on those accents. The majority of customers I am speaking to are interested in Marketing, which as you know has Analytics at it's core. The other hot topic is data quality - many projects are delayed or failed due to poor quality of data, so I'm seeing what can be done to smooth the process of migration and cleansing. If you have any views let me know.



Should I go on the Marketing Server Architect course ?

Oh yes. Like I just said, this area is building up a strong demand. As an Oracle partner we get discounts for Oracle courses so will be putting as many people as we can on the course.



What technical questions should I ask an Analytics candidate ?

I am forever interviewing people, mainly using technical questions, but also using some competency based q's
Here is a selection of questions that I ask (I have an AQS - Analytics Question System which I have extracted some questions from)


Questions for you to establish if they know anything about analytics

W0 Warehouse

W1 What schemas do you recommend for an Analytics system
W2 How do you save changes to data in SQL
W3 What is the structure of a PL/SQL script
W4 What tools do you use to manage databases
W5 What is the difference between an OLTP and an OLAP
W6 Do you use indexing on a staging table?


I0 Informatica

I1 How do you call a stored procedure in Informatica
I2 When do you use re-usable objects
I3 Where do you create your own mappings in the Siebel Informatica Repository
I4 How would you add a field from S_ORG_EXT_X to the warehouse



D0 DAC

D1 What is the main purpose of the DAC
D2 What objects are in the DAC
D3 How do you add an Index for a table (existing and not existing)
D4 How do you run a full load (not incremental)
D5 How does Change capture work


Con0 Analytics Config

Con1 Where do you change the config settings
Con2 How do you turning caching on
Con3 How do you add a new style
Con4 What default logging level is best for a 1000 seat company?


R0 Repository

R1 What are the three layers
R2 How do you set session variables and how do you set Repository variables?
R3 How do you update alias table definitions?



Web0 Webcat

Web1 How do you copy requests from one webcatalog to another?


Dash0 Dashboards

Dash1 How do you create a dashboard?
Dash2 How do you set the permissions on a dashboard



Ans0 Answers

Ans1 What is the Formulae to use in a request, to see a Repository Variable?


Del0 Delivers

Del1 Where are iBots stored ?


Mkt0 Marketing

Mkt1 What is a QLI ?



Int0 Integration

Int1 What is an Action link used for?




Too many questions, and not enough time to get all the answers (How many of the above do YOU know?

1 comment:

bishwa said...

Well lemme try answering ur questions :)

W0 Warehouse

W1 What schemas do you recommend for an Analytics system

A:Start Schema??

W2 How do you save changes to data in SQL

A: ?? Tool specific. depends which tool u r using or u mean Update statements ???

W3 What is the structure of a PL/SQL script
A: Declare
Begin
Exception
End

W4 What tools do you use to manage databases
A: Again depends, Toad for Oracle & DB2 , MS SQL ......

W5 What is the difference between an OLTP and an OLAP
A: OLTP is the transaction system where the transaction records are stored. You can report of what is happening currently.
OLAP system is the system created from OLTP system for Analysing the trend. Not for reporting whatz happing currently in the org.

W6 Do you use indexing on a staging table?
A: No . Its because staging table are used to store the data which needs to be loaded to Warehousing. Stagin tables are always truncated. It doesn't store the history and the load is always insert..



I0 Informatica

I1 How do you call a stored procedure in Informatica
A: Stored proc transformation

I2 When do you use re-usable objects
A: When the same object is used in multiple places. For eg: Lookup to a dimension to get the surrogate key. It will be used in all the Fact mapping where the Dimension key is present.


I3 Where do you create your own mappings in the Siebel Informatica Repository
A: Mapping Designer

I4 How would you add a field from S_ORG_EXT_X to the warehouse
A: Siebel OLTP specific. depends on me. I can use the X_Custom port available in the mapping and the target table or can create a new port.


D0 DAC

D1 What is the main purpose of the DAC.
A: Its a gr8 tool. I lekd it very much. It reduces the manual effort to create the workflow and worklet. Also it saves time by avoiding runing unnecessary sessions.
For eg: 2 mappings are loadin data into Status dimension: One for Sales Status & other for PO Status.
Now in the conditional table i can give the respective Fact table for Sale & PO.
If i include both the facts in my subject area then both the dimension mapping will run. If i include only Sales fact then only Sales status will be loaded...
This is one of the benefit.. there are many.

D2 What objects are in the DAC.
A: Again depends which version u r using, in Latest release(Tenerife) Table, Tasks, Tasks Group, SA, EP. Before this Table group were there in place of Task group

D3 How do you add an Index for a table (existing and not existing)
A: Go to Table add and then Indices for that and then Add. If existing you can import from DB.

D4 How do you run a full load (not incremental)
A: Reset data warehouse . But i do it at the back end :). Just truncate the S_ETL_REFRESH_DT table in the dac repository

D5 How does Change capture work
A: Again Siebel specific. If u have Siebel OLTP then the concept of _I, _R, _D comes into picture.
_I stores all the records which needs to be inserted. _D stores all the records whic needs to be deleted, _R stores all the history. ( These table stores only INtg ID, Datasource NUm id, one more column which is running no. forgot the name for each operation :))
Change capture takes all the records from _I & _D.
_I is populated by joinin OLTp tables & _R tables. once the data is loaded into staging all the data in _I table is moved to _R image.



Con0 Analytics Config

Con1 Where do you change the config settings

A: nqsconfig file

Con2 How do you turning caching on
A: NQSConfig file

Con3 How do you add a new style
A: add a new style in OracleBIData\Wed\res.
Maui release has an issue, you need to add the style in OC4j folder also.
\OracleBI\oc4j_bi\j2ee\home\applications\analytics\analytics

Con4 What default logging level is best for a 1000 seat company?
A: 2 ?? Not sure

R0 Repository

R1 What are the three layers
A: Physical, BMM, presentaion

R2 How do you set session variables and how do you set Repository variables?
A: Manage>> Variables

R3 How do you update alias table definitions?
A: Once you update the main physical table, aliases will be updated automatically.


Web0 Webcat

Web1 How do you copy requests from one webcatalog to another?
A: Open catague online in catalogue manager, copy (Copy to another catalogue), open the other webcat then paste ( paste from another calogue)

Dash0 Dashboards

Dash1 How do you create a dashboard?
A: in Answer go to Settings>>Administration>> Manage Dashboard.
Is it required to rememeber this :)

Dash2 How do you set the permissions on a dashboard
A: Settings>>Administration>> Manage Privileges.


Ans0 Answers

Ans1 What is the Formulae to use in a request, to see a Repository Variable?
A: Valueof()

Del0 Delivers

Del1 Where are iBots stored ?
A: Presentaion services??? Not sure

Mkt0 Marketing

Mkt1 What is a QLI ?

A: No idea :)

Int0 Integration

Int1 What is an Action link used for?

A: No idea

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