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ExoInsight

Tableau and Essbase Users Rejoice – ExoInsight 7.0 is now available!

We’re excited to announce that ExoInsight 7.0 has now been released!

Besides bug fixes, enhanced support for special characters, and the ability to save frequently used POV Strings, the biggest change is the redesigned integration between Essbase and Tableau. Previously, ExoInsight utilized a SQL Server connection to facilitate pulling Essbase data into Tableau. This worked beautifully for pulling data and metadata into Tableau in most cases, but we received feedback from some users that the experience could be improved:

  • Most users were comfortable using the native SQL Server data connection, but some were not.
  • Because SQL Server (and Tableau’s native SQL Server connector) do not allow joining a result set returned by a stored procedure with another stored procedure or table, multiple connections to ExoInsight had to be set up in order to bring in and blend data and dimension metadata.
  • Similarly, because Tableau data blending had to be used to join the data set with the dimensions, outer, left, and right joins could not easily be used.
  • Some companies did not use SQL Server as their corporate standard and had to have a separate instance set up.

We listened to the feedback and we’re excited to announce that ExoInsight 7.0 can now be accessed by the native Web Data Connector in Tableau! This means that SQL Server is no longer necessary to access Essbase from Tableau, and all the concerns raised above have been addressed.

Let’s look at how ExoInsight 7.0 can be used to access Essbase from Tableau. After ExoInsight is installed and set up, choose the native Web Data Connector from the data connection sources:

You’ll then be prompted for a URL and you’ll enter the ExoInsight POV String Builder URL:

This will bring up the POV String Builder page that you’re already familiar with. Simply log into your Essbase environment, select your application and database, then start building your POV String by interacting directly with the outline. Once you’ve built your POV String to define the slice of data you want from Essbase (and optionally run the query to see the results), click the Load to Tableau button:

Now you’ll be in the ExoInsight connector page where you’ll have access to all the data you specified in the POV String as well as all the dimensions. You still have access to all your Essbase data in the exact format that Tableau prefers, but now it’s easier to join up any dimensions you want to the data results, all without having to make multiple connections.

Simply drag the “Data” table over to the data prep panel as well as any dimensions you’d like to include (including dimensions can be helpful if you’d like to pull in your Essbase hierarchies or need to perform calculations on generation or level numbers, shared member flags, need additional alias tables, etc). You now have access to inner, left, right, and full outer joins:

And since ExoInsight presents your Essbase data in a fully-relational format, anything that you’d typically be able to do with relational data can now be done with your Essbase data. For example, you can easily create a calculated field directly in the data prep window:

Now that your data has been loaded into Tableau from Essbase in a relational format, you can work with it just as you would any other data source. That’s the beauty of ExoInsight…you’re given the freedom to work with OLAP data from a source such as Essbase with a reporting tool like Tableau and take advantage of all it has to offer.

If you’re still struggling with the native Tableau Essbase connector, or have multiple processes to extract data from Essbase, stage it in a spreadsheet or relational database, then load the (now stale) data into Tableau, check out ExoInsight and see how easy it is to create beautiful visualizations off of one of your most important data sources.

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