Over the years, Hyperion Smart View (also known as “HSV” or “Smart View”) has expanded from being a mere Microsoft Excel add-in that queried data from a Hyperion application or from an Oracle Essbase database, to something more powerful. First came the integration with the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, including MS Word and PowerPoint, allowing for reports and dashboards to be imported into documents and presentations, and then refreshed with real-time data. Then came the integration with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) and Oracle Hyperion Strategic Finance (HSF). Smart View matured from a query tool into a reporting tool, with the ability to connect to multiple sources simultaneously in order to provide fresh data for more value. With every version, Smart View also gained administration features. In every new version release briefing of Hyperion EPM or OBIEE, Smart View has had its own section, as if it was a product in its own right.
When Oracle released HSV Version 18.104.22.168 without much fanfare, the new functionality almost slipped under the radar. It is still too early to tell why the Oracle team chose to use a version number that is at least two years away for Hyperion EPM, and at least one year away for OBIEE. But what this does seem to be is a release of Oracle Hyperion Smart View that bundles all of the recent changes made for each of the Oracle product suites that HSV supports and make these changes available to users of both. And that is a good thing.
Consider this: Hyperion Smart View brings together many different product suites, such as Oracle Hyperion EPM (Hyperion), OBIEE and Microsoft Office. These are designed and developed by separate teams, if not companies, with different feature sets, code-lines and release dates. If Smart View continues to be released only with the large EPM and BI releases, then it will not be able to stay up-to-date. When the last versions of Hyperion EPM or Oracle BI were being developed, we still lived in a world of Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2010 and Internet Explorer 9. Not to mention the fact that 64-bit client machines were not yet widespread. But now these machines are mainstream, and, as a result, Smart View has had some compatibility issues with related client software. As a result, our clients often asked when Smart View would be updated to keep up. In the world of CFOs, Finance Managers and Budget Office personnel, whether or not the server software is running the latest operating system does not matter nearly as much as whether their desktop machines are current. And that means the software that goes on them.
So by possibly moving Smart View to its own release, it can be updated quickly to work with third party software like Microsoft Windows or Office, and even Mac OS. This will allow for it to be kept in sync with the versions of Hyperion EPM and Oracle BI that are out there, as well as third party suites that it would support, but have no control over.
So how different is this new version? Look-and-feel wise, it is still the same tool that we love to use. It has gained very few new features. The main changes are under the hood:
• Provides a single installer for 32-bit as well as 64-bit of Microsoft Office installations
• Upgrades no longer need to un-install previously installed versions
• Allows you to modify connections from Document Contents and to hide the pane altogether
• Supports Microsoft Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013 support
The final item is most likely the most eagerly awaited feature, and will bring relief to many system administrators. A more comprehensive set of its features can be found here (http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E41952_01/index.htm)
So does this major release of Oracle Hyperion Smart View change everything? While it does not introduce ground-breaking new features, Oracle took an important step towards breaking HSV’s connection to other product development cycles. We look forward to seeing the good things that will come out of this!
Author: Andrew Tauro, Performance Architects