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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A brief glimpse at iBots

What are iBots?

iBots are intelligence agents or Bots. These agents are triggered by a schedule or condition that in turn generates a request to perform analytics on data based upon defined criteria.

Where do iBots originate from?

Oracle BI Delivers is the application to create, modify and manage iBots.

How do iBots work?

In order to understand how an iBot works, we should start by first creating a new iBot from scratch.

Navigate to "Delivers" ......

.....and click the link to create a new iBot.

From here, we will tackle each individual tab to get an understanding of what the process is to create an iBot.

1) Overview tab

This view is a summary of the current settings for the selected iBot.

One can navigate to specific settings by clicking on the links in the summary or clicking on the tabs located at the top.

2) General tab

This is where the priority of the iBot and how to send the delivery content are set.

The priority options are low, normal, or high. The priority works with the delivery profile for a user to determine the destination for alerts of different priorities.

The following Data Visibility options affect the customization of the delivery content:

Personalized (individual data visibility)
- uses the data visibility of each recipient to customize iBot delivery content for each recipient. Note that The Run As field if not available.

Not personalized (use the Run As user's data visibility):
- sends the iBot's delivery content to the specified recipients. All users receive the same content as if they were the user specified in the Run As field.

Not personalized (use iBot owner’s data visibility):
- sends the iBot’s delivery content to the specified recipients using the data visibility of the specified user (Run As box field) who created the iBot. In other words, all recipients will receive the content that's viewable to the Run As user.

3) Conditional Request tab

This page is used to select a request to trigger the iBot. The results of the conditional request determine whether the iBot sends its delivery content and initiates any subsequent actions:

- If the request does not return any rows, the iBot is not triggered.

- If the request returns at least one row, the iBot sends its delivery content and initiates any subsequent actions.

Requests can be chained together to create complex conditional logic.

4) Schedule tab

iBots can be executed based on a specified schedule. You can define a starting date and time for the iBot, a recurrence schedule, and an ending date.

5) Recipients tab

Use this tab to select the users and groups to receive the delivery content of the iBot.

One has the ability to select specific individual users and groups to receive the contents of the iBot.
**You can select multiple users by holding down the SHIFT or CTRL keys and selecting adjacent or nonadjacent users.**

Also, one can select which users or groups can subscribe to the iBot. This allows users the flexibility to receive and view the contents of the iBot AND customize prompted filter values for columns.

Keep in mind that in order to publish iBots, the content must be shared.

6) Delivery Content tab

Use the Delivery Content tab to specify the type of content to deliver with the iBot, such as a
dashboard page or a saved request. The delivery format for the content can also be selected, such
as HTML, PDF, XLS, CSV, or text.

The contents of the Headline field will appear as the subject of the request.

The two field text boxes below allows one to attach a message when the iBot is delivered depending on if the iBot is delivered as an attachment or if there are no records returned by the conditional request.

7) Destinations tab

The User Destinations and Specific Devices portions of this tab are pretty self explanatory.

As for System Services...

Oracle BI Server Cache is used for seeding cache.

(** To have the cache created for individual users, the Personalized option for data visibility in the General tab must be selected.)

Disconnected Application Cache is only available to companies that have licensed Disconnected Analytics.

(** To have the disconnected application cache created for individual users, the Personalized(individual data visibility) option for Data Visibility in the General tab must be selected.)

(**Nonpersonalized data is not used for Disconnected Analytics users.)

8) Advanced tab

Use the Advanced tab to specify one or more actions to execute after the iBot is finished running.

Actions include the execution of other iBots, custom scripts, custom Java programs or Workflows.

For further reading on iBots, I would suggest downloading the Oracle Business Intelligence Answers, Delivers, and Interactive Dashboards User Guide to read further about creating iBots. What I provided is just a brief glimpse of iBots.