Announcing PowerDrill for Oracle EID 3.1

Published February 6 2015 by Patrick Rafferty
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If you had distill what we at Ranzal's Big Data Practice do down to its essence, it's to use technology to make accessing and managing your data more intuitive, more useful.  Often this takes the form of data modeling and integration, data visualization or advice in picking the right technology for the problem at hand.

Sometimes, it's a lot simpler than that.  Sometimes, it's just giving users a shortcut or an easy way to do more with the tools they have.  Our latest offering, the PowerDrill for Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1, is the quintessential example of this.

When dealing with large and diverse quantities of data, Oracle Endeca Studio is great for a lot of operations.  It enables open text search, it has data visualization, it enriches data, it surfaces all in-context attributes for slicing and dicing and it helps you find answers both high-level, say "Sales by Region", and low, like "My best/worst performing product".  But what about the middle ground?

For example, on our demo site, we have an application that allows users to explore publicly available data related to Parks and Recreation facilities in Chicago.  I'm able to navigate through the data, filter by the types of facilities available (Pools, Basketball Courts, Mini Golf, etc.), see locations on a map, pretty basic exploration.

The Parks of Chicago The Parks of Chicago

Now, let's say I'm looking for parks that fit a certain set of criteria.  For example, let's say I'm looking to organize a 3-on-3 basketball tournament somewhere in the city.  I can use my discovery application to very easily find parks that have at least 2 basketball courts.

Navigate By Courts Navigate By Courts

This leaves me with 80 potential parks that might be a candidate for my tournament.  But let's say I live in the suburbs and I'm not all that familiar with the different neighborhoods of Chicago.  Wouldn't it be great to use other data sets to quickly explore the areas surrounding these parks quickly and easily?  Enter the Power Drill.

Results List with Power Drill Button Attached Results List with Power Drill Button Attached

Based on any shared attribute, I can immediately shift or "pivot" into an adjacent data set in my application (or maybe any other application, but that's coming soon).  In this particular case, I can pivot into my crimes data based on where the park is located.  That could be the neighborhood the park is located in or even the exact block it's on.  The user can choose their pivot attribute and immediately be taken to where they want to go.

Upon clicking "Power Drill", this dialog appears Upon clicking "Power Drill", this dialog appears

A couple clicks and away we go with the component taking the user to a different page within the application, applying the appropriate refinements.

On apply, the user is taken here automagically On apply, the user is taken here automagically

No spinning through lists of options to "select all of my blocks", everything's right there for the user whether they are trying to grab info about 10 city blocks or 5200.

It also handles multiple collections quickly and easily.  Instead of crimes, maybe I want to go find restaurants in the area and how they did on their health inspections or whether or not a lot of vehicles are towed in the neighborhood.  Oracle Endeca processes the power drill functions just like the user had taken these actions manually by choosing all of the elements individually.

This is about as simple as it gets in terms of "use case".  In real life apps we've seen with customers, it may be using Available Refinements to narrow my Sales dataset down to my best 500 sales reps.  I can then pivot into HR data about those individuals automatically without manually selecting each of them.  Lots of complexity behind the scenes but a seamless and fast interaction for the user.

Power Drill operates in 3 modes.  It attaches to Results List components as in the example above.  It attaches to Results Table components and it can display as a stand-alone portlet for even easier access, outside of the "listing" components.

Enabling Power User Mode Enabling Power User Mode

If you're saying to yourself, "that's great, how do I get it and how much does it cost?", shoot us a note at product [at]  The PowerDrill is licensed as per-application or per-company.  Also, existing Ranzal customers are entitled to significant discounts on both the per-app and per-company rate.  To give a ballpark, both the per-app and per-company rates are less than a week worth of professional services from anyone out there, including ourselves.  And if someone out there is savvy enough to build this in a week, let us know because we'll hire them!

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