Open data and systems with the OData protocol

As cloud computing and Software as a Service (SaaS) continue to grow as the preferred mechanisms for software delivery to both the consumer and enterprise, standards have emerged that allow systems to interoperate over the web. Applications talk to each other via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that securely expose data and functionality to the outside world. Systems we use every day combine data from APIs to provide useful functionality, for example:

  • My smart phone home screen displays the weather forecast for my current location, using data provided by the national meteorological service
  • I can research a vacation on a booking website that shows me flight options and hotel availability from numerous providers

Modern APIs adhere to standards including HTTP (the underlying protocol of the World Wide Web) and REST, which is a set of principles for structuring Web APIs so they can be consistently consumed, documented, and understood by developers. The Open Data Protocol, or “OData”, is an international standard that builds upon REST to define a query language for exposing and consuming web resources. Implementing your API using the OData standard means that consumers can query the data using a language that is very similar to the Structured Query Language (SQL) that is used for relational databases. Better still, business intelligence tools like PowerBI, Excel, Spotfire and Tableau support OData natively, meaning that business users can access the OData API’s data for reporting and analysis using a graphical interface.

At Aucerna we have embraced the OData standard and use it to expose data from our planning, execution and reserves systems for efficient extraction by other systems. Our clients can deploy the software on premises or in the cloud, and in both scenarios can enjoy the open connectivity provided through OData. For example, a PowerBI user can connect to PlanningSpace Economics, and navigate through the data model, retrieving economic calculation results data:

1. Point PowerBI to the Economics OData root endpoint:

1_PowerBI to the Ecoomics Odata root endpoint

2. Drill down to your desired data by applying filters, selects or other operations:

2_Drill Down

3. Visualize and Analyze:

3_Visualize & Analyze 1
3_Visualize & Analyze 2

To summarise the benefits to our customers of the OData feeds available in Aucerna’s products:

  • Your planning data is made available from Aucerna’s products out-of-the-box using a broadly adopted protocol (OData)
  • Integration with other systems in your landscape can be done with no additional custom development
  • Data analysis and reporting is made easy with BI tools like PowerBI and Spotfire, which natively understand OData
  • OData endpoints operate over HTTP, so your data is available securely whether you deploy our products on the Cloud or in your own data centre
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About the Author

Eoghan O'Neill, VP, Development

Eoghan-O'Neill

Eoghan O’Neill is Vice President Development with responsibility for delivery of corporate planning software products. Based in Aucerna’s London office, Eoghan’s role focuses on the people, agile development processes and tools that converge to provide high quality solutions to our clients. In his 10 years with Aucerna, Eoghan has worked both on product development, and on the services side of the organisation - collaborating with clients including Shell, Talisman and OMV on consulting projects and implementations of planning, economics, and portfolio solutions. Eoghan holds an MSc. in Management Information Systems from University College Cork in Ireland.

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