Learning Advanced Analytics Features with Oracle Analytics: Outliers and Clusters

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This is the second part of the material dedicated to Oracle Analytics. In Part 1, we started our journey and learned to create Reference Line, Forecast Line with Sales data. It let us get some essential remarks about the products with outstanding performance or relations between Sales and Profit.

In this part, we are going to continue using Advanced features. Here, our goal is to create Outliers and Clusters to identify abnormal data points in datasets and identify the grouping of customers.

CodingSight - Advanced Analytics with Oracle Analytics

Before we start our new tasks, it is recommended that you refresh your knowledge by turning to the previous part of the material. We will use the project setup at that stage.

Using the Outlier Line

The purpose of Outlier is to highlight anomalies in data points on a given visual. It offers K-Means and Hierarchical Clustering algorithms

  • Create a new canvas and drag and drop City and Sales into the Visualization panel
  • Choose the Category chart type
Hierarchical Clustering algorithms in Advances Sales Analytics
  • Right-click on the Visual > Add Statistics > Outliers
Right-click on the Visual > Add Statistics > Outliers
  • Remove Order Date out of the filter panel

In the visual, you can see the outliers (anomalies) in green. These data points are at both the top and bottom sides, such as Hong Kong city. These outliers require further investigation.

Anomalies in Advanced Sales Analytics

In our case, to investigate why Hong Kong is an outlier, we create a new visual. It will show what happened and the relation between Sales and Profit.

  • Drag and drop Sales and Profit into the Visualization panel. Choose the Line chart type
  • Drag and drop Order Date into Category (X-Axis)

The visual displays abnormal Sales of 25-Dec-2013 on the Line chart – Sales go up very high. From this, we can continue to drill down data to the detail level.

Drag and drop Order Date into Category (X-Axis)

Now, let’s try to highlight outliers with multiple measures.

  • Drag and drop City, Profit Sales into Visualization panel
  • Choose the Scatter chart type and Add Statistics > Outlier

The classifications of Outliers are different based on measures:

Sales, Profit by City, Outliers in Advanced Sales Analytics

Using Clusters

The purpose of Cluster Analysis is to identify homogenous groups of data points. It also offers K-Means and Hierarchical Clustering algorithms.

  • Create a new canvas within the Clusters name
  • Drag and drop City, Profit Sales into the Visualization panel
  • Choose the Scatter chart type and Add Statistics > Clusters
Cluster Analysis in Advances Sales Analytics

The visual clusters your data points to 5 groups. In the left-bottom panel, you can change the number of groups by updating Groups:

Cluster Analysis in Advanced Sales Analytics

Clusters are a useful feature that helps to identify homogenous groups or segmentation of your customers. Clustered groups let you understand more about customers having the same distinctions like demographics or behaviors.

Using the Explain Feature

Advance Analytics features let us dive into the datasets with the help of Trend Line, Forecast, Outliers, or Clusters. However, you need to apply those features manually. On the other hand, Oracle Analytics also includes automated processes to quickly recognize the dataset patterns and trends, find out outliers (anomalies), and isolate segments with the highest predictive significance. This feature is Explain in Oracle Analytics.

  • Create a new canvas named Explain
  • Right-click on Profit > Explain Profit
Explain feature in Advanced Sales Analytics

This feature is Machine Learning (ML). It presents how selected measures relate to all attributes in your dataset. It also presents the Anomalies‘ functionality.

The Basic Facts about Profit section shows the list of visuals – the Profit values, and how they relate to each other. You can choose any visual to add to your canvas.

Basic Facts about Profit section

Click on Anomalies of Profit – this functionality presents unexpected results of Profit. For instance, you can see the generated automated stories:

  • When Ship Mode is Delivery Truck, we expected Profit for City: Sao Paulo to be 9,617.48. However, it is 21,317.51. The difference is 11,700.03.
  • When the Product Category is Office Supplies, we expected Profit for City: Paris to be 5,201.16. However, it is 19,854.68. The difference is 14,653.52.

Let’s verify the story of how the Paris profit is an outlier when the Product Category is Office Supplies. If we want to add automated visual into canvas, click on the tick button on this visual > Add Selected:

Explain Profit feature in Oracle Analytics
  • Drag and drop Profit and City into Visualization
  • Choose the Category chart type
  • Add Product Category to the canvas filter and choose the Office Supplies product category
  • Add Outliers to the visual
Advanced Sales Analytics in Oracle Analytics

As you see, Paris is the outlier of the profit data point.

It’s similar to the Explain feature when it provides automated visuals instead of using manual Outlier functionality.


The current tutorial helped us to discover such efficient Advanced Analytics features as Clusters, Outliers, and Explain.

Outliers highlight anomalies of the dataset and discover their reasons in business operation.

Clusters highlight homogenous groups. You can apply the feature to find clustered customers within the same characteristics, behaviors, etc. It helps running campaigns more effectively.

Explain is an automated process that helps users to work on the above-mentioned features automatically.

Depending on your requirements, you will choose suitable functionalities and apply them to your analysis.

Dung Dinh

Dung Dinh

BI Specialist, Data Modelling, working as Oracle Consultant in Oracle Cloud.