My introduction about Oracle OpenWorld business analytics trends is going to sound suspiciously like my colleague Chuck Persky’s recent blog about Oracle OpenWorld EPM (Hyperion) news…the overwhelming theme of OpenWorld (and for the business analytics software category) this year was CLOUD, CLOUD, and CLOUD!
Setting the Stage: Business Analytics Definition and Strategy
I want to clarify how the Performance Architects team defines the term “business analytics.” We think of business analytics from a technology perspective as the intersection of business intelligence (Oracle Business Intelligence), data discovery (Oracle Endeca Information Discovery or OEID) and enterprise performance management (Oracle EPM or Hyperion). Oracle segments EPM into a separate category from a marketing and sales perspective, which is why we have a separate blog entry on OpenWorld EPM outcomes. This blog entry therefore deals with news from OpenWorld in what we call the BI and data discovery areas (as well as supporting technologies like Oracle’s engineered systems).
Oracle’s overall business analytics strategy has remained remarkably consistent over the past several months, but how Oracle is achieving this strategy has evolved over time. In short, their strategy remains any data, using integrated tools as well as packaged EPM and BI solutions, leveraging engineered systems via any delivery channel (cloud, on premise, etc.). Oracle’s public announcements at OpenWorld about business analytics product development focus areas in relation to this strategy include:
1. Offer analytics in the cloud
Oracle’s Analytics Cloud is touted as providing a “comprehensive portfolio of offerings built for the cloud, covering every need across business intelligence, big data analytics and embedded SaaS analytics.” The big news in this arena is Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS), which was “officially” announced at OpenWorld, although it has been in preview mode for several months in advance of the conference.
From my perspective, this offering is intended to bridge the gap between some of the departmental “desktop BI” vendors that don’t offer a great architecture to scale to an enterprise-wide solution and those behemoth enterprise-wide BI solutions that require too much involvement on the part of IT to allow business users to efficiently analyze a situation to enact change. To this end, BICS offers some really cool features (this is by no means a comprehensive list, just what I personally find exciting):
- Built on existing Oracle BI technology
- Integrates with Oracle Database Cloud Service
- Provides mobile capabilities “out of the box” for Android and iOS
- Works with Oracle Application Express (APEX)
- Supplies multiple data loading options, including those associated with Database Cloud Service
- Delivers robust lifecycle management with row-level security
2. Augment mobile BI access
Oracle is providing more intuitive ways to report and analyze business information via mobile devices. The “out of the box” integration of mobile with BICS and other Oracle Analytics Cloud capabilities is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is coming in this area.
3. Provide big data discovery capabilities
The cornerstones of this big data evolution are the soon-to-be-released Big Data in the Cloud and Big Data Discovery. Big Data Discovery is touted Oracle’s “visual face of Hadoop.” The implication of this new offering is that business users can search, in an easy-to-use fashion, less-structured data to determine correlations – and ultimately causation – for some of their thornier business issues. Up until now, a business person needed to have a data science background to truly take advantage of these kinds of technologies; I can’t wait to experiment with this solution to see how it measures up!
4. Enhanced business user experience
The Oracle BI technologies are – in a good way – road-tested and more mature. However, this means that interface and data discovery capabilities are in need of some enhancement. Oracle is delivering modifications both by providing the ability to search, analyze and report on additional data types (e.g., more modern data storage technologies like Hadoop) as well as enhanced interface capabilities across the company’s BI platform introduced into Oracle’s BI product capabilities with the Endeca acquisition.
5. Innovations in engineered systems and in-memory analytics
Whether Oracle’s customers use Oracle software on premise or in the cloud, they have the opportunity to take advantage of Oracle’s engineered systems and in-memory analytics to provide optimal performance (Oracle runs its own engineered systems in company data centers).
The big engineered systems news was the Exalytics X4-4 launch. My colleague Andy Tauro already did a great job covering the key benefits of this release in another Performance Architects blog entry on this topic.
The other (continued) big news was the launch of Oracle Database In-Memory capabilities certified for Exalytics. In other words, the Oracle database is preconfigured to put all data in memory on Exalytics, making everyone’s jobs a lot easier!
Want to access Performance Architects’ presentations from OpenWorld this year? Go here.
Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects