Friday Mar 27, 2015

Information Cycle: The Times They Are A-Changin

Release 11.1.1.9.1 of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications OBIA @AlexAnvari www.linkedin.com/in/alexanvari

There is an enterprise analogy to nature’s cycle where every molecule of water passes through a cloud. Your information also flows like water and it will end up in a cloud at some point in a cycle. Information too is everywhere and it can gather into glaciers (long range mega storage data-warehouse), as a river overflowing the banks (and budgets or capacity to consume) and on premises (in a water tower) for near term requirements.

Information naturally will cycle through both cloud and on premise sources and uses. Experts say every piece of enterprise information will pass through a cloud (outsourced computing environment) at some point because of superior economics, security, agility and innovation. You may process (HR, Financial, Supply Chain, Production, Sales, Procurement) transactions in-house or in the cloud or, even more likely, in a hybrid ever-changing fashion. For sure, just like water, transactions will be communicated, transported, stored, analyzed, reported or consumed with some cloud involved somewhere in the cycle.

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Tuesday Mar 17, 2015

What’s New in Oracle BI Applications 11.1.1.9.1?

Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Applications 11.1.1.9.1 is now available on the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud, and on the Oracle BI Applications OTN page. This release is certified with the latest version of Oracle BI Foundation 11.1.1.7. This new release of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications adds:

1. New support for Oracle Cloud Application Sources to enable Hybrid Analytics from on-premise and cloud Applications

2. Expanded functional content coverage across existing Oracle BI Applications

New Oracle Cloud Application Sources for Hybrid Analytics

· With the continued move to the Cloud, Oracle BI Applications has introduced support for the following Oracle Application Cloud sources: Oracle Sales Cloud, Oracle HCM Cloud, Oracle Financial Cloud, Oracle Procurement Cloud, and Oracle Project Cloud.

New Content Enhancements: Additional content improves existing Oracle BI Applications including:

· Oracle Financial Analytics provides a new Essbase GL Balances model for improved EBS Financial Service Generator (FSG) Reporting and Hierarchy navigation, including support of ragged hierarchies for GL segment dimensions.

· Oracle Project Analytics expands project-based insight with new Construction in Process (CIP) support, providing visibility for Project Stakeholders into in-progress costs, expensed costs since project inception and across organizations.

· Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics delivers new capabilities for Fusion Procurement, including Supply Chain Financial orchestration, negotiation and award approvals, and Buyer assignment controls.

· Oracle Supply Chain & Order Management Analytics introduces new Inventory module support for PeopleSoft, including visibility into inventory balances, aging, transactions and valuation.

· Oracle Student Information Analytics provides new subject area coverage for Student Financials Billing Summary and Transactions, with visibility to billing and transaction information by student or external organization.

· Oracle Human Resources Analytics expands analysis on HR programs and workforce performance for Fusion HCM with support of Talent Management Analysis.

· Oracle Sales Analytics introduces new subject areas for Activity Analytics, with support for Activity contact, resource and sales subject areas from Fusion Sales

Monday Jan 26, 2015

Register Now for the Cloud Platform Online Forum! January 28th, 2015 10:00am PST/1:00pm

Join Oracle and IDC as they kick off the Cloud Platform Online Forum on January 28 at 10:00am PT with a keynote led by IDC analyst Robert Mahowald. Also, hear product experts talk about Oracle PaaS solutions including Oracle BI Cloud Service.Attendees will learn how to rapidly build, deploy, manage, and secure rich applications while using an integrated cloud platform built on the industry’s #1 Database and Application Server.

Don't miss the opportunity to take advantage of 20+ sessions including the Oracle BI Cloud Service session below, as well as a handful of demos and 100+ tips and techniques for planning your PaaS adoption effectively. 

Unlocking the Power of Business Analytics in Oracle Cloud

Gaining access to enterprise-ready business intelligence just got easier. With Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service, departments are just a few clicks away from self-service reports and dashboards. Understand how Oracle BI Cloud Service fosters a new partnership between IT and business users to ensure that both parties are getting what they need from their business intelligence platform – from security and reliability, to simplicity and managing your own insights. Come to this session to learn more about this exciting new Oracle offering.

Register now 

Tuesday Jan 20, 2015

Year in Review – Oracle Business Analytics in 2014

2014 was a busy year for Oracle Business Analytics. Here is a look at Oracle Business Analytics top 10 moments in 2014 (in no particular order):

10. Oracle Lays out the Top 10 Big Data and Analytics Trends in 2014: Oracle surveyed hundreds of IT decision makers to learn about their big data and analytics plans for 2014—both within the Oracle customer base and the industry at large. Respondents provided specific feedback on mobile BI, cloud, Hadoop, data discovery, predictive analytics, and decision optimization technologies and practices. From this extensive data set we compiled the following trends: click here.

9. Why 2015 Will Be Year of Big Data: Oracle's Seven Predictions: Neil Mendelson, Oracle's vice president of Big Data and Advanced Analytics, is immersed in this sector each day at his office in Redwood Shores, Calif. In a conversation with eWEEK, he offered readers some insight into what the company is thinking—and how big data trends will be evolving—as we all move into 2015. click here

8. The Intelligence Guy Video Series Makes its Debut: In this series we explore important business issues that can be addressed using Big Data and Analytics. click here

7. Customers Talk About the Benefits of Oracle BI Solutions at Collaborate 2014: Hear InterRel, Ameren, Hess Corp, Acadia Healthcare, University of California Berkeley, The City of Atlanta, ADP, and others talk about how they have achieved real business results with Oracle Business Analytics solutions. click here

6. Oracle BI Applications Deliver Greater Insight Into Talent and Procurement: To empower organizations to achieve greater visibility into their business performance and to execute with greater agility, Oracle has announced the latest release of Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Applications. With new ways to seamlessly analyze procurement data and a new module for analyzing talent, Oracle continues to extend the opportunity for organizations to gain insight from a range of data sources and applications. click here

5. Oracle Extends Big Data Portfolio with Oracle Big Data SQL: To address organizations' need for comprehensive big data solutions, Oracle introduced Oracle Big Data SQL, an essential part of a big data management system. Breaking down data silos to simplify information access and discovery, the offering allows customers to run one SQL query across Hadoop, NoSQL, and Oracle Database, minimizing data movement while increasing performance and virtually eliminating data silos. click here

4. Oracle Announces Exalytics In-Memory Machine X4-4: The latest refresh of Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine, an engineered system for business analytics, includes Intel Xeon processors customized for Oracle business analytics workloads, supporting 50 percent faster clock speed, 50 percent more processing cores and 50 percent more memory compared to the previous generation. click here

3. Oracle Repeats as BI and Analytics Leader in Gartner MQ: For the 8th consecutive year, Oracle is a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platform. Gartner declares that “the BI and analytics platform market is in the middle of an accelerated transformation from Business Intelligence (BI) systems used primarily for measurement and reporting to those that also support analysis, prediction, forecasting and optimization.” click here

2. Oracle Introduces Oracle Analytics Cloud: Oracle announced Oracle Analytics Cloud, a comprehensive portfolio of analytics offerings built for the cloud; deployed in the cloud; and enabling data analysis for cloud, on-premises, traditional, and big data sources. click here

1.  Oracle Delivers Big Data Analytics in the Cloud: Oracle has introduced Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (Oracle BI Cloud Service), a part of Oracle Analytics Cloud, which offers the most comprehensive analytics cloud suite on the planet. With built-in mobile capabilities. click here

Friday Sep 12, 2014

What's Happening in Business Analytics at OpenWorld 2014?

Oracle OpenWorld 2014 is about to roll out the red carpets on September 28th when we take over the city of San Francisco for five days.  Business Analytics has a fantastic showing this year with over 130 EPM, BI, Analytics and Big Data sessions delivered by Oracle, our customers and partners.  We’ll also have 7 Hands-On Labs, 28+ demo pods dedicated to Business Analytics products, and 30+ partners exhibiting their solutions.  

So what’s hot in the Business Analytics program at OpenWorld?  Here are some of the “must see” sessions at this year’s conference:

Monday, September 29th, be sure to catch the Oracle Business Analytics Executive Briefing led by SVP of Product Development, Balaji Yelamanchili.  Find out what’s new and where we are heading with EPM, BI, Big Data and Analytics. Balaji is also leading Oracle’s Big Data Strategy—Unified Data Management and Analytics on Wednesday, October 1st, presenting all the exciting and innovative capabilities available today and coming soon. 

For a deeper dive into Big Data, on Monday, September 29, Neil Mendelson and Paul Sonderegger will lead Oracle Big Data: Strategy and Roadmap to get us up to speed on the rapid advances in big data. Also, Chris Lynskey, Ryan Stark, and Omri Traub of Oracle will lead the presentation New Innovations in Big Data Analytics the same day. 

What’s new in BI and Cloud? Judging by the lineup of presentations available – PLENTY. Don’t miss Matt Bedin, Alan Lee, and Raghuram Venkatasubramanian of Oracle present Oracle BI Cloud Service Overview and Roadmap on Monday, September 29, and  catch Jack Berkowitz as he presents What’s Next for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications? A Sneak Peek at the Roadmap on Tuesday, September 30th. 

The EPM and Cloud presentation lineup is also impressive. Watch for the General Session: Executive Briefing on Oracle’s EPM Strategy and Roadmap by Balaji Yelamanchili on Monday, September 29th to find out what’s going on and what’s coming soon. If you have more questions, be sure to attend the Product Development Panel Q&A: Oracle Hyperion EPM Applications and get them answered by our experts on Wednesday, October 1st. 

To learn more about Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, join the panel of customers including CTDI, Vertex Business Services, and Manhattan Beachwear for the presentation Customer Success: Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service on Wednesday, October 1 where they will highlight some amazing and recent implementations, and answer questions. 

To meet the big Business Analytics/EPM innovation award winners this year, be sure to attend the session Oracle Fusion Middleware: Meet This Year’s Most Impressive Innovators honoring organizations from around the globe that are using Oracle products to achieve significant business value.

For more details on these and many other Business Analytics sessions at OpenWorld, access the “Focus On” Business Analytics program guide link

See you in San Francisco!

Follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/oracleanalytics) for live coverage of the key product announcements, general sessions, and much more at #OOW14. 

Tuesday Jul 22, 2014

HR and Finance Agree? – Has The World Come To An End?

By guest bloggers Alex Anvari and Mike Bollinger

HR and finance executives agree on many people and performance-related issues according to a survey of HR and finance executives by Towers Watson and Forbes Insight. 

The top areas of joint activity, according to the survey were, setting annual budgets for reward programs (cited by 46 percent of finance and 62 percent of HR), determining changes to reward programs (43 percent finance and 42 percent HR), and setting reward strategy (39 percent finance and 41 percent HR).  Other important areas like overall workforce strategy (35 percent finance and 23 percent HR) or talent management (32 percent finance and 20 percent HR) saw considerably less collaboration, however.  That last set seems low to us and an opportunity for further improvement.

[Read More]

Wednesday Jul 09, 2014

BI Mobile: The Data Access Dilemma – the Gray Space

What is the mobile data access dilemma? Currently, to maintain tight security requirements (to prevent hacking) you have to trade off usability (enter security credentials multiple times to get access to data multiple times). What if BI was so pervasive that you look at it as often as email? How can we remain safe and still make it easy to use?

[Read More]

Monday May 12, 2014

A closer look at Oracle BI Applications 11.1.1.8.1 release

Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Applications 11.1.1.8.1 is now available on the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (eDelivery), and on the Oracle BI Applications OTN page. This is the second major release on the 11g code line leveraging the power of ODI, and certified with the latest version of Oracle BI Foundation 11.1.1.7

What’s New

This new release of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications 11g adds:

1. Prebuilt Connector for Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics with Oracle JD Edwards

2. Expanded functional content coverage across existing Oracle BI Applications

3. New utilities and enhancements to increase productivity and further drive down Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

New Prebuilt Connector for BI Applications

  • Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics introduces a new adapter that provides out-of-box integration between Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics and Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, enabling purchasing and sourcing organizations quickly identify savings opportunities and improve operational performance through decision-ready, best practice analytics.

New Content Enhancements: Significant expansion of content improves existing Oracle BI Applications

  • Oracle Human Resources Analytics expands analysis on HR programs and workforce performance with the introduction of Talent Management Analysis, to help HR and business managers assess talent strengths and build potential leaders by delivering greater insight into job profiles. Improvements to Absence Management, new support for Workforce Frozen Snapshots and Workforce Flex Fields are also available.
  • Oracle Financial Analytics improves company Financial Performance with the new Subledger Accounting Module, providing complete account balance analysis, including supporting reference balances and drill down to accounting transactions. Aging Snapshot restoration for Receivables and Payables, drilldown from Payables to Purchase Orders, and Fixed Assets support for GL Posting Status are features also included in the release.
  • Oracle Project Analytics expands insight into project-based data with new Earned Value Management Analysis, providing visibility for Project Stakeholders into Planned Value, Earned Value, and Actual Cost. Analysis of variances and indices, derived from Cost and Schedule Variance, CPI, TCPI, SPI and TSPI, is also available.
  • Oracle Supply Chain & Order Management Analytics introduces Costing and Inventory Turn support for Oracle JDE EnterpriseOne. In addition, the ability to save and restore the Inventory Snapshot when executing a full load is now supported.
  • Oracle Student Information Analytics introduces new Financial Aid Analysis, containing term-based detail information associated with a student award such as amount, status, disbursement, and aid type.
  • Oracle Manufacturing Analytics and Enterprise Asset Management Analytics have been re-introduced into the BI Applications data model. Although new with ODI, both modules provide now the same broad functionality available with BI Applications 7.9.6.4
  • Unstructured Data for Information DiscoveryThe BI Applications Data Model has been extended to include unstructured CRM and ERP text fields. Sample Information Discovery templates – including ODI interfaces and runtime security definitions –provide the ability to quickly create sample Information Discovery Applications from combined structured and unstructured data.

New Utilities and Enhancements to increase productivity and drive down TCO

  • New Data Lineage Tool allows customers and implementers to track lineage from source to target – improving information transparency across their enterprise
  • Configuration Management expands System Setup and Load Plan definition capabilities, including the registration of multiple instances for the same Product Line Version, UI enhancements to support DW connection configuration and Load Plan definition, and Load Plan definition migration. 
  • Fact Partitioning IKMs and Parallel Index Builds are key performance Innovations introduced with this release. The former enables a feature that tags partitions so that only the indexes that need to be re-built during incremental loads are executed. The latter uses ODI parallel process so that Indexes can be built using multiple session (faster than and in addition to DB parallel).



Friday May 02, 2014

Data Relationship Governance – Workflow in a Bottle!

As organizations grow through acquisition and the development of new products and services, the task of keeping master data synchronized across multiple systems is often met using Oracle Data Relationship Management. However, managing the process of requesting, approving and documenting changes to this master data requires something more – Oracle Data Relationship Governance. Paul Ritner, a Principal Solutions Architect with Advanced EPM joined me for a podcast to discuss what data relationship governance is, and why people want and need it. 

So what is data relationship governance? Paul indicated that to understand data relationship governance, you first need to understand data relationship management. 

Data relationship management is a solution used to manage the structure and alignment of master data such as, account numbers, department codes, product codes, and any other similar values or reference data across multiple systems. The real value of data relationship management is that organizations can build their business rules and other complex business logic into the repository to ensure only valid values get created and are correctly positioned in the multiplicity of hierarchical structures organizations require for both aggregations and reporting.  Oracle’s solution, Oracle Data Relationship Management (or DRM), is just such a management solution that is highly configurable and is agnostic when it comes to connecting to align data in multiple systems.

Data relationship governance is the solution that helps to monitor and manage workflow activities related to data relationship management. Oracle’s solution, Oracle Data Relationship Governance (or DRG) is fully integrated with DRM.  DRG handles all the workflow activities, and relies on existing Oracle DRM configured rules and property formulas. It is also a natural extension to Oracle’s DRM solution.

Paul said that prior to Oracle introducing their DRG solution, discussions about workflow in relation to data relationship management was usually met with a rolling of the eyes due to the complexity of typical data governance processes. At the time, it was a difficult conversation as it required significant customer development. With DRG it turns into a simple configuration exercise.

So why do people now want Oracle’s DRG solution?

Paul said that there were several reasons, including:

• Oracle DRG is an easily configurable workflow tool that is fully integrated with, Oracle Data Relationship Management.
• Oracle DRG enables you to easily build web-based workflows to manage requests for new values & changes, which ultimately end up in your existing data relationship management repository.
• Oracle DRG includes task lists and email alerts!
• All the key configurations that organizations already have in their Oracle DRM repository can be readily leveraged by Oracle DRG workflows.  Configurations such as:
• Linking workflows with hierarchies
• Linking existing data relationship management validations (or Business Rules) with particular data relationship governance workflow steps
• As well as including any of your derived property values, which can contain some very complex logic

Basically, all the hard work that went into an organization’s DRM application can be readily included in their DRG workflow, and that’s a huge value! Paul provided a great 4 step workflow example, however he indicated that workflows can have as many steps as needed by an organization. He also talked about the fact that a single workflow request could be made for multiple accounts.

So who, exactly, would initiate a workflow request? A financial analyst? Paul indicated that it could be one of several people.   However, in general,  it is often an analyst or accountant. A request could be made by other business people as well and, if the workflow was for a Department Code or Cost Center, requests could come from all over a company.

Paul covered several more aspects of Oracle’s Data Relationship Governance in the podcast, including sad alternatives (like email or spreadsheets) to a robust solution and convinced me that DRG really is “workflow in a bottle”.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn more about Oracle Data Relationship Management or Oracle Data Relationship Governance, click here.

Wednesday Apr 30, 2014

The TOFU (Top of Funnel Users) Approach to Business Intelligence

An interesting article in Forbes.com entitled, “Why Top Of The Funnel BI Will Drive The Next Wave Of Adoption”, written by Dan Woods, sparked some great conversations about bottom of the funnel users (20-30% wanting specific business information), and Top of Funnel Users (or TOFU) that want to interact with information in a personalized way and express their interests. I was fortunate to have Matt Milella, Director of Product Development for Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile Apps, and Jacques Vigeant, Product Strategy Director for Oracle Business Intelligence & Enterprise Performance Management, join me for a podcast to discuss their opinions about “The TOFU approach to business intelligence (BI)”.

Jacques explained that the article is basically about how BI has historically focused on what we refer to as the ‘business analyst’ or the ‘power user’. That’s the person in a company that has the unenviable task of analyzing data, finding trends, and synthesizing data into dashboards that he/she then shares with management.  The common thinking, in BI companies, is that roughly 20% of the users prepare data that the ‘rest of us’ consume. There are many practical and technical reasons why BI started using this model 30 years ago, but the world of technology has come a long way since then.  Today, the  average user can do much more with much less help from IT.

The problem, that Matt and Jacques have witnessed over the last decade, is that BI companies (including Oracle) have mostly catered to the data preparation people (or power users)by adding more and more wiz/bang features and super sophisticated visualizations that are not useful to the average employee (who is not a Power User) or lower level line manager.

So, how has the situation changed? Jacques explained that he and Matt are constantly amazed at the sophistication and elegance of apps that are now out there for public consumption, and they are seeing BI surface in those consumer apps. “There are products like Google Now and even native features on my new phone that blow me away at how they blend Information about “ME” with what I’m doing,” said Jacques.  He told us that his new phone actually knows when he is watching TV and automatically shows him information about the show that is currently on - without the need for even starting an app.  This, of course begs the question --Why can’t our “BI” do this for everyone providing a little insight throughout the day to help them make better informed decisions?  In fact, Jacques thinks we can.

How are Top of Funnel Users different? They often use mobile technology to get current information exactly when they need it. Traditionally, these users did not directly consume BI content.  However , top of funnel users are now accustomed to an experience on the mobile device where they get simple information in a timely fashion.  Matt gave a personal example to emphasize the point.  “ I am a fitness nut and I have a device called a Fit Bit. With this device I can tell how many steps or stairs I took and how it compares to days past.  And with Google now, I know if there will be heavy traffic on the way home from work.”  This kind of information is in line with what Top of Funnel Users want from BI.  Here are more examples. On the way to a warehouse, a plant manager wants to know about shortages that may impact the production line.  A marketing exec wants to know how their brand is trending (up or down) on social media.  These users are not analysts or data scientists, yet they crave the information!

How is Oracle enabling the TOFU experience ? According to Matt, most people understand search, voice activated commands and data retrieval, notification and a simplified experience already, so why should they consume BI any differently?  Jacques gave a great example. “We want to help you relate your corporate data to your work life. So for example , on your mobile device you have email and your calendar. If I’m a sales rep, and I’m in Dallas, and I have a meeting with Verizon in 30 minutes, why isn’t my device giving me sales metrics about Verizon, the number of open support calls, and Verizon’s order status.   The mobile device, especially the phone, is key to understanding the user’s personal context – and, at the end of the day,  Matt and I are trying to make BI that personal !”

Matt and Jacques both feel that focusing on mobile delivery of information is how to satisfy the 80% or the TOFU. Gartner and other analysts agree.  Mobile expands the user base and this will likely be the dominant channel for BI in just a few years.  

So why is the desktop taking a back seat for Top of Funnel Users? Jacques told us that the desktop is not going anywhere, but on the mobile side there are unique capabilities that are simply not available on the desktop. For example,

• A desktop is often shared between users, a phone is not.
• A phone is pretty much ALWAYS on and with you … a desktop is not 
• A mobile device provides precise information about where you are physically, even when you are moving around
• A mobile device’s  Calendar, Email and Contact information is accessible via standard APIs.  This is incredibly useful information when you are trying to understand who and what your target user might be interested in. This information is simply not available in the same way on the desktop.

To summarize, Jacques and Matt emphasized three main things:

• There is a team at Oracle that is not focused on the technical 20% of the users that create the BI data (bottom of the funnel), but the 80% of those that browse and consume BI data in new exciting ways (top of the funnel). The 20% will still continue to receive their due attention, but mobile is now becoming important too.
• Mobile capabilities provide a few things really well for BI that will satisfy a large audience – the 80%
• Mobile, regardless of features provided, is the future. Mobile will become the dominant channel to BI.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here,
To learn more about Business Intelligence and mobile Business Intelligence, click here.

Thursday Mar 13, 2014

BI Mobile: What’s the Deal with Android?

Android devices make up 80% of the worldwide mobile market. So if companies are promoting BYOD to work (bring your own devices), why haven’t we heard anything about Android Business Intelligence (BI) apps? Matt Milella, a Director of Product Development for Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile Apps, recently joined me on an Oracle Podcast to discuss a new Android BI offering and described why Android apps are special and not just Apple App clones.   

Matt started the conversation off by talking about what can be done with this new Android version of the Business Intelligence Mobile App. I asked him if it is basically the same as the Apple iOS version. His response was interesting -- “Well, Yes and No.  Yes, in that you can consume all of your OBIEE content including BI Mobile App Designer content just like the iOS version, but it is not the same exact thing.  When we decided to build an Android version we wanted to make sure that we delivered an ‘Android’ experience, and take advantage of specific Android features.”

That piqued my interest. If they are just both mobile operating systems, why would you want them to be different? Matt explained that it was important for Android users to feel comfortable in the application, so they wanted the app to look and act like other Android applications that the users have become accustomed to, such as Gmail or Google Now.  Users are then able to focus on what is being delivered – Business Intelligence.  

But that was just the beginning. Matt told us that they included a ‘card’ layout concept for browsing content just like YouTube or Google Now apps.  They have also taken search abilities to the next level, with search suggestions, support for voice search, and voice commands.  So now, users can open a dashboard by saying, ‘open’ and the dashboard name - or even part of the name.  “Android has really great voice controls that we were able to leverage, and this works really well.  We think that users will stop browsing the catalog and most if not all reports and dashboards will be opened with search,” said Matt. The last big item he told us about is the ‘tap-to-share’ feature using near field communications (NFC).  This works just like in the Samsung commercials!  

Tap and Share

Apparently, tap-to-share has a great use case for Business Intelligence.  Just think - you’re in a meeting discussing some numbers, a report, or a specific KPI, and everyone wants to look at them more carefully.   Typically this might be done manually (sharing a URL or report name) or by email, or everyone sending each other a link.  According to Matt, “now you literally can just tap someone’s Android device and ‘POW’ the same content opens, and of course it opens with the correct security context for that new user.”  Matt mentioned that they have more great ideas around sharing and getting on the same page with colleagues, and to stay tuned.

According to Matt, the new Android release will work on any sized Android device.  The application adapts to the screen size and for Android there are a lot of screen sizes. Android pioneered the Phablet  (phone/tablet) category, and they wanted to be sure to support devices like the Galaxy Note or the HTC One Max.  The BI content looks amazing on these larger screen phones.  Matt said, “With BYOD in full swing, we have broad support, and this now has to include form factors or screen sizes of devices.”

Matt emphasized that with Android’s world market share now at 80% in a BYOD world, you just cannot ignore this operating system.  Oracle wants to be the mobile leader, therefore they have to offer world-class Android and iOS apps, no exceptions!  So expect more cool features and innovations to follow for both Android and iOS.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.
To learn more about Oracle’s BI Mobile Android Release, click here.

Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Oracle repeats as BI and Analytics Leader in Gartner MQ 2014

For the 8th consecutive year, Oracle is a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence and Analytics Platform. Gartner declares that “the BI and analytics platform market is in the middle of an accelerated transformation from Business Intelligence (BI) systems used primarily for measurement and reporting to those that also support analysis, prediction, forecasting and optimization.” Oracle offers all these wide-ranging capabilities across Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, Advanced Analytics and Real-Time Decisions.

Gartner specifically recognizes Oracle as a Leader for several key reasons. Oracle customers reported among the largest BI deployments in terms of users and data sizes. In fact, 69% of Oracle customers stated that Oracle BI is their enterprise BI standard. The broad product suite works with many heterogeneous data sources for large-scale, multi-business-unit and multi-geography deployments. The BI integration with Oracle Applications, and technology, and with Oracle Hyperion EPM simplifies deployment and administration. Not cited in the Gartner report is that Oracle BI can access and query Hadoop via a Hive Oracle Database Connector eliminating the need to write MapReduce programs for more efficient big data analysis.

“The race is on to fill the gap in governed data discovery,” professes Gartner. In this year’s MQ, all the Leaders have been moved “westward,” to the left, to open up white space in the future for vendors who address “governed data discovery” platforms that address both business users’ requirements for ease of use and enterprises’ IT-driven requirements, like security, data quality, and scalability. Although in Gartner’s view no single vendor provides governed data discovery today, Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1, which became available in November 2013 after Gartner conducted the MQ report, is a complete enterprise data discovery platform that combines information of any type, from any source, empowering business user independence in balance with IT governance. Users can mash-up personal data along with IT-provisioned data into easy to use visualizations to explore what matters most to them. IT can manage the platform to meet data quality, scalability and security requirements. Users can benefit from additional subject areas and metadata provided by integration with Oracle BI.

Gartner additionally cites other Oracle strengths such as more than 80 packaged BI Analytic Applications that include pre-built data models, ETL scripts, reports, and dashboards, along with best practice, cross-functional analytics that span dozens of business roles and industries. Lastly, Oracle’s large, global network of BI application partners, implementation consultants, and customer install base provide a collaborative environment to grow and innovate with BI and analytics. Gartner also cites the large uptake in Oracle BI Mobile enabling business users to develop and deliver content on the go.

Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

Big Data and Analytic Top 10 Trends for 2014

Oracle’s Top 10 Big Data and Analytics Trends for 2014 are now here!  Read what hundreds of IT decision makers are saying about their big data and analytics plans in mobile, cloud, Hadoop, discovery, predictive, and decision optimization technologies, practices, and skills.

[Read More]

Monday Feb 03, 2014

Where Next for Big Data? A look at the ways in which big data analysis might shape the future

If we look at the core elements of big data – volume, variety and velocity - the future looks to be headed in one direction only: more volume, greater variety and increased velocity as more devices come online, more transactions are captured, more personal data provided and more organisations learn to capitalize upon the data created within their business ecosystem. New breakthroughs in technology and the adoption of technologies complementary to big data will drive these increases, not least the ‘internet of things’.

The rise of the machines

There is a lot of talk about the ‘internet of things’ – the idea that one day most things will be connected to the internet. From our fridges creating information about replenishment and talking directly to our online shopping accounts and supermarket loyalty schemes, to the anticipated growth in wearable technology such as smart watches and smart glasses which will relay information on location and behaviors. All of this will create valuable data.

The increasingly powerful smartphones in our pockets will have the power to change the world around us, from the offers we see advertised in supermarkets as our past purchasing history and other behaviors stored on the phone – such as the movies we watch, the apps we use and the places we visit – create a near faultless picture of us as a consumer to the ways in which our banks tailor offers specifically to our lifestyles.

Our cars will transmit ever-more information, creating better deals on insurance and reducing instances of expensive repairs, removing cost from maintaining a car. Our home entertainment systems will intuitively learn more about the content we want and when we want it. What we are prepared to pay for now and what we are willing to wait for to get free.

Our world, only better

The world will become tailored towards our wants and needs. Some changes will be imperceptible to the naked eye or the rational mind but much will be driven and governed by big data. It might just feel that things work a little better or more efficiently but behind the scenes the analysis of big data will be working harder than ever to shape all the moving parts of our physical and experiential environment.

Take transport. Anecdotally many Londoners claimed during the 2012 Olympics that public transport, a much feared weak link in London’s Olympic offering, was faultless for the duration of the games. This is not because issues did not arise but because every scenario was catered for and solutions existed ready to be deployed at the moment of need.

That was thanks to many years or planning but with the analysis of big data, from the analysis of passenger flow into transport hubs, via pedestrian routes and terminus points such as major airports, to likely weather conditions and related disruptions, to real-time location based monitoring of replacement bus services and traffic conditions on alternate transport routes, that level of service is replicable, consistently on a daily basis.

Even scenarios around unforeseeable incidents and the indicators they might be about to occur – such as analysis of data from sensors along water pipes pre-empting or forewarning of a burst water main that could close a road – can be modelled into scenario planning or allow for a fix to be applied before the issue occurs. This will require investment but as metropolitan areas around the world compete for inward investment in a global economy it would be a mistake to overlook the long term benefits.

Big data means safer communities

Law enforcement is one area where major change can happen and we are already seeing the seeds of unprecedented transformation being sewn. Big data analysis can play an important role in identifying trends which allow police forces to better anticipate when and where crimes may be committed.

It is possible to model crimes and predict their outcomes and repercussions and to identify what crimes may breed other crimes in the neighbourhood or within specific groups within society. Big data can help predict which crimes become part of an unfolding spree and which are most likely to be isolated incidents. This will enable police forces to plan resources and ensure units are in the right place at the right time.

Structured, relational data may inform us that burglaries tend to happen more during public holidays when many houses are empty as people stay with friends and family and invariably burglaries happen during the night. The relational data may tell us past victims of burglary are more likely to be victims again. But there are layers upon layers of non-relational data which can be factored into predicting when crimes are going to happen – and where – which is obviously preferable to simply developing a better understanding of where and when they have already happened. Similarly if an incident can be isolated and prevented from developing into a crime spree that too is a marked improvement.

Big Data and Privacy

Of course, it is impossible to have a discussion of big data without discussing privacy. It is every individual’s right to withhold personal information and we can elect to switch off location-based services on our phones and we can politely decline the offer of a customer loyalty card from our supermarket. We can choose not to use car insurance based on in-car telematics. But at the heart of this is a point of cultural tension.

People will resist the gifting of data to businesses and organisations unless it is a mutually beneficial transaction. Organisations need to help consumers see the benefits in order to enlist them in a willing development of truly powerful big data-based businesses.

There is undoubtedly gold to be found among big data but it must line the pockets of consumers and businesses alike. We must get better banking products, an improved retail experience, better home entertainment options, an improved commute, cheaper insurance, a better seat on the plane and a better glass of wine. We need to all feel that our lives are about to get a lot better. And if organisations can help us to feel that, there is no limit to what big data can do.

Friday Jan 31, 2014

Modernizing Business Intelligence

Business intelligence is no longer a luxury; it’s a crucial component of business today. But what’s changed so much that we need to modernize now? Nigel Youell, Senior Product Marketing Director for Oracle Performance Management Applications, interviewed Barry Mostert, a Director in the Global Business Analytics Product Group for Oracle, about Business Intelligence modernization, what it’s all about, and why it needs to be addressed now.

Nigel got right to the heart of the interview by asking Barry why there was even a need to modernize BI, and what exactly that means. Barry told our listeners that Business Intelligence is continually evolving and, like any technology, it’s driven by current industry trends. Organizations are now looking to analyze valuable information sourced across vast stores of distributed and varying data types – commonly called Big Data – to extract important business information to be competitive, and to keep costs low. Using mobile analytics (consuming analytics on mobile personal smart devices) is gaining more and more momentum as our culture begins to see these personal smart devices as part of our everyday lives.

Barry told our listeners that a recent study demonstrated that about 80% of business users are already using their smart devices for work. The dropping price of random access memory (RAM) chip has widely enabled the use of in-memory analytics. There is also a strong push for user self-service that Gartner is calling the “consumerisation of IT,” which means users can’t wait for legacy tools and traditional processes to deliver their information. Users need to be empowered to take action for themselves. This includes the use of predictive analytics (using historic information to help foretell the future) to enable business people to make the best decisions possible. Just like in life, it’s a case of learning from your past to do better in your future.

In fact, every business is already affected or will be affected shortly by these trends - hence the need to move to a modern analytic platform that is capable of addressing these new data types and analytic methods. In fact, most older BI platforms were built and implemented before these trends even existed.

Nigel recapped Barry’s full explanation for the listeners this way. The benefits of modernizing your BI system are:

High performance analytics with no limits – more granular data for more accurate decisions without sacrificing performance

Robust and reliable backend architecture – to ensure availability on what is a critical business system

Employees that are empowered to quickly discover insight and then take action – and have less reliance on IT

Business activity that matches the corporate strategy to maintain organizational focus and direction

Improved user productivity and efficiency – enabling business users to work smarter

Nigel and Barry discussed the fact that modernizing a platform appears to be a big undertaking. Nigel asked Barry to break it down for the listeners and outline the main components of a modern BI platform.


Barry explained that it could be broken down to the 5 pillars of value, or potential gains where users stand to get significant and tangible benefits:

Mobility. A hot new analytic trend affecting users at all levels in the modern enterprise. Oracle has made significant investments in this area.

Advanced User Experience. How users interact with the analytic platform. New analytic techniques, not previously possible.

The Connected Enterprise. Connecting business strategy with operational execution. Better navigate the business using all relevant data available and modeling the future to reduce risk.

Engineered Systems. Promise of hardware and software working better together. Blinding fast performance with in-memory analytics and scalability without the bottlenecks.

Ironclad Architecture. A reliable, robust backend to support business critical systems, while reducing Total Cost of Ownership. Components are completely integrated allowing administrators to do more in less time.

As always, it’s the bottom line of moving to a Modern BI System that will excite executives to pursue the move. Barry explained to our listeners that it’s all about being able to do more with less. Empowering business users to satisfy their own analytic needs will lead to a more agile business. At the same time, this ability will free up IT resources. By optimizing and simplifying your business analytic platform, not only do you gain better Total Cost of Ownership, but you can begin to innovate. Innovation leads to doing business in new and better ways than your competition; being more competitive in this economy ultimately leads to a more successful business; and successful businesses are generally better off financially.

To listen to the entire podcast click here

To learn more about Business Intelligence at Oracle, click here

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