Wednesday May 18, 2016

Oracle Excellence Award: Oracle Cloud Platform Innovation - Business Analytics

At Oracle, we know that our customers are our best innovators, greatest teachers, and biggest inspirations. With Oracle technology as the backbone, our customers are deploying revolutionary solutions, establishing and refining best practices, and becoming thought leaders in their industries. The Oracle Excellence Awards celebrate their wins, honor their achievements, and inspire them to achieve even greater success in the future.

This year's Oracle Cloud Platform Innovation – Excellence Awards will honor customers and partners who are creatively using Oracle products. Think you have something unique and innovative with Oracle Business Analytics products?

We'd love to hear from you! Please submit today in the Business Analytics category. This year’s nomination process is a little bit different in the sense that the forms are fully online.

The deadline for the nomination is Monday, June 20, 2016. Win a free pass to Oracle OpenWorld 2016!

Submit Now

For details on the 2015 Big Data, Business Analytics, and Data Integration Winners: amazon.com, Caixa Bank, Serta Simmons Bedding, Skanska, Scottish & Southern Energy and Tampa International Airport, check out this blog post

Advanced Analytics in Oracle DV

Yes, Oracle DV gives you advanced analytics literally at the click of a button. Advanced analytics operations such as clustering, outlier detection, trend lines and forecast are built-in, and they can be simply dragged dropped on to your charts.

However access to advanced analytics is not limited to these functions exposed in the UI. You can leverage the advanced analytics framework to invoke any custom R function and seamlessly blend its results with rest of your analysis. The EVALUATE_SCRIPT function of Oracle DV can be used to execute an R script registered in the script repository.  Its powerful and easy to use.

For example, this video shows an example of using custom R script to decompose a time series data to its seasonal, trend and remainder components.



Following video is another example where use R to perform market basket analysis (rule mining) on fast foods transactions data.



Take a look at some of these examples downloadable from Oracle DV samples page on OTN.

Tuesday May 17, 2016

Oracle DV : Advanced custom SQLs as source for Oracle Data Viz

Oracle DV lets you define custom data sources as free SQL statements to any database connection (ORCL, SQLServer, TD...). These SQL statements can include any advanced syntaxes specific to the underlying database.

The recorded example below shows defining a custom SQL data-source from an Oracle DB table, and then extending it by adding a dynamic predictive clause in the SQL. Resulting data-set interacts live with user filters and allows to build impact-full visuals while leveraging the full power of underlying highly scalable databases..

Thursday May 12, 2016

Oracle Big Data Discovery Cloud Service is GA now!

Get Value from Big Data Faster than Ever

With the availability of Oracle Big Data Discovery Cloud Service, customers now have immediate access to a Data Lab, offering them the full power of Big Data Discovery in the Oracle Cloud, enabling unprecedented speed and agility for big data analytics.

Highlights

Oracle Big Data Discovery Cloud Service (BDDCS) offers all the capabilities of Big Data Discovery 1.1, as well as push-button provisioning and easy cloud life cycle management, including:

  • Data Lab in the Cloud: Leading organizations are disrupting their industries by unlocking commercial value in big data. They start with data labs, complete environments for agile big data analytics experimentation and innovation. BDDCS removes the burden of complex in-house architectures and capital expense, making the data lab immediately available so customers can rapidly engage in broad-scale big data innovation. And because BDDCS is highly visual and intuitive, customers can easily extend their big data team to business users and analysts, who can find, explore, transform, and analyze data at scale, then easily share results. This accelerates the pace of innovation, while reducing the need for highly skilled and very scarce resources.
  • Power and Flexibility: As momentum continues to shift to the cloud, customers increasingly expect highly powered, robust environments as the foundation for their solutions. BDDCS leverages the power of Oracle Big Data Cloud Service and Apache Spark to turn raw data into business insight in minutes. Oracle Big Data Cloud Service includes Oracle R Advanced Analytics for Hadoop (ORAAH), Big Data Spatial and Graph, Big Data SQL (option), and more, giving customers the power and security they require, and the flexibility to take their analytics as far as they want.
  • Simple Administration: Along with power and flexibility, BDDCS offers easy, automated lifecycle management, to give customers the best possible set of services for innovation with big data. Customers can provision a new Big Data Discovery Cloud Service instance with the push of a button, monitor availability and usage, easily apply updates to instantly take advantage of the latest product capabilities, schedule automatic backups into Oracle Cloud Storage Service, and more.

Learn more 


Friday May 06, 2016

Oracle Data Visualization Desktop Gallery

Samples and Examples are now available on OTN. Visit the DVD public gallery for pre-built Data Visualization applications

Monday May 02, 2016

Oracle Data Visualization Desktop is available now!

Data Visualization Desktop (DVD) is a standalone capability that provides rich, consumer-style analytics, including intelligent data visualization, self-service data discovery, visual storytelling, and predictive analysis, as well as out-of-the-box access to numerous data sources and built-in data preparation.

 Highlights and benefits include:

  • Easy, Engaging Visual Analytics: Oracle Data Visualization blends drag-and-drop simplicity with powerful analytics, making it fun and easy for anyone to blend, visualize, and gain new insight from their data.  DVD makes visual analytics even more accessible through a quick download and install, allowing anyone to have a local best-in-class visual analytics capability that includes new visualizations, free form layouts, custom coloring and highlighting, and more.  See the new features video.

  • Anytime, Anywhere:  DVD complements DVCS, BICS, and BI 12c, making the same rich experience and technology available for personal use on the desktop.  DVD is ideal for organizations that are still sorting out their cloud strategy, offering easy access to visual analytics that creates a natural bridge between premises and cloud.  Equally, it offers cloud customers a simple solution for local analytics, enabling people to work anywhere they need to.     

  • Push-Button Data Management:  Point-and-click data blending allows users to blend data from a variety of sources – Oracle and other SaaS applications, on-premises systems, external sources and personal files, including:  OTBI/E, Oracle database, Spark, SQL Server, MySQL, DB2, Teradata, Redshift, Hive, Impala, MongoDB, SybaseIQ, and Salesforce.  DVD also offers integrated data preparation capabilities, enabling anyone to quickly clean and enhance data as it is loaded, as well as export to CSV files.

  • Predictive Analytics:  Analytics has progressed from providing oversight to offering insight, and now to enabling foresight.   Oracle Data Visualization supports that progression, delivering embedded predictive capabilities that enable anyone to see trend lines and other visuals with a click, and extend their analysis using a free R download.  

Download DVD from OTN

Monday Apr 25, 2016

What’s new in Big Data Discovery 1.2?

Oracle Big Data Discovery offers a new approach for turning big data into commercial value, fast.  BDD makes exploring big data as easy as shopping online, allowing ordinary analysts to find, improve, analyze, and share data without needing the technical skills of a data scientist. No other big data solution in the industry today covers the complete analytics lifecycle in a single product or makes it as quick and easy to stand up a fully functional data lab.

BDD 1.2 takes on the biggest problem in big data: harnessing the knowledge and skills of business analysts to solve unprecedented problems with new data. This release features major new functionality all across the product, along with hundreds of performance improvements that make the platform faster and more reliable than ever.

Highlights

· Wrangle + Reshape: Big Data Discovery 1.2 adds support for aggregation and join transformations, allowing users to group and blend data of any size interactively using Spark. Combining open source innovation with Oracle engineering, BDD provides an easy-to-use visual interface that guides users through these essential data shaping tasks—allowing analysts to sculpt new datasets to power new analytics, without the need for IT’s technical skills.

· Curate + Locate: Big data is messy data. Making data usable involves not just cleaning the data itself, but also cleaning its metadata—giving clear names and descriptions so that analysts can understand what it all means. With BDD 1.2, data stewards can do exactly that. A deeper Catalog reaches down into attribute names, descriptions, tags, and (new in BDD 1.2) semantic types to making finding relevant data easier than ever. Taken together, these new capabilities allow customers to quickly transform their scattered data assets into an organized, navigable data lake for analysts.

· BDD + Python: Customers no longer have to choose between the ease of use of an integrated visual experience and the freedom of custom code—with BDD 1.2, they can have both. BDD 1.2 offers a new shell mode that allows data scientists to pick up any dataset in the Catalog for custom processing in Python. From here, ingenuity is the limit: data scientists can develop custom transformations, apply advanced algorithms, and perform predictive analysis with the tools they know best. This integration provides the best of both worlds: a shared, analyst-friendly environment for reusable, collaborative data exploration, preparation, and visualization (BDD) plus a dedicated environment for advanced, narrowly tailored processing.

· Streamline + Share. Most big data tools optimize for technical specialists--and they end up freezing out organizations’ most potentially powerful assets: their established teams of business analysts. BDD 1.2 tackles the problem of large-scale collaboration head on, by streamlining the visual data exploration and data transformation experience and by building a notification framework to keep all users on top of what’s going on. Combined with the enhanced data shaping and data curation capabilities, these enhancements open up the data lake to more than just data scientists.

· Speed + Scale. A combination of open-source maturation and Oracle engineering makes 1.2 the fastest, most scalable BDD yet. Users can acquire and transform data significantly faster than in BDD 1.1 and at significantly higher scale and concurrency. BDD 1.2 also includes the ability to store Dgraph indexes in HDFS, eliminating the need for shared NFS and providing a native, high-performance option for in-cluster deployments.

These are just the highlights—check out BDD 1.2 for yourself to see Oracle’s strategic solution for giving organizations a competitive advantage through big data analytics.

Tuesday Mar 22, 2016

May the Source be with You

The data source, that is.

We’ve all been there. Your manager asks you for analysis on how a particular project is progressing, and, being the tech savvy business manager you are, you head over to your IT-managed system that has the data sets neatly modeled for you. Even to the most seasoned professional, this is no small task – a fair amount of querying, filtering, and dragging and dropping is to be expected. But, you’ve done it all before, so you get to it, and in due course, your analysis is done!

Not so fast.

Your manager sends over a couple spreadsheets, and asks you to add it to your analysis. Suddenly, this previously manageable task turns into a “please do this seemingly impossible thing that just popped into my head and get it back to me in the next hour” type of request, and now you are left scrambling on how to get this done.

Luckily, your department often has to mash up data from different sources before. In fact, leveraging multiple data sources is a pretty common occurrence, and your company has invested heavily in making sure accessing data is not an obstacle to performing an analysis. But what about when you have a personal data source you would like to add (or your boss’s ultra-important Excel file)? Tapping into the system to access modeled data is one thing – but mashing it up with your personal files is quite another.

Enter Oracle Data Visualization.

Blending these two types of datasets is key to having a complete view of the business. On a day-to-day basis, we gather information to measure, manage, and respond to what is happening in our business. And the reality is, we need to have access to multiple database sources and the have the ability to blend that data with our personal files. In so many of the projects that we do, we throw data points onto a spreadsheet for one reason or another, and this dataset is no less important than the modeled data we get from our friends in IT. No data should get left behind simply because it’s difficult to use.

So the next time your boss gives you a 1-hour turnaround time for an analysis – remember, don’t sweat the small stuff.

Try a free 30 day trial of Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service here.

Pati Nishiyama

Monday Mar 07, 2016

Moving Towards Analytic-Driven HR: Does HR Need Better Analytics?

With tight competition to maintain the strongest employee pool, today’s Chief HR Officers and HR leaders are constantly asking themselves strategic questions. Here are a few:

  • Do we have effective employees? How do we analyze our talent: Its ability to produce? Its teamwork capability? Its financial ROI?... • Are we paying employees a competitive wage? What are the risks of losing valued employees to the competition? How are similar companies doing…by industry? …by company size? …within our geography? 
  • Are we hiring the best employees available? Where can the best candidates be found? What is the perception of my company by the candidate pool? What are the employment conditions and perks expected by today’s candidates?  

Undoubtedly, the more relevant information that a CHRO and HR leaders have available, the clearer the picture of the company’s ability to attract, develop, and maintain the best employees becomes. It’s also evident that some of this information isn’t available from the traditional HR data sources.

When comparing the analytics needs of  HR leaders with what’s available to them I find that, for many HR departments: 

  • The information in the data repository is limited and often the data isn’t available from a single system. 
  • Use of analytic and automated reporting is scarce. In fact, many reports are manually compiled in Excel and, often, the information is stale even before it’s produced. 
  •  Reports tend to focus on history and summarize factual events. How is an HR leader to answer the strategic questions, today, with the information that is readily available? 
Clearly, CHROs and HR leaders need to gather information from not only traditional sources, but from a growing variety of non-traditional sources. In a subsequent article, I will expand on the informational demands being placed on CHROs and HR leaders.

Monday Feb 22, 2016

Oracle’s Perspective on the Analytics Market

Rich Clayton | Vice President 
Oracle Business Analytics Product Group

Amidst the constantly evolving analytics market, there has been a fundamental shift from IT leading the charge to pursue analytics initiatives, to one where the business and IT share in this decision. There’s no doubt that analytics has become strategic for most organizations today, and as such has introduced a new wave of both new consumers and new expectations.

The workforce is changing, and with that change brings a new way to work. Gone are the days where training manuals are commonplace in the office – today’s workforce expects to get up and running quickly with an intuitive interface. But it doesn’t end there. While speed and simplicity are key, business leaders still have high expectations around data quality and security. A centralized analytics platform where IT plays a pivotal role is still a fundamental part of any analytics strategy. The combination of both business led and IT led initiatives is the sweet spot for innovation.

We didn’t just come up with this on our own - customers have spoken, and Oracle has listened. Here are some of the top analytic themes our customers want.

A Path to the Cloud. Cloud and analytics are a perfect match. Cloud is about speed and innovation, not just different economics or a pay-as-you-go subscription model. We’re seeing customers go from purchase to production in 17 days – for 700 users. Most importantly, we are seeing cloud change the dynamic between business leaders and IT professionals and how they work. Keep in mind, this doesn’t assume all data lives in the cloud. Our strategy is to provide a best-in-class hybrid approach that extends current infrastructure investments and data security with the speed and innovation of the public cloud.

Data visualization. Business people want to see the signals before their competitors. They want to mashup personal, corporate and big data and quickly understand the value of their data, share their data story with their colleagues, and do it all in a matter of minutes. Data visualization is key to the simplicity of this, and therefore needs to be embedded into every analytic system from mobile to desktop. From department to enterprise. From on-premises to cloud. What’s essential is continuity of experience for fueling the analytical productivity that is expected today.

Data discovery for all. This is no longer a task for data scientists but for anyone trying to experiment and test the value of their data. Discovery is not just a better BI, it’s a whole new method for enriching data, exploring patterns and building perspectives with qualitative and quantitative data.

Mobile. We’ve been using analytics on our devices for some time, but now the market demands a location-aware “assistant.” Our mobile experience not only supports voice recognition and mobile authoring, but also looks at your digital footprint to present insights relevant to your upcoming meetings.

To support these trends Oracle has designed, built and launched several new offerings in the last few years, such as Oracle BI Cloud Service, Oracle Data Visualization Cloud Service, Oracle Big Data Discovery and Oracle BI Mobile. Most importantly, these new business-led solutions are tightly integrated with Oracle’s enterprise analytics platform – Oracle Business Intelligence Suite.

Our strategy ensures consistency of experience and portability of analytic content across business-led and IT-led analytics initiatives, whether cloud or on-premises. And we strongly believe that the combination of these two modes of analytics working together is what will create sustainable competitive advantage for our customers.

Monday Feb 08, 2016

Is Human Resources a Cost Center or a Value-Added Partner?

Call it what you may – “Human Resources”, “People Management”, “Human Capital Management” - is a new name, by itself, sufficient to validate its importance to the organization? Traditional business areas have changed the perception that they are “cost centers” and have elevated themselves to “value-added business partners.” For example, the traditional finance operational functions – keeping the books, ensuring compliance, etc. – are still important for an organization’s survival and must continue. Those in finance roles, however, have also realized that they are in a unique position to advise and to partner with business executives to drive and more closely support the organization’s strategy. To accomplish this, they have had to prove that they are able to look beyond the organization as a series of financial transactions to emphasize how finance and financial decisions support the objectives of the business entity. Surely, traditional human resource roles – hiring, benefits and payroll management - are necessary for an organization to function, but these are operational tasks. What does an HR department need to do to attain an elevated organizational role? In her 2015 article, The New Roles of the Human Resources Professional, Susan M. Heathfield observed, “It's not enough to ask for a seat at the executive table; HR people will have to prove they have the business savvy necessary to sit there.” So how does HR transform itself into a value-added partner of the organization? The answer lies in using robust Talent Analytics to Drive Performance. Analytics-driven HR:

• Delivers more precise visibility to predict and plan organizational performance
• Permits cross-functional insights to better understand, develop and maintain a productive workforce
• Measures and shapes HR’s contribution to the business

The next question, then, is how do HR departments acquire Analytics-driven capabilities? In subsequent posts, I will discuss what it takes to move to an analytic-driven HR organization, how HR can always be one step ahead, and how to build and maintain top talent.

Tuesday Feb 02, 2016

How can I build visual analytics expertise?

By Barry Mostert

When I think of a simple tool, I immediately think of a hammer – it’s a very intuitive, easy-to-use tool.  You pick it up and you can begin striking things with little input or guidance. By itself, striking things, however, doesn’t make you a carpenter, or an architect – other skills are needed.

Although they aren’t as simple as a hammer, visual analytics tools are designed to be much more intuitive than traditional BI tools, since mastering traditional BI tools often required extensive formal training. Is this the only skill that is needed to become a proficient data visualization analyst?

Let me ask, “Where we should look to find the best candidates to become today’s data visualization experts?” At first blush, there may be a temptation to choose IT experts since they are likely to quickly pick up the nuances of the tool. Comfort with the tool is certainly necessary but, like using a hammer to become a carpenter, something else is needed to become a proficient data analyst with visualization tools. That extra skill, not often found within IT, is an understanding of the data – its business meaning and the interrelationships.

Not understanding the data makes extracting information to provide meaningful insights very difficult, regardless the tool being used.  Often, this failure is blamed on the tool, itself, for “not figuring this out for me.” Although most tools have intelligence built in to provide some help, at the end of the day, it doesn’t “know” the data like an experienced business user “knows” the data. To gain insight or to make any meaningful interpretation really requires a solid understanding of these metrics, their dimensions and their relationships in context to the intelligence being sought. These skillsets, and the prime candidates for data visualization experts, are usually found within the business user community.

Of course, these business candidates must be willing, able, and, preferably, eager to learn the visual analytics tool. Is learning the tool too onerous for business users? I have seen that, with a little guidance from experienced users, the use of online videos, and the review of “tips ‘n tricks” documentation, a user can quickly become quite capable in the use of visual analytics tools. After this quick orientation, mastering the tool is best done by “playing with it.” It certainly does not require poring through bulky reference manuals, or costly formal training sessions.

The bottom line is that, for most organizations, when looking for the best candidates to become data visualization masters, look for those with a good understanding of their own data and an eagerness for learning new tools.

Tuesday Jan 19, 2016

What’s the Hype about Data Visualization? Seems like the Same Old Graphics to me.

By Barry Mostert

 “All I see are the same bar charts, pie charts and scatter plots that I’ve always had.” “I don’t see much difference from what’s in my current dashboards.”  “Where are the new, innovative, different types of charts?” 

When I talk to people about data visualization, initially they express disappointment that they’re not seeing “new ways” to present data. Actually, data visualization isn’t about replacing reliable forms of graphic expression; after all, a pie chart will always be pretty good at easily portraying a metric against a single dimension.  A visual’s intent is to present information that allows the viewer to quickly digest the meaning of the data and in a way that will help to lead them to new insights.  My experience has shown me that new ways of presenting and enhancing graphics are often poorly applied – and often for novelty effect. Adding effects like shadows, 3D, or making them spin doesn’t actually improve the information being represented. Sure, they may be “prettier” or “more fun” and so they’re great when doing a presentation, but these effects do little to support analysis of the underlying information – actually, they are more likely to create a distraction than to add value. 

Of course, with data visualization tools, brand new types of charts are available, and I will discuss new chart types and the use of the technology called D3 in a subsequent post. For now, keep in mind that this isn’t the major benefit of data visualization.

“So if data visualization tools aren’t to provide a broader array of graphics, why is there so much hype about them and why shouldn’t I just stick with my classic dashboard tool?”  The answer lies in the way that users interact with these two tools.  A classic dashboard is usually created an answer to a specific, predefined question whose answer changes over time (e.g., revenue to date, production throughput).  Classic dashboards are usually built to help users discover what has happened. Data visualization techniques, on the other hand, empower data exploration by supporting a guided conversation through the data. There is no predefined requirement and no predetermined end point - the conversation may lead anywhere.  Data visualization goes beyond what has happened to encourage the user to uncover why it is happening.

The difference between data visualization and a classic dashboard is not in the appearance, but in the type of question that initiates the conversation with the data, and how you employ the visuals to answer the question.

In subsequent posts, we will offer more thoughts and observations about data visualization – applications, techniques, considerations for people, and tools. 

Tuesday Sep 15, 2015

Treat Your HCM System like a B-52!

Joseph Thamas ( view the original post on LinkedIn)

My father was a B-52 Navigator during the Vietnam War. At that point, he was only 9 years older than the plane he was guiding. The US Air Force has plans to utilize the B-52 as a strategic asset until 2044, a nearly 100 year lifespan! Over that time, new engines, avionics (my father used a sliderule and a sextant to navigate 20 hour round trip flights) and armaments have been added but the core airframe flown by pilots today was last produced in 1962. Most B-52 aircrews are in a plane older than their parents (or even grandparents!)

I thought about my dad and the B-52 when I read one of the results of the Bersin by Deloitte Investments in Human Capital Management Systems survey(available here). In the survey, it stated that the #1 reason respondents listed why they would replace their HCM system was “Improved Analytics and Reporting”. If your current HCM system can’t do the job, sure, replace it. In fact, I even have a suggestion of a vendor to check out for an excellent cloud-based HCM system. But for many of you, your core HCM “airframe” is fine, you just need some updated analytics/avionics and maybe some fancy new armaments/talent management. Leveraging cloud-based analytics or talent management with your existing HCM system has never been easier technically, and probably a lot easier to justify with your CFO. I can’t guarantee a 100 year lifespan but there probably are a couple more years left in your HCM system, once you add some modern components. Ping me for more info.

Tuesday Sep 08, 2015

Big Data and the Window to Innovation

Jake Krakauer
Senior Director, Global Market Development, Cloud Analytics

How can Big Data fuel the process of innovation? Structured analysis helps us answer known questions, but sometimes those questions don’t lead us to new opportunity or root cause. That’s where Big Data Analytics comes in – it opens the window to innovation. Answers to new questions and clues to new business opportunities probably exist somewhere in the massive amount of information that’s being generated. What’s needed is an engine to help the new explorers – business people – to intuitively engage with data and conduct discovery, working in the way that they think. We are on the cusp of these new solutions now – the window is open.

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