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

Tuesday Jan 21, 2014

BI Solution-in-a-Box - Enterprise Class BI for the Mid Market

Since the Oracle Database Appliance (ODA) started supporting Oracle Virtual Machine (OVM) twelve months ago, we have seen several groups develop purpose built offerings on top of it, called “Solutions in a Box,” where they combine an application or middleware on top of the robust, cost effective ODA platform.  The newest member of this family combines enterprise class business intelligence, data integration and Oracle’s enterprise class database at a price mid market organizations can afford. In our prior post, we described the need IT industry analysts see for mid market organizations adopting business intelligence. In this post, we will talk about how Oracle addresses this need.

To address this need, Oracle has developed the BI Solution-in-a-Box. It contains the Oracle database with partitioning, diagnostics, and tuning, BI Foundation Suite, and Oracle Database Integrator, all running in two virtual machines on the Oracle Database Appliance. It is packaged to let customers license only the cores they need, expand as they grow, and be easy to buy and support, all supported by a single vendor. Because it is based on standard Oracle products, one can add other hardware, database or BI products if desired, like more storage, RAC, Advanced Analytics or an Oracle BI Application.

By providing enterprise class BI in a pre integrated package, Oracle has brought enterprise class functionality to the mid market. Enterprise class organizations, no matter what size, recognize that they stay enterprise class by adopting solutions that minimize their total cost of ownership. By pre integrating the hardware, firmware, operating system, virtualization, database, ETL, and BI, Oracle has provided a package that minimizes the total cost of ownership by eliminating integration challenges and minimizing the effort needed to stand up a business intelligence system. In addition, the tools themselves are regarded as having industry leading total costs of ownership. All these advantages help midsize organizations increase their agility while minimizing their labor costs. Labor costs, according to Gartner, are at least 75% of the total cost of ownership of a business intelligence system.

In addition, to make this solution easier to buy, Oracle has pre arranged financing through Oracle Finance Division to make the purchase either a loan or a lease depending on whether customers would prefer to treat the expenditure as a capital expense or an operating expense.

Oracle will be introducing and discussing the Oracle Database Appliance and BI Solution in a Box on a Webinar on January 23rd. For more information and to register for the event, please register to attend the event: http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/245722-nafs13054094mpp037-se-2052054.html

Tammy Bednar, Will Hutchinson, Rob Klaassens, and Mike Mrazek
Oracle Corp.

Thursday Jan 16, 2014

BI for the Mid Market

Oracle and industry analysts have seen a rapid expansion of business intelligence and data warehouse solutions into midsize and smaller organizations.  The need to understand how they are serving their customers, how their suppliers are serving them and the opportunity to drive growth and cost reductions requires insights into data. ERP, Performance Management systems and CRM/CX systems are great way to collect data but do not provide and easy and flexible way to combine data from multiple sources for in depth analysis.

Traditionally, midsize and smaller organizations have relied on spreadsheets or downloads of data to a personal database to meet these needs. However these solutions do not scale and suffer from problems of inconsistent data, errors, manual work and non-repeatable processes for gathering and analyzing data, leading to the inability to respond quickly. In the past, these organizations have not invested in business intelligence because the perception was that a Business Intelligence or Data Warehouse Strategy was too expensive to install and maintain. One would have to buy and configure hardware, a database, BI and ETL tools, and other middleware. The time, effort and cost to support these types of solutions would typically overwhelm most midsize IT staffs. Also, deploying these systems can cost several hundred thousand dollars over five years, after taking into account both out of pocket costs and the time the staff spends on BI, time which if it were available could effectively be spent elsewhere.

Register today to attend and learn how you can replace those Excel spreadsheets and Access databases with the type of analytics big companies have, analytics you thought you could never afford.

http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/245722-nafs13054094mpp037-se-2052054.html

Tammy Bednar, Will Hutchinson, Rob Klaassens, and Mike Mrazek
Oracle Corp.

Wednesday Jan 15, 2014

Create Analytical Mobile Apps in Minutes With no Coding!

Just imagine -- being able to create analytical mobile apps in minutes without coding. Think of the efficiency. Think of the effectiveness. Think of the FUN!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Kan Nishida, Director of Product Development for the Oracle BI Mobile App Designer Product during a podcast about the challenge of today’s “Continuous Work” lifestyle in the post-PC era. We discussed how organizations can not only adapt, but also transform, to empower their employees by delivering and sharing enterprise information anywhere, anytime, and using any device securely.

One of the issues facing our increasingly mobile workforce is the need to use multiple devices with a single application to take care of business. Kan and I talked about a new product offering from Oracle Business Intelligence, called Oracle BI Mobile App Designer, which enables business users to easily create interactive, analytical mobile apps and share them with any mobile device.

Kan told our listeners that one of the biggest reasons for creating this product was to enable business users, who do not have access to a group of excellent engineers to create apps for them, to create apps for themselves – for any device or screen size. BI Mobile App Designer is a browser –based application that uses drag and drop technology to create mobile apps.

With the emerging Bring-Your-Own-Device trend, organizations are having to support multiple mobile platforms like Apple’s iOS, Android, and Windows, because employees are using all of these platforms to complete their work. And of course, we can’t forget about PCs like Windows and Mac. A majority of people in Enterprise organizations still use PCs to access information and, according to Kan, will likely continue do so.

So, as it turns out, this mobile transformation thing is not about the transition from PC to Mobile, but to a “Continuous Work” lifestyle for business. For example, when you get up in the morning, you might be to check email on your iPhone, browse news on your iPad while having breakfast, check email again in the office - but this time on your PC. At the office, you might want to attend a meeting with an iPad, and check your iPhone while waiting for your co-workers to arrive. So, basically, we want and expect to access information anytime, anywhere, and with any device or screen.

Next we talked about why multiple devices and screen sizes are a challenge. Kan told our listeners that apps or reports need to be optimized to touch-based interaction and be responsive to any device and screen size so that your audience can open them from any mobile device as well as PCs. An app on an iPad requires much less pinching and squeezing because there is more physical space for display, and buttons and data entry fields are big enough to touch and enter data. A phone has less screen real estate, so you need to optimize the small space to make the experience working on it easy and comfortable. It’s also really important to deliver the app with a single and universal URL. This way, you don’t need to worry about which device or platform your audience might using or opening a report from. They can access the same information while it’s presented in the best optimized way, according to their device type and screen size. And this is exactly what Oracle BI Mobile App Designer does.



Kan also told us that customers who already have Oracle BI can take advantage of BI Mobile App Designer.
They simply need to ensure they have upgraded to the latest version of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition, then install Oracle BI Mobile App Designer on top of it. It’s very simple and quick. Then you can start creating awesome apps right away.

If you would like to try out BI Mobile App Designer, Oracle has just released a “Trial Edition” -- a light version of the product that is meant for product evaluation purposes. You can download it from the Oracle Technical Network page in minutes, double click an installer, follow a few steps, and -- BAM – you now have it up and running. You can start creating mobile apps with Excel data, or sample data that comes with it. There are both Windows and Mac versions - and it’s free!

So, you really can create analytical mobile apps in minutes – with no coding!

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn more about BI Mobile App Designer, click here.

To download the Trial Edition of the Mobile App Designer, click here.

Tuesday Jan 14, 2014

BI Solution-in-a-Box is coming!

It’s coming.  Soon. The newest addition to the Oracle’s family of Solutions-in-a-Box, BI Solution-in-a-Box. It’s powerful and expandable. Most importantly, it’s surprisingly affordable and easy to manage, even for smaller companies who thought they could never afford enterprise class business intelligence.

Register today to attend and learn how you can replace those Excel spreadsheets and Access databases with the type of analytics big companies have, analytics you thought you could never afford.

http://www.oracle.com/us/dm/245722-nafs13054094mpp037-se-2052054.html

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