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.

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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.

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