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 Dec 20, 2013

Year in Review – Oracle Business Analytics in 2013

2013 was a busy year for Oracle Business Analytics and as it comes to end, we wanted take a moment to thank all of our customers and partners for another great year together. At Oracle, we enjoy a good year-end recap so here is a look at Oracle Business Analytics top 10 moments in 2013 (in no particular order).  Relax and take a stroll down memory lane with us!

10. The Release of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1 – The latest release of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.1 incorporates new enterprise self-service discovery capabilities for business users, allowing them to easily make information-based business decisions with greater success, safety and confidence. Learn more about Oracle Endeca

9. Big Data at Work Webcast Series – 5 webcasts, 1000’s of attendees with featured guest speakers from Dell, Passoker, Cloudera, Delphi, as well as MIT’s Andrew McAfee. View on-demand

8. Oracle Exalytics T5-8 Scales Up to Deliver Customers with Analytic Insights Oracle Exalytics In-Memory MachineT5-8, the new engineered system with 4TB of memory per machine, delivers extreme performance for business intelligence (BI) and enterprise performance management (EPM) applications, helping organizations drive better efficiency by speeding answers to complex business scenarios. Learn more about Oracle Exalytics

7. Mark Hurd - Oracle OpenWorld 2013 Keynote – Oracle President, Mark Hurd, gives his keynote on transforming businesses with Big Data and Analytics at Oracle OpenWorld 2013. Watch the Video

6. Oracle Exalytics Strong Customer Adoption– Sodexo, SoftBank, Cablemas, WorleyParsons, Santos, Zagrebacka banka , Cablevisón, Avago Technologies, United Supermarkets, Immonet GmbH, Nilson Group AB, Siemens Healthcare, Pinellas County, Ministero del Lavoro were among the many organizations recognized at Oracle OpenWorld 2013 for leveraging Oracle Exalytics to deliver extreme performance for their mission-critical BI and enterprise performance management (EPM) applications. Learn more about Oracle Exalytics

5. The Release of Oracle BI Mobile App Designer A new design tool with which business users can easily create stunning and interactive analytical applications for use on any major mobile device. With this release, Oracle adds major innovations to Oracle Business Intelligence, extending the capabilities of the Oracle BI Mobile solution, and reinforcing Oracle’s commitment to empowering organizations to stay connected to their businesses with real-time insights while on the go. Learn more about Oracle BI Mobile App Designer

4. Oracle Exalytics X3-4 Powers Real-Time Analytical Insights – The new system features significant software enhancements and hardware updates, dramatically expanding the capabilities of the industry’s first high-speed engineered system for business analytics. Learn more about Oracle Exalytics

3. The release of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications 11.1.1.7.1 Completely redesigned to increase implementation productivity, the new release incorporates significant enhancements across the entire BI Applications product line and introduces new in-memory analytic applications. Learn more about Oracle BI Applications

2. The Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite Release 11.1.1.7 Delivers significant enhancements to usability, mobility, user experience and Big Data integration, enabling organizations to analyze critical information and get the intelligence they need to optimize their business. Learn more about Oracle BI Foundation Suite

1. Oracle Positioned in Leaders Quadrant for BI and Analytics Platforms by Gartner – Oracle has been named Leader in Business Intelligence for the seventh consecutive year. Read the report. Plus, Oracle customer, Land O Lakes, wins Gartner BI and Analytics Excellence award for their innovative use of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. Read the story

Historic Moment - Oracle Team USA puts Big Data and Analytics to work and fuels the most dramatic victory in the history of the America's Cup. Watch the Video

Friday Sep 20, 2013

Can't make it to #OOW13? Follow on with our Live Twitter coverage

We're excited to see you all in just a few days at Oracle OpenWorld 2013!  This year's OpenWorld promises to be the biggest and best ever, with thought-provoking speakers and experts at every turn.  Big data and Analytics will have first billing with Mark Hurd getting us started bright and early at the Monday keynote, "Transforming Business with Big Data and Analytics".  For those of you who we will see in person, I hope you'll join us at our first ever Business Analytics Tweet ups on Tuesday and Wednesday at 2pm, at the BI Mobile App Designer Demo booth in Moscone South.  Can't wait to meet you all in person!

For those that can't make it there in person, we'll be live tweeting some of the sessions, so follow us on @OracleAnalytics if you want to find out more: 

 Day  Session  Time
Sunday, September 22 Welcome Keynote: Larry Ellison, Oracle 5:00 - 7:00 PM
Monday, September 23
Transforming Businesses with Big Data and Analytics
Mark Bluhm, Thomson Reuters Corporation
Duncan Niederauer, NYSE Euronext
Mark Hurd, Oracle
8:00 AM - 9:45 AM

Oracle Business Intelligence Product and Technology Roadmap
Paul Rodwick, Oracle
10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

General Session: Harnessing the Power of Big Data and Business Analytics to Transform Business
Rajeev Nayar, Infosys
Scott Osterman, Underwriters Laboratories
Justin Grochoski, Oracle    

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Twitter coverage by @Takin_ba


General Session: Empowering Modern Enterprise Performance Management
Matt Schwenderman, Deloitte Consulting LLP
Balaji Yelamanchili, Oracle    

12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

Twitter coverage by @jenn_toomey


What’s New with Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine?
Al Dudley, SAVVIS
Praveen Deshpande, Oracle
Vasudevan Murthy, Oracle    
12:15 PM - 1:15 PM

General Session: Oracle BI Executive Briefing
Brian Eyles, Financial Conduct Authority
Balaji Yelamanchili, Oracle    
1:45 PM - 2:45 PM
 Tuesday Sept 24
Oracle Endeca Information Discovery: Customer Panel
Kelvin Lau, Barclays
Michael Macrie, Land O Lakes
Keith Johnson, Oracle   
10:30 AM - 11:30 AM

Cloud Business Analytics
Neil Mendelson, Oracle
Hari Sankar, Oracle    
3:45 PM - 4:45 PM

Oracle BI Mobile Adoption: Customer Panel
Edward Cody, General Dynamics IT, Inc.
Christopher Royle, Polk
Jack Berkowitz, Oracle
5:15 PM - 6:15 PM
 Wednesday Sept 25
Customer Success: Leveraging Multiple EPM Products Maximizes ROI
Susan Dean, NCR
George Somogyi, New Edge Group
Jeffrey Spangler, Speedy Cash Holdings Corp
Alphonso Marciante, Oracle
Nigel Youell, Oracle    
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

What’s Next for Oracle Business Intelligence Applications? A Sneak Peek into the Future
Florian Schouten, Oracle    
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM

Customer Panel: Oracle Exalytics
Jonathon Eastman, Wellpoint
Karlo Kovacic, Zagrebacka Banka
Benjamin Pearce, WorleyParsons
Karen Yip, Oracle    
1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Customer Panel: Real-World Value with Oracle Business Intelligence Applications
Bharath Natarajan, Agilent Technologies
Robert Davis, Oracle    
3:30 PM - 4:30 PM


Friday Apr 12, 2013

What’s new in Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.0

We are very excited to introduce Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.0, a major release which has been 2 years in the making.  This release continues to strengthen Oracle Business analytics portfolio with a key enhancements to our Data Discovery solution.

There are three major themes to the release:


Enhanced End User Discovery Experience: Improving upon an intuitive end user discovery experience founded on years of experience in online commerce, the OEID3.0 release provides a completely modernized look and feel.  This provides users a more sophisticated, yet streamlined and cleaner experience in which to discover new insights.   
REdesigned OEID Interface
Improved Business User Self-Service: Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.0 has made major investments to empower the business. This is achieved by providing business users with the ability to upload their own Excel files into Endeca Server and create new discovery applications without the need to understand complex query languages. Business users can also create and share new applications using highly curated data sets already provisioned by IT.

Robust Data Discovery for the Enterprise: A superior discovery experience does not come at the expense of enterprise standards, governance, and security.  With this release OEID provides new features which further solidify its place as the only enterprise-class data discovery platform, with localization on 10 languages, Endeca Server support on 22 languages, the ability to deploy on Weblogic, new JSON reader, native integrations with Oracle BI Server, and more.

To find out more about the Oracle Endeca Information Discovery 3.0 release, check out our What’s new Document or attend our upcoming webcast on April 16th.

Tuesday Apr 09, 2013

Big Data Analytics - Advanced Analytics in Oracle Database

That's the title of a new white paper we've just posted. From the executive summary:

Big data doesn’t only bring new data types and storage mechanisms, but new types of analysis as well. In the following pages we discuss the various ways to analyze big data to find patterns and relationships, make informed predictions, deliver actionable intelligence, and gain business insight from this steady influx of information. 

You can check it out here.

Thursday Jan 31, 2013

Using In-Database Analytics to Predict Fraud

Your data warehouse stores critical data telling you what is happening in your business and sometimes why it’s happening. But you can go beyond understanding why something went wrong. You can use past data to predict the future, correcting problems before they happen. In a recent survey that Oracle did of over 300 C level executives, 93% of them thought that their companies were losing an average of 14% of their total revenue because they couldn’t fully leverage the information they had already collected. One key way to do this (and you’ll hear more about this in a future survey) is to use predictive analytics. Let’s take a quick look at why and how.

Turkcell is a leading mobile phone provider in Turkey, with over 34 million subscribers. And like most mobile providers a majority of those subscribers use pre-paid accounts and pre-paid cards. Money launderers take advantage of this, and losses for this business are of the order of $5 for every $10,000. This may not seem like much, but with billions of transactions, this adds up to millions of dollars a year.

Like other companies, Turkcell examine huge quantities of data and build models that help it identify and ultimately predict and prevent fraudulent transactions.  Unlike many other companies, Turkcell does this analysis in its data warehouse. With 100 TB of compressed data – representing over a petabyte uncompressed – it would take a long time to move that data out of the warehouse and keep it up to date as new data arrived. And the window to stop the next fraudulent transaction might have already closed.

Oracle Advanced Analytics enables you to perform sophisticated predictive analytics inside a data warehouse. You can mine your data directly while it is inside the Oracle Database using either SQL or R language APIs or the Oracle Data Miner SQL Developer “work flow” GUI extension, depending on your need and existing skills. You build models for past behavior and use that to predict future behavior, improving your accuracy with time. And best of all, there’s no need to move the data around which takes time you might not have and also leaves you exposed to security risks. As Turkcell said “...we can analyze large volumes of customer data and call-data records easier and faster than with any other tool”

Tuesday Jan 15, 2013

Transforming Workforce Management with Oracle Endeca Information Discovery

Human Resources is back in the spotlight.  According to industry benchmarks, the cost of replacing an employee can equate to 1.5-4x an employee’s salary, and given ever shrinking budgets, improving employee retention is viewed as a major way to reduce costs on the bottom line.  In fact, according to a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management, the three biggest challenges facing HR executives over the next 10 years are retaining and rewarding the best employees (59%), developing the next generation of corporate leaders (52%), and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees to organizations (36%).


Fortunately, data abounds which can help organizations make the best decisions necessary to solve these challenges.  Unfortunately, much of the information and the resulting insights which can come from it are outside the reach of traditional business analytics systems, in external websites, social media, text from human resource transactions kept in legacy systems, and documents in content management systems.  With this ever-growing complexity, HR executives can gain competitive advantage through richer intelligence, if they are able to draw new and innovative insight with a tool which provides previously untapped actionable information—Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.

Oracle Endeca Information Discovery helps human resource organizations to improve the relationship between companies and their employees, get to the real root causes behind issues, and create new best practices through a better understanding of the workforce by solving the problems associated with analyzing unstructured data. Oracle Endeca Information Discovery creates transformative opportunities for the business, and enables IT to cost-effectively support them in:  

  • Understanding the voice and sentiment of the workforce.  By providing the ability to use natural-language queries to derive insights from information from all sources, Oracle Endeca Information Discovery provides insight into the effectiveness of strategic and tactical HR decisions such as career changes, organizational realignment, compensation adjustments, training and a host of other significant HR events.
  • Identifying the root causes behind events and exceptions.  By combining structured and unstructured data about the workforce from internal and external sources, HR organizations are empowered to determine the reasons why things happen and respond to findings without direct IT involvement, saving time and cost.
  • Supercharging existing business analytics investments.  With the unscripted exploration of workforce data and full-featured search, navigation & interactive analytics, HR organizations can leverage, improve, and extend existing investments in workforce analytics and HCM applications.
To find out more about Oracle Endeca Information Discovery for workforce, join us at our upcoming webcast on January 29, 2013.  Click here to find out more (http://www.oracle.com/goto/workforceanalytics)

Friday May 18, 2012

The Art of the Possible with Business Analytics

It has been established beyond doubt that data and its analysis can have a huge impact on an organization’s top line and bottom line. Business Analytics helps organizations deliver better business performance in two ways – by optimizing business processes and by helping to innovate. Optimization helps organizations be efficient and effective by taking inefficiencies out of the business processes and focusing on the high impact opportunities. Innovation on the other hand helps organizations by uncovering new customer segments, new product categories, new markets, new business models etc.

The styles of analyzing data are many fold from answering questions like “what is going on?” to “why are the things the way they are?” to “what will happen if I do X or Y?” to “what does the future look like?” Broadly speaking the styles of analytics can be classified into three categories:

·         Exploratory Analysis: The objective of exploratory or investigative analysis is exploration and analysis of complex and varied data – whether structured or unstructured for information discovery.  This style of analysis is particularly useful when the questions aren’t well formed or the value and shape of the data isn’t well understood.

·         Descriptive Analytics: The objective of this style of analysis is to answer historical or current questions like what is going on. why are the things the way they are?. This is the most common style of analysis and here the questions as well as the value and shape of data are well understood.

·         Predictive Analysis: Predictive analysis aims at painting a picture of the future with some reasonable certainty.

So, what’s art of possible with business analytics? It’s the application of the above three styles of analytics to a business scenario for better insights, decisions and results. Let’s try and explain this with an example. Consider this scenario:

You are a Financial Services firm e.g. a large bank and are trying to improve profitability. You read Larry Seldon’s book titled “Angel Customers and Demon Customers” and agree with the findings that 20% of your top customers bring in 80% of the profits and would like to manage you business as a portfolio of customers as opposed to portfolio of products. So, how do you do that? The answer is business analytics.

You can start by using descriptive analytics techniques like operational reports, ad-hoc query, dashboards etc. on data collected from different sources like sales, customer service etc. to determine the profitability of each customer. You can then use predictive analysis techniques like data mining, statistical analysis to further enrich your customer data into profitability segments like high, medium, low and loss making customers. Finally, you can choose different customer service channels like personal banker, phone or ATM to cost effectively serve you customers e.g. a high profitability customer can be served by a personal banker free of charge but if the loss making customer wants a personal banker there will be a charge. Once you have implemented such programs you can use exploratory analysis to gauge the sentiment across social media channels like Facebook and Twitter to see if the programs are working as desired. Better yet you may come up with new innovative business models like mobile banking or online only banking to improve profitability.

That’s the art of possible powered by business analytics. Stay tuned, I intend to publish more examples from different industries to show the art of possible with business analytics.

Wednesday May 02, 2012

Analytics And Agility – Why It Is So Important Today

No question that many IT professionals are feeling the pressure to rapidly deliver analytic solutions that respond to the continuous demands of the business user. Primary research shows that analytics in the context of Big Data continues to be top of mind for executive teams at global enterprises. Executives clearly understand the value of Big Data and analytics and many are very vocal proponents of the value it can bring to bear on the business. What executive is not interested in understanding sales trends, KPI’s, social sentiment about the business and critical metrics, even predictive views of the business?

All these requirements and many more have created a tremendous backlog of analytic application requests. This backlog grows significantly as IT professionals are successful in delivering highly tuned internal analytic solutions that quickly deliver value. Everyone begins to say “I want one of those”!

We are no longer operating in the past when these analytic projects took years to complete and where a “boil the ocean” approach was the norm. Today, we see a changing landscape where Agility is what matters most when it comes to delivering rapid returns on key Big Data and analytic investments. In fact, just about every IT professional is pursuing the Agile model for development where product development efforts of the past are streamlined using methodologies that lean towards delivering high value features that are delivered in short bursts of time. This is clearly the method that is emerging when it comes to rapidly delivering analytic solutions to the end user in short bursts of time where value is immediately evident.

Agility in analytics doesn’t require that the product be a desktop business intelligence solution delivered in silos. In fact, Agile analytics requires that IT and the business users work collaboratively and quickly to ensure strong IT governance while also providing powerful analytic solutions to the end user rather than having the user take on the whole effort.

New Information Discovery solutions such as Oracle Endeca Information Discovery clearly have embraced the notion of delivering high value agile analytic applications in short bursts of time. Some including situational analytic apps.  We have seen this play out frequently where POC’s (proof of concepts) quickly go into production in a very short period of time because of the compelling value that was delivered in the POC.

Agility also means developing in short product iterations, this enables one to deliver an analytic application, get immediate feedback from end-users and rapidly iterate to deliver new or expanded requirements that deliver further value. We are talking weeks not many months. Some projects have gone from 8 week iterations down to 2 week iterations. Because Agile analytic solutions are typically delivered through a browser in a private or public cloud, versus a silo desktop only tool, the new enhancements are readily available for test and validation by the end user. This capability combined with agility also gives the analytic application developer a chance to quickly show that they are meeting the key requirements of the end user.

With increased agility and business user success, we will eventually turn the corner and agility will be the new norm in analytics.

New Oracle Endeca Information Discovery YouTube Channel

The Oracle Endeca Information Discovery Product Management team has been busy building a new YouTube Channel to showcase the capabilities of the Endeca Information Discovery product. The team has started to release a new screencast series for "Getting Started With Endeca Information Discovery. This series will help showcase the strong capabilities of the product. It will also give you a sense of what the business user experience is like and also show you how innovative this solution is for building highly interactive, search driven analytics applications on a variety of data including structured, multi-structured and unstructured data, especially on Big Data. 

We encourage you to check it out at http://www.youtube.com/user/OracleEID/


Monday Apr 09, 2012

Polyglot Analytics

Just like polyglot persistence, where a variety of data stores exist to handle a wide variety of data persistency requirements for different data management use cases, we are now seeing the emergence of a variety of BI and analytic solutions for delivering insight on all types of data. In the context of polyglot persistence, Oracle not only offers the number one relational database solution in the market today, we also deliver market leading NoSQL and In-Memory (TimesTen) as well as our Essbase OLAP engine where they serve as excellent solutions for handling a variety of persistency requirements. Of course, we've had a strong track record of also delivering enterprise class business intelligence and reporting solutions to the market and now have extended the BI and Analytics offering with Oracle Endeca Information Discovery, a data discovery solution that enables one to quickly explore all relevant data whether structured, semi-structured or unstructured in nature. And just like polyglot persistence solutions that compliment one another, we also see the same case for polyglot analytics. Our Business Intelligence solutions complement each other. In fact, they solve different problems and create different kinds of value. Why Polyglot Analytics exist. In a sense, its no different than programmers using different language to tackle different requirements and use cases. As an example, it would not be unusual for server side code to be written in Java while a web page is driven by Javascript or even Ruby. 

Business Intelligence clearly provides proven answers to known questions while out extensions, in this case, Data Discovery, it provides fast answers to new questions formulated by the business user. For example, when the business intelligence report says that warranty claims on the top-selling product went up 15% last month, the new questions are “What changed? What’s the root cause? What are customers saying about this? That exploration happens in a discovery app.

And the relationship goes both ways. Data Discovery creates new KPIs for the BI stack to deliver. For example, a consumer packaged goods company learned that preference for seemingly unrelated brands was highly correlated in certain customer segments. This came from a social media discovery app and suggested new KPIs they quickly pulled into their operational BI system.

Far from replacing their BI systems with data discovery, our customers have instead been able to get far MORE value out of their existing BI systems because they are able to re-focus them on solving the problems they are most effective for, and creating new practices around data discovery to get fast answers to new questions.

Just like NoSQL solutions solve different problems than relational databases, Data Discovery solves new problems that are different than traditional business intelligence and reporting:

The fact that data is available immediately creates demand for it. As more application, consumer, sensor, and mobile data is available to the business, the more the business wants to use that varied data for daily decisions that today get made on intuition and opinion.
In analytics, big variety is a bigger problem than big volume because it can’t be solved by more processing power alone. In addition, the cost and time required to combine diverse data together must come down.
The people making these decisions are experts in the business, not in writing SQL queries. They need a user experience that’s simple to learn and use and this is a core capability of Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. 

It combines structured and unstructured data from inside or outside the company. An enterprise solution must work with the full range of data that matters to an enterprise, including multiple structured sources with diverse schemas, like the vehicle warehouse and quality touch point application data; including unstructured data like the long-form text descriptions in the warranty claims; regardless of whether the data is inside the company, like the warehouse, or outside the company like the NHTSA claims or JD Power data.
It delivers in-memory performance, but is not memory bound. An enterprise solution must maintain fully interactive query response times even when the data is too big to fit in memory. Endeca realized this years ago when it combined search and browsing in eCommerce because search indices are often too big to fit in memory. Oracle EID is written for multi-core, multi-processor servers and uses proprietary optimization algorithms to exploit the full memory hierarchy from on-CPU cache all the way down to disk.  It is a solution for provisioning targeted discovery apps. It provides IT with a new capability to quickly deliver discovery apps wherever the business needs them. 

Over time, we will see strong adoption of Data Discovery applications that further compliment and augment Business Intelligence solutions and why we will continue to see polyglot analytics take hold. 

Friday Apr 06, 2012

Does your analytic solution tell you what questions to ask?

Analytic solutions exist to answer business questions. Conventional wisdom holds that if you can answer business questions quickly and accurately, you can take better business decisions and therefore achieve better business results and outperform the competition. Most business questions are well understood (read structured) so they are relatively easy to ask and answer. Questions like what were the revenues, cost of goods sold, margins, which regions and products outperformed/underperformed are relatively well understood and as a result most analytics solutions are well equipped to answer such questions.
Things get really interesting when you are looking for answers but you don’t know what questions to ask in the first place? That’s like an explorer looking to make new discoveries by exploration. An example of this scenario is the Center of Disease Control (CDC) in United States trying to find the vaccine for the latest strand of the swine flu virus. The researchers at CDC may try hundreds of options before finally discovering the vaccine. The exploration process is inherently messy and complex. The process is fraught with false starts, one question or a hunch leading to another and the final result may look entirely different from what was envisioned in the beginning. Speed and flexibility is the key; speed so the hundreds of possible options can be explored quickly and flexibility because almost everything about the problem, solutions and the process is unknown. 
Come to think of it, most organizations operate in an increasingly unknown or uncertain environment. Business Leaders have to take decisions based on a largely unknown view of the future. And since the value proposition of analytic solutions is to help the business leaders take better business decisions, for best results, consider adding information exploration and discovery capabilities to your analytic solution. Such exploratory analysis capabilities will help the business leaders perform even better by empowering them to refine their hunches, ask better questions and take better decisions. That’s your analytic system not only answering the questions but also suggesting what questions to ask in the first place.
Today, most leading analytic software vendors offer exploratory analysis products as part of their analytic solutions offerings. So, what characteristics should be top of mind while evaluating the various solutions? The answer is quite simply the same characteristics that are essential for exploration and analysis – speed & flexibility. Speed is required because the system inherently has to be agile to handle hundreds of different scenarios with large volumes of data across large user populations. Exploration happens at the speed of thought so make sure that you system is capable of operating at speed of thought. Flexibility is required because the exploration process from start to finish is full of unknowns; unknown questions, answers and hunches. So, make sure that the system is capable of managing and exploring all relevant data – structured or unstructured like databases, enterprise applications, tweets, social media updates, documents, texts, emails etc. and provides flexible Google like user interface to quickly explore all relevant data.
Getting Started
You can help business leaders become “Decision Masters” by augmenting your analytic solution with information discovery capabilities. For best results make sure that the solution you choose is enterprise class and allows advanced, yet intuitive, exploration and analysis of complex and varied data including structured, semi-structured and unstructured data.  You can learn more about Oracle’s exploratory analysis solutions by clicking here.

Friday Mar 30, 2012

Curious About Oracle's BI and Analytics Strategy?

Normally we use this blog space for discussing our business intelligence and analytic efforts along with our views and perspective on this very fast growing marketplace. However, I can't resist mentioning that we are having a great webcast coming up next week, so please do join Oracle's Mark Hurd and Balaji Yelamanchili as they unveil the latest advances in Oracle's strategy for placing analytics into the hands of every one of your decision makers-so that they can see more, think smarter, and act faster. Register now at http://bit.ly/HpAOJk for the Webcast and Live Chat: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at 9 a.m. PT, 12 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. GMT.  You don't want to miss this event and thank you very much. 

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