Thursday Mar 13, 2014

BI Mobile: What’s the Deal with Android?

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

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

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

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

Tap and Share

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

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

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

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

Wednesday Feb 26, 2014

Oracle repeats as BI and Analytics Leader in Gartner MQ 2014

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

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

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

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

Tuesday Feb 25, 2014

Big Data and Analytic Top 10 Trends for 2014

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

[Read More]

Monday Feb 03, 2014

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

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

The rise of the machines

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

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

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

Our world, only better

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

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

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

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

Big data means safer communities

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

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

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

Big Data and Privacy

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

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

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

Friday Jan 31, 2014

Modernizing Business Intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To listen to the entire podcast click here

To learn more about Business Intelligence at Oracle, click here

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.

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

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

Tuesday Dec 10, 2013

Oracle Business Intelligence Applications: Deliver Value through Rapid Implementations by Will Hutchinson

During the last half of 2012 and the first half of 2013, Simon Miller and I wrote a book on release 7.9.6.x of Oracle BI Applications.  In this book we cover how to justify the purchase of BI Applications, what a typical project looks like, the architecture of the product, and overviews of the subject areas. We did not cover 11.1.1.x because it was not shipping when we wrote the book. We do not cover the material covered in the documentation. After all, why would you pay money to read what you can get for free?

Last month, Simon and I participated in a webinar sponsored by KPI Partners. The people at KPI Partners were pleased with the attendance, with over 120 people attending. The webinar talked discussed

  • Why people should care about the book
  • The Oracle BI Applications architecture
  • Setting user expectations
  • Building your team
  • Using a trusted advisor
  • The audience we wrote it for
  • What you will learn

 

I urge you to go to KPI Partners website and listen to the webinar. It will help you understand what our book is about and whether it is appropriate for you. Here’s a link.

http://www.kpipartners.com/oracle-bi-applications-delivering-value-through-rapid-implementation

Will Hutchinson
Master Principal Sales Consultant – Analytics, Oracle Corp.

Will Hutchinson has worked in the business intelligence and data warehousing for over 25 years. He started building data warehouses in 1986 at Metaphor, advancing to running Metaphor UK’s sales consulting area. He also worked in A.T. Kearney’s business intelligence practice for over four years, running projects and providing training to new consultants in the IT practice. He also worked at Informatica and then Siebel, before coming to Oracle with the Siebel acquisition. He became Master Principal Sales Consultant in 2009. He has worked on developing ROI and TCO models for business intelligence for over ten years. Mr. Hutchinson has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago.

Friday Nov 08, 2013

Security and the Mobile Workforce

Now that many organizations are moving to the BYOD philosophy (bring your own devices), security for phones and tablets accessing company sensitive information is of paramount importance. I had the pleasure to interview Brian MacDonald, Principal Product Manager for Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Mobile Products, about this subject, and he shared some wonderful insight about how the Oracle Mobile Security Tool Kit is addressing mobile security and doing some pretty cool things. 

With the rapid proliferation of phones and tablets, there is a perception that mobile devices are a security threat to corporate IT, that mobile operating systems are not secure, and that there are simply too many ways to inadvertently provide access to critical analytic data outside the firewall. Every day, I see employees working on mobile devices at the airport, while waiting for their airplanes, and using public WIFI connections at coffee houses and in restaurants. These methods are not typically secure ways to access confidential company data. I asked Brian to explain why.

“The native controls for mobile devices and applications are indeed insufficiently secure for corporate deployments of Business Intelligence and most certainly for businesses where data is extremely critical - such as financial services or defense - although it really applies across the board. The traditional approach for accessing data from outside a firewall is using a VPN connection which is not a viable solution for mobile. The problem is that once you open up a VPN connection on your phone or tablet, you are creating an opening for the whole device, for all the software and installed applications. Often the VPN connection by itself provides insufficient encryption – if any – which means that data can be potentially intercepted.”

For this reason, most organizations that deploy Business Intelligence data via mobile devices will only do so with some additional level of control. So, how has the industry responded? What are companies doing to address this very real threat? Brian explained that “Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) software vendors have rapidly created solutions for mobile devices that provide a vast array of services for controlling, managing and establishing enterprise mobile usage policies. On the device front, vendors now support full levels of encryption behind the firewall, encrypted local data storage, credential management such as federated single-sign-on as well as remote wipe, geo-fencing and other risk reducing features (should a device be lost or stolen). More importantly, these software vendors have created methods for providing these capabilities on a per application basis, allowing for complete isolation of the application from the mobile operating system.

Finally, there are tools which allow the applications themselves to be distributed through enterprise application stores allowing IT organizations to manage who has access to the apps, when updates to the applications will happen, and revoke access after an employee leaves. So even though an employee may be using a personal device, access to company data can be controlled while on or near the company premises.

So do the Oracle BI mobile products integrate with the MDM and MAM vendors? Brian explained that our customers use a wide variety of mobile security vendors and may even have more than one in-house. Therefore, Oracle is ensuring that users have a choice and a mechanism for linking together Oracle’s BI offering with their chosen vendor’s secure technology.

The Oracle BI Mobile Security Toolkit, which is a version of the Oracle BI Mobile HD application, delivered through the Oracle Technology Network (OTN) in its component parts, helps Oracle users to build their own version of the Mobile HD application, sign it with their own enterprise development certificates, link with their security vendor of choice, then deploy the combined application through whichever means they feel most appropriate, including enterprise application stores. 

Brian further explained that Oracle currently supports most of the major mobile security vendors, has close relationships with each, and maintains strong partnerships enabling both Oracle and the vendors to test, update and release a cooperating solution in lock-step. Oracle also ensures that as new versions of the Oracle HD application are made available on the Apple iTunes store, the same version is also immediately made available through the Security Toolkit on OTN. 

Rest assured that as our workforce continues down the mobile path, company sensitive information can be secured. 

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn more about the Oracle BI Mobile HD, click  here

To learn more about the BI Mobile Security Toolkit, click here 

Monday Oct 28, 2013

Guest blog: A Closer Look at Oracle Price Analytics by Will Hutchinson

Overview:  Price Analytics helps companies understand how much of each sale goes into discounts, special terms, and allowances. This visibility lets sales management see the panoply of discounts and start seeing whether each discount drives desired behavior. In Price Analytics monitors parts of the quote-to-order process, tracking quotes, including the whole price waterfall and seeing which result in orders. The “price waterfall” shows all discounts between list price and “pocket price”. Pocket price is the final price the vendor puts in its pocket after all discounts are taken.

The value proposition: Based on benchmarks from leading consultancies and companies I have talked to, where they have studied the effects of discounting and started enforcing what many of them call “discount discipline”, they find they can increase the pocket price by 0.8-3%. Yes, in today’s zero or negative inflation environment, one can, through better monitoring of discounts, collect what amounts to a price rise of a few percent. We are not talking about selling more product, merely about collecting a higher pocket price without decreasing quantities sold. Higher prices fall straight to the bottom line.

The best reference I have ever found for understanding this phenomenon comes from an article from the September-October 1992 issue of Harvard Business Review called “Managing Price, Gaining Profit” by Michael Marn and Robert Rosiello of McKinsey & Co. They describe the outsized impact price management has on bottom line performance compared to selling more product or cutting variable or fixed costs. Price Analytics manages what Marn and Rosiello call “transaction pricing”, namely the prices of a given transaction, as opposed to what is on the price list or pricing according to the value received. They make the point that if the vendor does not manage the price waterfall, customers will, to the vendor’s detriment. It also discusses its findings that in companies it studied, there was no correlation between discount levels and any indication of customer value. I urge you to read this article.

What Price Analytics does: Price analytics looks at quotes the company issues and tracks them until either the quote is accepted or rejected or it expires. There are prebuilt adapters for EBS and Siebel as well as a universal adapter. The target audience includes pricing analysts, product managers, sales managers, and VP’s of sales, marketing, finance, and sales operations. It tracks how effective discounts have been, the win rate on quotes, how well pricing policies have been followed, customer and product profitability, and customer performance against commitments.

It has the concept of price waterfall, the deal lifecycle, and price segmentation built into the product. These help product and sales managers understand their pricing and its effectiveness on driving revenue and profit. They also help understand how terms are adhered to during negotiations. They also help people understand what segments exist and how well they are adhered to.

To help your company increase its profits and revenues, I urge you to look at this product. If you have questions, please contact me.

Will Hutchinson
Master Principal Sales Consultant – Analytics, Oracle Corp.

Will Hutchinson has worked in the business intelligence and data warehousing for over 25 years. He started building data warehouses in 1986 at Metaphor, advancing to running Metaphor UK’s sales consulting area. He also worked in A.T. Kearney’s business intelligence practice for over four years, running projects and providing training to new consultants in the IT practice. He also worked at Informatica and then Siebel, before coming to Oracle with the Siebel acquisition. He became Master Principal Sales Consultant in 2009. He has worked on developing ROI and TCO models for business intelligence for over ten years. Mr. Hutchinson has a BS degree in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago.

Tuesday Oct 08, 2013

Going Camping with Mobile Business Intelligence

The mobile market is changing user expectations for consuming data, and those expectations are out-pacing available desktop and laptop software. Matt Milella, Director of Product Development for Oracle Business Intelligence Mobile Apps, joined me in an Oracle AppCast to discuss this phenomenon.

Instant access to critical business data on mobile devices is changing how and where people are making business decisions. I see people all the time waiting for planes, shopping for groceries, sitting in a cab or walking down the street (dangerous, don’t do this) using their mobile devices. In terms of business, what is going on here? It can’t all be email and YouTube! Matt told us, “Users no longer distinguish between mobile and desktop, they want to start something while they are riding on the train and pick up where they left off on the desktop at work. Apps like “Evernote” do a great job at this. We need to move towards that and are [Oracle] thinking about this deeply…. For example, a sales rep on the road might be working on a deal on their tablet in a taxi or on a plane – and may want to complete the work on a desktop when they arrive at their office or home. Executives on the road may start some analysis on plane and perhaps make annotations – and when they arrive at the office want to continue their train of thought.”

Oracle has released two exciting mobile Business Intelligence (BI) products, one called “Oracle BI Mobile App Designer” (launched recently), and “Oracle BI Mobile HD.” Matt provided some guidance as to the purpose and use for each. “BI Mobile HD is our iPhone and iPad app that allows customers to leverage their investment in BI. It allows users to consume existing BI content that was largely built for the desktop. The BI Mobile App Designer allows business users (not IT) to create mobile experiences, designed for devices. The apps are all responsive, which means the features are all accessible, so regardless of your phone or tablet size, the app will just work. The BI Mobile App Designer opens up the types of purposeful apps that can be delivered to the end user in an organization. It goes beyond traditional Business Intelligence; -- think dashboards focused on mobile with a specific flow. And these apps are developed in minutes with zero code.” I found that amazing.

It was also interesting to hear that mobile apps are not just the reincarnation of the desktop application in miniature for mobile phones or tablets, but rather apps designed with the purpose of the device in mind. Matt told us, “Let’s be realistic, you would not write a novel on a phone, or take your tablet camping. You could, but likely won’t. When building an app you really need to think about the user and which device is truly their mobile device. You may have noticed that our HD app is now a universal app (iPhone and iPad). We have a new focus on the phone, and we think this form factor is just as important as the tablet because they are typically always on and with the user. In fact I always have my phone, when I am out for a bike ride, or even out camping. The office walls have been blown up.” Matt talked about mobile functionality being dependent upon what the user would likely want to do with a particular device, and then building the app to suit the device. For example, receiving a status message on a watch, or being able to select from a short list of options to perform on a phone.

Matt further explained that one of the reasons that Oracle can keep up with the mobile market is that they changed the way they approach the mobile world. “We are an enterprise software company and we traditionally thought of release cycles as being long. For mobile, we are changing that cadence to one that is in line with the mobile market. Just this week I got an update for my BI Mobile HD client on my phone, and we will continue to release both features and patches at a much faster pace. In fact, over the last 2 months we have released two Mobile HD updates with a major leap in experience and functionality. We also just released Mobile App Designer, and I really think it is going to be a game changer.”

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn more about Oracle BI Mobile products, click here.

Thursday Aug 22, 2013

DIY Mobile Analytic Apps with Oracle BI Mobile App Designer

Introducing Oracle BI Mobile App Designer! 

With Oracle BI Mobile App Designer, business users become self-sufficient in creating stunning analytical mobile apps - all without writing a single line of code. Why wait for IT to create interactive mobile apps for your line of business, when you can do it yourself? If you can use common office productivity tools, you can use Oracle BI Mobile App Designer.

Watch this video to learn more, or visit the Oracle BI Mobile App Designer blog to learn more about this exciting new mobile analytical application design tool.


Tuesday May 21, 2013

A Closer Look at Oracle Business Intelligence Applications Release 11.1.1.7.1

The entire business analytics team is very excited about the new release of Oracle Business Intelligence Application (11.1.1.7.1). The new release has been designed to add new in-memory analytic applications, significantly expand functional content across existing front and back-office Oracle BI Applications, re-architect the solution to leverage the power of Oracle Data Integrator, and introduce new out-of-the-box tools to increase productivity and drive down Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Here are some great resources for learning more about the new release:

Product Information 
What's New in Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Applications 11.1.1.7.1
Oracle Indirect Spend Planning 
Oracle Student Information Analytics
Oracle BI Applications for your Business Role/Industry/Product Line 

Blogs
Oracle Data Integrator Joins Oracle BI Applications 
Introduction to the BI Apps 11.1.1.7.1 – Release Overview
The ALL-NEW Oracle BI Apps... now with ODI (11.1.1.7.1)
What's New And What's Improved In The New Version Of Oracle BI Applications
Introduction to the BI Apps 11.1.1.7.1 – Use of ODI11g for ETL 

On-demand Webcast
Reduce Spend and Increase Profitability with Oracle’s new offering for indirect spend planning

Monday Apr 29, 2013

What's New in Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite 11.1.1.7.0

Oracle announced the latest release of Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation Suite, 11.1.1.7.0 – the most comprehensive solution to help organizations drive optimization by further improving their analytic capabilities. Featuring more than 200 enhancements, Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Foundation has delivered a rich user experience that makes the end user spend less time trying to understand confusing reports, and more time using the data-driven reports to improve their performance and drive innovation.

 To continue reading, click on the "read more" link below...

[Read More]
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