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.

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

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 

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.

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

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. 

Monday Feb 13, 2012

Expanding Our Business Intelligence Horizons

It is a real pleasure to start blogging here along side my new colleagues from Oracle after going thru the on-boarding process to become a new Oracle employee post the acquisition of Endeca by Oracle announced this past fall. Speaking for our entire team,  we are very excited to be part of the Oracle Business Intelligence product line and team. Its been an amazing adventure. We really appreciate all the support from our customers who have been huge advocate of what has been known as Endeca Latitude and now known as Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.

My goals with my blog posts are to share with you observations, perspectives and insight on the Data Discovery market and technology as well as our product and its capabilities. My style is to have a dialogue, tell a story, dig down into technical topics, use cases and bring you additional insight on the importance of Data Discovery. I hope you will enjoy reading these blog posts as well as others who are contributing to this blog.

If this is your first exposure to Oracle Endeca Information Discovery, you will find the various features and benefits of our product at this landing page on  oracle.com You will also find a data sheet that will walk you thru some of the core elements of our platform. This is a good starting point for getting oriented to our product line.

For my next post, I'll discuss some of the core use cases for Oracle Endeca Information Discovery. In the meantime, thanks again for visiting the blog.

Tuesday Feb 07, 2012

Big Data Analytics – The Journey from Transactions to Interactions

Big Data Defined

Enterprise systems have long been designed around capturing, managing and analyzing business transactions e.g. marketing, sales, support activities etc. However, lately with the evolution of automation and Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, status updates, tweets etc. there has been an explosive growth in the arena of machine and consumer generated data. Defined as “Big Data”, this data is characterized by attributes like volume, variety, velocity and complexity and essentially represents machine and consumer interactions.

Case for Big Data Analysis

Machine and consumer interaction data is forward looking in nature. This data available from sensors, web logs, chats, status updates, tweets etc. is a leading indicator of system and consumer behavior. Therefore this data is the best indicator of consumer’s decision process, intent, sentiments and system performance. Transactions on the other hand are lagging indicators of system or consumer behavior. By definition leading indicators are more speculative and less reliable compared to lagging indicators; however, to predict the future with any confidence a combination of both leading and lagging indicators is required. That’s where the value of big data analysis comes in, by combining system and consumer interactions and transactions, organizations can better predict the consumer decision process, intent sentiments and future system performance leading to revenue growth, lower costs, better profitability and better designed systems.

So, which business areas will benefit via big data analysis? Think of areas where decision-making under uncertainty is required. Areas like new product introduction, risk assessment, fraud detection, advertising and promotional campaigns, demand forecasting, inventory management and capital investments will particularly benefit by having a better read on the future.

 Big Data Analytics Lifecycle

The big data analytics lifecycle includes steps like acquire, organize and analyze. Big data or machine/consumer interaction data is characterized by attributes like volume, velocity and variety and common sources of such data include sensors, web logs, status updates and tweets etc. The analytics process starts with data acquisition. The structure and content of big data can’t be known upfront and is subject to change in-flight so the data acquisition systems have to be designed for flexibility and variability; no predefined data structures, dynamic structures are a norm. The organization step entails moving the data in well defined structures so relationships can be established and the data across sources can be combined to get a complete picture. Finally the analysis step completes the lifecycle by providing rich business insights for revenue growth, lower costs and better profitability. Flexibility being the norm, the analysis systems should be discovery-oriented and explorative as opposed to prescriptive.

Getting Started

Oracle offers the broadest and most integrated portfolio of products to help you acquire and organize these diverse data sources and analyzes them alongside your existing data to find new insights and capitalize on hidden relationships. Learn how Oracle helps you acquire, organize, and analyze your big data by clicking here.

Thursday Nov 17, 2011

Introducing the Industry's First Analytics Machine, Oracle Exalytics

Analytics is all about gaining insights from the data for better decision making. The business press is abuzz with examples of leading organizations across the world using data-driven insights for strategic, financial and operational excellence. A recent study on “data-driven decision making” conducted by researchers at MIT and Wharton provides empirical evidence that “firms that adopt data-driven decision making have output and productivity that is 5-6% higher than the competition”. The potential payoff for firms can range from higher shareholder value to a market leadership position.

However, the vision of delivering fast, interactive, insightful analytics has remained elusive for most organizations. Most enterprise IT organizations continue to struggle to deliver actionable analytics due to time-sensitive, sprawling requirements and ever tightening budgets. The issue is further exasperated by the fact that most enterprise analytics solutions require dealing with a number of hardware, software, storage and networking vendors and precious resources are wasted integrating the hardware and software components to deliver a complete analytical solution.

Oracle Exalytics In-Memory Machine is the world’s first engineered system specifically designed to deliver high performance analysis, modeling and planning. Built using industry-standard hardware, market-leading business intelligence software and in-memory database technology, Oracle Exalytics is an optimized system that delivers answers to all your business questions with unmatched speed, intelligence, simplicity and manageability.

Oracle Exalytics’s unmatched speed, visualizations and scalability delivers extreme performance for existing analytical and enterprise performance management applications and enables a new class of intelligent applications like Yield Management, Revenue Management, Demand Forecasting, Inventory Management, Pricing Optimization, Profitability Management, Rolling Forecast and Virtual Close etc.

Requiring no application redesign, Oracle Exalytics can be deployed in existing IT environments by itself or in conjunction with Oracle Exadata and/or Oracle Exalogic to enable extreme performance and best in class user experience. Based on proven hardware, software and in-memory technology, Oracle Exalytics lowers the total cost of ownership, reduces operational risk and provides unprecedented analytical capability for workgroup, departmental and enterprise wide deployments.


Click here to learn more about Oracle Exalytics.

 

Friday Jul 22, 2011

Data Visualization and Mobile BI

I flew up to the OAUG Connection Point BI & EPM event in Seattle this week to deliver a keynote presentation, and was lucky enough to catch Edgewater/Ranzal consultant Iain Curtain’s awesome presentation on data visualization. The topic has been on my mind lately for several reasons. Now that Oracle is delivering BI capabilities on the iPad, I’m finding that my favorite dashboards are those that spotlight the visuals, and are lighter on the numeric tables. The bright, crisp resolution of the iPad, combined with its’ smaller than a laptop display area, make charts, maps, and pictures especially important for mobile dashboards. Those killer new visualizations that are in the Oracle BI 11g release look fantastic on the iPad! Iain shared some best practice design principles for data visualization, informed by his years of field experience and a few healthy doses of Edward Tufte and Stephen Few.

If you missed the OAUG Connection Point event in Seattle this week, odds are good that you’ll get another chance to catch Iain at the OAUG BI SIG Meeting at Oracle Open World on Sunday, October 1st, or at the next OAUG Connection Point event in November in Atlanta. And if you just can’t wait until fall, Iain has written a short blog on the topic.

Speaking data visualization, Louis Columbus, a longtime friend, industry colleague, and maniacal blogger about all things related to business and tech, tipped me off to comScore Data Mine, a web site that is chock full of visualizations that render a million fascinating factoids about global adoption of technology and other trends. I highly recommend giving it a quick look. You’ll probably end up bookmarking it.

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