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

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.

Wednesday Jan 15, 2014

Create Analytical Mobile Apps in Minutes With no Coding!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

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

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

Tuesday Jan 14, 2014

BI Solution-in-a-Box is coming!

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

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

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

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 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

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 Feb 21, 2013

Breakthrough Strategies for HR Success

Aberdeen Group’s recent  study “The HR Executive‘s Agenda” shows organizations using workforce analytics experienced a 14% year-over-year improvement in revenue per employee compared to just 5% for those companies that did not.  Is your organization using analytics  to effectively manage its employees and improve performance?  We often hear from organizations that the key drivers for adopting an analytics-based approach to HR include:

  • Lack of accurate view of workforce profile
  • Measuring the effectiveness of HR
  • Aligning talent management with corporate strategies
  • Understanding the voice and sentiment of the workforce from topics and themes hidden in unstructured content

Join us on for a Webcast to find out how Oracle Business Analytics helps organizations of any size meet key HR challenges and  gain a 360-degree view of critical HR information within the enterprise and beyond.

Event Date: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Event Time: 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET

Register Now 

Monday Feb 11, 2013

You’ve never seen a BI solution with an ROI like this!

"BI helps you make better decisions.” That’s how the value of BI is often described. But is that good enough to justify a substantial investment in BI solutions? Certainly not! What customers are looking for is tangible proof that BI solutions help improve business processes, cut down costs, increase revenue and profitably. To demonstrate the quantitative and qualitative benefits of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications, Oracle recently commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a study to determine the Total Economic Impact of Oracle BI Applications.

Oracle BI Applications drastically reduces the time it takes to deploy BI by delivering pre-built analytics for ERP and CRM systems. Oracle's ERP Analytics, help front line managers improve cash flow, control expenses, manage headcount and employee performance, stream-line spend and supply chain operations, and track the financial performance of major projects. Oracle's CRM Analytics provides fact-based insight into the entire sales process and into product demand, customer price sensitivity, and overall pricing. Lastly, Oracle’s Industry Analytics enables businesses take advantage of industry specific analytics to streamline their operations, offer better services, and increase profit margins

A total of four interviews were conducted for this study, involving representatives from the following companies: a power management company, a plumbing hardware company, a software company, and a US city school district system.

The study found that the companies realized the following key benefits*:

Significant ROI** – experienced a three-year risk adjusted return on investment of 97 percent with a 20-month payback period;

Lower procurement spend – realized five percent lower procurement costs in the first year and increased to seven percent in the second year;

Accounts payable savings – achieved savings of more than $1 million per year by the third year;

Lower inventory working capital – experienced 15 percent reduction in inventory for the affected product categories over three years;

Increased gross sales and prices – increased gross sales by 0.4 percent in affected parts of the organization and increased average sales price by 0.3 percent over three years.

IT and business labor savings – achieved efficiencies in both the IT and business sides of the organization;

To learn more about the findings of the study, download a copy of the study here or watch the replay of The Total Economic Impact of Oracle Business Applications Webcast here.

* Source: “The Total Economic Impact of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications," a study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Oracle, October 2012.

** Composite organization achieved this return.

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 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.

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.
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We're taking the pulse of the Business Intelligence and Analytics market based on our insights and our experiences with colleagues, customers,and partners.

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