Oracle’s High BI Bar: Managed, Multifaceted and Actionable

Oracle’s newest BI release is massive, spans multiple product categories, and raises the bar for competitors in dramatic fashion. In my prior post I focused on its rollout and competitive posture. The market has waited a long time as the reconciliation of many moving parts was accomplished – most notably the convergence of the Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) offering and Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). Hyperion integration with its Essbase acquisition was not complete. In 2007, OBI’s newest release (10.1.3) was most notable in many eyes for its new Microsoft Office support. PeopleSoft and Siebel had been acquired some two years before that, and Master Data Management was already a topic of discussion then (2005). There was a long way to go. And analysts? Well, think of us as the kids in the back: “Are we there yet?”

Oracle has used its time, and its $3B per year investment in R&D, well. OBIEE 11g delivers a strong base for its customers to build upon, and for its own teams to continue fleshing out a very coherent vision of ready-to-consume, actionable analytics suitable for multiple roles, on multiple platforms, across the breadth of information available. Although there is much left to do, Oracle has laid out a clear path and articulated a differentiated message that offers ample reasons for anyone on other platforms to consider OBIEE, whether or not they are an Oracle customer. For this analyst, the big wins are the Common Enterprise Information Model, The Action Framework, the strong manageability focus, unified and enhanced user interaction for report and other forms of design and delivery, and BI applications.

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Oracle Sets Sights on BI Leadership. Has it Picked the Right Target?

Oracle is not first in BI, and wants to change that – that was the clear message of a well executed, multi-site “real plus virtual” event with top executives showing off the result of a multi-year effort to rationalize and integrate a set of leading but overlapping components into a seamless suite. Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g (OBIEE) deserves the accolades it has already received from analysts who welcomed its announcement – it makes bold and serious bets on effective centralized metadata administration, data integration/ unification and optimized analytic architecture, collaboration, globalization, mobile device support, and a powerful link to action that will be most effective (unsurprisingly) with its own business applications. While it misses some pieces – fully integrated in-memory processing, SaaS and cloud support among them – these will be forthcoming, and Oracle is clearly committed to a quicker release cycle now that the thorny internal politics around legacy products seem to be resolved. But its competitive focus may be misdirected; while SAP is still ahead in market share, IBM is the bigger threat in the marketplace.

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Oracle Ups EPM Ante

After a 2 year wait, Oracle is rolling out some fruits of its daunting integration efforts in enterprise performance applications. New suite bundles, an Essbase connector and Hyperion uplift are highlights of its Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) 11.1.2 release. The numbering scheme, evidently constrained by the overall Oracle level 11 nomenclature, drove the understated “11.1.2” moniker, but make no mistake, this is a major thrust – delivered in 15 languages and with a new focus on role-based thinking. The task-specific and vertical themes that dominate developments in enterprise applications were on display here as Oracle delivered Financial Close Management, Disclosure Management, and Public Sector Planning and Budgeting applications atop the Fusion Middleware platform that is the basis for further product portfolio integration in the quarters ahead. The architectural value of the Business Intelligence Foundation here cannot be overstated; Oracle is delivering on a well-thought-out model that facilitates a steady growth in product opportunities that will drive incremental revenues. Read more of this post

Sybase Will Step Up In-Memory Message With New Release

Sybase has quietly racked up a string of successful growth years, riding its pioneering status in commercial analytic databases (ADBMS) and holding on to its loyal base in everyday DBMS after being elbowed aside by Oracle a decade ago. Its steady market performance has not been driven by dramatic innovations: Sybase has seemed to lag the Big Three (Oracle, Microsoft and IBM) in new feature/function. But it has innovated: IQ has grown into a key revenue source, and Sybase RAP has established itself as one of the more successful event processing offerings, with a string of Wall Street customers creating a new class of applications.

In the current (5-year-old) major release level of its flagship Adaptive Server Enterprise (ASE) product, Sybase has added user-defined SQL functions, support for plugin Java Runtime Environment (JRE) and JVM components, xml tables, SQL statement replication, new statistical aggregate functions, and a shared disk cluster edition. And now, Sybase is about to add new in-memory database capabilities and step up its support for external storage management. I’ve spent some time recently with the Sybase team to discuss their plans for the upcoming 15.5 release (currently available in a developer version), and found palpable excitement about the possibilities of their new work. Read more of this post

Oracle on Database: It’s On. And They’re Not Kidding.

Oracle is the company that led the industry into making RDBMS the data persistence vehicle of choice, and though its flagship is still Number One, many other topics floated around as 35,000 people attended Oracle Open World (OOW) in San Francisco recently. The spotlight stayed firmly planted: “What will Larry say about clouds/IBM/Fusion apps?”; Marc Benioff and Larry; Arnold and Larry. But if there’s anything Larry Ellison is passionate about, even as he sets his sights on IBM (hardware) and SAP (apps) – his two most important competitors, he said at the Churchill Club recently – it’s database, and he’s energized by the appliance opportunity. Andy Mendelsohn, SVP of Database Server Technologies put it simply in a conversation: “the only product Larry has spoken of in the last 3 earnings calls is Exadata.” He is more involved than in recent years, and that means one thing: everyone else had better watch out. What analysts learned about the new release makes that very clear: Oracle has been busy, and there is a lot of exciting new technology coming. Read more of this post