Last Wednesday I visited the Oracle BI seminar in Utrecht. Underneath you find a brief description of the highlights.
First of all Wouter van der Brugghen presented the Oracle BI strategy. Main strategic focus of Oracle BI is summarized below:
- Primary marketing tagline is: Pervasive BI, meaning BI for everybody. As an example the Cisco organisation was mentioned, which started with 500 expert users, now has 20.000 users and will grow towards almost all 40.000 employees worldwide.
- Bringing information about budget and realisation cycles together. Typically you find budget cycles within Excel and realisation cycles within BI environments. Oracle BI enables both cycles to be combined.
- Looking forward instead of backwards. Oracle BI offers the ability to add very recent information, e.g. what happens at this very moment , and to add forecast information (from either spreadsheets or by means of Oracle datamining outcomes) to the traditional BI information about the past.
- Traditionally BI supplier provide us with a toolkit to build customer BI applications. Oracle also provides out of the box, ready to use, BI applications specialised for a combination of business area (CRM, HR, Finance, Logistics, etc) and branch, e.g. Telecommunications, Banking, etc. Customers save cost, time-to-market and gain in quality because these ready applications contain usefull functionality that whas not thought of yet. Also the data warehouse design and necessary ETL processes are part of the package. All Oracle applications, e.g. Oracle EBS, Peoplesoft and Siebel can be connected automatically, but also SAP is on this list.
- Oracle BI is build around a so called Common Enterprise Information Model, based of three layers. Main advantage is that changes within one layer do not automatically result in changes within other layers. Thus, the overall solution is far more flexible.
- The last tagline is: Hot plugable, meaning that the solution is open. This cannot be said for all Oracle products. Oracle Warehouse Builder for instance is specifically meant for customers with a high Oracle percentage.
Secondly, Phil Bates, the Architect of Oracle BI, explained the importance of BI and SOA solutions growing together and some other stuff. The top priority for the CIO is derived from the top priority of his/ her CEO. Three most mentioned top priorities are Business Insight, Change & Growth and Compliance & Risk Mitigation. Of course these top priorities relate to both BI and SOA. There are three posible combinations of BI and SOA:
- From SOA tot BI: BI enables insight into business processes supported within a Service Oriented Architecture. For example, it is posible to automate a order fulfilment process by means of oracle BPEL and an Enterprise Service Bus. The business insight on the order fulfilment process can be obtained by coupling SOA to BI.
- From BI to SOA: SOA empowers actions necessary on business insight. An example was given. On the business insight (within the Oracle BI Suite) that a certain product market combination was losing market share, a marketing manager was able to start a (BPEL) process to launch a marketing campain.
- BI and SOA integrated: SOA uses BI for decision making within a business process or BI is pushed towards employees as part of a business process. Take for instance the business process for order to cash. If a customer has not paid it’s bill within the requested timeframe, a decision can be made to wait two more weeks, write a friendly letter or write a "nasty" letter. This decision can be based on business insight, like is this a high value customer, is there a high churn risk, does this customer has a large outstanding bid, etc.
Further on the difference between BI and BAM was explained. BAM is meant for inflight business insight, e.g. what is happening right now. BI is meant for all other business insight.
Last of all Liv Tornquist demonstrated the Oracle BI Suite. Main lessons were: it looks great and is easy to use for everybody. Well I had to say, that it indeed looks good and easy.