In late March, Oracle (Redwood Shores, Calif.) officially threw its hat into the business intelligence technology ring with the release of its Business Intelligence Suite. Developed as an open, standards-based software solution for all users and business processes throughout the enterprise, the suite brings together the assets of Oracle's recent acquisitions in one solution, claims Greg Mitdbo, the vendor's industry VP for financial services and corporate performance management.
"We're combining Siebel's business analytics suite of technology with Oracle's middleware into a solution with robust reporting and analytics capability," Mitdbo says. Though Oracle had been working on a solution for some years, Mitdbo explains, "What pushed us farther and faster into this space were some of our acquisitions," including Siebel, PeopleSoft and financial services core processing provider i-flex.
Mitdbo's sentiments echo those of Oracle President Charles Phillips. "Real-time analytics was always part of Oracle's architecture," Phillips told attendees at the product launch in New York last quarter. "But [acquiring] Siebel accelerated our time to market."
The Business Intelligence Suite features query and analytics capabilities, enterprise reporting, dashboards and portal technology, integration with Microsoft Office and Excel, real-time alerting, and business activity monitoring, according to Oracle. And Oracle Fusion Middleware enables application development and data integration, the company claims.
"[The Business Intelligence Suite] will enable execution with insight and it will enable users to monitor real-time analytics and transactions with context," Phillips claimed. "You'll analyze things while they're happening, not six months later."
"The priority of business intelligence [BI] has increased," Mitdbo tells BS&T. "Business intelligence has gone from being a warehousing process to something where every time a business process is reengineered, you can ask how to get the best intelligence out of it."
Oracle's entry into the BI space pits it against established analytics providers such as Business Objects (San Jose, Calif.), Hyperion (Santa Clara, Calif.) and SAS (Cary, N.C.). "Those vendors have done a good job of feeding on our architecture," Mitdbo asserts. "Most of the data they provide to their users originates in our applications," he contends.
"A large bank will have 300 or 400 systems," Mitdbo continues. "They need ways to get at the data in their transaction systems without moving it. With our previous offerings, we could do this if the data was in an Oracle environment. This new offering enables Oracle to do so with other platforms, too. The business intelligence offering allows companies to have a common, scalable tool set to access all the components in their systems." * --Maria Bruno-Britz