• January 29, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Oracle Makes Intelligence Accessible

Oracle announced today the general availability of the latest version of Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition 10g, release 3. The suite, Oracle Fusion Middleware's BI component, now includes a number of features designed to make BI more relevant and useful to workers throughout an organization, according to the company. Linux and Windows versions cost $1,500 per named user or $225,000 per CPU. "This is a significant new release for us; it's the core of Oracle's BI portfolio, the tools and features on which our BI products are built," says Rick Schultz, vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware. Schultz describes the new features as falling into two broad categories: usability features and product integrations. Simplified layout editing, improved presentation variables, financial reporting, secure search, and customized report subscriptions are the heart of Oracle BI Suite's usability enhancements. According to Oracle, these new features help put the right intelligence in the hands of the people who can use it, not just a few analysts and strategists. "We've really broadened the ways to access intelligence, reporting, and publishing," Schultz says. The suite enables automated alerts, with business processes triggered by those alerts if the system is so configured. In addition, it supports RSS capabilities, report delivery to interactive dashboards, and several other scalability improvements to enable greater numbers of users. One of the main usability features is also an integration. Schultz touts the Oracle suite's enhanced interaction with Microsoft Office, providing users with more output formats, data export options, and general interactivity with Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. As part of Fusion, Oracle Business Intelligence Suite EE is built on open standards and is hot-pluggable into "any existing IT architecture," according to the company. Release 3 adds native support for numerous third party sources, including IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, NCR Teradata, and SAP Business Information Warehouse. Oracle is something of a latecomer to the BI arena: Oracle Business Intelligence Suite was first released in March 2006, combining Fusion technology with the analytics software from its recently acquired competitor Siebel Systems. Since then, Oracle has focused considerable resources on the market, heating up its competition with SAP, Microsoft, and others. Reporting is the highlight of today's announcement, according to Henry Morris, group vice president and general manager of integration, development, and application strategies at IDC. "Oracle Business Intelligence Suite EE enables the delivery of reporting and analysis in Oracle, non-Oracle, or heterogeneous environments," Morris said in a written statement. "With roots in the Siebel analytics technology acquired a year ago, the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite EE incorporates Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher to offer customers a comprehensive reporting and BI toolset at a competitive price." Related articles: Oracle Looks to Get More Out of Data
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