Oracle Business Intelligence Review

Oracle
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
Business Intelligence 12c
Oracle
1977
Redwood Shores, CA
Ownership:
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Public
400,000
Cloud, On-Premise
Yes
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Business Intelligence 12c At A Glance

Good: Big data capability, all-in-one solution, in-memory analytics capability.
Bad: Architecture is dated (interface is not very smooth and complex features not very well handled), integration issues, such as mass suppliers update.
Bottom Line: Oracle provides an all-in-one BI solution featuring eight components so that users don't have to worry about multiple software or higher cost.

Product Overview

Oracle offers a variety of software in its BI arsenal. But the purpose of the review will be on its Business Intelligence 12c platform. With this platform, users will be able to utilize a variety of reporting and analytical features as this suite can access traditional data sources and Big Data sources.

Other benefits of this suite include low cost of ownership, as companies can save money by not having more than one software up and running. Another benefit is that users can also run analyses and reports themselves without having to rely on IT.

We take a look at each of the eight platforms.

Business Intelligence Server – This component runs ad-hoc analyses, reports, visualizations, and dashboards. It also utilizes data from multiple sources, such as relational data and Hadoop/Big Data.

Business Intelligence Answers– This component provides end users with secure ad-hoc data and reporting capabilities, such as creating charts, dashboards, and reports based on queries. The results can be saved, shared or embedded in the user’s personalized dashboards.

Business Intelligence Dashboards – In this component, users work with live reports, charts, and tables and has full capability for drilling down or modifying the results without the help of IT. Users can pull content from a variety of sources to include into the dashboards.

Business Intelligence Delivers– This component monitors business activity and provide actionable alerts to users by email, dashboards, or mobile devices.

Scorecard and Strategy Management – This component helps companies set specific goals and track and manage performance.

Business Intelligence Publisher – Users can create create interactive reports in multiple formats, such as PDFs – users can also set a specific date and time for the reports to be delivered.

Real-time Decision Server – This component uses a high-performance transactional server that delivers real-time decisions or actionable recommendations to any business process.

Data Visualization – This component enables users to perform self-service visual analytics.

Oracle Business Intelligence 12c includes updates and enhancements from previous generations, such as self-service data discovery and visualization, an improved user interface, simplified upgrade/migration, new life cycle management, and significant performance enhancements.

Features

Oracle’s Business Intelligence 12c has a wide variety of features, some of which are indicated below.

 

  • Ad Hoc Analysis?
  • Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)?
  • Predictive Analysis?
  • Profit Analysis?
  • Trend Indicators?
  • Ad Hoc Reporting?
  • Automatic Scheduled Reporting?
  • Customizable Dashboard?

Target Market

Oracle serves many different industries, including government, finance, manufacturing, health, utilities, and high-tech. Below is a partial list of Oracle’s customers.

  • Dell
  • Digi TV Plus
  • Gallup
  • Holland America Line
  • Land O'Lakes
  • Nilson Group
  • San Diego Unified School District
  • Sodexo
  • Sorouh Real Estate
  • Tukas Food Industry

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Implementation/Integration

Oracle provides a basic step-by-step process of its implementation:

  • Identify end-user requirements
  • Identify data sources
  • Design data model
  • Create data store
  • Generate summary data
  • Prepare data for user access
  • Grant access to data
  • Distribute software and documentation to users
  • Create and distribute reports

Like other vendors, Oracle offers training for its software. There are five types of training – classroom training, live virtual class, on-demand training, self-study courses, and private events. Companies can choose from any of these training options, depending on their schedule, whether they’re willing to travel, and cost considerations. Oracle does offer discounts on its training programs – notably a 20% discount if a user purchases the bundled training/certification package.

Customer Service & Support

Oracle also offers a variety of support services. First, there is the Oracle Premier Support. The Premier Support service include 24/7 tech support, problem prevention, and access to software upgrades. There is also the Lifetime Support Policy that allows software users to upgrade whenever they’re ready. Secondly, there is the Advanced Customer Service Support – this is ideal for mission-critical environments, such as IT departments in large companies.

Finally, there is the MyOracle Support portal. Users can access this portal to download software updates, put in a request for tech support, and communicate with other Oracle customers.

Pricing

The Oracle Foundation Suite has a per-processor license that  costs $300,000. The named user plus license (one license per user) costs $3,675; there is an additional cost of $808 for customer support and product upgrades.

Shortcomings

Oracle operates under a very dated architecture, meaning that the interface is not very smooth and complex features not very well handled. Companies seeking to customize the software or to make upgrades will need to make a significant investment of both time and capital.

Issues have also been reported with integrations, which although strong in certain areas, is lacking in basic areas, such as mass supplier update.

Screenshots

Oracle Screenshot 1
Oracle Screenshot 2
Oracle Screenshot 3

About

Oracle has a simple mission – to simplify IT resources. In so doing, it has created systems and products to enable hardware and software to work together. In addition to engineered systems and software, Oracle also has sold products and solutions relating to databases, servers, storage, and cloud solutions. It also offers solutions aimed at specific job functions, such as finance, marketing, and human resources.

Headquartered in Redwood Shores, CA, Oracle employs more than 120,000 people, including 35,000 developers and engineers.

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T Biskup
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Powerful and Flexible

on 2014-08-14 15:59:51

With the power of Oracle RDBMS Oracle Hyperion Essbase is extremely powerful and fast. In addition to the speed in getting data into the OLAP tool, the tool itself can run large quantities of calculations on very large datasets effectively. We were running it locally so I would expect that the hosted solution would have even more computing power behind it.

Training was a bit more complex than other tools based on how to build the base queries compared to other tools. Granted the flexibility that was provided by giving power users meant less work for IT or he ability to pilot a different view or calculation before sending in a formal request to have the action handled database/server-side.

One issue that appears to still persist (seen in the screenshots above) is a limitation in its ability to manage aggregate calculations (percentages/rates.) Instead of doing the calculation to the summed values, it averages or sums the values of the rates from the individual rows at equal weight. The work around was to create different dashboard reports for rates vs. total quantities.

All-in-all, a powerful and flexible tool that non-data people can become power users with varied levels of complexity.



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