Oracle BI Cloud Service and OTBI @OpenWorld 2014

This blog looks at a couple of the key discussion areas in the Analytics space at this year's Oracle Open World - OTBI and the new Oracle BI Cloud Service (BICS).

As you will have gathered by now, Oracle OpenWorld 2014 was all about the Cloud - and for us at Boxfusion, that didn't just mean for CRM/CX but also for the Oracle BI/Analytics space. It was clear that Oracle are now investing very heavily in their new Cloud BI offerings in particular, alongside great focus on Big Data Analytics and Mobile BI.

Cloud BIFig 1. Gartner predicts significant continuing growth in Cloud BI projects in 2015

Oracle's response to the growing interest in Business Intelligence solutions in the Cloud is currently in 3 key areas (see figure 2 below): their Big Data services, Online Transactional BI and the BI Cloud Service.

Cloud BIFig 2. Introducing the complete Oracle Analytics Cloud

What is the Oracle BI Cloud Service?

There was lots of focus at Oracle Open World 2014 on the BI Cloud Service. Although it is a new product, for us it is of particular interest as it is a re-invention of the on-premise OBIEE product. It is a new platform for creating reporting applications in the Cloud, allowing the development of compelling reports with full mobile support. Here are the key points about Oracle BICS:

  • Self-service: Data Loading, mapping, KPIs allowing Business users to use the application without specialist IT resources
  • Enterprise grade with secure data isolation, high availability and scalability from 10s to 1000s of users
  • Crucially, it is a complete BI solution: All data, all styles of analysis, all clients - based on the proven OBIEE technology.

We think this is an extremely exciting direction for Oracle - as noted above by Gartner, more and more organisations are now looking at cloud BI initiatives and by basing it on the well established and functionally complete OBIEE product, we see an already mature product now competing in the Cloud space. Oracle will now be doing monthly releases to the cloud service and bundling those up into less regular update patches to the on-premise application, again demonstrating that it really is the same platform under the hood!

100% Cloud solution

The BI Cloud service is 100% cloud-based but what does that mean? Here are the highlights:

  • Automated provisioning - very quick to get started;
  • Oracle manage your patching, back-ups and maintenance;
  • Completely web-based, with underlying Oracle database included;
  • Simple per user, per month pricing
  • Includes two instances - production and pre-production

Important to call out from the above, beyond the expected messages around Cloud delivery such as per user, per month pricing and Oracle management of patching and maintenance, are a couple of points.

Firstly, the presence of the long-time market leading Oracle database as the underlying db included with the BI Cloud service - this will always be a big gain from taking the Oracle BI Cloud service.

But secondly, the rapid automated provisioning gives organisations other options beyond simply moving BI operations wholesale to the cloud. We think this new product will enable organisations to rapidly stand up new BI environments and "dip their toe in the water" in terms of cloud BI, where they may already have on-premise BI - you would be able to rapidly prototype or show the power of the product without costly capital expenditure and business case justifications, using a functionally rich application which is a re-invention of the OBIEE product.

Online Transactional BI

The last point to stress in this blog post, as it is a particular strength for Boxfusion Consulting, is that in addition to the new BI Cloud Service and the Oracle Big Data services which are coming to the market, the Oracle Transactional BI (OTBI) is a core part of the strategy and is again already in the marketplace.

OTBI is embedded within every Oracle SaaS application providing real-time insight on transactional data and events. We have been working with this in the cloud CRM/CX space for some time now and in particular in the Oracle Sales Cloud application where the OTBI dashboards can be built into the sales cycle to assist sales teams in their selling. Again for us one of the most exciting things about the tool is that the underlying technology is the OBIEE product! Oracle are investing heavily over the coming 12 months in the continued expansion of the OTBI content coverage across Oracle Cloud applications.

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