RealTime IT News

Oracle's Smarts For Small Businesses

Think Oracle  isn't serious about stealing share from mainstays Business Objects  and Cognos  in the torrid business intelligence (BI) space? Not so fast.

The software maker today rolled out its new Business Intelligence Standard Edition One, a pre-configured BI package targeted at small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and workgroups.

Oracle Business Intelligence SE One boasts most of the bells and whistles of traditional BI suites, including interactive dashboards, formatted reporting, ad hoc query and analysis, and extract, transform and load (ETL) technology.

That's in large part because it's based on Oracle's BI Suite Enterprise Edition, which the company developed largely from the Siebel Analytics technology.

SE One includes Oracle's Database 10g Standard Edition One, as well as the Oracle Business Intelligence Server for churning metadata and Oracle Warehouse Builder 10g, which ensures data quality and auditing and relational and dimensional modeling.

Mindful that SMBs typically have small or no IT departments to help them install and configure software, the system employs business user interfaces that do not require coding or other technical skills, said David Planeaux, director of BI product marketing for the company.

In other ease-of-use examples, Oracle Business Intelligence Publisher layout and design tool leverages Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat.

Moreover, business users can build dashboards through the drag-and-drop Web interface of the Oracle Business Intelligence Interactive Dashboards software and create ad-hoc analyses with mouse clicks using the Oracle Business Intelligence Answers tool.

Initially targeted for Microsoft's Windows platform, the product runs on a single server and can be deployed for five to 50 users at $1,000 per user. However, those shops who want to expand their BI coverage beyond 50 users can easily migrate to the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite EE without ripping and replacing SE One.

If nothing else, the coalescence of SE One proves that BI is no longer relegated to large enterprises looking for leverage versus their competition; there is a viable market for BI in small businesses looking to gain additional insight and efficiencies in selling to their customers or managing their financial performance.

"We're bringing the same BI technology to a much smaller audience," Planeaux said. "We're providing enterprise-class products for a an SMB price."

Oracle President Charles Phillips originally announced SE One as a core part of its BI strategy in March 2006 and pledged to attack the market.

The company acquired the majority of its BI capabilities from Siebel Systems and Hyperion Solutions in a bid to carve out a bigger slice of the BI pie and take market share from incumbents Business Objects, Cognos and MicroStrategy.