Oracle Makes Intelligence Its Business


NEW YORK — Oracle is going after the business intelligence market with guns
blazing, vowing to target the customer bases of long-time leaders Business
Objects and Cognos.


A multi-billion-dollar market, business intelligence software collects data
from applications and shoots it back to corporate employees, managers and
executives to give them insight into invisible or remote aspects of their
business.


At an event here today, Oracle President Chuck Phillips said the company
expects to command that market with three flavors: Business Intelligence
Suite Standard Edition, Business Intelligence Suite Standard Edition One and Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition.


Phillips said the new BI offerings are a significant part of Oracle’s Fusion Middleware plan to use its database, middleware and applications suites
to provide customers with a complete service-oriented architecture (SOA)
for distributed computing.


Targeted at Oracle software, Business Intelligence Standard Edition integrates technology from Siebel Business Analytics with Oracle’s existing
BI and middleware.


It includes an interface for accessing relational and
OLAP data and dashboards; a spreadsheet add-in; a warehouse builder; a tool
for application development; and a reports feature.


Standard Edition is for sale now and runs $400 per named user.


A scaled-down version of Standard Edition with pre-integrated applications, Standard Edition One is
designed for small businesses and the mid-market. It has a two-processor
limit and will be available next year for $25,000.


While rival BI vendors offer similar features, Enterprise Edition is where Oracle expects to
shine. Its centerpiece is the business analytics applications from
Siebel Systems, which it acquired
this year.


While Standard Edition focuses on getting the most out of Oracle applications, Enterprise Edition uses the
Siebel analytics applications to integrate data from several software
sources. This includes databases from IBM, Microsoft, and Teradata, and
applications from Siebel, Oracle, PeopleSoft and SAP.


Enterprise Edition, which costs $1,500 per named user, includes relational and OLAP query and analysis for Oracle and non-Oracle
environments; enterprise reporting and publishing to allow business users to
publish reports; real-time alerts; mobile analytics for laptop users; and
integration with popular Microsoft desktop tools Excel, Word, Outlook and
Exchange.


In a demonstration that captured the essence of Oracle’s new Business
Intelligence suites, Oracle official Adam Driver pretended to be a sales
employee who comes to work and discovers revenues dipping in certain areas.

Driver used Oracle Business Intelligence to pinpoint the weak clients and
propose new sales opportunities.


Business Objects and Cognos also feature such capabilities in
their software.


But Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle, said those BI tool
vendors lack a common Web data model and often have to do more code
configurations to provide the information business managers require.


Conversely, Kurian said the new Oracle software features shared metadata;
heterogeneous data source access; and server-centric Web architectures.


IDC analyst Henry Morris said that Oracle is well positioned to extend its
lead in the multi-billion-dollar business analytics market thanks to its
recent acquisitions of Siebel and PeopleSoft.


“Oracle can sell BI tools and applications into the expanded customer bases
it has acquired,” Morris said. “This is an opportunity for the products
Oracle had before the acquisitions as well as for the tools and applications
it has acquired.”


“This will likely include cross-selling, such as selling Siebel CRM
analytics into the PeopleSoft and Oracle CRM application bases.”


Phillips said he expects business intelligence to be the fourth
bucket of technology for Oracle, which already enjoys successful database,
middleware and applications segments.


He said Oracle expects to surpass rivals Business Objects and Cognos in the
BI market over time.

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