As I wrote in my last blog, the anticipation was high to hear more about the Business Analytics Strategy of Oracle. Last week, Mark Hurd gave an extensive presentation on where Oracle is going and which released products support this. Overall, the path that Oracle is going on is very positive. New products are emerging (even SAP can be analyzed with Oracle BI Apps these days J) and impressive functionality is made available. But there are some points of criticism on the concepts used.
One of the statements in the official Dutch press release (https://emeapressoffice.oracle.com/Press-Releases/Oracle-President-Mark-Hurd-onthult-strategie-voor-vereenvoudiging-IT-en-Business-Analytics-2a71.aspx) was that Oracle Business Analytics is the most complete, integrated family of business analytics solutions in the world, containing more than 80 business intelligence and performance management applications (..).
“More than 80 BI and Performance Management applications? Are those all useful to the customer?” were two of the first questions in my mind. I think one of the main challenges for customers of Oracle is to find out which applications provide business value and which ones are ‘nice to have’. It’s not only about getting a lot of functionality, which is obviously very interesting and useful, but also about your information architecture. Which information is stored and / or reported where? So the real question on Business Analytics applications is not (just) which ones you need, but also how they interact with each other and what the ‘bigger picture’ looks like.
BA or BI?
Another statement in the press release was about Business Analytics. The definition that was given was “the retrieval of the correct data for the right person at the right time to take the optimal decision.” It kind of reminded me (and that’s an understatement….) of one of the many definitions of Business Intelligence. So what is the difference then between Business Analytics and Business Intelligence? And is there a difference, or is the terminology used to be able to combine all the 80 applications together under one umbrella?
One question that remains, is how the business value of the Oracle Business Analytics products is determined. Because as a user, you need to differentiate. I must say that the latest release of Oracle BI products is really impressive and that I see a lot of potential, but how can the customer make the right choice? Maybe it’s a suggestion to Oracle Sales to provide some kind of overview of products and for which business use they can be of most value. If it’s then combined with a solid information architecture, as I mentioned in the beginning of the blog, the Business Analytics journey can begin.
All in all, I think Oracle is on the right track (see also my previous blog). But let’s keep it simple and effective, call things as they are and implement what provides value for your business in the right architecture. That’s when a customer can really profit from the impressive products that were announced in the Business Analytics Strategy press release.