Oracle has launched its long-awaited Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g suite, designed to offer improved usability, scalability and deep integration with other Oracle products and those from third-party vendors.The suite aims to act as a central point for all BI related queries, and the Action Framework feature enables users to initiate an action, such as a business process or web service, directly from the dashboard.Integration with other products is a key feature of the new suite. It works in conjunction with Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g, allowing system administrators to manage and monitor BI performance using the same environment as their entire IT stack, claimed the firm.The Oracle BI 11g toolset supports tasks such as data movement, querying and analysis, multidimensional analysis, reporting, score carding, alerting and actions, according to Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development at Oracle.He explained at the launch event in London today that the product can be used by everyone in the enterprise, "from power analysts to end users who want to report using the dashboard"."With the common platform, all styles of clients, such as browser-based interfaces, Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, Word as well as mobile clients, are also supported," he added."Users can get information from any data source whether from a relational, aggregated relational, multidimensional or an unstructured source."Oracle said that the suite's Common Enterprise Information Model will play a key role in the end-user experience.Kurian used the example of a large US bank which typically builds 10,000 weekly reports that need to be translated into 73 languages."Traditionally it would mean creating 73,000 reports, but the 11g suite can translate one report into 73 languages saving considerable cost and time," he said.The suite also supports applications from other companies, including SAP, and Oracle claims that 89 per cent of SAP customers also use Oracle.Oracle 11g is the culmination of a lot of acquisitions on a common platform, explained Charles Philips, co-president of Oracle."We span everything from applications to storage, and the only way we can solve some of the largest IT problems like integration and dependencies between layers is to engineer them away," he said."Executives want accurate information to make decisions, and [11g] allows IT to add value to businesses in a big way by providing accurate information in real time on a regular basis."Oracle BI 11g is also capable of working in conjunction with the firm's Exadata BI platform, a specialised hardware storage product.The company is trying to ensure that it offers high levels of flexibility to the market, according to Clive Longbottom, service director of business process analysis at Quocirca."All the 11g database and business intelligence capabilities can be plugged into the eBusiness suite solution, [but] it may also be the last throw of the dice for any vendor as a complete suite provider," he said."If cloud evolves as many believe, then hosting a large single-vendor solution may not be the way forward. What organisations may well do is go for an 'engine' and then pull in functions from other parts of the cloud to carry out specific functions."However, Oracle could still be a strong player owing to how its 11g database works, as it could provide database plug-ins as callable functions through the cloud itself, Longbottom added.
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