Thursday, September 22, 2005

Larry Ellison on BI

In his Oracle OpenWorld keynote, Larry Ellison had a bit to say about business intelligence (you can view the keynote here, or download the Real Media version here or download the audio only MP3 version here):

Around 18 minutes into his talk, he starts off on business intelligence and speaks for about 3-4 minutes on the topic. The emphasis was on embedding business intelligence into business applications. This is also consistent with what customers and sales consultants have to say about BI; it is much easier for a sales consultant to sell and much easier for a customer to understand the value of BI if it is wrapped around a 'solution'. Rather than talk about the latest and greatest improvements to a 'crosstab' or some new graph type, customers 'get' it much sooner if you show how BI actually helps them solve real-world problems, using the context of enterprise applications (like HR, Inventory, AR/AP, etc...) with data from their own industry.

Larry also mentioned of BI being used to look at TAR (service requests) correlation with sales. Which we actually do today, at least in terms of using Discoverer to track bugs, by release, version, database, platform, component, etc... These reports are used throughout our development organization and I can't tell you how much more useful it is to look at a nicely formatted Discoverer report (in Plus or Viewer or even in Portal) and to be able to drill up/down, pivot, slice, dice, apply conditional & stoplight formats and all the other nice things you can do with Discoverer, and to drill out to the actual bug in our bug repository, rather than using some SQL prompt to write these queries, or to use static, canned reports.

Seperately, C|Net carried this story about Larry's keynote and acquistions (bold formatting is mine):
Business intelligence players and middleware developer BEA Systems, however, are less attractive acquisition targets, Ellison said.

"At one time we highlighted BEA for a possible acquisition, but less so now," Ellison said. "We have passed them up...and they don't really want to be bought."

He added that Oracle, through its presence in the database market, is already a top leader in the business intelligence market, reducing his desire to expand further via acquisitions.
In case you are wondering about Oracle being a leader in BI, this is based on an IDC report, "Analytics and Data Warehousing Software: Market Analysis, Aug 2005". Oracle has a writeup here.

So this should put to rest some of the silly rumors that keep flying about Oracle wanting to buy this or that BI vendor. We made huge strides with our Drake release (10.1.2), won lots more deals in straight head-on competition with the largest of independent BI vendors, have released an update to it a few weeks back (, and will continue to come out with feature packed releases. You saw some concepts we have been working on - Report Center for one - at Ray's keynote, and will see more announcements in the coming time. (Note that Report Center is only a concept at this stage, we are not making any commitments to deliver any functionality shown there, and that it is premature to talk about release dates, etc... - I have to include this lest people start inferring and attributing things to me and get me in trouble).