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Computerwire:  "Oracle Preps Major BI Revamp This Summer"
September 14
, 2005
Mark Rittman

Oracle Preps Major BI Revamp This Summer : "Charles Phillips, president of Oracle Corp, said the company is planning to roll out significant upgrades to its business intelligence (BI) and online analytic processing (OLAP) tools later this summer. In an SG Securities Webcast recently, Phillips told analysts to expect "a major revamp of our product line coming out over the summer both for BI tools and our OLAP engine."

This must be Oracle 10g Business Intelligence Phase 2 - due out around the time of Open World (September 15th). Phase 2 comes with Reports and OWB "Paris", though there's been no particular news on any revamp to Discoverer, BI Beans or the Excel Add-in.

"Improvements to the OLAP engine will focus on smoother enterprise-scale deployments managed from a central administration point. "Customers seem to love our OLAP engine but deploying it to multiple sites from a single administrator wasn't easy," Phillips said.

"We're fixing that in this next release of the OLAP engine due later this summer."

I suspect this is a reference to the support in OLAP 10g Release 2 for transportable tablespaces. What this means is that you can create your AW in a tablespace, then us the IMP utility to export the tablespace metadata, copy the datafile and the metadata export to another server, then import the metadata using IMP to register that tablespace with the new database. It could also be referring to the ability to save XML templates for the AW model definition, and the use these templates to reproduce the AW design in another database. The thing about transportable tablespaces was why this wasn't possible with onwards - surely at this point all the AW metadata was contained directly within the AW, not in the OLAPSYS schema, so why wasn't this possible with onwards?

On the BI tools side, Oracle is completely revamping the user interface by introducing more wizards and support for more multiple report types. Phillips said that a product developed from its Applications division called XML Publisher, which he expects to be available across all Oracle's applications soon, will deliver a flexible infrastructure for a range of enterprise reporting needs.

"What [XML Publisher] does, it takes all of your reporting capabilities and puts it in a single repository. You then hit a button and decide how you want to substantiate that report -- go to print, fax or website."

"Users can design the front-end report using Word and Excel and put it into the repository which converts it to XML and makes it available to everyone," he said.

"[Because] it's all in a single XML repository it gives you a single infrastructure for all reporting. In most companies those are all separate products -- whether production reporting and ad hoc query."

I wonder if this means that XML Publisher will become a standalone product, with it's own report designer IDE, and eventually become part of the Oracle BI bundle? Where does this leave Oracle Reports?

Phillips added: "We do a lot more BI than people know because we don't break it out that way. [BI is] just another market for us related to the database."

Funny he should mention this. ""We do a lot more BI than people know because we don't break it out that way." - but they do. At least in terms of tools and applications, BI 10g is a separate price list item, and their treatment of OLAP and data warehousing technology is no different than Microsoft's. "[BI is] just another market for us related to the database." - is this meant to be encouraging? I thought all Oracle's moves recently were aimed at trying to separate out the BI business, make it less like it's just another part of the RDBMS or application server technology stack. A strange message.

"Technically there's a lot happening over the summer. We have a lot of BI products and we'll be doing a better job of packaging it," Phillips said. "You'll be hearing us talking about that a lot more OpenWorld."

Certainly should be. OWB "Paris" coming out should be a pretty big event, and if 10g OLAP Release 2 sorts out the performance issues around OLAP API queries (so that Discoverer Plus OLAP runs at the sort of speed you'd expect it to) it should create some clear product differentiation between Discoverer OLAP and Discoverer Relational. I'll be over at Open World next month, so I'll report back at the time on the various BI product launches.


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