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
10.1.0.3A 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 10.1.0.3A 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.