Oracle unveils multi-platform BI suite

By uniting Siebel's business analytics with its own tools, the software vendor now has a business intelligence suite that works on non-Oracle databases.

SINGAPORE--Oracle has melded its business intelligence (BI) middleware with Siebel Business Analytics, creating an application suite that works across databases other than its own.

Part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware product family, the Oracle Business Intelligence Suite allows users to collect and analyze information from a range of databases including Oracle and non-Oracle databases, such as those from IBM, Microsoft and Teradata, as well as from business applications from Oracle and SAP.

Steve Illingworth, senior director of BI at Oracle Asia-Pacific, said: "Siebel Business Analytics did things we didn't do [previously]. Now, we've got business intelligence technology that can go to IBM's DB2, Microsoft's SQL Server and Oracle Database."

He added that the company has increased its emphasis on the BI market with the creation of a dedicated BI business unit, consisting of a specialist sales force, specialist consultants and a partner development team.

With this announcement, Oracle is pitting itself more strongly in the BI market against established rivals such as Business Objects, Cognos, and Hyperion, as well as up-and-coming vendors such as IBM and Microsoft.

According to Gartner, the BI software market in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.6 percent between 2004 and 2009. The research firm also forecasted that the market will be worth US$3 billion by 2009.

Oracle is hoping to capitalize on the large installed base of customers who are already using Oracle database, and persuade them to switch to its BI suite.

"If you're already using Oracle Database, why would you not use Oracle BI?" said Illingworth. "Why would you buy a Mercedes Benz and replace its engine with a Subaru engine? It wouldn't work."

The Oracle Business Intelligence Suite offers features such as query and analysis, enterprise reporting, mobile analytics, dashboards and portal technology, integration with Microsoft Office and Excel, and real-time alerting.

It is available in three flavors: Enterprise Edition, which is targeted at large companies with multi-vendor database environments; Standard Edition, which offers pre-integrated BI infrastructure software and tools for an Oracle environment; and Standard Edition One for small and midsize businesses.

Oracle BI Suite Enterprise and Standard Editions are available today, while Standard Edition One will be available after May.

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