Oracle on Wednesday launched version 11g of its Oracle Business Intelligence offering, the result of three years of work integrating technologies acquired with the buyouts of companies such as Siebel and Hyperion.
The resulting product offers a unified environment for accessing relational, online analytical processing (OLAP) and XML data sources. It includes significant changes to the user experience and improves integration with Oracle tools such as Essbase and Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g, the company said in its announcement. Essbase, a multi-dimensional database management system, was acquired with Hyperion Solutions in 2007.
Key to Oracle's strategy with the product is the integration of different business intelligence (BI) tools to give a coherent overall picture, the company said.
"Business intelligence is not BI if you get five different answers to the same question," said Oracle president Charles Phillips at a launch event in London.
Business intelligence is one of the few sectors in the IT industry to have defied the economic gloom of recent months, partly due to the effects of industry consolidation, according to industry analysts.
Oracle said the new version of Business Intelligence is its first product to offer unified Relational OLAP (R-OLAP), Multidimensional OLAP (M-OLAP) and enterprise reporting on a common technology foundation, using the Common Enterprise Information Model.
In its launch, the company highlighted the ability for users to access and navigate hierarchical data stored in Essbase and relational data sources from a common interface. It also noted the addition of Oracle Hyperion Financial Management as a supported data source.
The user experience in Business Intelligence 11g has been significantly modified, Oracle said. New features include an integrated scorecard, as well as added reporting, visualisation, search and collaboration tools.
The Oracle Scorecard and Strategy Management application allows users to track metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs), while a new thin-client report design editor is used to publish web-based or production reports.
The update's user interface provides charting and prompting features, as well as a tool called Action Framework. This lets users initiate business processes or web services directly from the dashboard.
In addition, Business Intelligence 11g integrates with Oracle Secure Enterprise Search, which means that people can find relevant reports and view metrics within reports. The new version is also integrated with Enterprise Manager 11g, so that system administrators can manage BI performance from the same environment used to manage the entire IT stack.
Oracle said users can upgrade from earlier releases of Oracle Business Intelligence without affecting existing reports or metadata.
The product will be available within the next few weeks, and Oracle is planning a New York launch event on 20 July.