Oracle yesterday unveiled a number of enhancements to its enterprise performance management system and detailed its Hyperion integration efforts in a lengthy and wide-ranging Internet press conference.
Thomas Kurian, Oracle's senior vice president for server technologies, said Oracle's updated performance management system, which helps companies with budgeting and other management processes, "offers a number of pieces of business intelligence (BI) technology" previously lacking.
Hyperion's Essbase OLAP server and corporate performance management applications are now integrated with Oracle Fusion Middleware, including Oracle's data integration, business process management, and identity management technologies. As a result, Kurian said, users throughout the enterprise can make management and operational decisions based on consistent data.
"Because we have a smart business intelligence foundation, as organizations, you have alignment," he said. "You get a consistent and accurate view of information across all of the management and operation processes in your organizations."
Oracle acquired BI specialist Hyperion in March 2007. The enhancements and integration efforts announced yesterday come as Redwood City, Calif.-based Oracle continues its battle with SAP AG, IBM and Microsoft.
Indeed, within hours of Oracle's press conference, SAP sent an email response to reporters and other attendees claiming that its performance management technology was three or more years ahead of Oracle's.
Like Oracle, IBM and SAP acquired BI vendors of their own recently – Cognos and Business Objectives, respectively – with SAP in particular making similar efforts to integrate its newly acquired reporting and analysis technology with its core products. SAP filled in many of the details of its own BI-related product roadmap in March.
One of the most important new features in Oracle's performance management system, Kurian said, is a calculation manager that lets users centrally define business rules so they can be used across the enterprise. Using a Web-based interface, "the corporate finance department, for example, can define some calculations, and then push them out to the entire organization to get consistency in how people are measuring things," he said.
The new features and integrated Hyperion technology "allow [customers] to be agile because you don't have to put all of these applications and technology together," Kurian added. "We've integrated it for you" in a common enterprise performance workspace.
The workspace, he said, integrates Oracle's planning and consolidation applications with operational business intelligence dashboards and other reports. Users can "maintain their point-of-view" as they navigate different applications within the workspace to ensure consistent information and can easily share information with other users.
Rich Clayton, vice president of Oracle's global enterprise performance management unit, demonstrated how a CFO, attempting to lower spending on commodities, can access inventory and budget data through Oracle's performance management system, test various scenarios, then adjust procurement strategies accordingly.
"This is made possible by the integration of Essbase and Oracle BI applications," Clayton said. "It's a closed-loop environment that allows you to analyze aggregate information, drill all the way to details, and then run a what-if analysis to take that action based on the insight that you found."
Other enhancements to Oracle's performance management system announced Wednesday include:
- Essbase Studio design environment to create and manage multidimensional analytical cubes and applications.
- Desktop gadgets that notify users of changes in BI, enterprise resource planning and other systems.
- A profitability and cost management application that provides visibility into the cost of business activities across the organization.
- So-called Smart View technology that provides a common Microsoft Excel interface within the performance management system.
- Extended "native support" for Microsoft PowerPoint, which allows executives to connect to a server to populate presentation slides with timely data.