Oracle Releases BI Bundle for 10g

In spite of its “standalone” description, Business Intelligence 10g should be considered an Oracle-only play

Last week, Oracle Corp. announced a new version of its business intelligence (BI) suite, which—like previous incarnations—is pegged to the same release of its flagship database offering.

Oracle positions Business Intelligence 10g as a “standalone” offering that addresses a range of analytical requirements, including query, application development, reporting and analysis, data integration, and management.

The Business Intelligence 10g bundle includes Discoverer, Oracle’s query, reporting, and analysis component, which also offers dashboard capabilities; Oracle’s Spreadsheet Add-In, providing direct access to 10g’s integrated OLAP engine from within Microsoft Excel spreadsheets; Warehouse Builder, Oracle’s ETL tool; and BI Beans, the database giant’s custom BI application development environment.

According to Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis, Business Intelligence 10g—like its predecessors—could be a boon to existing users of Oracle’s flagship relational database offering. “[I]t provides a cost-effective way for Oracle database users to obtain products, including Oracle Discoverer and Oracle Warehouse Builder, without having to also acquire the Oracle Application Server,” he writes.

Another bonus, says Schiff, is that Business Intelligence has always given Oracle a means to increase its penetration within the accounts that use its database: We’re already paying for the database, customers reason, and the Business Intelligence pack is priced competitively enough to make it a compelling offering for many of them. The upshot, Schiff notes, is that Oracle increases its hold within many accounts. Switching databases is never a trivial matter, but no vendor—especially not Oracle—wants to leave anything to chance, or any missed revenue opportunities on the table.

Of course, Oracle’s BI bundle has more going for it than its integration with the 10g database. More to the point, it also exploits the 10g underpinnings, which help to give it performance advantages relative to many standalone or third-party offerings.

“[W]hile Oracle Business Intelligence 10g is intended for Oracle database shops, its individual components are likely to be the de facto benchmarks against which third-party BI and ETL offerings are evaluated,” Schiff notes. Because Business Intelligence 10g isn’t dependent on Oracle’s application server, some previous fence-sitting customers might have an extra incentive to check it out, he speculates.

For existing Application Server customers, of course, Oracle continues to sell its Business Intelligence 10g with the Enterprise Edition of Oracle Application Server. In this respect, Schiff notes, Oracle’s claim that Business Intelligence 10g is a “standalone” offering isn’t entirely true.

“The statement that this is a ‘standalone product’ is somewhat confusing,” he says. “[I]t is a bundle of BI and ETL technology that is independent of the Oracle Application Server. As one would expect from Oracle, it is intended to be used with the Oracle database.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.