Oracle’s Pre-Packaged Play for Public Sector BI
Public sector shops deserve improved insight into their operational budgets, too, Oracle officials say
Last week, Oracle Corp. introduced a new revision of its Oracle Business Intelligence Applications stack, complete with a public service-friendly twist: new BI capabilities -- buttressed by pre-fab dashboards and customized ETL schemas -- designed specifically for government and other public sector entities.
After all, Oracle officials maintain, public sector shops deserve improved insight into their operational budgets, too.
Version 188.8.131.52 of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications boasts a number of new amenities, including pre-built integration with the Oracle Financials module of Oracle’s E-Business Suite (version 11.5.10). Elsewhere, Oracle announced new ETL maps that promise to make it easier for customers to get data out of the Oracle E-Business Suite. On the public sector front, Oracle trumpeted a flurry of niceties, starting with pre-built dashboards and reports designed specifically for public sector shops. In addition, Oracle touted public-sector-friendly extensions to both its Oracle BI data warehouse schema and metadata layer.
It’s all part of a public sector press on Oracle’s part, officials maintain. “This [release] features the extension of a very popular Oracle business intelligence application called Oracle Financial Analytics, [which] introduces new capabilities that governmental agencies need for their financial management that are unique and different [from] the typical commercial organization,” says Paul Rodwick, vice president of product management for Oracle Business Intelligence.
It’s a question of propitious timing, says Rodwick -- a veteran of the former Siebel Systems Inc. -- who argues that public sector shops are as hip to the value of prepackaged analytics as their commercial kith.
“There’s been this strong move toward customer acceptance and preference for prebuilt analytic applications, and Oracle has been defining and leading this market,” he contends. In many cases, Rodwick says, public sector shops are looking to replace point products, legacy systems, or even ad hoc kludges with prepackaged analytic offerings. One reason, he maintains, is that the capabilities of prepackaged products are finally on par with -- or exceed -- those of existing tools. “You take something like budget execution analysis, which is a key driver. There are new extensions to Oracle Financial Analytics which help government agencies understand their appropriations, apportions, allotments.”
True, public sector players have been slow to embrace packaged analytic applications, Rodwick concedes. Government is coming around, he argues. “We have already seen significant interest from many U.S. federal agencies. This is an interesting, large, and growing market as the various public sector agencies are readily adopting these [prepackaged products],” Rodwick says.
“The same way that no one builds their own general ledger software anymore, it’s really clear that analytic applications are following the same path,” he continues. “The Oracle applications are quite mature now and meet the market requirements quite well in that they deliver good, out-of-the-box capabilities that can also be extended or configured to meet the specific, unique needs of an organization.”
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.