The 45,000 attendees at this week's Oracle OpenWorld event in San Francisco were served up a program rich with announcements affecting Oracle's CRM, business intelligence, ERP and enterprise application landscape. Oracle Siebel CRM, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Oracle Business Process Management (BPM) were among the products in the spotlight. In addition, Oracle unveiled a couple of new boxes which are aimed at the business intelligence and Big Data markets.
Application performance was a big theme of the week's product announcements.
On the enterprise application front, Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) has tweaked its software to run better on the Oracle Exadata Database Machine and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, which makes sense given the context of these being the most rapidly adopted products in the company's history, according to CEO Larry Ellison. This release affects users of Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, Siebel CRM, Oracle's ATG Commerce Suite and Oracle Supply Chain Management.
For the Oracle E-Business Suite, for example, HR and procurement transactions are said to be eight times faster, while order-to-cash transactions are three times faster and accounting transactions seven times faster than they were previously on the various Oracle "Exa" boxes. For PeopleSoft financials, improved integration means five times faster journal posts and 40 percent faster payroll runs. On Oracle's Siebel CRM, the changes to Exadata and Exalogic bring order management enhancements, a more integrated loyalty management feature set and better data cleansing capabilities.
With JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, batch completion rates are 33% better. EnterpriseOne also now supports the move from batch to real-time transactions by providing progressive order processing. New capabilities include real time up-sell and cross-sell, a profitability analyzer and dynamic fulfillment scheduling, which ranks sales orders according to fulfillment priority.
Further, Oracle has added analysis capabilities: a financial position analyzer which models multiple scenarios with real-time reporting views; an allocations analyzer which models changes to complex cost and revenue allocations; an average balance analyzer which allows modeling of the effects of activity on the balance sheet; and close analyzer which enables finance to run through multiple close scenarios to assess bottom line results.
"By optimizing the integration with Oracle Exadata and Oracle Exalogic Elastic Cloud, we deliver tangible business benefits across all Oracle Application suites," said Steve Miranda, senior vice president of Application Development.
BPM Gets 'Process Accelerators'
Oracle continued with a barrage of announcements on the first day of its annual show. Oracle Process Accelerators have been built into Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g as pre-built but customizable processes. These provide embedded best practices for repeatable business process patterns such as employee on-boarding and invoice processing.
"Most organizations use common processes to manage internal functions, such as employee on-boarding," said Michael Weingartner, vice president of Product Development at Oracle. "However, building custom business processes can be costly and time consuming."
In the public sector, for instance, Oracle has added incident reporting of unusual events or policy deviations, while travel request management supplies multi-level rule based workflow and document approval for managing standard or one-of-a-kind travel requests.
"Extending Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g with pre-built Oracle Process Accelerators enables customers to increase the value of business processes and speed time-to-value and increase user productivity," said Weingartner.
The Oracle Exalytics Business Intelligence Machine is an in-memory hardware and software system engineered to run analytics faster. Exalytics holds the potential of broadening user adoption of business intelligence though the introduction of interactive visualization capabilities that can be utilized by users who aren't necessarily schooled in BI technology.
The box includes the Oracle Business Intelligence Foundation, a version of the Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database, and an Oracle SunFire server (featuring the Intel Xeon E7-4800 processor with 40 cores) designed for in-memory analytics (it offers 1 TB RAM). The value proposition is that it is engineered as a single vendor system.
Oracle BI Foundation software comprises Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) and Oracle Hyperion Essbase with additional performance upgrades and an improved visualization environment for interactive analysis. The TimesTen In-Memory Database is based on Oracle's in-memory RDBMS. It works on mobile devices such as iPad or iPhone.
"It's not just about fast querying, you also need in-memory analytics if you want to enable everyone to become an analyst," said Paul Rodwick, vice president of BI at Oracle. "You can have the whole of the Oracle BI Foundation suite running in memory within Exalytics."
Exalytics can analyze data from Oracle or non-Oracle relational, OLAP or unstructured data sources. This includes IBM DB2, Microsoft SQL Server, Netezza, SAP Business Information Warehouse and Teradata. It can be linked to an Exadata box over InfiniBand to accelerate analytics performance.
Rodwick noted that Exalytics could sit on top of the Big Data Appliance (see below) to analyze Hadoop unstructured data. In addition, complete Essbase cubes can reside in memory. It can also be connected to Exadata over two 40 Gbps Infiniband connections.
Big Data Appliance
The Oracle Big Data Appliance is Oracle's answer to the multitude of blogs, social media feeds, sensors and other devices that generate massive volumes of data outside of traditional database repositories and therefore isn't readily accessible to data warehouses and BI. The appliance can easily be integrated with Oracle Database 11g, Exadata and Exalytics.
Essentially, the Oracle Big Data Appliance is a way to load and process unstructured data in Oracle Database 11g, courtesy of an open source distribution of Apache Hadoop, Oracle NoSQL Database, Oracle Data Integrator with Application Adapter for Hadoop, Oracle Loader for Hadoop, an open source distribution of the R statistical language called Oracle R Enterprise, Oracle Linux and Oracle Java HotSpot Virtual Machine. The new Hadoop adapter simplifies data integration from Hadoop to an Oracle Database while Oracle Loader for Hadoop makes it possible to use Hadoop MapReduce processing to load and analyze data sets in Oracle Database 11g, which are generated using Oracle internal formats.