Oracle set to launch new BI suite

On one of the company's biggest business intelligence platform updates, OBIEE 11g will be rolled out on Wednesday

After three years in development, Oracle Corp.'s much-anticipated Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition 11g (OBIEE) suite will be formally released at an event in London on Wednesday.

OBIEE 11g is being seen by many as one of the biggest updates that Oracle has made to its business intelligence (BI) platform for the past several years.

Oracle has revealed very little details on the product officially. In a blog post announcing its plans for the July 7 launch, the company touted the new BI suite as an "industry-leading" platform offering improved analytics, visualization, search, collaboration and system management capabilities.

It says OBIEE 11g will also offer an industry-leading innovation that lets companies tie its BI activities more closely to enterprise resource planning ( ERP ) systems.

Sparse details on the product have appeared elsewhere as well. In an interview with Database Trends and Applications , an executive with an Oracle partner described the new release as having closer integration with Oracle's Fusion and Scorecard Applications, as well as with its Essbase Online Analytical Processing Server, which Oracle acquired with its purchase of Hyperion.

The new version is architected to be completely Web-based. It supports heterogeneous data sources and integrates well with relational, XML and, OLAP adapt sources, reports Database Trends and Applications.

Cintra Inc., a New York-based Oracle partner that appears to have been a beta tester, said in a blog post that the new BI suite features a "great look and feel."

OBIEE 11g features a new Oracle graph rendering engine, improved report indexing and report search capabilities and features Hyperion's Essbase as a performance accelerator for applications available with OBIEE 11g, Cintra said.

Users can expect to see Oracle's OBIEE 11g incorporate technologies from the company's acquisitions of Hyperion and Seibel, said Boris Evelson, an analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass.

"Oracle made two very significant acquisitions of Seibel and Hyperion. Between these two companies and Oracle's own legacy BI tools, [Oracle] had three sets of different tools that did the same job," Evelson said. "They've had to spend a lot of time to reconcile these technologies," he said.

The launch tomorrow is going to be all about how the company is now a leader in the BI space now that its integration of the technologies is complete, Evelson said.

Oracle's product announcement comes at a time when market interest in BI tools is soaring, Evelson said. "BI is front and center of the agenda for a lot of large vendors," such as IBM , SAP , SAS and Oracle.

Given the interest surrounding BI tools, Evelson expects Oracle's new product to be received favorably by customers. "There are a lot of features that close some of the gaps in their earlier versions and some new features that will leapfrog [over rivals]," he said.

Though Oracle will announce OBIEE 11g tomorrow, it is not immediately clear when the product will ship. The U.S release of the product is scheduled for July 20.

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