Well, the presents are wrapped, the cards are sent and the turkey is stuffed, but before we close down for the Christmas break I thought it worth coming up with a Top Ten Oracle BI&DW Events of 2007. Starting from ten and working down to one, and with the dates next to the items being the first time we reported on them, here they are:
- The New DW Features in Oracle Database 11g (23rd Oct 2006, release in 2007)
- Integration between Discoverer 10g and BI Publisher (Sep 9th)
- The release of the Easy BI SOA Integration Code Bridge (30th June)
- The first Oracle release of Oracle Data Integrator (26th March)
- The 11gR1 (and 10.2.0.3) release of Oracle Warehouse Builder (9th November)
- Getting to grips with Oracle Real-Time Decisions (19th April)
- The BIWA Conference in Reston, Virginia (Oct 3rd)
- Oracle acquiring Hyperion (and releasing Essbase on Edelivery) (4th March)
- The 11g Release of Oracle OLAP (17th November)
- The 10.1.3.2, 10.1.3.3 and 10.1.3.3.1 releases of Oracle BI Suite Enterprise Edition (Aug 8th)
Finally, though, the major theme in 2007 for Oracle BI was the first, proper Oracle release of OBIEE (10.1.3.2.0), followed by the Office and BI Publisher/Discoverer Integration release (10.1.3.3) and the Essbase (preview) Integration release (10.1.3.3.1). 2008, though, will be the year when the product really comes into its own, with a task-based interface overhaul, the action framework for integrating with business processes and applications, and an enhanced metadata layer that leverages the Hyperion EPM toolset and the ODI data movement and transformation tool. I suspect we'll look back and, for OBIEE, see that 2007 was just the start of this product's lifecycle - 2008 is where Oracle really get to grips with it and deliver on their end-to-end BI vision.
Up until the moment we got our hands on the 11g release of Oracle OLAP, this latest release of the Oracle Database didn't have too many new data warehousing features that got our attention. The new partitioning rules, where more or less any partitioning scheme can feature any other scheme as sub-partitions, coupled with the new interval partitioning feature will no doubt come in useful though, and the fact that Warehouse Builder gets installed along with the database means that more people will come in to contact with this excellent and under-rated tool.
The ability to create form letters and free-form reports has always been something that Discoverer customers have hankered after, something that's now possible with the 10.1.3.3 release of BI Publisher and the latest version of Discoverer. Shame it's so difficult to set up and configure though...
Integration between BI and Service-Orientated Architectures is likely to be one of the big customer wins in 2008. This early code from Oracle (available for download here) gives us an early view into this integration, and keep an eye out for the extensive article Joel Crisp and myself have written on the subject which will be out on OTN in early 2008.
ODI is an interesting product as at the moment, it's difficult to understand why you'd use it if you're largely an Oracle shop. Going into the future though, it's the central ETL component of Fusion Middleware and OBIEE and it's clearly going to be the go-forward ETL tool for mixed-environment BI deployments. Keep an eye out for an article we're about to start work on on the data quality features of ODI 10.1.3.4, and for some clues on where Oracle plan to take the tool in to 2008.
The 11g and 10.2.0.3 releases of OWB primarily brought along a raft of bug-fixes for issues (such as SCD2 handling) that earlier releases had, but they did also introduce a couple of neat new features - DML Error Logging in 10.2.0.3, a single repository with project workspaces in 11gR1 - that will make the tool easier to work with. Keep an eye out on 2008 for the 11gR2 version of OWB, which looks likely to feature OBIEE integration, real-time mappings, SOA integration and support for heterogenous and changed-data capture sources.
Again, one for the future, and if you read Neil Raden's new book, a key future pervasive BI technology. RTD is the subject of my forthcoming Collaborate'08 presentation and it'll be interesting to see how we can take the call-center cross-selling examples provided as part of the RTD download and apply them to generic business decisions where we have imperfect knowledge of the decision factors, and a positive feedback loop where we can learn from the results of previous decisions.
Props to the ODTUG Kaleidoscope event in Florida and the UKOUG conference in Birmingham, but this was the first worldwide BI summit organized by a user group and a fantastic chance to have an all-BI agenda in late summer in Virginia. Next year's event clashes with the main UKOUG conference so I can't go, but well done to Shyam and the BIWA team for organizing a great event.
The Hyperion acquisition, like the Siebel one before it, changed the game completely for Oracle and of course Business Objects and Cognos, who have now been acquired by SAP and IBM respectively. Apart from adding planning and budgeting, financial consolidation and other CPM apps, Oracle now have two world-class OLAP servers that handle the standalone, MDX and XML/A and the database integration worlds between them. Look out for further integration with the OBIEE stack going into the future, in particular with its metadata layer, and watch this space for articles in 2008 on Hyperion Planning and Visual Explorer.
Finally, the vision of an integrated OLAP and relational database comes together, with the Cube Organized Materialized View feature of the 11g release of Oracle OLAP providing a high-performance summary layer for your relational database. The SQL integration in 11g OLAP makes things like this possible, and it'll be interesting to see in 2008 how this latest OLAP release can speed up the venerable Discoverer query tool.
So, that's it for us for 2007 and it's been a pleasure working with our clients, going around the world doing our seminars and working with colleagues such as Borkur, Pete, Lisa and Benni. For now though, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we'll see you all again in 2008.