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At Oracle’s CloudWorld conference today, the database and applications juggernaut is announcing a range of enhancements to its cloud business intelligence (BI) and analytics stack. These include new base features in the core Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) platform and, perhaps more important, new coverage for an array of analytics business use cases in Oracle Fusion Analytics, the pre-built analytics models, data pipelines and dashboards for Oracle’s Fusion Applications.

VentureBeat spoke with Joey Fitts, VP Product Strategy, Oracle Analytics, recently. Fitts explained why he feels Oracle is in an ideal position to provide business analytics, especially at the business application layer: “…we know the job role, we know the job data, we know the workflow, we know when the decision became an action, and when that was invoked, and then we know the outcome on the other side … it’s within our workflow, so it gives us a real advantage here…”

Business intelligence for business users

Oracle Analytics marketecture diagram, including Oracle Analytics Cloud, Oracle Analytics Server and Oracle Fusion Analytics. Credit: Oracle Corporation

On the business applications and analytics side, Oracle has added Fusion Analytics for CX (customer experience) to its Fusion Analytics family. Targeting new personas, including chief revenue officers, campaign managers, demand generation leads and renewal managers, Analytics for CX covers 50+ KPIs in the revenue intelligence realm, as well as dashboards and the pipelines necessary to move that data into Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, so it can be analyzed.

In addition to Analytics for CX being a net new offering, Oracle is adding new use cases to the existing Fusion Analytics product line. Project Management Analytics is being added to Fusion Analytics for ERP (enterprise resource planning); Diversity, Payroll and Learning Analytics, including employee skills matching, is being added to Fusion Analytics for HCM (human capital management) and Cost Accounting and Intra/Inter Organizational Transfer analytics, for optimizing cost and inventory management, is being added to Fusion Analytics for SCM (supply chain management). With this enhanced use case coverage, Oracle is targeting even more personas, including financial managers, accountants, P&L heads, audit managers, people managers, heads of diversity, compensation managers and talent acquisition leads.

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Don’t forget the platform

As Fitts said, when you’re in the business of providing analytics and a number of the enterprise applications that handle the various transactions, entities and parties being analyzed, you can bring value to business users. But you have to bring new features to the core analytics platform too, and Oracle is making several announcements in that arena as well.

For example, Oracle’s new Semantic Modeler allows rich business models to be built to make data more consumable, presenting it in the form of measures (metrics) and dimensions (attributes or categories), instead of data tables and their columns. The tool, though visual, constructs models using something called Semantic Model Markup Language (SMML), a JSON-based encoding that can also be manipulated through code, should an organization find that attractive. Semantic Modeler is also compatible with Git-based source code control systems, making it even more developer-friendly.

In addition to Semantic Modeler, composite visualizations allow metrics to be paired with each visualization, letting more information be conveyed, without having to add more tiles/cards onto a dashboard. Auto Insights supplies recommended visualizations based on OAC’s analysis of datasets and metrics. And Oracle is starting to build its Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) cognitive services right into Oracle Analytics, starting with OCI Vision, implemented in a fashion where users can stay in OAC and don’t need to provision the OCI cognitive service separately.

Vertical analytics integration

In addition to BI capabilities, vendors who own the data and the apps can provide analytics accessibility and ongoing productivity. It’s really only SAP and Oracle that can do this and, of those two companies, Oracle has what it says is the fastest growing cloud. So, while Oracle Analytics may not be Tableau or Power BI, and while OCI may not be AWS, the power of a turnkey cloud + data + analytics + applications ensemble should not be underestimated.

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