Your Three Must-Know EPM and Analytics Themes from OpenWorld 2017

October 18, 2017

Author: Kirby Lunger, Performance Architects

The enterprise performance management (EPM) and enterprise analytics (business analytics, BI, data visualization) arenas may have seemed like an afterthought at Oracle OpenWorld this year, since the conference focus areas seemed to be autonomous (self-learning) databases, blockchain and cloud infrastructure!  Never fear!  I’ve distilled the top three themes from these areas to bring you up to speed in this arena as quickly as possible.

  1. Everyday Low Prices: Walmart Pricing and (Less) Discounting Now Applies

One of the most attractive things about buying cloud solutions is that we can purchase “by the drop,” meaning that we can expand capacity (seats, CPUs, whatever) as we need them, at an affordable price.

For the last several years, Oracle was dinged by analyst firms like Gartner for maintaining a sales model that wasn’t optimized for the cloud world (aka: a very large field sales force used to long, protracted negotiations with a lot of off-the-list discounting).

The beast finally awoke!  Right around the time of OpenWorld, Oracle quietly slashed the prices of Oracle Analytic Cloud (OAC), their next-generation analytics platform combining BI, data visualization and analytics (Essbase!) capabilities, by 50%.  We believe this will lead to much clearer sales incentives and less required discounting on Oracle’s part moving forward…which should frankly make your life (and our experience as a partner as well) much easier.  As far as we know, this only applies to the PaaS arena at the moment, although we fully expect that this operating model will edge into the SaaS and IaaS areas as we look out into the coming fiscal year.

Oracle has also spent a lot of time over the last several months clarifying and narrowing down the list of offerings in each of its SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS focus areas.  You can go to the EPM arena, for example, and clearly see the list of modules and their prices with a “Purchase Now” button.  The days of trying to track down one of your 15 Oracle sales reps to get a quote are on their way out!

As part of this, product naming and grouping/bundling has been simplified.  You’ll notice the “Service” is getting dropped from most of the cloud product names (e.g., Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service or EPBCS is now often referred to as “Enterprise Planning Cloud” or “EPC” on the Oracle website).

  1. The Dashboard is Dead: Information Before You Know You Need It Is the Name of the Game

Think about all of the notifications you receive from shopping sites based on your past and predicted shopping behavior.  You don’t painstakingly create a dashboard to analyze and report on your behavior…this just happens based on the data they collect on you and alerts are pushed to you on an “as-needed” basis.

And where do you consume your information?  On your mobile phone.  As of November 2016, mobile web traffic overtook computer web traffic66% of all emails are now opened on a mobile phone!

We’ve all been saying this for years…and now it’s finally happening.  Using adaptive intelligence (Oracle’s term for what a bunch of other folks used to call “artificial intelligence”) and machine learning, Oracle is betting the ranch on proactive alerting throughout their solution stack to address this mobile-first, information-push world.

In the enterprise analytics field, they’re investing heavily in mobile enhancements for the visualization capabilities in OAC and to their mobile applications (Day-by-Day and Synopsis), while in EPM, they continue to focus on predictive modeling enhancements to the EPM product suite.

  1. Long Live the Data Lake: “Directionally Correct” is All the Rage 

First of all, EPM folks, don’t freak out.  This doesn’t mean transactional systems are going away…we’ll be in world where “hybrid” data storage models rule for many years to come. It just means that the world is moving to a “directionally correct” orientation instead of a “precisely wrong” focus.

What does this mean?  Rather than waiting for complete, tried-and-true, cause-and-effect historical relationships to be established in a traditional relational database structure that is then reported out in a dashboard, Oracle is using data lake technologies (which store data in its raw format until it is needed for analysis) to provide pointers to possible trends that could predict an outcome.

A centerpiece of this is the new OAC – Data Lake edition (which we think signals a shift away from the Oracle “Big Data Discovery” messaging of the past few years), which launched the week of OpenWorld.

That said…Oracle did announce a significant update to a more traditional EPM data management solution for you “structured data” fans, the Enterprise Data Management Cloud Service (also known as Enterprise Data Management Cloud).  This is the totally-rearchitected cloud version of the on-premise Oracle Hyperion Data Relationship Management (DRM), and is due out by the end of 2017 calendar year.  It should make cloud-based, enterprise data management a lot easier.

Want to learn more about the evolution of Oracle’s EPM and enterprise analytics solutions and what this means for you?  Contact us at communications@performancearchitects.com and we’d be happy to set up a time to talk.


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