The line between operational applications and business-intelligence tools continues to narrow. Tasks that were once performed monthly, such as tracking supplier performance through purchasing applications, are becoming daily, even hourly chores. At Oracle's Appsworld conference in New Orleans this week, Oracle execs described a new set of application-specific business-intelligence tools with built-in data warehouse technology that the company will begin shipping in the next few weeks.
Oracle already sells query and reporting tools for pulling data from its enterprise resource planning and customer-relationship management applications. But those tools have limited ability to store historical data for analysis or to perform cross-domain analysis--analyzing sales data in conjunction with inventory, for example. The new Enterprise Data Warehouse system will combine data-collection, schema design, and metadata-management tools for building and managing a data warehouse with business-intelligence modules for sales, financial, manufacturing, customer, marketing, human-resource, purchasing, and project-management analysis.
Although Enterprise Data Warehouse is designed primarily to work with Oracle's own applications, the data warehouse technology, borrowed from the Oracle Warehouse Builder toolset, can pull data from applications from other vendors, says Jagdish Mirani, senior director of data warehouse product marketing. That's something that competing software such as SAP's Business Information Warehouse can't do. But Mirani says Oracle is already working on the evolutionary step: building business intelligence directly into its enterprise applications.
Oracle also is developing a tool for clickstream data analysis that utilizes technology from its Warehouse Builder. That product is expected to debut this spring. While it will initially be a standalone product, Mirani says Oracle plans to eventually embed the clickstream analysis technology within its CRM applications and application server platform.