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By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-12-07 Print this article Print

Another Oracle user, Jack Biliter II, said Oracle BI 10g is a step in the right direction when it comes to figuring out which specific data in the companys ocean of data is relevant. "Weve gone through several phases of being inundated with data," said Biliter, vice president of planning and analysis for EverBank Financial Corp., a private holding company headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. "Whats worth looking at?" He said that BI 10gs capability of setting up "stoplights"—i.e., the ability to set parameters around data that flags when sales are slipping too low in a given area or time frame, for example—would help departments start analyzing data more efficiently, as they narrow down their focus to whats really important. For example, when a sales region is doing well, cells in a table turn green. When they slip below a specified limit, cells turn red. Biliter would like to see BI 10g go further with regard to integrating with Excel, however. "[This version] still needs to go to Discover to set up a data pool," he said. "Id like to work from Excel."
One question Roccaforte tackled was what, exactly, is different in BI 10g from the Oracle BI tools that have been available exclusively in Application Server. He said that, while Oracle put OLAP and advanced calculation data-mining capabilities into the database with the release of 9i, Oracle "didnt complete the job."
"We still had the tools problem," he said. In other words, tools built to access relational data typically couldnt access multidimensional data structures. Thats the problem thats been solved with Oracle BI 10g, he said, and its this that has provided unified access for OLAP and relational data and what will provide a totally new, unified end-user experience, wherein users wont be able to know if data is relational or OLAP. Data quality is another target of BI 10g. ETL is now a "huge time sink" for many customers, Roccaforte said. BI 10g provides rich metadata support and rich data quality support, featuring Oracles Customer Data Hub, which serves up one master version of customer data and which is the model for a series of data hubs the company announced at OpenWorld on Monday. Oracle Vice President of Product Lifecycle Management Development and Chief Applications Architect Kurt Robson said that the Data Hub model is targeted at dealing with the fact that different records exist in myriad applications throughout an enterprise. "What we found [since releasing the Customer Data Hub] was that some customers were using the customer database as a master for other legacy systems and other point solutions," he said. "We built that not just to carry predefined information but to be extensible. They were making it the truth for their entire environment. So we packaged this module of Oracle e-Business Suite up as a separate component, focusing on APIs around the customer master so co could implement that customer master, even use it as a master for the data warehouse. "Even when a separate system would introduce a customer record, it could go through the APIs, check for duplicates, and if there was no duplicate, introduce it into the Customer Data Hub, and other systems would subscribe to that." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.

Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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