Oracle Analytics Applications (OAX): An Introduction

Oracle have recently announced that their Analytics strategy going forwards will focus on 3 product areas:

  • Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC)
  • Oracle Analytics Server (OAS)
  • Oracle Analytics Applications (OAX)

OAC and OAS are essentially the cloud and on-premise versions of what used to be called Oracle BI Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) or Oracle BI Foundation (BIF).

OAX is the new cloud (SaaS) version of Oracle BI Applications (BI Apps). BI Apps has been around for many years and is used by 100s if not 1000s of customers as it delivers a comprehensive pre-built data warehouse and analytics solution for a range of legacy source systems such as Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft and Siebel CRM.

Whilst BI Apps has historically enabled many organisations to quickly implement a data warehouse platform, it did end up with a number of headaches/challenges including to the cost of upgrades, confusion over ETL tools, large amounts of customisation and not offering customers any easy path to the cloud.

To put it another way, BI Apps became a big ship that was difficult to steer, almost like it tried to support and/or deliver too much. That being said, there is still a need to deliver pre-built analytics content in the market.

So what is OAX and what does it deliver?

First of all, this is what it looks like - I'm sure you'll agree that the KPI "card" interface looks modern and engaging:

An example of the KPI "cards" shipped with OAX
 
OAX is a pre-built analytics solution hosted on Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) with the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse (ADW) as its data source.
 

The strategy is to provide customers with a range of analytics content sourced from Oracle's SaaS applications: Fusion, HCM, CX, Netsuite etc

The analytics content is delivered in two ways:

  • Interactive KPI "decks" each displaying multiple KPI "cards"
  • Data Viz projects delivering more detailed insights (users can navigate directly from the KPI cards)

The subject areas delivered by Oracle as part of the service cannot be modified by the customer. However it will be possible for customers to load their own data into a custom schema on their ADW instance, and then combine it with the content delivered by Oracle. Customers will have full capability to modify/build/extend the KPI decks and also the Data Viz projects.

The main point here is that customers with Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft or Siebel CRM will not have any support for OAX except the fact that customers can integrate their own 3rd party into the OAX environment and combine it with data coming from the Oracle Cloud (SaaS) sources. 

How does OAX address the challenges faced with BI Apps?

Accepting the fact that OAX does not provide a migration path for existing EBS/PeopleSoft/Siebel customers, the new approach taken for OAX should avoid a number of the challenges that BI Apps customers have historically had to face:

  1. ​​​​​​​Upgrades to enhance or extend pre-built content will be performed automatically by Oracle (behind the scenes)
  2. Oracle only has to support Oracle going forwards (no need to support SQL Server, DB2, Teradata as well as various operating systems)
  3. The daily ETL for pre-built content is 100% managed by Oracle (customers will naturally need to manage their own 3rd party feeds)
  4. OAX focusses on delivering customers what they desperately needed with BI Apps : higher level KPIs to deliver analytics to C-level users

Regarding the last point, an issue with BI Apps is that it delivered 1000s of reports that were of low value to the customer - the level of customisation ended up being extremely high. With OAX however, the pre-built KPIs will be a lot more generic to every customer, so whilst there will surely be customisation required it won't require the extreme levels of customisation that was required previously with BI Apps.

Further notes...

OAX is still relatively young but there is a long road map ahead involving plenty of new content being delivered. For now, this service looks to be aimed at the smaller-to-medium enterprises whilst further features are being developed and released, particularly in relation to extensibility. My wish for the KPI deck/card interface is to be made available to customers using OAC/OAS!

To discuss Oracle Analytics Applications in more depth or how Peak Indicators and Oracle can help your organisation, get in touch with our team contact us here.

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