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Oracle Goes After SAP with New Business Intelligence App

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Posted January 10, 2011 By David Needle     Feedback

The latest addition to Oracle's business intelligence applications family is Oracle Financial Analytics for SAP.

The multi-billion dollar business intelligence (BI) software industry is driven by one basic value proposition — to get users the information they need in a timely fashion even if it's buried in a data warehouse containing terabytes of customer data and other files. Competitors IBM, Oracle and SAP have made huge investments in BI, both in internal development and via acquisition.

But today Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL) is going directly after rival SAP, claiming its business intelligence module is a better fit for SAP customers. Paul Rodwick, vice president of product management for Oracle Business Intelligence, said the computer giant is specifically targeting enterprises that already are already using Oracle applications as well as SAP.

"Oracle's analysis of SAP customers, those in the Fortune global 500, showed that about 89 percent use Oracle BI or enterprise performance management solutions," Rodwick told InternetNews.com. "Oracle is focused on working with what you have, and the reality is that most enterprises employ heterogeneous solutions."

The business intelligence application already runs on other platforms, including Oracle's JD Edwards and PeopleSoft systems. "We saw an opportunity to extend the capabilities to SAP's R/3 and ECC" enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, said Rodwick.

Available starting today as part of Oracle BI Applications Release 7.9.7, the company said Oracle Financial Analytics for SAP helps financial and executive teams improve cash flow and profitability by extending complete financial analysis to SAP systems while "dramatically reducing the complexity and costs of integrating information from SAP."

The module has already been deployed at over 2,500 organizations globally, but is being formally rolled out this week. Oracle BI Applications are pre-built analytic applications for Oracle and third-party applications designed to help customers make proactive, informed and actionable decisions and drive toward optimized performance across the enterprise, the company said.

Among other features, Oracle Financial Analytics for SAP helps front-line managers improve financial performance and decision-making with what the company says is comprehensive, timely and role-based information on their departments' expenses and revenue contributions. The application gives financial managers hundreds of key performance indicators (KPIs), role-based dashboards, and more than 200 reports. It also includes prebuilt integration, metadata mapping, metrics and an analytic data model enabling users to speed deployment time and help reduce overall total cost of ownership.

Rodwick said Oracle's BI applications are complete, out-of-the-box applications — "not consulting templates, but real source-specific applications that provide best practices, metadata and key performance data."

Oracle also offers other BI Applications modules, including Procurement and Spend, Projects, Supply Chain and Order Management, Human Resources, Sales, Service, Marketing, Loyalty, Price, Contact Center Telephony, and a range of vertical industries.

Over the past few years, IBM, Oracle and SAP have all made multi-billion purchases of business intelligence and analytics software firms, with the enterprise giants scooping up Cognos, Hyperion and Business Objects, respectively.

SAP responds

SAP issued a statement in response to the Oracle announcement attributed to James Fisher, senior director of marketing for Finance Solutions at SAP:

"Today's announcement by Oracle highlights both the size of the SAP financials customer base and the opportunity that SAP is already realizing today by delivering packaged analytical applications dedicated to the finance line of business. SAP is the market leader for BI, EPM and analytic applications, as per leading industry analysts including Gartner and Forrester, and has more than twice the share of Oracle in core financial applications. As we've seen over the past three years — where more than 1,500 customers have replaced non-SAP solutions in these application areas with SAP’s own analytic offerings — we're confident customers will continue to choose SAP over Oracle, especially as SAP's proven, market-tested solutions come with best-in-class integration to SAP, with pre-built content and expertise, and are available to customers today."

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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