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Oracle Fuses BI, Performance Management

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Oracle has maximized its PeopleSoft and Hyperion acquisitions by creating a hybrid business intelligence/performance management application. The company views it as a two-pronged attack on the market.

Its Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) System is a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware. It integrates performance management applications and technologies from Hyperion, which Oracle bought in March 2007, and BI applications and technologies from Siebel, which Oracle bought for $5.85 billion in September 2005.

The EPM System targets two totally different markets with different buying preferences. It integrates performance management and business intelligence, or BI (define), technologies from Hyperion into Fusion Middleware. Oracle bought Hyperion in March 2007.

The EPM System is “the first and only system bringing together performance-management applications with BI applications on a common foundation,” says John O’Rourke, senior director of the Oracle EPM Global Business Unit.

These Hyperion technologies include Oracle’s scalable BI foundation and Oracle Applications. EPM also features Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management, a new performance-management application that provides detailed views of cost and profitability drivers in an organization.

In addition, EPM allows enterprises to clearly see which products or lines of business are profitable so they can better plan their strategies.

According to O’Rourke, the application provides reporting analytics as well as forward-looking modeling, forecasting and predictive analytics. He said it will draw data from Oracle and non-Oracle sources, including SAP.

Direct costs

The Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management application lets enterprises understand all direct costs associated with a product or function and allocate them accurately with traceability maps. It not only shows the standard cost of manufacturing and selling a product, but also other overhead, such as IT organization costs, and costs of finance, sales, marketing and human resources.

Management can then allocate these costs to products or business segments. Traceability maps, which are a visual representation, let line managers see where costs came from, as well as how they are calculated and allocated to their cost centers.

“Line managers get profit and loss statements for their product lines, but these are usually black boxes,” O’Rourke said. “You can’t see the details behind the cost allocations. Traceability maps, which are unique to Oracle, solve this problem.”

This ability to understand the full spectrum of costs in detail is critical, Andi Mann, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, told “We always talk about aligning IT with business and how much more can you do that than with cost management,” he said. “Everyone’s doing performance management, change and configuration management, and so on, but cost management is fundamental.”

In addition to components from Hyperion and Fusion, the EPM System incorporates Essbase Studio, a new wizard-driven design environment for Oracle Essbase. It also has a new calculation tool, which lets businesses graphically design, validate and administer business rules across planning and financial consolidation applications. The product also has feature for administration and life cycle management across the system.

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