Dylan’s BI Study Notes

My notes about Business Intelligence, Data Warehousing, OLAP, and Master Data Management

BI Applications and Embedded BI, Part 2

Posted by Dylan Wan on December 5, 2007

This is a topic I wrote in six month ago. In the Part I of this series of articles, I mentioned that a warehouse like architecture is required in a heterogeneous environment. I want to elaborate more about this. In the future posts, I will also describe the integration technology I learned for supporting the embedded BI.

I have seen that Oracle is changing after several acquisitions in the past few years. A couple of years ago the focus was that Oracle database server can handle all your data with a global single database instance and you do not need to have multiple instances of database. Oracle’s development tool did not need to support any other database, but Oracle. In the business application area, we also see that Oracle E-Business Suite assumes that all different business application modules can run in the same database. They thus created an integrated database schema. The application integration can be easily accomplished via data sharing.

Now I see Oracle’s view has been extended. Providing choices is important. Middleware is important. And BI becomes very important.

Many of its product lines, including PeopleSoft, Siebel, BI/Hyperion, except E-Business Suite, support the choices of database management system. PeopleSoft brought in the concept of multi-pillar deployments or multiple database platform. Since Siebel application does offer the entire suite of application, it is also typically implemented separately. These application integrate among modules via the integration brokers. Middleware thus becomes extreme important, at least as important as the database.

Under the new perspectives, to satisfying the majority of the Oracle customers, a data warehouse or OLAP based solution becomes a nature solution. It is very easily for people from the multiple database platform to understand why a data warehouse or a OLAP-based, separate BI solution is needed. It is actually the architecture of PeopleSoft EPM for more then 10 years. It is very easy for people with the CRM applications background to understand that CRM is just one of the source of the information. The true ” intelligence” actually come from the integrated, consolidated view of the data. That is where data becomes information and can help making business decision. It is very easy for people who has been providing the financial consolidation for several years to understand that how many source applications, how desperate the data is, so a BI solution, which can “consolidate” information, is important.

The major challenge of embedded BI comes from two area:

1. How do you know what information can help making decision for a give business process area? For example, to understand whether the call center employee has enough training and if the training cost has reach your target return of the investment, you need to know how to relate the data from your HR, your training system, and your call center application.

2 . The embedded BI technology: These include, not limited to, integrated authentication, integrated security, the technology to embed the UI in the business application, the technology of bi-directional navigation and passing contexts, and the ETL technology on how to refresh and get the real time or near real time update.

A successful BI application should be able to address these needs in order to support Embedded BI.

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