MUFI Rating & Risk – Oracle BI
MUFI: Maintainability, Usability, Functionality, Implement ability
Vendor: Oracle (Select For Vendor Profile)
Oracle BI is rebadged Hyperion, which was acquired by Oracle in 2007.
Oracle BI is a high maintenance product. Along with the other large acquired BI vendors like Oracle BI and IBM Cognos, Business Objects that have received little investment since their joint 2007 acquisitions, Business Objects is on the wrong side of the self-service/maintenance continuum. Oracle BI increasingly has scalability problems as its code ages, and it is not able to keep up with other BI platforms which are more advanced under the covers. However, it does still have a good user interface and a logical layout, and that may be why it still scores well in buyer satisfaction.
We found Oracle BI to be tedious use. It’s an older generation product with moderate to poor productivity, which is often associated with being a leading edge product because of Oracle’s good reputation in databases. However, developing a good relational database and a good BI platform are not the same thing, as evidenced by the fact that Oracle was not able to build it own BI platform but had to acquire one. The reports Oracle can generate are uninspiring, and the observations that can be gained from them quite limited. We don’t include many screenshots because anything that can be done in Oracle BI can be done better and faster in other BI applications. There are no “best” things to highlight.
Seeing Oracle BI versus the newer BI applications, it is clear how BI applications have progressed throughout the years. Unfortunately, Oracle BI is the “before” picture, that is the old picture you find in the attic where you can’t believe what your family members were wearing.
This is too often the same story with Oracle. Its products are old acquisitions which have not been upgraded, while Oracle continues to be either the most challenging software vendor or one of the most challenging software vendors to deal with. The only way to top it off would be to buy Oracle BI and then hire a significant consulting company to implement the application. This would achieve the maximum TCO with one of the worst technologies at the second longest implementation time assuring failure in multiple dimensions.
Oracle makes a great deal of sales noise about what a long history it has in databases – and it does. But it does not have a long history in analytics, and it seriously lags other BI knowledge. As with most acquisitions, the employees of the Hyperion acquisition have been subordinated to the Oracle monster, many have left, and those that remain have had their opinions devalued by executive decision makers with no analytics background. The advice given by Oracle concerning BI is so poor that they should never be relied upon for anything other than tactical configuration work. Oracle continually makes claims regarding its BI platform/functionality that turns out to be not particularly relevant to practical BI usage, and therefore are far less than advertised. They are not an innovator in the BI space but are one of the nosiest vendors in BI, and one of their strategies is announcing this or that high specification usage of Oracle BI (see our article on Fake Innovators).
They are all style over substance with much of their marketing directed towards low information buyers. Oracle’s biggest market for Oracle BI is of course “Oracle Shops,” but also clients that don’t have a good understanding of BI and how to differentiate between the different vendors and technologies — BI has extremely little to do with relational database technologies. Looking at how long in the tooth Oracle BI is, and how we can predict it will receive either no or insufficient development, that Oracle, as IBM will be searching for a BI acquisition. Oracle BI is not a serious alternative for buyers, and a purchase is a virtual guarantee of a bad outcome.
All scores out of a possible 10.
Vendor and Application Risk
Oracle BI is an average product but from a difficult to deal with the vendor. Consulting for the implementation will most frequently come from a major consulting company. Therefore the implementation will be expensive. Expectations should be kept in line with the product. Oracle has a powerful brand in the marketplace, but Oracle BI only has models capabilities.
Likelihood of Implementation Success
This accounts for both the application and vendor-specific risk. In our formula, the total implementation risk is application + vendor + buyer risk. The buyer specific risk could increase or decrease this overall likelihood and adjust the values that you see below.
Risk Management Approach
Buyers should be careful not to allow the decision to purchase of Oracle BI to influence other purchases, on the basis that they will “integrate” to Oracle BI. Oracle BI/Hyperion has been around for some time, meaning that independent consultants can be found to do the work and offer opinions on the best way forward. Oracle and the major consulting companies they outsource their work to can’t be trusted to look out for the buyer’s interests, and neither entity will every contradict the other as they are tied at the hip at the highest levels. Getting an independent viewpoint will be a precious addition to risk management, and we predict that buyers that do this will get a lower priced and higher quality implementation.