Oracle Data Cloud: What Oracle knows about you..

As described in a previous article, many website connect and forward visitor information to other Parties in order to Analyse and Understand the Website visiting pattern. The best and probably well-known example is Facebook. Even when visiting another website, Facebook is often called in the backend by the web site e.g. by a hidden hyperlink or hidden pixel (which needs to be downloaded from Facebook) and by this Facebook receives the information that the respective website has been visited. Using this information, it is possible to create a certain profile of the Visitor in terms of interest and other attributes, which can be used for Target Marketing campaigns. While Facebook is well-known, Oracle also has a large presence within the Marketing World and acquired the data (profile) provider Bluekai, which is now called Oracle Data Cloud. This information can also be integrated with the Oracle Marketing Cloud (formally Eloqua) for the creation of Marketing Segments and Campaign execution.

Every User can also check the information kept about himself by visiting: http://www.bluekai.com/registry-de/ 

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Oracle Business Process models are back for Fusion Cloud

For the earlier releases of Siebel CRM the Official Bookshelf (pdf version here) also contained a documentation of Business Processes to describe the activity flow within the Application from a starting point to a end point like the example below:

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However, these have been discontinued from Version 7.5 for forth following releases. While some parts of the Oracle Organizations certainly maintained these afterwards as Assets, these were not general available as part of the official documentation anymore. For the new Fusion Application Software, which combines all previous separated products from PeopleSoft, e-Business Suite and Siebel into a single Application, the Business Process models are back. While they are not published on alongside the Official Documentation they are accessible via the Oracle Support Portal at the following site: Oracle Fusion Business Process Models: Homepage (Doc ID 1542019.1).

The above site lists the following Level 1 Business process area e.g. Marketing. Level 2 of the Business Process then describes the step in the process e.g. Develop Campaign and afterwards Execute Campaign. The Level 3 then contains a detailed activity flow in MS Visio e.g. Launch Campaign and Manage responses.

Business Process Area

01 Enterprise Planning and Performance Management

02 Marketing

03 Sales

04 Order Fulfillment

07 Supply Chain Planning

09 Product Management

10 Production

11 Procurement

12 Materials Management and Logistics

14 Project Management

15 Financial Control and Reporting

16 Cash and Treasury Management

17 Asset Lifecycle Management

19 Enterprise Information Management

21 Workforce Deployment

22 Workforce Development

23 Compensation Management

BICS development life-cycle

Within an on-premise scenario, the OBIEE development life-cycle was quite simple:

  1. connect to a data warehouse and import the warehouse tables (metadata import to physical layer)
  2. build OBIEE metadata model (RPD)
  3. upload the RPD into Weblogic using the Deployment screen

Within a cloud scenario the BICS development life-cycle is quite the same, but requires some additional steps and some decisions on the development model: either using web-based BICS developer or upload of full RPD file developed using OBIEE Admin Tool.

While it’s possible to develop the complete metadata model within the cloud using the BICS web-based Modeller, like below:

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the capabilities of this web-based Modeller are more limited. Due to this there is no option to edit or change the uploaded RPD file within the web-based BICS modeller afterwards. The process to upload a locally developed (OBIEE) metadata model (.rpd file) to the BICS Cloud is called “lift&shift”.

The required setup for this OBIEE to BICS development life-cycle using lift & shift is described in below diagram:

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For the BICS development life-cycle setup the data of the Fusion Cloud e.g. HCM or ERP is assumed to be already present within a Oracle Database Cloud (DBaaS/DBCS). For this setup all components (formally probably referred to as “server” components) are provisioned on the Oracle Public Cloud behind a firewall and only the IT Development Tools (IDE) are installed on a developer machine like a desktop or laptop.

The following integrations need to be setup:

Integration point Integration point Description documentation/links
BICS DBaaS Connect the BI Cloud (BICS) to the Database Cloud (DBaaS) to analyse the stored data e.g. extracted Fusion HCM data How Does Oracle BI Cloud Service Integrate with Oracle Database Cloud Service?

Managing Database Connections

(local) SQL Developer DBaaS Connect the local SQL Developer e.g. installed on a Computer or Laptop to the Database Cloud (DBaaS) Accessing a Database Cloud Service instance using Oracle SQL Developer

Connecting to a Database Cloud Service (DBaaS) Instance Through an SSH Tunnel

(local) BI Admin Tool  (RPD file) BICS upload the local developed .rpd file (using the OBIEE Admin Tool) into the BI Cloud (BICS) Uploading Data Models from Oracle BI Enterprise Edition

“Lift and Shift” On-Premise RPD to BI Cloud Service (BICS)

How to Upload OBIEE RPD to Oracle BICS

BICS Lift and Shift of BIAPPS Content

To create Backup as part of the development life-cycle refer to the following article:

BIAPPS on PAAS – Backup and Restore – Introduction

To connect between DBaaS and the Fusion Application Cloud (SaaS):

BIAPPS on PAAS – Source Connectivity

The above scenario uses the Oracle Database Cloud for storing the data. If the Data is not stored in the Oracle Database Cloud, but the Oracle Schema Cloud Service which is bundled for-free with BICS then the data must be loaded into BICS using the BICS Data Sync tool:

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Within the all above scenario the (“server”) components are provisioned on the Oracle Public Cloud. For a scenario where some components like the Database still reside on-premise the following tool needs to be installed on the server hosting the Oracle Database:

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as described in this article from Oracle.

provide access to OTBI and BI Administration Role

Fusion Application Cloud users can access the Reporting and Analytics (OTBI) module via the Fusion Sitemap listed under “Tools”:

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This opens the embedded Analytics Catalog which contains all items for each domain such as Human Capital Management:

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To grant access to Reporting and Analytics the Cloud Admin User or another User having received the “IT Security” Role can provide access to OTBI:

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And needs to assign at least the Employee Role to the respective User to access Reporting and Analytics:

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To grant the BI User “OTBIUser” also the BI Administration Role requires to follow the TechNote from Cloud R12 and onwards as the standard BI Roles (such as BI Author or BI Consumer) can’t be assigned to Users directly anymore. Instead it is required to create a custom Role based on the standard (OOTB) Role and assign the custom role to the User to act e.g. as BI Administrator.

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Link

Oracle recently announced that it will enhance the EU Cloud in Germany/Frankfurt with additional services for PaaS and IaaS. This additional services are expected to be available during the second half of the calendar year and are enhancing the current SaaS services which are already available within the EU Cloud in Germany.

This expansion of the Oracle Cloud EU Region in Germany will consist of three high bandwidth/ low latency sites providing the required levels of failure protection and availability. As part of the EU Cloud Region, this will also ensure a single data jurisdiction (together with other sites in the UK and Amsterdam).

The full press release can be found here.

Thoughts on the Cloud, IT Vendors and Enterprises

IT Vendors and Enterprises are in a middle of a generational change, as computing moves from On-Premise (from lots of customer data centers) to a smaller number of “super” Data Centers of IT Vendors: the Cloud.

This means that the IT as an Industry has caught up with other Network services e.g. Water or Electricity Networks where the production happens at the utility and else taps into the Network to consume the service. This allows taking advantage of the Economy of scale, commercialized labor leading to a better service at a lower price.

At the end of this change Enterprises will consume the data and IT from Utility Computing providers where all the complexity of running servers etc. is hidden behind a simple device such as the desktop Browser (similar to other Network providers using a water tap or power socket).

The Cloud provides all three layers: Applications (SaaS), Platform and Infrastructure as a service for consumption and more and more Enterprises are moving from buying on-Premise and Hardware to buying Cloud. This has been pioneered by Amazons.com’s AWS which provided basic computing services like storage and Servers in the beginning.

However, basic computing/storage (excl. Security and Reliability)has become a commodity like electricity. When buying commodities cost is one of the most important decision factors since there is no much differentiation. The major differentiation of Clouds is on the Platform and Application layer where the cost of these services can be looked at two days: the acquisition costs on day 1 or a more complex calculation of the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) which is the cost of owning & running for a certain period of years. E.g. the TCO would also include estimated costs for the required integration of two or more Cloud applications.

A decade of Coexistence and a Unique differentiator for Oracle

For many of the Enterprise customers, the journey to the Cloud is increasingly combining on-Premise and Cloud Solutions and Oracles ability to promote a long term co-existence Strategy is a unique differentiator in the marketplace.

Matching the 3-Tier Application model to the Cloud

For those Companies who already use the Cloud, the Terms IaaS, PaaS & SaaS are understood as 1+1. For decades where Software System have been installed in a local Datacentre the 3-Tier Application model was the norm. Consisting of 3 Tiers for the Application, data storage in a database, Business logic Layer holding the main source code e.g. in Java or C# or any other programming language and a Presentation Layer for the Business User to interact with. While the Cloud essentially takes the local Datacentre to the Software Vendor Datacentre location and the Internet, some new terms emerged: SaaS,IaaS,Paas. For reference, these new “Cloud” terms can be matched to the “classic” 3-Tier Application model:
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Crossing the chasm

Both, software vendors and customer’s Organizations are facing a new model, where Software is not delivered as a on-Premise installer, but as a Service, the Cloud.

crossing chasm

While large Software Vendors such as Oracle or SAP still provide a very feature-rich on-Premise version of their Software there are two real advantages for a Cloud delivery model: 

Agility of Software deployment: With many on-Premise Applications a new release takes approximately 2 Years until the software becomes generally available and another Year to upgrade and actually deploy the new release within the customer’s Organization. Currently a new release of the Oracle Fusion Applications (currently Vers. 11) takes approx. 6 Month and this will be shortened to approx. 3 Month until CY17. The Cloud allows to provides the innovations much faster to the Market and the customer to consume the innovation much earlier. Additionally, the downtime associated with new Releases is targeted to be also reduced by half.

Real customer Feedback: Since most customer within the use the public Cloud, the development (Engineering) Organization has access to real application usage patterns of the Customers using the software. For most Oracle’s on-Premise software there was also some form of Feedback from Customers e.g. Market Requirement Documents (MRD) or the Customer Advisory Boards, but this has the actual accuracy of the real interactions from the Users with the Cloud. This feedback provides the data to improve the areas of the product which get used the most.

Combining the feedback and agility (speed to market) also to improve the software much faster then in any other model.

For Oracle, the strategy remains to provide a complete set of SaaS Business applications as modules such as ERP, CX or HCM in the Cloud. Additionally a Marketplace is available where Independent Software Vendors (ISV) or Partners may provide additional software packages or point solutions:

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Oracle’s Cloud also supports a wide spectrum in terms of deployment and use of the Cloud. A customer might also choose to migrate a bespoke legacy application in the Oracle Cloud using the IaaS or PaaS. This can also be used within large transformational programs where not all functionality can be provided from the Oracle Cloud. Certain bespoke applications can be moved to the cloud to be blended together with other Oracle cloud modules.

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Together with the Customer Success and Customer Management team, Oracle has a very good understanding of how the software is actually being used and where the software needs to be improved e.g. which features are performing well and which features are not being utilized.

With Cloud Projects, customers also engage differently with a Consulting Organization, they expect to be pro-actively guide through all phases of the cloud Journey, anticipate their needs and Best Practices.

Oracle now provides pre-scoped services at every stage of the customer cloud lifecycle:

  • enable usage of SaaS Subscriptions -> Core Implementation Packs for Fast Go-Live
  • if using but not fully exploiting the Subscription -> Advanced Enablement Packs (e.g. Optimize usage)
  • if they want to do more with Saas -> Add-On Packs for Integrating with other cloud modules and other business extensions with PaaS