Oracle BI is a platform with modules for developing and deploying dashboards, formatted reporting, ad hoc reporting and analysis. The vendor continues to deliver expanded capabilities such as more advanced visualizations and self-service with DV. Oracle BI is provided on-premise and as Oracle BI Cloud. It is also shipped as part of the Oracle Analytics Cloud.
The origins of Oracle date back to 1977 when the company Software Development Laboratories (SDL) was founded in the United States. SDL later changed its name to Oracle. The company’s strategic focus was on developing the relational database management system (RDBMS) called Oracle.
Today, Oracle is one of the world’s largest software and hardware companies, with offices in 145 countries. With more than 430,000 customers and deployments, Oracle offers a comprehensive stack of cloud applications, platform services and engineered systems.
In the BI area, Oracle offers various products on-premises and as cloud versions. Its on-premises offerings include Oracle BI, Oracle Data Visualization and Oracle Hyperion Enterprise Performance Management.
Oracle has a long history in the BI space. The journey of the current portfolio started in 2005 as Oracle acquired several software vendors between 2005 and 2007. These included TimesTen (an in-memory database vendor), Siebel (BI, CRM and metadata management) and Hyperion Solutions (BI front ends, multidimensional database and financial consolidation). Those acquired products were complemented with in-house developed modules such as Oracle BI Publisher and offered as on-premises software.
Oracle BI is a multi-tiered client-server architecture with well-thought-out caching capabilities. The central back-end component of Oracle BI is the Oracle BI Server. This ROLAP server provides a semantic metadata layer with query, security, dimensional modeling and caching for the front-end tools it serves.
Formatted reporting requirements are implemented with Oracle BI Publisher, a page-based reporting server system that was developed by Oracle. The solution’s main client is web-based and is suitable for use by business users.
Oracle BI Publisher has its own data model, but Oracle BI Server can be used as a data source. BI Publisher offers data federation allowing informal data sources such as Excel to be combined with enterprise data sources, although the data source must be accessible from the server.
User & Use Cases
Our data shows that the Oracle BI suite offers a broad feature set to support customers with enterprise reporting, analysis, ad hoc query and reporting. The suite is capable of serving large usage scenarios, but the user numbers and company size figures show it is also used by mid-sized companies in mid-sized usage scenarios.
Version 12 was released at the end of 2015 and it seems customers are adopting it rather slowly. Last year we did not have a single respondent using the new 12c major release and this year only around a quarter of respondents are taking advantage of the new product capabilities.
Competitors evaluated up against Oracle BI reveal a long-time weakness in the suite: Data Discovery. Oracle has now closed this gap with Data Visualization and customers have started to evaluate the Oracle offering alongside typical data discovery products such as Tableau, Qlik and Power BI.
Current vs. planned use
N = 35
5 products most often evaluated in competition with Oracle BI
N = 35
Percentage of employees using Oracle BI
N = 35
Number of users using Oracle BI
N = 35
Tasks carried out with Oracle BI by business users
N = 33
Company size (number of employees)
N = 35