by Shiva Molabanti
Oracle has released the new Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS). With the advent of Oracle BICS, partners can help bring critical analytics to those who need them the most.
Organizations use the information generated to improve business operations without the need to invest weeks or months of your valuable time to deploy such sophisticated system as is the case of many traditional BI systems. As an Oracle Platinum Partner and Oracle Specialized Partner of the Year in Business Intelligence, KPI Partners has been involved in the begining of the Oracle BICS Beta Program and has evaluated various real-world scenarios and possible deployment options for our clients.
Introduction to Oracle BICS
Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) is a part of Oracle Cloud Analytics. It offers the most comprehensive cloud analytics suite available today, with built-in mobile capabilities. Oracle BI Cloud Service helps in speeding the delivery of key metrics and improves decision-making across the organization by lowering the barrier for the users trying to enter the world of BI. It provides secure and comprehensive information access with simplicity and cost-effectiveness on cloud.
Oracle BICS is the first BI platform on the cloud that makes analytics available to everyone, from single workgroup to the entire enterprise. Oracle BI Cloud Service enables users from any skill set, from any department, to easily combine data from diverse sources and quickly create rich, interactive analytical applications and reports.
Why Oracle BICS?
- Multi-tenant Oracle Business Intelligence (OBI)
- Based on Oracle’s proven BI technology, it helps user to quickly create rich, interactive data-driven insights and data visualizations to users throughout an organization.
- Integrated with industry-leading Oracle Database Cloud (At present this this is known as Schemas-as-Service)
- BICS is optimized for the cloud and empowers users to combine data from diverse sources, including other cloud solutions, as well as on-premises and third-party applications. There are multiple ways to load data, from importing files via self-service to ongoing data integrations, including web-based file loading, direct queries, ETL integrations, a REST API, and more
- Built-in Mobile capability. It provides better support for device-delivered information, such as to dashboards or reports intended for smartphones and tablets
- The service simplifies the preparation of data for reporting and creation, management and deployment of analyses. The service offers many self-service capabilities such as loading your data and creating reports for your line of business
- Most importantly, it is secured with industry's highest level security standards (SSAE 16 Type II Certified)
- 99.5% Availability
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model - Oracle Managed Patching and upgrades (you don’t need to apply patches, the auto-upgrade process lets you automatically upgrade the system)
- Oracle BI Cloud Service is offered as-a-service subscription model rather than a large one-time expense. Customers can deploy it anytime. Flexible enough for small groups, business department-wide deployments, or to the entire organization, without capital costs.
The new Oracle BICS comes equipped with all the features of Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) 11g and the new cloud-native developer tools which can be used to model, integrate and analyze your data. Currently BICS does not include these other traditional OBIEE components: BI Publisher, Delivers, Essbase, Smart View, MapViews or Invoke Actions.
- Proven Rich Reporting platform based on OBIEE Dashboards
- Powerful Analysis platform based on OBIEE Answers
- Mobile ready support based on OBIEE Mobile HD
- Browser based thin data modeling (RPD is in cloud)
Variety of Data Integration Options:
- BICS Data Loader: Simple File upload
- BICS REST API*: Recommended for ETL integration
- SQL Developer: Interactive data loading and administration
- DBCS REST API: Define your own custom API
- PL/SQL Data Import: Generic Web Services data import
- Intuitive Security and Administration
- A fresh, lighter weight UI with new skin & style called “Skyros”: Skyros leverage's the latest standards in page style sheets, CSS3, and the best part is it’s less image-based than the earlier FusionFX-simple skin, thus improving speed, flexibility, and consistency. Now it’s easier to customize all the forms, for example - All the colors have been organized into related anchor with derivative groups. As you can see in the screenshots below, it also includes many changes such as borders & gradients in all pages.
Oracle BI Cloud Service allows users of all technical levels to quickly and easily create meaningful analytics applications by providing a service which is:
- Quick to start: With simple, wizard-driven data import and data model introspection, business users can build analyses, BI applications, or data mashups, without any programming or specialized analytics skills.
- Easy to adopt: An interactive user interface with integrated guidance and tutorials which helps in improving productivity and adoption. Users with prior knowledge of Oracle BI can utilize this service right away, without re-training. Cloud-based best practices in the industry will also be included.
- Mobile: Built-in mobile offers improved capabilities analysis on-the-go, including touch, drill, and interact features, with no additional development necessary. Additionally, Oracle BI Cloud Service is equipped for offline use, with fine-grained security to manage access and visibility.
- Flexible: For more custom queries and data-loading choices, users can leverage programming interfaces for deeper integration.
How secure is the Oracle BICS?
Oracle BICS is built on Oracle's Identity Management platform. And BICS is multi-tenant and so every subscription is identified with its own Identity Domain. The Identity Domain specifies the Company Tenant ID.
When a user is signed up, their accounts & credential information gets stored within the Oracle Internet Directory. When that user has access to several services across the Oracle cloud, the single sign-on is handled by the Oracle Access Manager. When a user account gets disabled, it’s automatically disabled across all services. The Identity Management is part of the Common Services layer and secures Oracle Public Cloud services.
Data is stored in the Oracle Database Cloud Service which is hosted on the Oracle Public Cloud. Oracle's database is well-known for its data security, and Oracle Cloud keeps your data completely isolated from other companies. Oracle Cloud services also offer market-leading security features – including encryption, virus scan and whitelist support. Oracle Cloud data- centers offer embassy-grade physical and logical security. The services employ management controls, operational controls, and technical controls and are aligned with the security framework of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), specifically ISO/IEC 27002:2005, Code of Practice for Information Security Management and ISO/IEC 27001:2005 standards.
Lastly, BICS Greatly Reduces Administration Efforts:
With Oracle BI Cloud, organizations can reduce the costs and resources required to deploy analytic applications, while retaining comprehensive governance of the data pipeline.
- Scalability: The cloud-based model allows organizations to add new users and applications as an when required.
- Availability: Oracle Cloud delivers high availability, while Oracle optimizes speed by offloading analytic workloads to the cloud.
- Security: Data and BI applications are part of the Oracle Cloud, which meets the industry's highest security standards and is completely owned and operated by Oracle, helping ensure data does not travel to third parties.
- Simplicity: Oracle manages patching and upgrade cycles, further freeing up IT resources and ensuring immediate availability of the latest capabilities.
- Elasticity: The service offers power of the Oracle Database and sophisticated Oracle BI capabilities to support current and future comprehensive analytic requirements.
- Subscription and Pricing: Users can take monthly subscription for Oracle BICS. Each subscription has been offered with two independent environments (Pre-Prod and Production) with separate Database and BI Service.
Shiva Molabanti is a Director of Technology at KPI Partners. He is a business intelligence enthusiast who likes blogging about acquisitions in the BI space, technical workings of BI tools, and Oracle Business Intelligence. Visit Shiva at his personal blog or check out Shiva's blog at KPIPartners.com.