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Oracle Advances Enterprise Performance Management


Last week Oracle introduced the Fusion Edition of its Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) software system. The release incorporates much of the Hyperion acquisition of April 2007 - and sets the stage for Oracle to compete against rival SAP in the emerging analytical software market.

Originally created for advanced budgeting applications, Oracle's EPM solution has been extended to all elements of finance and accounting and beyond.

New functions are impressive and now include key performance indicator (KPI) analysis, financial ratio calculations and alert notifications with flexible triggers and sophisticated routing. Typical processes now include modeling, budgeting, analysis, consolidation and extremely flexible reporting. For example, users can now drill-down from the Hyperion Planning application into Oracle's E-Business Suite to extract accurate planning data directly from transaction accounting software and other business systems. Oracle says it next plans to extend this integration to its PeopleSoft software and even with SAP's ERP software.

"We've been helping companies with operational excellence, and now they're asking us to become more effective in terms of management excellence," comments Oracle president Charles Phillips. "It makes sense that we can derive useful management information given that we have the operational systems that automate those processes."

Just as transactions were individually processed through silo'd applications before the single-platform advent of enterprise resource planning systems, Oracle claims EPM will result in an integrated system suite that can replace the all too common use of spreadsheet silos and disparate business intelligence applications. Oracle crafted a 'Strategy-to-Success' construct into the application software and offers optional line of business add-ons such as a profitability and cost management which measures lines of business and activities in terms of profit and loss. There is also a new software module that correlates financial plans from business segments with operational plans and budgets set by the accounting department. The enterprise-wide roll-up viewing is very useful.

The EPM suite consolidates the Hyperion performance management system, the Essbase OLAP (online analytical processing) and data warehousing and Oracle's Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition. And for the first time, Essbase has been extended as a business intelligence server which supports multiple types of analysis, including relational (ROLAP), OLAP, or the combination of the two.

Oracle EPM extends business intelligence (BI) using a web-based portal EPM Workspace, integration to Microsoft Office that now includes Word and PowerPoint and new desktop gadgets. The performance management software leverages Oracle's Fusion middleware, including Enterprise Manager, Identity Management, Application Server, BPEL Workflow and Oracle Data/System Integrator. It's also extendable to third-party databases and applications.

In all likelihood, these advancements are a competitive reaction to SAP's acquisition of Business Objects and the dawn of native BI deeply embedded and tightly integrated to ERP software systems. In many ways, Oracle is playing catch up with Business Objects and IBM's Cognos which previously offered read-write integration with MS Office and support for Word and PowerPoint.

Whatever the driver, Oracle's EPM release is impressive and the company's jump to a much improved EPM application puts it ahead of arch rival SAP in many regards. While SAP has a road map to rationalize its portfolio-which includes technologies from Business Objects, Cartesis, OutlookSoft, Pilot, and SAP-it has had less than six months to pull all the pieces together and has yet to release anything nearly as substantive as Oracle EPM.

PostPosted by: Jeffrey on 07.27.2008
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Todd Blumenthal says:
August 12, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Are you aware of Oracle EPM pricing?


Howard says:
August 12, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Only ballpark pricing. I suggest you contact your Oracle representative. | ERP Software Forum