It's a bit of a cheap shot, considering that Oracle's mature BI capabilities, like many of its content management capabilities, have been hidden as bundled features. The release of OracleBI Discoverer 10g is more of a coming-out party than a birth. At the same time, Oracle doesn't currently offer the breadth, depth or interoperability of IBM's BI products: OracleBI Discoverer is a sort of high-powered analog to Microsoft SQL Server/Analysis Services.
Fair or not, IBM's comment strikes at a weakness in Oracle's image. Oracle database user Wade Anderson expresses a healthy skepticism about the new version of Discoverer, even as he's considering using it to replace a Microsoft-based BI application. Anderson, head of management reporting at digital projector manufacturer InFocus Corp., says he'll run tests for scalability and performance instead of taking Oracle at its word because the company "is new at this." He's hopeful that Oracle Discoverer's use of caching will speed queries from the Excel add-in interface as advertised. Anderson is also attracted by Oracle's ability to use relational queries to derive answers from OLAP cubes, which relieves the application of the burden of working with a special multidimensional language. Currently, Anderson has to use Microsoft's MDX syntax to work with OLAP cubes. While similar to SQL, he dislikes MDX in part because he can't insert comments to document the code.
|[ THE Q.T. ]|
This is progress? Ten days is the average time elapsed between an announced vulnerability and the release of a worm that exploits it, according to security firm Foundstone. In 1999, the average was nine months.
An upgrade to an existing Oracle module, Files 10g includes better content security and access control and provisions for policy- and event-driven workflows. Records management capabilities have been added for creating file plans and managing document retention. Events, policies and foldering schemes can be used to declare records automatically.
ECM vendor Interwoven describes Oracle's foray into its market as another "too-little, too-late" attempt to move beyond the database market. "We don't see them as a near-term threat because the true value in ECM is in creating value for vertical and departmental applications. Oracle still has a lot to prove in that regard," says John Bara, Interwoven's senior vice president of marketing.
|[ KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS ]|
|Defense Procurement Officers|
The U.S. Department of Defense has been working to streamline its procurement systems for some time, but defense secretary Rumsfeld might dig in the spurs after the damaging Q&A session he endured December in Kuwait. The Pentagon's 150,000-plus procurement officers should brace for reassignment in the coming years.
Change always brings uncertainty, but the naming of John Swainson as CEO is expected to be a positive step forward for this deeply troubled company, which has been plagued by lawsuits and SEC scrutiny since 2001. Swainson comes from a sales background at IBM and knows what customers have been saying about CA.
Users of Google's free, downloadable desktop search utility have been singing its praises since it debuted in October. Now Yahoo is on the verge of releasing its own free utilityahead of Microsoft, which has been promising the same. Similar tools have been available at a small price, but you can't beat free.