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While this week’s upgrade to Oracle’s (news, site) Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition suite adds out-of-the-box iPhone and iPad support, Oracle also completes a process that it started last summer when it upgraded the suite from 10g to 11g.

Business Intelligence 11g

The July 2010 upgrade itself was a significant one in that Oracle finalized three years’ work gathering the business intelligence tools it bought through the Siebel and Hyperion acquisitions.

As a result, using the new upgrade, enterprises were able to find and use data in online analytical processing (OLAP) and XML data sources as well as offering new search capabilities.

Leaving aside the mobile support, which it should be noted does not include Android or Blackberry, all Oracle's BI applications will now work off the 11g platform, giving users access to the line of pre-built Oracle BI Applications that have been upgraded to take advantage of the new platform, and giving them access to the data modeling, access and analysis that come with 11g.

Since that release, the market has responded positively to the changes, so much so that in the recent Gartner analysis of the BI industry, Oracle increased its market share, even though its position in the top vendors list remained the same -- behind SAP, and ahead of SAS, IBM and Microsoft.

Business Intelligence Mobile Support

However, with this week’s release, it is the iPhone/iPad support that Oracle is really marketing -- hardly a surprise given the level of market penetration that iPad and iPad 2 now have.

This means that, as of this release, users will have mobile access to the stable of alerts, ad hoc analysis, dashboard reporting, scorecard and “what if” analysis, as well as multidimensional and unified relational OLAP.

Workflow have also been made iPad-friendly, with users now able to initiate workflows actions from their mobile device, and in doing so giving workers an agility that they haven’t had before.

It also gives them support for additional data sources including Oracle TimesTen In-Memory Database, Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services and SAP Business Information Warehouse (BW).

These new Oracle Business Intelligence product releases build upon the success of Oracle BI 11g and provide customers a wide range of new capabilities that extend intelligence to the iPad and iPhone, offer more powerful visualization, interactivity, performance and scalability features to their ERP and CRM applications, and optimize customer interactions and decisions in real time,” said Paul Rodwick, vice president of Product Management, Oracle Business Intelligence.

Real-Time Decisions to v3.1

At the same time as Oracle introduced the upgrades to its BI Suite, it also announced an upgrade to Real-Time Decisions, its service-oriented decision management platform, to v3.1.

Using historical data, business rules, predictive models, automation and self-learning capabilities, it offers users optimized decisionmaking based on data garnered by these tools.

The principal upgrade with this release is the new Decision Manager, which provides marketing managers and content managers with a new interface that helps them place data into the application, which then offers them best-case scenarios based on existing customer information and history.

It also provides role-based access control, versioning and audit trails to ensure operational consistency and reduce overall TCO.

This week’s releases may not have the same significance as last year’s move to 11g, but even offering iPad/iPhone support should keep its business intelligence offerings in the top ranks of a market that Gartner has estimated will be worth in the region of US$ 10.5 billion and will only go in one direction in coming years.