Oracle today unveiled a revamped cloud analytics service that aims to reach a wider range of users via a Redwood user interface (UI) the company is publicly showing for the first time within a live application environment.
The UI will eventually be employed across the entire Oracle applications portfolio, Oracle Analytics VP Joey Fitts told VentureBeat.
The Redwood UI is at the core of an Oracle Analytics Cloud strategy that surfaces a common pool of data to end users, business analysts, and data scientists, rather than requiring organizations to acquire, populate, and manage data across multiple platforms to address each use case, Fitts added. The goal is to make it easier for users with varying levels of analytics expertise to collaborate more effectively, he explained.
Today Oracle is also launching a mobile application that makes Oracle Analytics Cloud more accessible to members of a geographically distributed team. That application includes a “podcast” capability that leverages a natural language processing (NLP) engine to identify and narrate the relationships between various sets of data surfaced through a dashboard via a speech interface. Oracle Analytics Cloud allows users to query data in natural language using either text or speech in 28 different languages.
And Oracle is expanding its machine learning capabilities to offer users simple explanations of the factors that influenced a recommendation. Users can employ those explanations to adjust factors in a way that fine-tunes results. That capability makes artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities accessible to all types of users, Fitts said, adding “AI should be both applied and invisible.”
At the same time, Oracle is adding support for built-in text analytics, affinity analytics to discover relationships between datasets more easily, graph analytics, and custom map analytics for embedding images using the Web Map Service (WMS) protocol and XYZ tile layers.
Oracle is also adding a data profiling engine that samples and scans data to identify quality issues and proactively flag the misuse of sensitive data, along with recommendations to fix issues, such as zip codes and data in end user-defined product categories. Data preparation tools will also automatically associate geographic content to the right type of visualization.
As a provider of relational database platforms that are widely employed in on-premises IT environments, Oracle is moving to ensure it remains relevant in the age of the cloud. In addition to Oracle Analytics Cloud, the company makes available a managed Autonomous Database service through which lower-level database administration tasks are automated. Regardless of use case, Oracle is encouraging customers to employ one of its cloud services rather than rival database and analytics services provided by Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, and Google.
It’s too early to say how that titanic battle might play out, but Oracle — and to a lesser degree Microsoft — has a strategic advantage, in that the bulk of data still resides in an on-premises IT platform it provides. As hybrid cloud computing continues to evolve, it becomes easier for IT organizations to federate the management of data across multiple platforms using an incumbent vendor than it is to replace entire on-premises environments. AWS and Google are both making hybrid cloud computing cases that would require organizations to replace existing infrastructure or migrate all of their data into a cloud platform.
There are plenty of examples of organizations deciding to abandon local datacenters entirely. But many companies continue to deploy applications in on-premises IT environments, citing compliance, security, and performance advantages. After more than 10 years of cloud computing, the bulk of enterprise data remains in an on-premises IT environment, which suggests most organizations will continue to selectively migrate applications to the cloud at a time and place of their choosing.
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