Oracle has unveiled a suite of business intelligence (BI) tools that will help users get more out of the data its products hold - and will bring Oracle more into competition with BI giants like SAS, Business Objects and Cognos.

Oracle, which has traditionally focused on getting data into the database, says its new Business Intelligence suite will let executives analyse that data to make operational decisions, said Oracle president Charles Phillips. Unlike rival BI suites, Oracle's uses analytic software created (by recent acquisition Siebel) to work with multiple applications, he said. .

“We want to create a more unified view of information [and] consistent information models across the enterprise,” he said. “We want to move from reporting results historically to optimising the business. You really want to learn more about your business... so you can modify the processes as you need to.”

The move aims to make better use of Siebel, which Oracle acquired last year. During the acquisition, Oracle was surprised to learn that 25 percent of Siebel’s licence revenue comes from analytics, said Phillips. Siebel created its analytic software as a non-application-specific product line, and users include large companies like Johnson & Johnson, Wachovia and United Healthcare Services, Phillips said.

Phillips detailed three new BI bundles - all of them available now - at an event in New York City. The first bundle, called Oracle BI Standard Edition-1, is an entry-level suite that includes a database, an extract, transform and load tool, query and analysis tools and dashboards. The Standard Edition includes Oracle’s Discoverer tool for ad hoc query, reporting and analysis and a Microsoft Office add-in tool. The Enterprise Edition will include an analytic server, query and analysis, dashboards, reporting and analytic applications.

Henry Morris, an IDC analyst, who spoke at the event, said the announcements indicate Oracle is expanding its market focus from BI tools designed for skilled analysts to analytic applications that walk business users through a decision process. Through its acquisitions of Siebel and PeopleSoft, Oracle now is one of the few vendors that has a claim over the database, enterprise software and analytic technologies needed to build analytic applications, he said.

The bundles now place Oracle as a direct competitor to enterprise BI vendors such as SAS, Business Objects and Cognos, Morris said.

Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle server technologies, said the new suite will tie together best-of-breed products on top of a common metadata model and a common user interface. That will allow users to get more consistent reports and results from analyses of data sources across the enterprise.

In addition, Oracle’s new dashboard tools are designed to guide users to business operations that need attention and provide suggested actions, he said. The new suite also includes an enterprise service bus to allow companies to add real-time data feeds to a data warehouse.