Update: Oracle aims new BI app at SAP customers

Oracle is moving further into rival SAP's turf with Oracle Financial Analytics for SAP, a new BI (business intelligence) application that can crunch ERP (enterprise resource planning) system financial data for insights.

It's the latest in a series of pre-built BI applications from Oracle, which also include modules for functional areas such as procurement and spending, as well as vertical industries.

Features include an adapter that is compliant with SAP's ABAP code, the ability to deliver role-based information to various types of managers, and greater than 200 reports. The software is also certified with Oracle's Data Integrator tool for pulling in SAP financials information.

SAP already offers its ERP customers financial analytics software and has a wide range of BI tools through its Business Objects arm.

But Oracle nonetheless sees an opportunity to make inroads with the new application, given that many of SAP's largest customers already use Oracle's BI or EPM (enterprise performance management) software, said Paul Rodwick, vice president of product management.

It should be "most attractive to those companies who don't have a solution completely built out for BI on SAP," he added. Another target may be customers who have chosen to use SAP for financials but run third-party software for other ERP modules, he said.

Oracle perhaps has no choice but to target its BI installed base within SAP's customers, since the Data Integrator tool as well as its Oracle BI Foundation Suite are both prerequisites for the new application.

The financials application will be priced, like previous offerings in the lineup, at $5,800 per user plus annual maintenance. But Data Integrator Enterprise Edition costs an additional $23,000 per processor license, and Foundation Suite includes five components, for which total pricing wasn't immediately clear.

SAP customers running databases besides Oracle will not immediately be able to adopt the new application, as the first edition offers only Oracle support. In general, Oracle's BI applications have provided support for Oracle, Teradata, SQL Server and DB/2, Rodwick said.

Oracle's announcement "highlights both the size of the SAP financials customer base and the opportunity that SAP is already realizing today by delivering packaged analytical applications dedicated to the finance line of business," said James Fisher, senior director of marketing for finance solutions at SAP, in a statement.

SAP remains well ahead of Oracle in market share for core financials applications, and its analytics software has replaced many third-party offerings, he added.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

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