Every technology vendor is trying to make the case that it can help you climb out of the hole that the world economy has dug for your company.  Oracle sent Senior VP John Kopcke to Quest NE recently to tell us why the offering now being called Enterprise Performance Management or EPM could be the ladder that helps you climb out. 

Kopcke’s presentation was well designed and informative.  45 minutes was not nearly enough to let him get through the very sophisticated story he came to tell.  Still, the 100 or so attendees who sat through his Thursday morning keynote seemed to value what they heard.  John was kind enough to send us a PDF version of his slides that you are welcome to download.  Even if your business is not a near term candidate for EPM, the story the presentation contains is one worth taking the time to understand. 

It is impossible to accurately summarize Oracle’s case for EPM briefly.  I’ll try anyway hoping that anyone that becomes even vaguely interested will be motivated to dig into the details.  Those that want to understand more than it is possible to convey in this posting can contact us directly

The chain of logic behind Oracle’s EPM story is elaborate (hence the need for 49 slides).  Our oversimplified summary is:

  • Difficult decisions need to be based on the insightful analysis of data
  • When the going gets tough, effective organizations gather intelligence
  • Oracle has assembled a sophisticated set of software products that enable the collection and analysis of the data needed for effective decision making
  • The umbrella term for what buyers can do with this broad collection of software is Enterprise Performance Management or EPM 

EPM is thus a management concept and not one of the many software products that Oracle offers.  This is confusing since PeopleSoft previously used the EPM term to refer to a data warehousing option.  Hyperion has also referred to its products in the past as EPM and some Oracle people who are not up on the latest marketing jargon continue to do so.  Other vendors including IBM are using very similar terminology to describe concepts and products that do not fit the Oracle model. 

In current Oracle-speak, an enterprise can manage its performance most effectively (and thus achieve Enterprise Performance Management) through the combination of an impressive array of products that Oracle has assembled.   These products fall into five categories: 

  • Fusion Middleware – the necessary underlying infrastructure software.  Most of the building blocks have been part of the Oracle product line for years.
  • Business Intelligence Foundation – software tools to help analyze the data.  The main components came from the Siebel and Hyperion acquisitions.
  • Analytic Applications – pre-built dashboards, reports and displays that came along when Siebel was acquired.
  • Performance Management Applications – financial consolidation and modeling software that was the foundation of the Hyperion product line.
  • EPM Workspace – Oracle’s term for the devices and tools used to access and display the results. 

EPM is therefore also Oracle’s brand name for the uniting vision behind the acquisitions of Siebel, Hyperion and many smaller software vendors.  Since the acquired pieces are still being put together it is as much a blueprint for future development as it is a description of what can be bought today.  The story gets clearer and better told every few months, but don’t be discouraged if it still seems too complex to make sense to you.  

For reasons that will be covered in future postings, very few JDE customers are currently ready to buy the featured EPM components including Analytic Applications and Performance Management Applications.  Over time they will evolve into important offerings for our community, but remain works-in-progress for most of us in the near term.  In the meantime, it is useful to understand that there is a grand vision behind Oracle’s acquisition binge and that it is one that will continually broaden the choices available to us. 

My goal is to enable those that follow these postings over time to develop a complete understanding of Oracle’s grand vision.  Readers will have to be patient though, since it will take time to provide you with all the pieces to this elaborate puzzle.  Thanks in advance for your patience.

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