Friday, January 11, 2008

Smart Space: What is it?

Smart Space is a radical departure from the traditional BI/EPM application. For years the BI/EPM market has been focused on providing more and more features. These features are added to backend services bringing us to the ‘system’ we have today. However most of these features are simply added to existing user interfaces. Over time these interfaces, though packed with features, have become difficult to use, underperforming and nearly impossible to customize. It seems that the market has shifted the focus away from analytic consumers toward the power users which is narrowing the reach of BI/EPM solutions.

With Smart Space, we have taken a completely new approach. It is simple and elegant. We leverage the power of the entire Windows client (including the browser) to deliver a rich end user experience leveraging the powerful back end EPM processes in place today. Very few are taking this approach today and it clearly differentiates Oracle from any other BI/EPM vendor.

So, let’s look at Smart Space in a little more detail…

Smart Space creates a BI/EPM environment within the Windows desktop. This is done by installing a small, lightweight engine that is tightly integrated with Windows. The installation uses a technology called ClickOnce which is simple with automatic update capabilities. Let’s face it, customers expect any client software to be easy to install and self maintaining.

Smart Space is then “Always On”, taking advantage of the power of the desktop with its ability to multitask. Because Smart Space is “Always On”, the user connects to the BI/EPM system one time and never has to connect again. This combination of a single login and being “Always On” is a perfect example of a simple enhancement that will make BI/EPM software much more useable and responsive.

Instead of creating one large application with hundreds of features, Smart Space breaks down an application into its functional pieces. These subsets of functionality are then presented to the user in the form of gadgets. The users are then free to choose the functionality they need and organize their gadgets according to their workflow.

Smart Space also enhances the analytical experience by introducing simple collaboration into the BI/EPM environment. The collaboration capabilities of Smart Space allow for “in context” discussions about the BI/EPM content that is both secure and auditable.

Smart Space will change the way people use BI/BPM software. Instead of using BI/BPM only when necessary, Smart Space allows a wide variety of knowledge workers to easily integrate this valuable BI/BPM information into their everyday desktops.

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