Oracle announced the latest updates to Oracle Utilities at the Edison Electric Institute Annual conference being held in Chicago this week. The updates impacted two of Oracles analytics solutions that utilties can use to access, organise and analyse their big data.
The new version of Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Management Analytics enhances its credentials as an analytics package for users. With the solution in place Oracle believes that companies do not require data scientists to work on the huge data sets that utilities collect. The upgrade includes four new dashboards with 26 pages of analytics supporting them. The Oracle team has used 74 metrics to generate insights and with the high level view from the dashboard, customers will be able to drill down to see specific information. There is also the claim that they have generated hundreds of different report outputs based on organisation hierarchy. While this may be possible it is more likely that an intelligent report generator develops reports on the fly based on different consolidation levels of data relevant to a specific management layer.
Oracle has also launched a new cloud service: the Oracle Utilities Analytics Cloud Service. This leverages and enhances the Oracle Utilities’ cloud analytics suite that already includes Oracle DataRaker. Overall the solution allows utilities to integrate their different data sets in a single platform in the cloud. The customer is then able to analyse and provide insights using DataRaker. DataRaker provides a secure, scalable solution that can rapidly turn data into insight. It is quickly deployed and Oracle claims that it provides insights for revenue protection, call center support, demand response, energy efficiency and distribution operations and planning.
This update is not just the work of Oracle as Cognizant appear to have been helping the company develop the reports and dashboards suitable for utility companies. John Gustafson, Vice President, Energy and Utilities at Cognizant commented, “As a leading systems integrator and Oracle PartnerNetwork member, we worked closely with the Oracle Utilities team on co-development activities for Oracle Utilities Analytics. This solution can enable utilities around the world to leverage robust analytics capabilities and gain immediate access to valuable insight. Drawing on Cognizant’s extensive global experience and expertise in implementing Oracle Business Intelligence and working with Oracle Cloud, we are continuing to develop new implementation resources for Oracle Utilities Analytics Cloud Service for utilities worldwide.”
What is disappointing is that the data on the Oracle website for this release has not been updated. In fact the last release of Oracle Utilities documented was in August 2015 with 2.5.2, hopefully the new release details will be available soon.
There is no doubt the Utilities are at the forefront of collecting and analysing big data for their own use and Oracle are trying to make it easier for companies that are unwilling or unable to employ their own data scientists. That Oracle are offering these analytical insights is useful, however one questions whether corporates that seek a business advantage on them will be doing much different from their competitor with access to the same portfolio of reports. Rodger Smith, senior vice president and general manager, Oracle Utilities commented “Utilities today collect massive amounts of data and they do not always have the means to analyze it and turn it into actionable business intelligence. Oracle Utilities Analytics Cloud Service and Oracle Utilities Work and Asset Management Analytics provide utilities with the ability to analyze their data more quickly, and in a more meaningful way.”
What is disappointing about this announcement is that no integration to OPower data was called out. Companies already using OPower will want to quickly integrate the data collected there into the Oracle cloud data sets to maximise the value of the new acquisition. It will be interesting to see where Oracle takes the product next and what real enhancements it offers, rather than new dashboards and reports. There is no mention of Graphing data techniques such as those launched by Datastax recently which executives may well find easier to interpret than traditional reports.