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Art of BI: Why Oracle Purchased BitzerMobile and The Impact to Fusion Middleware

Christian Screen | | December 2, 2013

The acquisition of BitzerMobile is a huge game changer for Oracle’s middleware offerings. It not only elevates the potential for all of Oracle’s Fusion Middleware applications such as OBIEE but it now fills the gaps in their mobility capabilities they’ve had around security and overall strategy.  That’s right, Oracle may have been pushing their mobile ready applications for years but one of the main reasons the mobility of their applications has not been well adopted in the enterprise is due to their inability to provide an integrated Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution.

So, if your looking to understand why Oracle purchased BizterMobile and the impact to fusion middleware for Oracle you need look no further than the last two years of activity with Oracle’s core analytics offering Oracle BI Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). Although there are more offerings in their middleware stack such as Endeca, WebCenter and others, OBIEE’s mobile offering is where one of the core relationships between BitzerMobile and Oracle began.  At the 2012 Oracle Open World Jack Berkowitz of Oracle production management and a representative of BitzerMobile showcased a nice integration between the OBIEE mobility product and BitzerMobile’s then containerizing concept on its MDM solution.  A month or so after this Oracle released the OBIEE Mobile Security Kit (Mobile Kit FAQ) which then provided the same iPad compiled application in containerizeable (is that even a word) deployment format.  Here’s a presentation showcasing Bitzer Mobile assisting in an OBIEE mobile integration at OOW 2013.

Now there are several other competitors in the Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution space. And, yes that acronym, MDM, is quite confusing as most of us experienced Data Warehousing geeks know this acronym to state Metadata Management.  As a side note this is why we are seeing several companies in the area of managing the mobile applications, deployments, and security across the enterprise move away from the term MDM to Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM).  At any, rate other competitors for the MDM/EMM space include AirWatch, MobileIron, SAP, and several others.  Airwatch, MobileIron, and BitzerMobile are the main three getting the lion’s share of the MDM marketplace.  At a KScope13 presentation I did on “Deploying Oracle BI Mobility in the Enterprise”, I discussed that MDM/EMM was a very big gap at Oracle and this was the reason why Oracle Mobile BI was lacking heavy enterprise adoption. A very keen attendee asked me “if I had to guess, which one of the top three MDM vendors Oracle would acquire”, after a good pause, I answered, “I would like to see them purchase AirWatch” or something to that effect.  At any rate I was wrong and have no problem admitting that.  Clearly being the first to build a relationship with a Goliath such as Oracle, as BitzerMobile did, will boost your rankings when it comes M&A time.

The impact to Oracle Fusion Middleware is going to be huge.  Since I’ve been working with mobile applications, building my own for play, other custom solutions for clients, etc. over the last several years, I often poll clients on their mobile management capabilities when implementing Oracle products (such as Oracle BI) or managing implementation projects. Surprisingly there are only a very small number of organizations that have an MDM solution right now.  Many are just starting in the MDM/EMM tool selection process. The market is wide open at this point and the technology is still relatively young.  There are a lot of considerations implementing an MDM solution such as who owns the tech in the organization, who manages it, and how to integrate it with mobile versions of existing applications. In the enterprise these are all questions that have to get asked and answered.  From an implementation perspective you have to understand that an MDM solution like BitzerMobile is similar to implementing technology like WebCenter, MS Sharepoint, or even a new Identity Management system such as OAM/LDAP, etc.  As if the IT department doesn’t have enough systems to manage this will add one more and will require the resources to support it.  From a system integrator perspective, there will of course be the need for consulting professionals to bring their implementation expertise to the table and specialize in this evolving EMM tech area. For organizations implementing MDM there is the need for training, skilling up resources, and understanding the big picture with a 3 to 5 year roadmap of implementing mobility and BYOD strategies.

So, back to OBIEE and Oracle BI mobile.  As we’ve seen it today the Oracle BI mobile platform is fantastic. On the iPad you get immediate display of the dashboards and reports that have been built on the web client (web catalog) without redeveloping for just mobile.  Plus you get native iPad features.  With the new Mobile App Designer you get an HTML5 web experience that works across all mobile devices in order to consume your enterprise business analytical information. However, up until now, and really until Oracle gets a little more seamless integration going with the new BitzerMobile acquisition, Oracle Mobile BI in the enterprise has been relegated to internal consumption.  That is, even with the Oracle BI Foundation Suite or Oracle BI Mobility licenses organizations are security risk averse.  You really can’t blame a CIO when she doesn’t want to just open up the firewall so that anyone with a corporate login could use an iPad to access their corporate information. So, going with a simple BYOD concept with internal intranet only access has been the norm for Oracle Mobile BI.  We’ve seen other solutions such as VPN access deployed with Oracle BI mobile which works outside of the building but this still doesn’t solve the many risk averse questions stinging enterprise mobile applications such as What happens when an employee loses a mobile device with corporate information stored on it?  And, Can we remotely wipe an employee’s mobile device?  just to name a few.  BitzerMobile will help Oracle to solve these problems and answer these questions at length.

Once Oracle rolls this technology into the Oracle machine this technology is going to be a tremendous boost to any of Oracle’s current offerings it has attempted to make ubiquitously “mobile” inside and outside of the enterprise firewall.  For any Oracle system integrators this is going to be a great extension of current service offerings, and for any Oracle customer’s this is going to be a huge answer to mobile security questions and desires of BYOD control they’ve been seeking in the organization.

See the Oracle / BitzerMobile acquisitions statement here.

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