Oracle Delivers Artifical Intelligence Solutions To Partners

Oracle dived into the rapidly heating market for artificially intelligent business solutions Monday with the release of extensions infusing several traditional enterprise applications with machine-learning capabilities.

The new Adaptive Intelligent Applications, enhancements of several Oracle Software-as-a-Service products, expose the data they generate, in concert with external data sets, to machine-learning algorithms that derive insight for optimizing those business processes.

Oracle simultaneously enhanced its Analytics Cloud, a platform for advanced data processing that buttresses the self-learning apps with back-end cloud infrastructure, libraries of machine-learning algorithms, big data frameworks and a massive trove of data sets.

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"We're putting machine learning into core business processes," Rich Clayton, Oracle's vice president of business analytics, told CRN. "This is an evolution of what we currently do. We have business intelligence embedded in those processes, but we're putting more intelligence into it through machine learning."

Oracle unveiled its machine-learning portfolio as a number of rival enterprise IT vendors are also planting their stakes in the market. Salesforce Monday delivered its Einstein platform for customer relations enhanced by artificial intelligence.

Oracle's intelligent applications combine internal and external data sources with real-time analytics and "behavioral inputs." Once trained through analysis of existing data sets and continual use, the applications are geared to recommend actions for users working across several divisions of the business: HR, finance, marketing and supply chain.

Edward Roske, CEO of interRel, Oracle's Global Business Intelligence Partner of the Year, based in Arlington, Texas, told CRN that customers around the world understand the potential benefits of cloud, big data and predictive analytics solutions, even if they are uncertain about how to implement the underlying technologies.

"The interest in intelligent applications that can learn is huge," Roske told CRN. "And what's amazing is it doesn’t matter the size of the company."

The technology Oracle is unleashing in the business intelligence space around machine learning provides partners a great opportunity to dive into data they've been collecting on behalf of clients for years and identify valuable patterns, he said.

Such predictive capabilities were, until recently, available only in the realm of complex custom solutions.

"It's an idea that’s needed and a company that can make it happen in the business world," Roske said. "You know the market has really matured when a company the size of Oracle says it's going to make an application with it."

Oracle's solutions will help partners know where to start in bringing artificial intelligence to market, he said.

"The next big gold rush" will involve analyzing customer data with those techniques, and before long, "all channel partners are going to have a practice around business analytics, just like they do with databases," Roske said.

Oracle's intelligent apps feed on a collection of more than 5 billion anonymized consumer and business profiles stored in Oracle's Data Cloud—a collection of Oracle data sets and those curated by third parties.

At the same time, Oracle upgraded its Analytics Cloud around predictive and machine learning, mobile capabilities and visualization, said Clayton.

That service unifies Oracle's budding IaaS cloud, analytics platforms including Hadoop and Spark, and storage solutions that accommodate big data sets.

"The key thing that fascinates me is how algorithms and human judgment are going to work together," Clayton said of the new offerings, and overall industry adoption of machine-learning methods. "Algorithms need oversight, and judgment needs data. So it's really about the two together."

Roske, of interRel, described machine learning as "a technology that no one entirely understands, and everyone is afraid they'll be the last one to understand it."