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FAQ: Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS)

Moving to the cloud? It’s a big step. Though the deployment is typically faster and the overhead cost is usually cheaper, you should still do all the research you would do with an on-premises tool.

Whether you’re looking for a quick business intelligence solution or you’re thinking of switching to Oracle’s Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS), this is the blog post for you. We’ll cover the questions we’re asked most often to give you an overview of this cloud-based tool.

Demo: Data Visualization with Oracle BICS

1. What is BICS primarily used for?

BICS is great for creating dashboards and reports. It can be used across your organization, from Finance to HR, to combine data from diverse data sources and quickly create interactive analytic applications or reports.

2. Who uses BICS?

BICS is designed for business analysts who doesn’t want to continue leveraging Excel and IT. The great thing about BICS is that you don’t have to be a programmer to use this tool. It’s designed to be accessible to everyone — regardless of technical background. With basic instruction, any user should be able to load data, choose their visuals, create analytics, and share their results. Perhaps the biggest draw is the easy self-service administration for end users.

3. What’s the price structure?

BICS is $150 per month, per user, and you must meet a 10-user minimum. You’ll also pay $1,000 per month for the Oracle Database Schema Service. Because of the cost structure, you’ll really want to consider who will be using this tool and which parts of your organization will get the most use. This is a great opportunity to think critically about your investment in a business intelligence solution.

4. Is this basically Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) in the cloud?

BICS is a completely different platform from OBIEE. While OBIEE has no limit on environments or instances, BICS limits it to two. BICS applications can also only make queries from data stored in the Oracle schema database (the $1,000 per month Oracle Database Schema Service mentioned above). This database is also limited to 50GB of storage and 300GB of bandwidth per month. With OBIEE it depends on your hardware size. You’re also dealing with a single schema database with BICS, while OBIEE can support any number of databases or schemas.

5. Can I use BICS to report on on-prem data? How do I load data?

Like OBIEE, BICS supports data integration from multiple sources. You can load data into BICS from various sources, including other cloud solutions (like the Oracle EPM Cloud), on-premises Hyperion tools, and third-party applications. There are a variety of ways to load data, such as:

  • Web-based file loading
  • Direct queries
  • ETL integration
  • REST API
  • And more

6. Where is my data hosted? Is it secure?

This might be the biggest concern when it comes to the cloud. Rather than being on your own, personal server, your data is on Oracle’s — specifically the Oracle Database Cloud Service. Like anything “in the cloud,” the Oracle database has high data security and meets the industry’s highest security standards.

For more information about data on the cloud vs. on-premises, download the eBook.

7. What devices can I use BICS on?

You can use the analytics service on your mobile device with no additional programming or configuration. BICS is supported by all iOS and Android devices, whether it be your tablet or your cell phone. You can download Oracle BI Mobile from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

8. How can I share the analytics I’ve created in BICS?

Sharing in BICS is a secure and straightforward process. In BICS you use roles and permissions to allow very specified control and access to the data and functions. But this doesn’t complicate things. Sharing your dashboards and reports is as simple as moving it to a shared file.

Still have questions about Oracle’s cloud-based business intelligence tool?

Watch the webinar replay to see Oracle BICS in action...

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