Thursday, 28 March 2013

Oracle SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.3 now available

Attention all data modellers - we are pleased to announce the release of SQL Developer Data Modeler 3.3. This release includes a new search, reports can be generated from search results, extended Excel import and export capabilities and more control and flexibility in generating your DDL. Here are a few links to get you started:

For data warehouse data modellers there are some very important new features around logical models, multi-dimensional models and physical models. For example:

  • Support for surrogate keys during engineering to relational model which can be set on each entity. 
  • More flexible transformation to relational model with mixed engineering strategies based on “engineer” flag and subtypes setting for each entity in the hierarchy
  • Export to “Oracle AW” now supports Oracle 11g OLAP
  • Support for role playing dimensions in export to Oracle AW.
  • Level descriptive attributes can be created without mapping to attribute in logical model.
  • Multidimensional model can be bound directly to relational model. 
  • Support EDITIONING option on views, and support for invisible indexes in Oracle 11g physical model.

Lots of great features that will make life a lot easier for data warehouse teams.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Predictive Analytics Is Red Hot so get reading!

According to an article by Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri, predictive analytics is a red hot topic! There are many examples across a broad range of industries where predictive analytics is driving better decisions:
  • President Obama's campaign team used sophisticated uplift modeling to target and influence swing voters.
  • Telecom firms that use predictive analytics to help prevent customer churn. 
  • Police departments that use it to reduce crime.
The list goes on and on and on. Let us quickly look at two of these uses cases because we have Oracle customers who have already implemented these types of solutions:
1) How telcos are using predictive analytics to reduce churn
a) Telecom Italia Lab - Churn is a critical problem in the telecommunications industry because losing customers is a drain on resources. Finding new customers to replace the ones that have defected to a competitor is an expensive process. Consequently companies go to great lengths to reduce the churn of their customer base because it saves them money.  We have a number of case studies in this area and the best one for demonstrating just how natural it is for Oracle Data Mining to analyze a data warehouse star schema has been documented in a whitepaper and a number of related blog posts. These articles explain the business problem and provide an overview of this particular churn model was developed:
  • Oracle Data Mining 11g Release 2 Mining Star Schemas A Telco Churn Case Study whitepaper, click here
  • Blog posts on the Data Mining blog are here 
To help telco companies speed up the process of creating and deploying predictive analytics we have incorporated this type of advanced analytics directly into our Oracle Communications Data Model by delivering pre-built and automated churn and sentiment analysis. There is an excellent blog post that on this topic on the Oracle Data Mining blog, see here.
b) Turkcell - The presentation linked below provides an overview of how Turkcell, the leading GSM operator in Turke, developed a churn prediction model using Oracle Advanced Analytics. The presentation from OpenWorld 2010 starts with an overview of the churn prediction problem and the existing data mining system in Turkcell so that the participants have some knowledge about the churn problem and the existing solution to this problem. It the looks at the advantages of in-database data mining and Oracle Data Mining followed by a review of the prepaid churn model which was created by using Oracle Data Mining. The last section covers the results and the overall performance. The presentation (PPT file) can be download via this link: or you can view the presentation via Google Quick View.
2) Crime fighting with Oracle Spatial and Oracle Advanced Analytics
Italian Government fights crime with technology using a new Business and Location Intelligence system—The Department of Public Security of the Ministry of the Interior to combat crime through the SIGR (Integrated System for the Georeferencing of Crimes) platform, developed by Iconsulting using Oracle Business Intelligence and Geospatial technology.
  • Press release: Italian Government fights crime with technology using a new Business and Location Intelligence system, click here.
  • Presentation: Location Intelligence and Spatial What-If Analysis - Government: A New Way of Fighting Petty Crime, click here.

How to get started with predictive analytics
While many Oracle customers are already working with predictive analytics according to Forrester it appears that many businesses do not really understand the what, why, and how of predictive analytics. If you want to understand more about predictive analytics and what it can do for your business then Mike has produced a recommended reading list to help get you started on your journey to deep insight. The list is available here:

Where to get more information about Oracle's in-database predictive analytics
For more information about how our customers are already using Advanced Analytics please follow this link to "Oracle Data Mining Customer Successes" page on OTN.
For more information about Oracle's Advanced Analytics (Data Mining and R Enterprise) visit the home page on OTN:
For more information about Oracle Spatial visit the home page on OTN:
Don't forget to join our LinkedIn groups:

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Personal data usage: what your car really says about you

Stumbled across this article on the motoring page of the Guardian newspaper.

Cars will soon be so linked into wireless networks they will be like giant rolling smartphones. Ford has already started to integrate web services such as Spotify into their dashboard systems and this looks like the first step to introducing a real-time data collection service to your car. This new vision of in-car big data goes far beyond the current engine management monitoring that garages use when you take your car in for servicing.

A few examples of this brave new world:

- Low on fuel? Soon a petrol station app may know before you do.
- Tyres need rotating? Your car may wirelessly alert your dealership when it's time.
- Ready for a lunch break? Your car can make a reasonable guess based on the hour.

Are these realistic? Well, according to the article "…more than 60% of vehicles worldwide will be connected directly to the internet by 2017, up from 11% last year, predicts ABI Research. In North America and Europe, that is likely to reach 80%.". That means a lot of new data streams to be harvested by car dealers, manufacturers, insurance companies, finance companies etc. Not forgetting law enforcement agencies! Our every movement within our car could be tracked and interpreted by all sorts of agencies. 

As always the issue is going to be how has access to all this information because at the moment few laws exist to govern who can see and use such data.

The article is here: