Google jointly announced OneBox today with Cognos, Oracle, SAS and others.
We launched a new version of the Google Search Appliance today with a feature called Google OneBox for Enterprise. Ever search on Google for a stock ticker or the weather and get the information right in the search results? Well, Google OneBox for Enterprise works the same way - giving you access to information from business applications such as your contact database, calendar, CRM or BI system. Check out Dave Girouard's blog post for more on how this works.
We're thrilled with the impressive list of partners (Cognos, Oracle, Cisco, Salesforce.com, SAS and many others) who have already created OneBox modules. Take a peek at this video to hear some of our partners talk about why they think a Google search box is a great way to reach their applications.
This is the day I've anticipated and feared. It is the beginning of the end for the BI world as we know it. Why? Because it fundamentally changes the way people query for data. Let's face it. It takes more brains to know how to run a visual query paradigm than a text search box. Everybody is better at web surfing that navigating query tools. Nobody ever, ever, ever got one minute of training to use Google. Everybody demands it for enterprise applications including BPM, CRM, BI, DW.. you name it.
At any rate, I'm going to start investigating the headache this new wrinkle is going to cause my career. But here's my assessment so far with regard to Essbase based upon a couple PDFs I read from Cognos.
it makes sense that the Google Appliance is more efficient at processing queries in terms of throughput than a database server on generic hardware. The Google Appliance is basically Britton Lee for text. So if by generating the contextual stuff for BI content, the GA can pitch stuff faster than, say Cognos Powerplay, then half of the BI tools market is under threat. And you gotta admit that Ajax stuff can be done right. So now you've got a zero-footprint, zero-training mechanism to deliver flat, keyword indexed BI data. That means you need a smart data generator pre-guessing what might be queried to be chugging along in the background as data is generated from various sources. (It also might mean you have to deal with authority of multiple sources...but more onthat later).
Essbase already has a way to optimize slices of multidimensional data based upon queries. The question is whether the GA is querying the database directly or just indexing data already dumped out by the database. It seems to me that the Google API is capable of doing both simultaneously and since Essbase can respond very rapidly, why not do both?
So basically, this is a middle tier problem for Microsoft and Hyperion. It very much reminds me of the system I hacked together for 3Com with AvantGo and Hyperion Spiderman. So this reminds me that if there is a clever way to embed masterdata keywords into Hyperion Reports HTML rendering as well as some hard coded linking (whew, echoes of Essbase Web Gateway), that HYSL could be all good. The question is whether or not they are paying attention.
They had better be.