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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Oracle : Acquisition, Consolidation, Fusion All Leading To Composites

I recently covered about the growing strength of Oracle in the middleware space. Middleware strategy is an important factor in the success of integration of various products that oracle wants to stitch together. A couple of important announcements ( again of intent only) from the Oracleworld merits serious consideration. Oracle’s Fusion Middleware - a collection of middleware offerings that buttress Project Fusion (that began as an initiative to glue together PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards, and Oracle business applications) – this includes middleware products include Oracle's portal, identity management, business integration, business intelligence, management products, developer tools, and directory. Oracle middleware is said to be getting architected as a suite of products which means that these can be installed, upgraded and managed all together The suite/component approach may find takers from ISV’s and at a broader level, Oracle will be adopting the same strategy in regard to its applications. Oracle’s ultimate goal is expressed as one to evolve all its applications to Oracle Fusion Architecture, but at a measured pace. This open architecture may allow Oracle to work with appservers like IBM's WebSphere family of products once Fusion is implemented. This new approach from Oracle seems useful for buyers wanting to mix and match according to their needs. This takes the fight directly into the territory of BEA, already lacking in hardware or database lockins.
Of all what I saw related to Oracleworld, I liked this one - "Oracle states that it will take the best of all these functions and features from various vertical products and turn them into services over time, and users can build the composite applications that they may need". This is bringing things one full round of circle – post consolidation and after around 20 billion dollar of acquisitions and humongous budgets and efforts on integration – this is where oracle sees the future would look like. This Oracle claims is the goal post of consolidation!! Certainly without these huge big bang acquisitions – one can also reach here through other means ( Also would need to assess how may Oracle’s combined customer base would embrace this as fast as Oracle can roll out and how much would it cost them). I recently wrote,enterprise applications shall begin to coalesce around open web services where users can pick and choose just the features they need, and support add ins of distinct blocks provided by other companies. This would enable business to create and modify applications more economically and swiftly. Leading edge products this can come from a mega enterprise or a small IT shop) shall begin to roll out simpler, more flexible and easy to modify blocks of solutions, to meet customers demand of more flexible and agile systems. Composites shall enable the co-option of culture, content, technology & process binding together content centric business process definitions & supporting, architectures – all these set the stage for software effectiveness to be correlated to business results in as direct a manner as possible. I also cautioned that the transition to composite applications would obviously be a long & arduous journey for enterprises, but this should lead to a new degree of alignment setting in rewarding business with immense benefits. Typically a three year transition with IT leading the charge would be the recommended game plan for global enterprises to embrace the new framework holistically. Product engineering too shall also see a positive influence - facilitating development of software in modular pieces, enabling rapid delivery of new functionalities. Several independent developers could start writing specialized programs that plug into the composite apps framework. I recently wrote that the composite application ecosystem can comprehensively transform the enterprise ecosystem.Oracle's acquisition spree, price paid and the eventual goal it acheives with all these and how accretive these acquisitions were to oracle would certainly be discussed in the next five years - we may also see a new (as of now undefined entity ) rising to provide same level of features and potential competition to oracle when it is ready to roll out composites - by definition customers can also mix and match composites from various vendors the same time(clearly more competition here for oracle can be foreseen) - consolidation leading to composites seems to be the gameplan here.

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