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Oracle to enter content management space

Later this year, Oracle plans a major entrance to the content management space with a new product tied to its Collaboration Suite offering.

Codenamed Tsunami, the product will target the management of unstructured data, according to Alan Pelz-Sharpe, research director at Ovum, an analyst and consulting company.

Tsunami will first off be exposed as an upgrade to Oracle's Collaboration Suite in the fourth quarter and as modules for its E-Business Suite, Pelz-Sharpe said.

The scalable Tsunami offering will include document management, e-mail and records management, check-in and check-out capabilities, version control, and content life cycle management.

Although Tsunami will cover the basics of ECM (enterprise content management), the offering will not be competitively directed at tools from major ECM players such as EMC's Documentum, FileNet, or Open Text, he said.

It will not be like "the highly complex products from ECM players. It is sort of content management light, along the [Microsoft] SharePoint model. The difference is [Tsunami] is designed to be scale to the tens of thousands, which SharePoint clearly isn't", said Pelz-Sharpe.

With Tsunami, Oracle is "trying to define a new market. They don't really want to compete against FileNet and Documentum", he said.

Aside from scalability, Tsunami will also attempt to distinguish itself from the pack on pricing, which is a tack Oracle has taken with its Collaboration Suite.

Pelz-Sharpe said he expects the pricing will be roughly half of what a typical FileNet or Documentum offering prices at.

Oracle officials declined to comment on Tsunami or the Ovum report but did issue this statement from Greg Doherty, vice-president of Oracle Collaboration Suite.

"We have used our expertise in the management of unstructured data to deliver a significant upgrade to our content management capabilities. This offering will be made available in future releases of Oracle Collaboration Suite and illustrates our commitment to being a market leader in all areas of information management," Doherty said.

In addition to tapping a potentially lucrative vein in enterprise-scale unstructured data management, Tsunami will bring a nice short-term boost to Collaboration Suite, Pelz-Sharpe said.

"This brings a layer of practicality to Collaboration Suite; it makes it usable," he said. "The trouble with lots of these collaboration or knowledge management products is that unless you genuinely have hold of a large percentage of corporate data, they don't really work very well. [Tsunami] provides the potential to do that."

The move into unstructured data management is a good one for Oracle, according to Pelz-Sharpe.

"It is important for them. At the end of day … [Oracle is] a data management company. Unstructured data is where it will be at as we move forward. It will be the big picture," he said.

Cathleen Moore writes for Infoworld


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