Oracle has unveiled a set of products aimed at helping customers link their E-Business Suite applications to third-party and homegrown software.
Traditionally, the company has pushed customers to install as Oracle-centric a set of applications as possible. But at its AppsWorld 2004 user conference in San Diego yesterday, the company unveiled the Oracle Data Hub, which was billed as a way of reconciling different pieces of data and creating a single, accurate master customer image.
Users are free to install the software with or without having any E-Business Suite modules in place. Oracle executive vice president Chuck Phillips broadly outlined Oracle's integration strategy.
"The goal is higher-quality information," he said, adding that Oracle already had integration technology, "but didn't package it as much as we could have".
Oracle said that the hub would offer real-time access to customer data without having to be routed between a transaction application and a warehouse. The Oracle Data Model in the E-Business Suite will function as the backbone of the hub and will support third-party software.
Oracle is also including a Customers Online application that will function as the repository and manage the source system. There will also be a library component to clean and format the data for use.
Oracle does indeed appear to be shifting strategy, at least in terms of its public message, said IDC analyst Henry Morris.
However, he noted that companies such as SAP, with its NetWeaver middleware platform, are already pushing integration technology.
Morris added that Oracle will have to help companies do more than just collect this data, for example by showing them different ways to analyse and exploit the data effectively.
"It's not just an issue of bringing all the data together like in a data warehouse, but making a decision about it on an ongoing basis," he said.
Marc L Songini writes for Computerworld