The company bolsters the suite's collaboration and content management features as it moves to challenge standalone products on the market.
SAN FRANCISCOOracle Corp. topped off a torrent of product announcements during its OpenWorld customer conference this week with the introduction of its Collaboration Suite 10g, which is designed as a universal corporate information and content management platform.
Formerly code-named Tsunami, the Collaboration Suite is built on the Oracle relational database version 10g and the Oracle Application Server 10g. Its designed to enable businesses or government agencies to organize all important corporate data, including e-mail files, correspondence, product design and development documentsvirtually any digital document that an enterprise generates.
Business executives who participated in a panel discussion Wednesday at Oracle OpenWorld
on the potential uses of the Collaboration Suite said the platform would have particular value for any organization needing to bring greater order to its record-keeping to fulfill the latest regulatory requirements.
This includes the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accountability regulations, the international Basel II financial accountability accord or the U.S. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
Michael M. Breggar, a health industry consultant with Deloitte Consulting LLP in Glen Mills, Pa., said the collaboration suite also would have particular value in the pharmaceutical industry for drug trial record-keeping. Drug companies must keep exhaustive documents when they test for the safety and efficacy of experimental medications.
Drug companies also must be able to quickly retrieve this information to support their findings to win U.S. and international approval in order to market the drugs or to review test results in the event there are safety questions later on, Breggar said.
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Enterprises are looking for document repositories that can server a wider range of applications and industries, said David Yockelson, senior vice president at The META Group, a market research firm in Stamford, Conn.
Before, enterprises would try to solve content management problems "by looking at fairly cumbersome, fairly expensive
proprietary solutions" from a variety of vendors, Yockelson said. The problem with these products, he said, was that "they were servicing relatively small pockets of the organization."
As a result, organizations might have several different content repositories working in different parts of the company rather than using a single repository to serve all needs, he said.
Oracle officials claim that Collaboration Suite 10g is the first such product on the market that enables the management of all enterprise information and records, structured and unstructured, on a single platform. The 10g version is an enhancement of the Collaboration Suite that Oracle introduced two years ago and is currently used by about 2,300 customers, Oracle officials said.
Besides content management, it also promotes business team collaboration by giving users access to e-mail, calendar management, instant messaging and Web conferencing.
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The introduction of Collaboration Suite 10g, the company contends, will render obsolete standalone business collaboration products such as those from Microsoft Corp.s Placeware Inc. subsidiary, eRoom Technology Inc. or SiteScape Inc.
Oracle contends that collaboration will become part of the core data center, so it will give work groups fast access to information and documents as they are needed as part of their daily activity.
Collaboration Suite users will gain access to these new features though a built-in Web browser interface. The new version will automatically route e-mail to wireless devices such as smart phones over public networks.
The new version also provides collaboration portlets that allow the suites collaboration features to be embedded into business applications portals. The upgrade will be delivered to customers early in 2005.
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