Oracle Plans to Grow, Not Revamp, Retek

By John Pallatto  |  Posted 2005-04-15 Print this article Print

Oracle officials say that Retek will be able to retain its existing product strategy, augmented by Oracle's global development and support capability.

Oracle plans few changes to Reteks retail-management application software offerings other than to "globalize them and put them on steroids," said Charles Phillips, Oracle co-president, on Friday. Retek Inc. customers have nothing to fear from the Oracle Corp. buyout, Phillips said, because, "We dont have these products…there is no overlap" between the two companies product lines. From this standpoint Oracle was "the best company that Retek could have been bought by," he said. Oracle will also retain the Retek name in the organization because it is "the premier brand name in the retail software space," Phillips said. The main change for the company is, "We are going to globalize them and put the full power of the Oracle name behind them," he said.
Oracle announced this week that it had completed the acquisition of Retek after acquiring more than 94 percent of the companys outstanding shares. Retek and Oracle officials discussed their integration plans for the two companies product lines during an online briefing Friday for press, analysts and customers.
SAP AG and Oracle engaged in a month-long bidding war to acquire Retek. Oracle won with an $11.25-per-share offer worth a total of $631 million. Retek had the market-leading products in the field of retail automation, Phillips said, making it an attractive target for both SAP and Oracle. "We just happened to get it done," he said. In an interview after the online briefing, Duncan Angrove, chief strategy officer with Retek, said the extended bidding war between SAP and Oracle never proved to be a major distraction to Retek employees and product developers. The acquisition had succeeded in taking all the risk out of Reteks product development plans because of Oracles deep financial and developer resources, Angrove said. Click here to read details about Oracles purchase of Retek. It has given Retek, based in Minneapolis, Minn., access to development resources it could never have afforded in terms of product support and globalization, he said, adding, "We would never have been able to do 24/7 product support." It would have been "a struggle to do it on a global basis, and those are all things that Oracle does naturally," he said. Oracle will also provide the resources to allow the software applications to be translated into as many as 20 or 25 languages so they can be sold around the world, an investment which would have been beyond Reteks means. Retek laid out an 18-month product integration strategy for the two companies. Over the next three to six months, Reteks retail applications will be integrated with the Oracle 11/10 eBusiness Suite, Angrove said. Over the next six to nine months, Retek will integrate its applications with the PeopleSoft enterprise applications, he said, adding that these two projects will enable Retek to integrate its retail-automation application with enterprise back-office applications, such as finance, accounting and human resources. The next step over the next 18 months will be to integrate additional technologies such as RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology "as it relates to Reteks supply chain management solutions," Angrove said. Retek also wants to further develop other technology initiatives like multichannel retailing and inventory storage and to integrate with Oracles eCommerce and business-to-business solutions, he said. To read Evan Schumans commentary on the reasons why SAP and Oracle bid up Reteks stock price, click here. The last initiative will be to bring more automation in the area of merchandising-portfolio management to perform functions such as product information management and retail-data synchronization, he said. The overall goal is to "deliver a pretty broad, multichannel architecture" for its retail applications, Angrove said. Oracle officials also tried to assure Retek customers that they will see little change in the people or products they are used to dealing with. Oracle will be adhering to two key principals in dealing with the Reteks products and development teams, "continuity and consistency," said John Wookey, Oracles senior vice president of application development. "Be assured we are retaining the same people, the same projects, the same processes that you have been absolutely depending on" for service and support, Wookey said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.
John Pallatto John Pallatto is's Managing Editor News/West Coast. He directs eWEEK's news coverage in Silicon Valley and throughout the West Coast region. He has more than 35 years of experience as a professional journalist, which began as a report with the Hartford Courant daily newspaper in Connecticut. He was also a member of the founding staff of PC Week in March 1984. Pallatto was PC Week's West Coast bureau chief, a senior editor at Ziff Davis' Internet Computing magazine and the West Coast bureau chief at Internet World magazine.

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