Oracle Corp. has waged a relentless acquisition campaign since its last OpenWorld customer conference in December 2004. It has bought up no less than five companies: PeopleSoft Inc., Retek Inc., Oblix Inc., TimesTen Inc. and Siebel Systems Inc.
The count is actually six if the PeopleSoft acquisition is counted as a two-for-one deal, since it included ERP (enterprise resource planning) software company J.D. Edwards.
These acquisitions have brought a diverse set of technology into the company, including high-speed, real-time data management from TimesTen, identity management technology from Oblix, retail management software from Retek, customer relationship management from Siebel and ERP software from PeopleSoft J.D. Edwards.
The conference will open just a week after Oracle announced that it was acquiring Siebel and its CRM (customer relationship management) technology for $5.85 billion.
Attendees will be looking for more details on how it will integrate Siebel into its Project Fusion strategy, which is aimed at delivering a coherent ERP product line based on Oracles own technology combined with the applications it has acquired from PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and now Siebel.
Oracle will doubtless be spending a lot of time talking to its new PeopleSoft constituency to reassure it of Oracles commitment to Project Fusion, said Carl Olofson, Information Management and Data Integration research director with International Data Corp., in Framingham, Mass.
"Therell be a lot of talk of Fusion middleware and forward direction of that technology and a lot of talk of making PeopleSoft customers feel comfortable" that the technology to which theyve committed fits into Oracles product strategy, he said.
"[That] doesnt mean Oracle will support PeopleSoft applications forever," Olofson said. But it does help "neutralize the idea that they went and simply bought customers" while giving short shrift to the applications, he said.
But customers and users will also be looking for information about future plans for its flagship database technology.
Oracle has come under fire from database researchers about faulty product patches and has faced criticism that it needs to improve its whole process of delivering security patches and enhancements.
However, while the issue is raising questions, Olofson contends that its uncertain at this time whether Oracle installations are seriously vulnerable to security breaches and attacks because of problems with the patches.