In its quest to become the dominant enterprise software maker, Oracle Corp. acquired two retail-based software developers this summer—Retek Inc. and ProfitLogic. At its OpenWorld conference in San Francisco last week, the company took the next step in its vertical plan by announcing a separate retail track—a new brand, essentially—that integrates in-house expertise with the Retek and ProfitLogic businesses and applications.
The new brand, Oracle Retail, also brings in some retail intellectual property from PeopleSoft Inc.—a company Oracle acquired last year. All told, the new unit represents about 1,900 combined customers and bundles each separate software makers applications with Oracles database and Fusion Middleware tools.
"Had Oracle embarked on acquiring ProfitLogic and Retek and merging them into Oracle, it would have been quite a big change, but since theyve kept us as a separate business logic, it feels like we are driving the same mission," said Scott Friend, co-founder and president at ProfitLogic, during a meeting last month with eWEEK. "Now we have vastly improved resources, technology—and legitimacy in terms of what were trying to deliver."
Retek—initially coveted by SAP AG as an acquisition target—developed the Retex Xi Application Suite, which enables automation from the point of purchase through the retail supply chain. ProfitLogic developed retail decision support software.
At the same time Oracle is moving forward with its vertical strategy, its also taking the first steps with its Fusion vision by enabling some applications with Fusion Middleware functionality. The Retek Xi Application Suite, which has been integrated with Oracle Financials, is one such example.
Oracle also announced new operational dashboards for PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM (customer relationship management) that takes advantage of Oracles BAM (Business Activity Monitoring) capabilities, also found in the Fusion Middleware stack.
The CRM release includes five new dashboards for sales, service, order capture, IT and human resources. Using the BAM functionality, each dashboard provides predefined metrics, analysis and actions to managers, officials said. At the same time, users will be able to define and modify their dashboard pages to monitor activities across Oracles PeopleSoft CRM systems. In addition to PeopleSoft, the company has separate Oracle and JD Edwards CRM suites and is in the process of acquiring CRM developer Siebel Systems Inc.
To further its Fusion Middleware approach, Oracle is also certifying the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications on the Fusion Middleware application server and enabling the use of Oracles XML Publisher tool across its E-Business, PeopleSoft Enterprise and JDE EnterpriseOne suites.
"The first place were seeing [Fusion Middleware capabilities] is integrating Retek to Oracle Financials," said John Wookey, Oracles senior vice president of applications, during a keynote address. "This will help people understand how the next generation of business process management [will progress]."
Users, for the most part, said that Oracle is on the right track with the Fusion approach.
"The Fusion concept that Oracle is trying is very, very important since theres only two [vendors] left—SAP and Oracle," said Paresh Yadav, technology architect with Saint Technologies Corp., based in Mississauga, Ontario. "If they really deliver—and thats a big caveat—it could be the next huge thing."