Oracle Introduces Agile Customer Needs Management

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2010-06-21

Oracle is rolling out part of its Product Value Chain suite called Agile Customer Needs Management, a "collaborative, open-innovation" software platform that allows customers to capture and prioritize product ideas, product requirements and customer feedback from a variety of internal and external sources. In theory, this allows product teams to find the right ideas and capitalize on them.

Oracle's Product Value Chain suite includes Agile Product Lifecycle Management, Oracle Product Hub, Oracle's AutoVue Enterprise Visualization and Oracle Product Data Quality, all of which combine to help a business manage a product throughout its lifecycle. Like a number of recent enterprise software products that integrate social networking tools, Agile Customer Needs Management includes the ability to tag, review and leave comments.

"We are broadening our Product Value Chain leadership with the launch of Agile Customer Needs Management, allowing companies to effectively manage creative ideas and customer requirements that will generate the most value for their R&D investment," Hardeep Gulati, Oracle's vice president of PLM (product lifecycle management) and PIM (product information management) product strategy, said in a June 21 statement. "By providing enterprise 2.0 social features and an easy-to-use user interface, [Oracle makes it so that] customers can leverage the collective intelligence of their employees, customers and partners to identify the features with greatest market potential. This helps promote a culture of open innovation."

Oracle's steady releases throughout 2010 seem part of the company's larger plan to become the largest IT systems vendor in the world. On June 14, the company introduced Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g, a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware that combines business process administration with collaboration tools in a single platform. The company has been touting the offering's combination of middleware platform and social networking as an industry first.

"Today, critical business processes span disparate systems across the enterprise, making it difficult to model, monitor or manage them," David Shaffer, vice president of product management for Oracle Fusion Middleware, said in a June 14 statement. "Built on a unified process foundation, Oracle Business Process Management Suite 11g enables organizations to engage both businesses and IT users more easily in the management of core business processes and simplify the complete business process life cycle."

The platform includes a "unified process engine" for executing BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) and BPMN processes, as well as human workflow and rules, and allows for end-to-end management of business processes. Its social components allow users to collaborate through wikis and blogs and establish "team spaces."

Another of Oracle's recent releases was Oracle Enterprise Content Management Suite 11g, also a component of Oracle Fusion Middleware, which combines a variety of the company's back-end offerings, including process and records management, into a complete system. That followed Oracle Enterprise Manager 11g, a platform for consolidating various systems management and support tools with an integrated interface.

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