Oracles PIM Data Hub Continues Middleware Push

The database company's software, part of its Fusion middleware line, allows synchronization of product data from non-Oracle applications.

Oracle laid out its product-information management strategy Tuesday with the introduction of its Oracle PIM Data Hub, software that enables users to cull, clean and synchronize product data from various applications, including non-Oracle-based ones.

"We designed this product to really be able to work in heterogeneous environments—legacy, best-of-breed and the Oracle E-Business Suite of applications—with the main goal of consolidating information," said John Webb, vice president of application strategy at Oracle Corp. in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Webb said, "We looked at, How do you search? How do you improve data quality? How do you manage that going forward, and use that data to push back to systems to synchronize data?"

Oracles PIM (product information management) Data Hub is the second such offering since the hub concept was announced in January 2004, along with the companys flagship Customer Data Hub. Its also part of Oracles Fusion middleware stack announced last month.

Essentially a data repository, the PIM Data Hub lets users consolidate product information from different applications, then cleanses and synchronizes the data for syndication out to services such as UCCnet Inc.s GDSN (Global Data Synchronization Network.)

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about Oracles data hub strategy.

To this end, Oracle also announced today its namesake Product Data Synchronization for GDSN and UCCnet Services that facilitates the process of feeding product data to UCCnet via GDSN, and then in turn syndicating that data out to trading partners, officials said.

Oracle is the last of the three big middleware vendors to lay out its strategy for becoming the single source for users product information—a key goal of PIM vendors—closing the gap on IBM and SAP AG.

SAP, at its Sapphire user conference in Boston last week, detailed its plans for PIM, which include the broader horizon of Master Data Management. The Walldorf, Germany-based company released the latest version of its SAP NetWeaver MDM that aggregates and distributes data using a so-called syndicator module that has integrated messaging capabilities, officials said.

Sap is in the process of integrating the xCat technology it acquired in July of 2004 from A2i Inc. that enables product content management along with data aggregation and harmonization.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read a defense of the data hub model from Oracles Customer Data Hubs chief.

IBM, based in Armonk, New York, has the longest history of the three with product information and its management techniques. In March of 2004, the company acquired PIM software developer Trigo Technologies Inc., rebranded the software as IBM WebSphere Product Center, then set about integrating it with WebSphere Commerce, WebSphere Portal and its RFID middleware.

Oracle, for its part, is looking to its E-Business Suite to provide the underlying data model for product information shuttled into the PIM Data Hub. A PIM Data Library allows users to extend the suites data model further to create user defined data attributes around a product data model, according to Webb.

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