Oracle Releases Imaging and Process Components for Fusion Middleware

Two new components of Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g and Oracle Forms Recognition, will in theory allow businesses to better automate document- and image-centric processes such as accounting and claims processing. Imaging and Process Management 11g also offers solution templates and streamlining for processes involving paper-based and electronic transactions. As Oracle moves into 2010 looking to build on its financial successes from late 2009, it still faces the need to integrate its Sun Microsystems acquisition while challenging IBM in the systems arena.

Oracle released two new components for its Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g and Oracle Forms Recognition, on March 15. The new applications allow businesses to automate document- and image-centric processes such as claims processing.

Specifically, Oracle Forms Recognition apparently possesses the ability to recognize and categorize the structured and semistructured documents that filter through a typical office setting, including invoices and purchase orders. Paired with Imaging and Process Management 11g, which preintegrates business processes with software platforms such as Oracle E-Business Suite and facilitates standards-based integrations and deployments based on an SOA (service-oriented architecture) and a Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition)-compatible infrastructure, the applications continue Oracle's broad-based initiative to offer its customers a comprehensive, all-in-one stack for various business processes.

In addition, Imaging and Process Management 11g allows businesses to streamline and make more efficient those processes involving paper-based and electronic transactions, and offers solution templates with predefined workflows and process rules.

"Managing document- and image-intensive business processes like accounts payable can be extremely time-consuming and expensive without effective and integrated management," Andy MacMillan, Oracle vice president of Product Management, said in a statement. "Invoices, receipts and exceptions can create a paper storm that delays payments, increases resources requirements and results in penalty fees and damaged business relationships."

The new offerings, MacMillan said, help "put those documents and images where they belong and where they can be easily managed-in the applications businesspeople use every day to complete their jobs."

Among other initiatives, Oracle has spent the first few months of 2010 integrating applications into its existing portfolios, seeking to build complete stacks or systems that can be sold to customers as an integrated package. "We have a deep interest in the systems business," Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told an audience at the Churchill Club, in San Jose, Calif., in September 2009. "We've already beaten IBM in software. Now we want to beat them in systems."

But some analysts have expressed reservations as to whether Oracle can continue its strong revenue trend from 2009, especially when it needs to successfully integrate its $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems into its existing structure.

"Experts believe the technology value proposition for additional modules like order management, talent model, etc. [is] not going to drive sales as much as Oracle would like us to believe," Laxmi Poruri, an analyst with Primary Global Research, told eWEEK Dec. 12, "unless there is a more significant turnaround than what we are seeing in terms of total IT [spending]."