Oracle Unveils Global Trade, Transportation Management Software

Oracle introduced Oracle Global Trade Management and Oracle Transportation Management 6.1 on Jan. 11. Both built on the same platform, Oracle Transportation Management helps shippers and logistic service providers track their transportation requirements and environmental impact, while Oracle Global Trade Management provides the means for companies to track cross-border transactions and keep in compliance with various regulations. Oracle is coming off a strong last quarter of 2009 financially, but some analysts have wondered whether the company can sustain its momentum throughout 2010.

Oracle rolled out Oracle Global Trade Management and Oracle Transportation Management 6.1, two platforms designed to help enterprises manage trade compliance and shipping, on Jan. 11.

Oracle Transportation Management 6.1 consolidates onto one platform the ability to manage trade compliance and transportation requirements, and helps shippers and logistic service providers both monitor their environmental impact-through the ability to measure and monitor details such as carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption-and improve their efficiency.

The platform also allows fleet dispatchers to communicate in real time with drivers, view data about shipments and automate shipment monitoring.

"Shippers and logistic service providers face a myriad of challenges as they try to maximize efficiencies to lower operational costs and reduce their environmental impact," Derek Gittoes, vice president of Oracle's Logistics Product Strategy, said in a Jan. 11 statement. "By enabling companies to manage their global trade and transportation requirements within one central platform, our customers are better equipped to overcome these challenges."

Meanwhile, Oracle Global Trade Management provides a centralized way for companies to keep track of cross-boarder transactions, including the management of activities related to import and export compliance, in addition to other regulatory policies. It is built on the same platform as Oracle Transportation Management.

The platform allows companies to automate their trade compliance across supply chains, centralize product data necessary for trade, provide a central classification repository for products, implement restricted party and sanction screening, and apply trade controls to any type of transaction.

Oracle heads into 2010 in a strong position. On Dec. 17, the company closed out the year by reporting quarterly profits above Wall Street expectations, with revenues of $5.86 billion and a net income of $1.46 billion. Sales of new software licenses had risen 2 percent year over year, versus the company's prediction from the previous quarter that sales of new licenses would either be flat or down.

However, some analysts have expressed skepticism that Oracle can maintain that sort of growth pattern heading into 2010.

"Experts believe the technology value proposition for additional modules like order management, talent model, etc. are not going to drive sales as much as Oracle would like us to believe," Laxmi Poruri, an analyst at Primary Global Research, wrote in a Dec. 2009 e-mail to eWEEK, "unless there is a more significant turnaround than what we are seeing in terms of total IT [spending]."

In any case, Oracle in 2010 can rely on a product pipeline left wide open in 2009, despite a massive global recession that forced many IT companies into a semblance of retreat. In addition to offering end-to-end and closed-loop solutions to organizations' needs, all the better to push its brand further into the enterprise, Oracle also introduced upgrades to its platforms such as Middleware 11g, which allows for increased operational insight and automation of an enterprise's middleware stack.

Oracle's 2010 will also likely be drastically affected by its deal to acquire Sun Microsystems, originally announced in April 2009. Once the $7.4 billion acquisition is complete, Oracle will be able to more fully integrate Java and Solaris into its products.

Ultimately, Oracle seems to be moving to challenge IBM in the systems arena.

"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. "We've already beaten IBM in software. Now we want to beat them in systems."