Oracle hasy used its AppsWorld event in San Diego to preview the next release of its business applications suite and unveil software for consolidating customer information. The two announcements signal a fresh resolve from Oracle to integrate its software with other vendors' wares. The focus of E-Business Suite 11i.10, which is expected mid-year, is on integration. Oracle is exposing hundreds of interfaces as Web services to make it easier and less costly for companies to automate business processes that span Oracle and non-Oracle applications, the vendor says.
In addition, E-Business Suite 11i.10 features native support for interfaces established by the Open Applications Group (OAG), which defines unifying standards for business applications. Specifically, the suite will support more than 150 OAG-defined business objects, such as a purchase order. Oracle also is expanding its support for industry-specific protocols, such as RosettaNet for high-tech manufacturing and HL7 for healthcare, in Version 11i.10.
An integration interface repository, new to 11i.10, catalogs the published APIs of Oracle's E-Business Suite to make it easier for users to search and view all available interfaces. Ties to Oracle's Application Server 10g allow integration with third-party applications and business partners, such as suppliers and customers, Oracle says.
E-Business Suite 11i.10 also features new industry-focused functionality targeting businesses in construction and engineering, consumer-packaged goods, government, financial services, healthcare, high-tech manufacturing, professional services and telecommunications, Oracle says.
For the pharmaceuticals industry, for example, Oracle added features for clinical trial management and data analysis. For the telecommunications industry Oracle added provisioning automation functionality, and for consumer packaged good manufacturers and suppliers, it added radio frequency identification (RFID) capabilities.
Separately Oracle introduced its Customer Data Hub, a product designed to provide a single view of customer information contained in disparate business applications.
Slated to be released with Oracle 11.10, Oracle Customer Data Hub consolidates customer information from different sources into a single repository that ties into transactional applications. It provides active and real-time access to customer data without the need to move data between transaction systems and a data warehouse, Oracle says.
Customer Data Hub has three components: Oracle's current E-Business data model, which forms the basis of the hub and has been extended to support non-Oracle applications; Customers Online, which provides a user interface to the central data repository and tools for consolidating, updating and managing system sources; and Data Librarian, which offers consolidation and data quality tools.
The Customer Data Hub and E-Business Suite are part of Oracle's vision for an open, standards-based platform, which it calls its Information Architecture.
Charles Phillips, Oracle's co-president, articulated the idea of the Information Architecture in his AppsWorld keynote Tuesday. This conceptual framework is aimed at improving the quality of information, applications and infrastructure, Oracle says. It's about consolidating data from Oracle and non-Oracle applications and providing a consistent, enterprise-wide definition of customers, suppliers, partners and employees.
Oracle's Information Architecture strategy is the first new product concept from Oracle that actually works across its three distinct businesses - applications, databases/tools/infrastructure, and services, according to Bruce Richardson, senior vice president at AMR Research.
It's a response to SAP AG's NetWeaver effort, Richardson said in a research brief. The Customer Data Hub, for example, is aimed directly at SAP’s Global Master Data Management initiative.
"Oracle has clearly had the Information Architecture components for years, but it just needed SAP to push it to form a coherent strategy. Now that’s done," Richardson wrote. -- Network World Fusion (US)