Oracle puts integration in the spotlight

Executives say they've worked hard to tie acquisitions together

Oracle may have accumulated a vast array of products, but it has also added value and tightly integrated them, executives said during a keynote address Monday at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

Through a series of demonstrations, Oracle officials seemed intent on answering critics who say the vendor's acquisition spree has resulted in a Frankenstein monster-like mish-mash of components.

One demo showed how Oracle has tied the Primavera project planning products it acquired last year back to its ERP (enterprise resource planning) software.

Primavera business unit head Joel Koppelman showed how the integrations could be used to balance the availability of skilled workers against project timelines. "The minute you start to delay a project, they're all affected. What you really want to be able to do is model those changes," he said.

Another demonstration showcased a product aimed at helping fashion companies maximize their profits. The software uses Fusion middleware to tie together the ProfitLogic retail software Oracle acquired in 2005 with BI (business intelligence) tools and the WebCenter portal.

"The pieces matter, but fitting it together is where all the value is," said Oracle president and CFO Safra Catz.

Beyond the keynote and demonstrations, Oracle on Monday also announced Application Integration Architecture Release 2.5, the latest installment of its prebuilt packs for tying together processes and applications.

The release includes 10 new "cross-industry" packs and six new packs aimed at specific verticals.

Not everyone at the show was buying into Oracle's middleware pitch.

Representatives of ActiveVOS, which makes a product that competes with Oracle's SOA Suite, capered on street corners outside the Moscone Center wearing comical black-and-white prisoners' garb, begging passers-by to "free" them from the alleged higher cost and constraints of owning SOA Suite.

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