Oracle Delves Into Content Integration

Early this month, the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company confirmed reports that it is buying assets from Context Media, a content integration specialist in Providence, R.I., as well as i-flex Solutions, a Bombay-based maker of banking software.

Content integration ties together document management and repositories from other vendors, said Connie Moore, an analyst at Forrester Research. “So not only can you search all the repositories at one time, you can update the documents and put them back in,” she said.

That&'s good news to partners. “The idea is to have this robust ability to manage all different types of content [with] workflow and high security,” said Ron Zapar, president of Re-Quest, an Oracle partner in Chicago.

Context Media&'s know-how will bolster Oracle&'s upcoming content management and collaboration suites, an Oracle executive told CRN. Those assets will help Oracle deliver a solution that will “minimize change management for customers as they implement content management,” said Rich Buchheim, senior director or product management for the content management and strategy group at Oracle.

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“For systems integrators, this represents an opportunity for value add,” Buchheim said. “Any enterprise content management technology will have an integration or services component, so this is a set of tools to make that easier and more effective,” he said.

“Oracle has a good place in the structured battle with all its databases, but unstructured content I think is now the big proposition,” said Scott Jenkins, CEO of The EBS Group, an Oracle partner in Lenexa, Kan.” What customers seem to want is all this information rationalized, in context, so it&'s relevant to my role, my project,” he said.

Of course, as Oracle continues to buy new companies, partners are challenged to learn new technologies. Earlier this year, for example, the vendor&'s partners faced new federated management technology, with the company&'s acquisition of Oblix.

“It&'s hard to build referenceable customer lists on all this stuff. There&'s a learning curve,” Jenkins said. “But from our perspective, it&'s also a lot more to sell. The stuff [Oracle has acquired] I&'ve looked at—the new BPEL [business process execution language] stuff and Oblix—they&'re well-baked. With Oracle, there&'s always an issue of getting good technology tied down in the first release.”