Despite Oracle's recent acquisition of ECM player Stellent, Open Text has reaffirmed their 10 year old partnership with the Oracle team. Much like their relationship with SAP, Open Text aims to wire sophisticated ECM functionality around and/or inside Oracle's software products.First things first. The priority order of business was of course to come up with a new TLA describing the alliance. The aptly named "Content Management Partnership" (CMP) in which Oracle Solutions Group will co-develop with Open Text seems about as corporately bland as can be. Yikes!
The partnership thankfully, has more spirit than the TLA. It primarily underscores Open Text's strategic planning. As we reported earlier this week, this is to put its content management expertise atop or alongside complementary products from Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.
The agreement, which will initially manifest as a software suite sold by Open Text, includes Oracle Content Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle BPEL Process Manager. The ECM bundle, by virtue of its connection with Fusion Middleware, will also work with Oracle applications including PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, JD Edwards World, Oracle E-Business Suite, and Siebel.
Ron Vangell, Open Text Vice President and General Manager, is heading up the Oracle integrations group at Open Text. Vangell said of the new renewed partnership, "Although Oracle and Open Text have been partners for over a decade, the relationship has mainly been one of 'benign neglect.' But customers at the two companies have a number of common needs", he added. "They're looking for the holy grail of databases. One that's fully capable of handling unstructured content, is sophisticated and has business process execution language."
In conversation with CMSWire earlier this week, Bill Forquer, Open Text's EVP of Governance Risk & Compliance, made it clear that despite Oracle's acquisition of Stellent, Open Text considers their alignment with Oracle as strategic and healthy for both parties and their clients.
Oracle and other vendors such as Microsoft are increasingly becoming responsible for what Gartner Group (and others) call "Basic Content Services" (BCS). Open Text understands that by integrating commoditized BCS such as Oracle Content DB or Microsoft's SharePoint (MOSS) or Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), ECM vendors can focus on their high-value plays such as compliance federation and management, document retention, and records management.
Vangell explains further, saying, "What's changed here is that the database has become enriched. In the past, what vendors would do is use a database for metadata and get under the covers of whatever ERP they had. With what Oracle is doing with Fusion Middleware, we have an abstract layer that will give you access to a customer transaction with a unified, homogeneous view across the entire database."
By tapping Content DB for BCS and Fusion Middleware for business data record access, Open Text is able to address this demand for rich data and rich data governance, while broadening their ECM market opportunity and at the same time, delivering revenue which kicks back towards Redwood Shores.
All this sounds good in the medium term. But Stellent's ECM dev team is merging with Oracle's Fusion Middleware group. Despite the obvious alignments and business benefits we can see today, we still have to wonder how long these two giants will remain friendly -- for certainly, their sales teams will shortly be on opposite sides of the field.