Oracle OpenWorld arrives in December and this year they'll be unveiling an Enterprise CMS product. Oracle's foundation is structured data, in this area they have clearly excelled. Their unstructured data management products such as OracleFiles have not done as well, but things are changing and as we predicted in January, Oracle is making its play in the ECM ring. Oracle's ECM effort, code-named Tsunami, has been largely kept quiet, and few details have been added in recent days. Oracle has confirmed that additional information will be announced during the OpenWorld conference this coming December.
"Oracle's been looking at the unstructured data market for a long time. They have actually been spending a lot of time, very quietly, developing ECM capabilities", says Alan Pelz-Sharpe, an Ovum research analyst.
For years Oracle has been experimenting internally with unstructured data storage. Their Internet File System (IFS) product evolved into the Oracle Content Management SDK, which was leveraged for the Oracle Files document management offering and for integration capabilities with the Oracle Collaboration Suite.
Oracle reportedly was considering an earlier acquisition of Documentum, but backed away from this during the PeopleSoft fracas, deciding instead to hire talent and leverage existing internal efforts.
Some will see Oracle's move towards ECM as a counter to IBM, but Pelz-Sharpe believes that its more wisely construed as a response to the broad success of Microsoft's SharePoint technologies.
This sounds plausible. SharePoint Services is now offered as a "feature" of the Server 2003 operating system and offers out of the box document sharing, library services, and collaboration functionality. SharePoint's adoption rate has been tremendous.
Either way, it is clear that the ECM space is hot and in the Oracle context, the question for us has never been why or if, but when.
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