Oracle has entered into an agreement to buy web experience management vendor FatWire Software in deal that is expected to close in the middle of this year. Now, the enterprise content management vendor has a complete customer experience solution. But has it come to the playground a little too late?

Oracle Buys Web Experience Management Vendor Fatwire Software

Oracle Get Web Experience Management

Financial details of the agreement were not released, and the exact position of FatWire once the deal has been closed is not clear although a statement from Oracle on the acquisition suggests that it will be incorporated into Oracle (newssite) once the deal has been concluded.

Oracle has been busy in the web engagement space for some time and with the addition of FatWire will be able to offer its clients a complete customer experience management solution that will drive customer retention and loyalty through across web, mobile and social channels.

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The Oracle + Fatwire Functionality, as Presented by Oracle

It also fits nicely into Oracle’s existing portfolio of applications including its Customer Relationship Management and ATG Web Commerce, which it bought in November last for US$ 1 billion.

That buy also added to its web engagement portfolio with an eCommerce software platform that complemented Oracle’s CRM, ERP, Retail and Supply Chain applications, as well as middleware and business intelligence technologies.

The FatWire buy follows in a similar vein and will extend Oracle’s technology and applications product offerings for customers seeking to build a unified customer experience across channels.

"Together, Oracle and FatWire plan to deliver the most complete web experience management solution that will enable companies to full optimize the customer experience with innovative social tools that enable user generated content in a managed environment," said Hasan Rizvi, Senior Vice President at Oracle.

Both companies will act independently until the deal closes, and neither has given any indication of what will happen after that, but Oracle’s history on acquisitions also suggests that it will be taken directly into Oracle.

Has Oracle Been Down This Road Before?

You have to ask why Oracle has made this move now. It made a significant investment in web content management back in 2006 when it acquired Stellent for US$440 million. Now though, with Stellent comfortably integrated and a robust enterprise content management system available (see our review of Oracle's Universal Content Management system), we see that Oracle is really offering a document management system (at least in the context of its Fusion middlware platform).

What About WebCenter?

And what about WebCenter, Oracle's current solution for customer experience management? Oracle updated WebCenter this past January, finally pulling together and expanding on the capabilities offered from its BEA WebLogic (web server/portal) and Plumtree (Web CMS/Portal) acquisitions.

There's a certain amount of overlapping functionality between WebCenter and FatWire and you have to wonder what will be incorporated into WebCenter to further extend its capabilities.

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Let's Not Forget the FatWire, EMC Relationship

Although maybe this acquisition shouldn't be surprising -- we've been expecting more mergers in the WCM space -- most of us likely expected it to be an EMC/FatWire deal, not an Oracle one. FatWire has a key relationship with EMC, whereby EMC offers FatWire as its Web Experience Management Solution and FatWire integrated EMC Digital Asset Management offering.

That relationship however, may have soured a bit when EMC announced it would also offer SDL Tridion as its Web Experience Management solution for large enterprises.

Will Oracle Push Ahead in the CEM Race?

FatWire is a well known WEM solution catering to some very large organizations globally. Adding its WEM capabilities, including its mobile services should give Oracle an added push into the Customer Experience Management market. But on some level, you have to wonder if this is going to come too late for Oracle. It will take time to complete the acquisition and then integrate FatWire's capabilities into its own solutions. There are already a number of CEM platforms available that can compete quite well with Oracle.