When Oracle picked up FatWire it was immediately thought that the two would complement each other, while creating a bit of overlap in Oracle's existing product line-up. At this year's Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco, Oracle Senior Principal Product Manager Joe Duane and Mariam Tariq of WebCenter Product Management shed a bit of light on the subject. 

The FatWire Focus

Now that the majority of the dust has settled, why Oracle would want to invest in a company like FatWire is fairly obvious. WebCenter Content is the umbrella branding for Oracle’s current array of Enterprise CMS, Customer Experience Management, Portal and Social products. At the same time this brand is a subset of the Oracle Fusion Middleware family.

The pre-Fatwire elements of WebCenter Content largely focused on documents and portal solutions, while FatWire has been more strongly focused on web experiences, commerce, multi-channel and widgets. In other words, FatWire has always been more people-centric.

Take a quick peek at a recent infographic from Moxie about the importance of design in social business software, and it’s clear that a balance of the two approaches is key for modern information management and engagement success.

And so it wasn’t particularly surprising to hear Tariq say that many of Oracle’s customers had been asking questions regarding their web experience management needs, pre-acquisition. Grabbing FatWire essentially answered all them in one fell swoop -- along with new talent, Oracle has gained more resources, more experience with e-commerce, social integration and powerful personalization tools.

From WCM to WEM -- WebCenter Sites or Bust? 

Oracle's aim is to become the most extensive web experience management product on the market. Here are the main features from each end that will combine: 

Oracle and FatWire2.jpg

We talked previously about some overlapping functionality, and wondered what would be incorporated into WebCenter to further extend its capabilities, and what would be tossed aside. Though the conference offered plenty of chatter when it came to what Oracle aims to do with the acquired assets, little of the discussion indicated whether customers from either end of the spectrum should be worried. 

When asked about migration back in August, the Oracle team claimed that FatWire’s capabilities would be rolled into the new WebCenter Sites offering, and that existing Site Studio customers would have the flexibility to decide if they wanted to move to WebCenter Sites, or maintain their Site Studio deployments. 

When I questioned Tariq and Duane, all they would say is that you don't have to migrate to WebCenter Sites, but you should if you want the high quality WEM experience. We'll leave you to read between the lines.

A Roadmap for Engagement 

According to Tariq and Duane, the future of Webcenter Sites is about the following 4 pathways: 

1. Marketing and ease of use

Oracle will offering a new user interface for WYSIWYG page building, a new authoring interface, enhanced search capabilities, upgrade support and page building framework. Tariq says the goal with this bucket was to eliminate the need to rely on IT. 

2. Targeting and Optimization

Expect to see enhanced targeting capabilities with simpler user interfaces, as well as real-time decision and Siebel integrations for better customer relationship management and analytics. 

3. Social Computing and user generated content

In this bucket, Oracle plans to showcase enhanced integrations with external social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Meanwhile, new user generated content widgets will provide easy access to most shared and most recommended content, as well as polls, permalinks, etc. 

4. Mobile and Multi-channel 

Customers can expect enhanced mobile and social channel management, including OOTB support for user generated content, targeting for mobile sites and mobile analytics.

Too Late in the Game?

It all seems well and good, but some wonder if Oracle's efforts are a bit too late. It will certainly take some time for the giant company to integrate FatWire's capabilities into its own solutions, and there's already a number of CEM platforms available that can hold their own quite well. What makes Oracle so special? 

The same can be said of the brand new Oracle Social Network, another effort that seems like an attempt to catch-up with the trends without being too trendy.