Oracle has entered into an agreement to acquire Instantis, a project portfolio management (PPM) technology vendor. Instantis offers both on-premises and cloud-based versions of its PPM solutions.

Instantis’ main product, known as Enterprise Track, is designed to ease the management of multiple corporate initiatives by providing a single interface for management of all projects for all players. The solution uses a “top-down” approach that approaches initiatives starting from high-level strategies, metrics and processes, and also offers financial reporting capabilities.

Oracle says it intends to combine Instantis functionality with its Primavera PPM toolset and Fusion middleware application. As a result, Oracle expects to offer a more comprehensive PPM package with both cloud-based and on-premises hosting options. The platform will connect executive leadership with departments including corporate, professional services, IT, R&D, manufacturing, operations and capital projects for the purposes of integrated PPM execution. Specific enabled PPM tasks will include capacity planning, business metrics tracking, ideation and contract execution.

Oracle ‘Bulks Up’ Cloud

In its coverage of today’s acquisition, the Wall Street Journal focused on the cloud computing aspect of the deal far more than the added PPM functionality Oracle will obtain. “The company is nevertheless aggressively targeting cloud-computing rivals like and SAP AG with its own suite of products served up through the Internet,” stated the Journal. The Journal also commented that buying Instantis reflects Oracle’s “longstanding strategy of sucking in small (niche) software companies on a steady basis.”

Keeping It Small

The “longstanding strategy” of buying small niche players referred to in the Journal article appears to be sticking around for a while. As reported by CMSWire, about a month ago Oracle CEO Larry Ellison told CNBC's Maria Bartiromo that now that Oracle has moved into the cloud, the company will focus more on growing internally and less on buying up other vendors.

"I am just saying over the next couple of years, senior management down to individual programmers and sales people, are focused on one thing; selling applications in the cloud," said Ellison, who clarified in other remarks that Oracle in particular would not focus on large acquisitions. Instantis does offer Oracle new opportunities to sell niche PPM applications and services in the cloud, so this purchase appears to be right on track.

Let’s see if Ellison keeps his word about not pursuing earth-ratting acquisitions in 2013, especially as the economy is showing signs of a possible early recovery in the works.

The Instantis management team and employees are expected to join Oracle as part of the Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit. Notable Instantis clients include DuPont, Lilly and Verizon.The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and approvals and is expected to close this year. Terms have not been released.