An open and standards-based strategy, an aggressive middleware push and close tabs on the customer were key messages at OpenWorld in San Francisco. ADDRESSING the opening session of Oracle OpenWorld, Oracle president claimed North American leadership in applications, HR and supply chain (management, or SCM).

Phillips said Oracle would soon be first in customer relationship management (CRM), in reference to the planned acquisition of Siebel Systems. Regulatory approval for the deal is expected early in 2006.

"Our strategy is very simple," he added. "Everything we do is around providing better information at a lower cost.

"We engineer the entire technology set, the database, the middleware, the management tools and the applications. We want to be in all those businesses, because that way we can add more value," he said.

Phillips committed Oracle to remaining open and standards-based, as well as to "approaching innovation in a way that offers protection to existing investments, extends current applications, evolves at a pace customers can accommodate, and meets needs and expectations".

AMR Research recently gave Oracle a vote of confidence to continue supporting Siebel customers, given its diligent actions around PeopleSoft products, which are to be integrated under Project Fusion by 2007.

Phillips announced a new lifetime support policy for all integrated suites, including PeopleSoft and JD Edwards applications. In terms of the new policy, Oracle customers will receive indefinite sustaining support after the first five years of premier support. Sustaining support includes major technology releases, but not regulatory or tax updates.

Phillips also announced a "one-stop" integrated support programme for global independent software vendors (ISVs). The programme is designed to address partner and customer support needs, and to deliver improved, multi-vendor support through a single point of contact.

He further announced an agreement to enable `s WebSphere products to be an additional runtime environment for Oracle`s next-generation applications. Phillips explained that open standards were key enablers for Oracle`s planned process of evolving all products using the Oracle Fusion middleware platform.


Across several industry-specific briefings and opening-day keynotes, Oracle emphasised its seriousness in middleware market that is also contested by , BEA, , IBM and others, including even .

"When we say middleware, we are referring to c Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) 10g, which is the sixth major release of the Oracle middleware suite," , Oracle senior VP, told journalists at a briefing.

Kurian described OFM as an integrated suite of tools and an integrated product suite that allows users to build applications, run them on an application server and connect them to different systems. OFM, he said, also enables business intelligence (BI), enterprise portals, identity management and grid computing.

"We are the only vendor in the market offering a technically integrated suite of middleware, which has been a big driver for growth because CIOs want to reduce complexity," said Kurian.

Kurian identified the "hot-pluggable" aspect of OFM as being one of its biggest drivers, as many customers had some legacy middleware when Oracle entered the market. "Users do not have to `rip and replace` existing middleware, but can adopt OFM incrementally," he explained.


Oracle announced its 10th acquisition in just over six months. More than a week after announcing its intention to buy Siebel, it said it would buy logistics and transportation management software provider Global Logistics Technologies (G-Log).

As Oracle continued to acquire customers, the focus at Oracle OpenWorld shifted to customer relations, with particular reference to new and future applications development.

Using the opportunity to reassure thousands of new customers, Oracle made several announcements to that effect. It also announced that, according to research by Satmetrix, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customer satisfaction had increased 11% since the merger of the companies.

Having emphasised the importance of good customer relationships through delivering the right data and services, HP CEO announced a joint initiative with Oracle to help improve IT service levels.


John Wookey, Oracle senior applications development VP, also emphasised the importance of customer relationships in his keynote, saying Oracle believes it is assured of success in this way.

"We are here to protect your investment, help you get more value out of it by extending it and helping you evolve to the next generation," he told customers.


In another announcement, Oracle unveiled operational dashboards for PeopleSoft Enterprise CRM, which are the first applications to be released on Fusion Middleware.

It also introduced an IBM eServer solution for Oracle`s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne and JD Edwards World to better manage core business operations at small and medium businesses.

Other applications announcements included enhancements to the Oracle Corporate Performance management suite, plans with EDS to provide joint application management hosting and modernisation services, and the introduction of the Oracle Retail brand to unite the retail technologies of Oracle and the former Retek and ProfitLogic companies.

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