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5/20/2008
11:01 AM
Tony Byrne
Tony Byrne
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BEA and Oracle in Chicago

I spent a couple of days in Chicago last week at BEA's (oops, Oracle's) "Participate" user conference... Of course the big question surrounding the whole event was the "roadmap" for these products going forward. Oracle finds itself in possession of no less than four portal products....

I spent a couple of days in Chicago last week at BEA's (oops, Oracle's) Participate user conference. This is where AquaLogic (née Plumtree) Portal/Collaboration/BPM customers come to meet without any pesky WebLogic enthusiasts around. Of course the big question surrounding the whole event was the "roadmap" for these products going forward. We've blogged previously that Oracle finds itself in possession of no less than four portal products. As Enterprise Portals Report readers know, all four systems are all really quite different. (That ought to tell you something about the current marketplace.) Oracle, as vendors are wont to do, will likely tell customers that the benefits of using multiple portal products are additive. BEA customers should expect a new set of sales calls at some point this year.Oracle itself says they can't make any official product announcements pending conclusion of a "quiet period" as they head to the close of their fiscal year at the end of Q2. I would guess that, except in general terms, they don't have specific plans for the BEA product lines, except to continue to sell and support them and see what the marketplace wants to do. Doubtless Oracle will come out with some general guidance about the future of the product - if only to feed the insatiable industry analyst maw - but roadmaps created in the immediate aftermath of large acquisitions should be treated with more than a usual dose of skepticism. In the meantime, Oracle says it will undertake a 50-city BEA customer love-fest around the world.

Still, an Oracle exec talked at the conference about how much Oracle was interested in BPM generally (BPM was a growing segment at BEA) and Oracle seems enthusiastic about the social software components around AquaLogic. Those remain a bit disjointed, but are still much more productized than what Oracle offers in its would-be enterprise 2.0, platforms, Oracle WebCenter (OWC) and "Beehive," the latest version of its groupware suite.

As always any Oracle acquisition raises the question of culture. (See our earlier discussion of Stellent). The AquaLogic team strikes me as much less buttoned-up than Oracle (they certainly don't dress the same), and its customers are fiercely independent. Those customers previously rebelled when dumped into the larger BEA World conference, which prompted the vendor to develop the separate AquaLogic event. I did not sense great enthusiasm for joining 43,000 other Oracle users at OpenWorld later this year. But I didn't sense panic either: everyone knows Oracle loves maintenance revenue, and there is a lot of that to be had among the AquaLogic product set.I spent a couple of days in Chicago last week at BEA's (oops, Oracle's) "Participate" user conference... Of course the big question surrounding the whole event was the "roadmap" for these products going forward. Oracle finds itself in possession of no less than four portal products....

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