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Oracle Buys Yet Another Project Portfolio Management Firm

Oracle acquires Instantis just three months after buying Skire. So what happens to those customers?

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8 CEOs Speak: IT Projects That Matter Most
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Oracle announced on Thursday that it has acquired Instantis, a provider of cloud-based and on-premises project portfolio management (PPM) systems. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Oracle said it is expected to close before the end of the year.

The Instantis buy comes just three months after Oracle purchased Skire, yet another PPM vendor. Both deals were billed as enhancing Oracle's Primavera and Fusion Applications businesses, but it's hard to know which cloud-based services and software offerings will stick, which ones will go away, and what will become of the acquired firms' respective customers.

Oracle said in a statement that it plans to combine Instantis' assets with Primavera and Fusion "to provide the most comprehensive set of cloud-based and on-premises Enterprise Project Portfolio Management solutions." PPM is used by IT departments, product-development teams and process-improvement leaders to manage, track and report on construction and maintenance projects, IT deployments, new-product development efforts, Lean Six Sigma projects and other corporate initiatives.

[ Want more on Oracle's Cloud? Read Oracle Lays Out App Agenda: Cloud, Mobile, Social. ]

The description of the Instantis deal is strikingly similar to that of Skire. Instantis CEO and founder, Prasad Raje, said in a statement that the latest deal was a "strong endorsement" of that vendor's cloud-based EnterpriseTrack system. Three months earlier, Skire's CEO and founder, Massy Mehdipour, said he was "thrilled to be joining Oracle to provide the choice of both cloud-based and on-premise" PPM.

The deal descriptions are also similar in that they're not entirely clear on whether these existing cloud-based applications will survive or whether the best of their functionality will be wrapped into Oracle Fusion Project Portfolio Management. Both releases talk about creating a "comprehensive" portfolio, but they're unclear on what was missing, which services will stick, and which ones will go away, if any. Instantis and Skire also had on-premises offerings, so the same questions apply relative to Oracle's Primavera on-premises software.

Publicly available FAQ documents on the respective deals are almost identical, with the one difference being that Oracle stated that Instantis would "become a part of Oracle's Primavera and Fusion PPM applications portfolio" whereas Skire would "become part of the Oracle Primavera applications portfolio."

So, was the Skire deal mostly about its on-premises software, despite the cloud billing? And what exactly does "become a part of" mean?

Oracle's Mike Sicilia, senior VP and general manager of Oracle Primavera, said in Oracle's respective announcements that adding Instantis would "help customers gain complete visibility and control of their mission-critical project initiatives" and that adding Skire would "help our customers gain complete visibility, automation and financial control across their entire project and program portfolio."

Does that clear things up?

Oracle declined an InformationWeek request to interview Sicilia to shed more light on the deals and where they leave Instantis and Skire customers. That's understandable in the case of Instantis, given that the deal has yet to close, but we'll keep digging to find out what will happen with Instantis and what became of Skire.

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User Rank: Apprentice
11/9/2012 | 7:08:46 PM
re: Oracle Buys Yet Another Project Portfolio Management Firm
Doug raises some good questions here. Looking to me like Oracle is buying customers, not companies and will shuttle them all to Fusion asap. Project management systems are in big need of an overhaul imho. Project management can easily become more complicated than the project itself. Time for something open, collaborative and easily understood by all involved.
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