Oracle Endeca Deal Echoes HP's Autonomy Purchase - InformationWeek

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10/18/2011
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Oracle Endeca Deal Echoes HP's Autonomy Purchase

Oracle plans to use Endeca's technology to boost unstructured data access and analysis for Web commerce and business intelligence applications.

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Oracle announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire Endeca Technologies in a deal that will help it bring unstructured data into e-commerce transactions and business intelligence analyses. It's no coincidence that the deal was announced just weeks after Hewlett-Packard finalized its $10-billion-plus acquisition of Autonomy.

Endeca's core MDEX technology correlates and analyzes unstructured data such as email, documents, social network feeds, and other forms of text-centric information. The technology powers two key products. Endeca InFront is a customer experience management platform used to decipher customer interests--based on search terms, pages viewed, and customer history--and then deliver targeted content and offers. Endeca Lattitude is a business intelligence platform used to blend analyses of structured and unstructured data sources to yield deeper insight.

Social forums and platforms are driving surging interest in unstructured-data analysis, but vendors including IBM, SAP, HP, and now Oracle are trying to integrate structured and unstructured data analysis, according to independent analyst Seth Grimes.

"You don't want to just look at a Tweet or an online product review, you want to know whether the author is a customer, what their value is as customer, and what their recent transactions have been," Grimes told InformationWeek.

[ Want more on Oracle's comments about Autonomy? Read Oracle's Latest War Of Words. ]

Endaca InFront will be paired with the Oracle ATG commerce engine to improve cross-channel commerce, merchandising, and online customer experiences, Oracle said in a statement. Endeca Lattitude will be used with Oracle's BI capabilities to develop new and deeper analytic applications. The technology is also a fit with Oracle's planned Big Data Appliance, which will support Hadoop and distributed MapReduce processing of high volumes of unstructured data.

IBM, SAP, and Microsoft--the last by way of its Fast Search acquisition--have all ventured into unstructured data analysis in recent years, but it hasn't been a wild success. IBM is now gaining steam in sentiment-analysis applications while SAP is just venturing into that domain with its recent SAP BusinessObjects 4.0 release.

Endeca competes most closely with Attivio and Autonomy. With its much broader base in search, archiving, and e-discovery, Autonomy is the largest of these players. But in a statement issued late last month, Oracle said it took a pass on buying Autonomy because "the price was way too high."

Oracle did not disclose the financial terms of its deal with Endeca, a small, privately held company based in Cambridge, Mass. The company has approximately 400 employees and more than 600 customers, including Toyota, Ford, and Walmart, with InFront being the company's most successful product. Oracle's acquisition is expected to close before the end of the year.

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