ORACLE APPSWORLD - Oracle unveils Data Hub for integration

SAN FRANCISCO (01/30/2004) - Responding to customer complaints about its lackluster support for data integration with competing products, Oracle Corp. is introducing an integration initiative to its customers and developers. The company unveiled the program, dubbed the Customer Data Hub at its AppsWorld Conference in San Diego this week.

However, damage control was not the only news at the conference. Oracle also announced upgraded capabilities to its warehouse management software that will incorporate data from RFID (radio frequency identification) tags, and a "rental" pricing plan (as opposed to licensing) for its hosted services.

Saying that the company has been criticized in the past for its non-recognition of data integration issues, Oracle President Charles Phillips said the Customer Data Hub "takes the whole I-word off the table."

The Data Hub gives users a single view of customer definitions; allows for real-time synchronization; includes data cleansing of duplicate data; and provides single views of key customer data such as order, contract, and service history. "It will be a 360-degree view of the customer with pre-built analytics," Phillips said.

Paul Hamerman, vice president of enterprise applications at Forrester Research Inc., called the announcement significant. "It's a 180-degree reversal on integration," Hamerman said. Until now, Oracle's view was that companies should use nothing but Oracle's products. Its competitors -- SAP AG, PeopleSoft Inc., and Siebel Systems Inc. -- have already moved toward interoperability, he added.

Oracle's incorporation of RFID technology into its warehouse management software is in step with current industry initiatives. SAP made a similar announcement earlier this month.

The new capabilities include compatibility with RFID tags, readers, and printing devices from the leading hardware manufacturers, and integration with RFID middleware in the Oracle Application Server 10g for both connection control and filtering. Filtering out redundant data from millions of tagged cartons and palettes that could overwhelm current database management systems and add terabytes of non-relevant data to storage devices has been a key concern within the industry.

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