Oracle remains committed to growth via acquisition, according to its president, Charles Phillips. The strategy is proving to be a cost-effective way for the company to extend its technologies and deepen its knowledge of specific industries, Phillips told attendees at Oracle’s recent OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.
Over the past two years, Oracle has opened its wallet on more than 20 occasions to pick up vendors both large and small, particularly in the applications and security software markets.
Last week it made an offer for MetaSolv, a developer of operations support software for telecommunications service providers, tendering US$219 million (NZ$330 million) in cash.
Reassuring any customers concerned about Oracle’s spending, Phillips noted that the company can afford to keep making more purchases because it can quickly broaden the appeal of the products it acquires due to its size. It can also easily assimilate the acquisitions into its own simplified back-office systems, he told the audience.
Phillips also explained how making acquisitions benefits Oracle. “We get proven R&D that supplements what we’ve already invested in [and] we also get industry experts with decades of experience — a phenomenal asset for us.”
Oracle’s current mission is to “redefine how people use and think about enterprise software”, Philips said. The company’s Fusion middleware lies at the heart of that focus for both its existing applications and its planned new Fusion applications suite, due to appear in 2008. He says the software industry has “never had a true test of what would happen” if a company continued to support and enhance its existing applications as well as debut a brand-new set of applications such as Fusion.
Oracle is working on new security capabilities beyond simple role-based security for applications, according to Phillips. What it hopes to make possible in the future is the “hot” deployment of patches to its software — in other words, fixing a bug in a program on the fly without requiring computer downtime.
Phillips previewed two upcoming OpenWorld announcements, the unveiling of Configuration Support Manager and the Oracle Accelerate program.
Part of Oracle’s premium support plan, Configuration Support Manager brings together all the configuration information about a customer’s IT set-up, such as the version of the database being used, into a single place. That way, Oracle support staff can securely access that data to resolve IT issues quickly. Oracle has been beta testing the service with several hundred customers.
Accelerate is a new initiative based on Oracle’s business accelerators, which are focused on businesses and governments to help speed up software development by providing help in determining system flows.