At Oracle OpenWorld the education on a new generation of capabilities called Rich Enterprise Applications from Oracle that is part of what is called Oracle Fusion Middleware 11g and Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g was brought into heavy promotion and education. This keynote session by Thomas Kurian - head of Oracle Middleware and Ted Farrell, senior vice president focused on this segment provided some valuable technology insights on what is possible for business analysts and application developers today. Many of the expectations of business users is being driven by the rich application experience found on the Internet along with the simplicity of mobile devices and applications on the Apple iPhone (See: “Apple iPhone and New 3Gs is a Healthy Dose of Apple for Business“). Providing the availability of information and the ability to streamline business processes and provide the basic DNA of business should be at the top of business and IT organizations priority.
We at Ventana Research have defined this market category as Information Applications as the technology (See: “Information Applications: New Generation of Information Technologies“) that unifies accessibility and action to all information including content and data in a range of channels including mobile, voice, web that can be simply accessed by consumers to employees through self-service and simple methods to search, retrieve and act information. This new generation and category provides the essentials to business in information availability (See: “Information Applications: New Focus on Information Availability”).
If you are not familiar with Oracle’s middleware is comprised of a large set of technologies and products that work together to enable a broad set of capabilities from business intelligence and collaboration to business process management and many other areas. The focus on Rich Enterprise Applications was part of a transformation from Oracle historical deep application development focus to what is now possible with the assembly of applications without requiring coding. This focus is built on the evolution and advancement or Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g. The applications built from this platform and tools are dynamic and rich in content and provide methods for faster deployment of capabilities to business by providing easier accessibility to information and interactions across the enterprise.
The Oracle WebCenter Suite brings some key components to support information applications for the enterprise. The Oracle technology to support this application focus also utilizes key technology called Oracle WebCenter Services that helps link together rich content and capabilities like blogs, connections, mail, analytics and text among many that can leverage industry standard interfaces. Oracle WebCenter Space helps pre-integrate the community and portal elements of the application but also is the method to use their composer to assemble and change applications. Oracle WebCenter Ensemble then enables the mashup of HTTP based services to further integrate content from the enterprise and Internet. But best part of the keynote was a real world demo in assembling an application that could be improved by business analysts and not just application development. Interesting was that the application can be and was demonstrated how it can be immediately deployed to Apple iPhone, RIM Blackberry and even Microsoft Windows Mobile without having to make modification but dynamically adapted to the human factors and application interfaces specific to the technology.
Oracle has made great strides in improving their application development framework through simplification and use of Oracle WebCenter Suite 11g and use of technology components from acquisition of BEA. Oracle still has room for improvement in approach and how to go beyond the enterprise but onto the Internet. How Oracle can help their customers build applications that help them interface to consumers and the customers on the Internet. This is a critical demand by companies as they find the increasing pressure from these parties are impacting brand value and customer experience. Also Oracle has not mastered the value of simple search and interface to text within content though this technology is fairly robust with Oracle Secure Enterprise Search, Oracle Universal Content Management and Oracle Database 11g Release 2 and Oracle Text.
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Mark Smith - CEO & EVP Research