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Oracle details content management road map

Oracle details content management road map

Upgrades to Stellent products on tap after acquisition.

Oracle over the next 12 months will release five upgraded enterprise content management products that will integrate its own product line with that of Stellent, a company Oracle purchased late last year.

The Enterprise Content Management Suite will encompass three products based on Stellent technology: Universal Content Management, Universal Records Management and Imaging and Process Management, Oracle announced Wednesday.

The announcement is primarily a rebranding of products as Oracle is adding only minor functionality to each piece of Stellent software, says Kenneth Chin, a Gartner analyst.

"It'll be a positive, I believe, for Stellent customers because what it will do is provide them with more system integrators and channel partners they can leverage," Chin says. He cautions, however, that Oracle must not ignore the Stellent software line.

"It really boils down to execution," he says. "Will Oracle put the resources behind this product line? They have a lot of different products with the acquisition of Hyperion. You wonder if this will be set back in the shadows."

Greg Crider, Oracle's senior director of product marketing, says the company is focused on providing a comprehensive set of content management products.

"Increasingly, content management is a mission-critical part of many organizations," he says. "Whether it's increasing regulatory compliance, whether it's globalization and the need to react more quickly and be more competitive, the basic response to those requirements is linked to the ability to effectively manage your content."

Universal Content Management, Stellent's flagship product, will be enhanced to allow enterprises to store both content and metadata in Oracle databases, rather than storing content in a file system and metadata in a database, Crider says. The product also will integrate with Oracle application servers, identity management software and Oracle Secure Enterprise Search 10g. The product can run on a variety of databases, though, not just Oracle's, Crider says.

The Universal Records Management product will be updated to allow enterprises to manage content across a wider variety of data sources. "This is providing a very comprehensive solution for applying records retention management policies to content distributed across different repositories and applications," Crider says.

The upcoming release of Oracle Imaging and Process Management, which automates back-office operations such as processing invoices and claims forms, will have an enhanced ability to use standards-based workflows.

Another product Oracle will update in the next year is Information Rights Management, which also is based on Stellent technology. This product lets companies enforce access rights policies for documents when they leave the content management system, even when a file has been copied onto a user's system and e-mailed to someone else as an attachment, Crider says.

"Now that we have such a comprehensive suite of products [based on Stellent technology] we can focus Oracle's content services on the markets where it's had the most traction to date," such as file services consolidation, he says. File services consolidation is the ability to take documents spread across different servers and put them into a single repository where it is easy to back them up, according to Crider.

The fifth product to be updated in the next year -- and the only one that was already an Oracle offering -- is Oracle Content Database Suite, which "supports file server and archive consolidation as well as a content repository for enabling and building content-centric applications," according to the vendor.

The new version will provide basic content services with a user interface that lets users manage personal information, Crider says. The database suite was previously known as Oracle Content Services.

Oracle did not release pricing details or the exact release dates for the five planned product upgrades.

Meanwhile, in research released Tuesday, analyst firm CMS Watch said there is turbulence at the top of the ECM market, in part because of Oracle's purchase of Stellent.

"Oracle will apparently allow the Stellent UCM product set to continue in its current guise for some time to come, and instead is concentrating on integrating elements to run on top of its Content DB and [business process execution language] process manager, so there is less turmoil here than we might have thought," the analyst firm wrote. "Nevertheless this is a period of major change for Stellent, albeit one we expect to settle down sooner rather than later, in large part due to Oracle's enormous resources and the relatively small size of this acquisition for Oracle."

Regarding the rest of the ECM market, CMS Watch reported other major vendors have work to do assimilating acquired technologies as well.

"IBM is reconciling acquired FileNet ECM technology with its own duplicative capabilities, while supporting numerous search technologies," the analyst firm wrote. Likewise, "Open Text continues to rationalize a plethora of overlapping products and architectures after multiple acquisitions, including Hummingbird."

Of Microsoft's efforts in the ECM market the research firm wrote: "Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 represents a huge amount of new code that is likely to see significant revisions over the next two years."

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