Analysts Say Oracle Isn't Done Shopping Yet


As Oracle continues on its "component" shopping spree -- more than 30 companies in the last year and still counting after the much-publicized Hyperion deal -- existing customers of acquisition targets shouldn't be too worried about their current installs being stranded, at least until the "promiseware" of Oracle's master Fusion business platform comes to fruition a decade or so from now.

That was one of the messages at an analyst conference on the impact of the Hyperion deal I listened in on last Friday. The call, sponsored by the AnalystPerspectives service from Books 24x7, featured four analysts, all of whom focus on the enterprise software segment, and by extension Oracle, of course.

The four analysts tended to agree that Oracle has proven itself capable and willing to keep maintenance fees rolling in from its acquisition targets -- see PeopleSoft. And expect to keep the acquisitions to keep on coming.

Bruce Guptil, the managing director of research at Saugatuck Research, noted that vertical markets software is projected for huge growth by research firms such as IDC, and telecom and pharmaceuticals seem like likely candidates. Bill McSpadden, president of PWR Consulting, added that intellectual property and knowledge management might be future Oracle targets, particularly in light of the government's interest in these areas.

Other analysts suggested Oracle might simply buy a mid-market ERP vendor to move downstream into the SME space, which everybody covets these days, or follow IBM's lead and buy a professional services firm.

So, it looks like Larry Ellison's shopping list is still pretty wide open.

Some other interesting insights from the call:

  • David Hofferberth, managing director of Service Performance Insight, suggested that while all these acquisitions and mergers might make some observers fear the demise of smaller, best-of-breed pureplays, his firm has found that CEOs are still more concerned about functionality than completely integrated ERP.
  • George Goodall of Info~Tech Research, whose client base consists largely of firms with less than $50 million in revenue, says he's already seen an erosion of Hyperion's much-touted traction among SAP customers as the BW platform matures. Goodall said the "elephant" in the SME market is Microsoft, with its consultant and VAR sales channels.
  • The analysts agreed that for the time being, Oracle seems to be pushing forward in the business apps space with an agnostic approach to the underlying DB, although that might change when and if Fusion becomes a reality.
  • Guptil scored the best line of the conference call: "The best run businesses close their books with Hyperion each quarter."

You can download an MP3 of the conference call, which also included some divergent speculation about SAP's future, here.

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