Oracle launches new application integration tool

Oracle this week introduced application integration technology that it said can be used to tie its software to products from other vendors and to home-grown applications.

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Oracle this week introduced application integration technology that it said can be used to tie its software to products from other vendors and to home-grown applications.

The new Oracle Application Integration Architecture, announced at the Collaborate '07 user conference in Las Vegas, includes a set of prebuilt adapters that can create business workflows between applications using the Oracle Fusion common object model and the industry-standard Business Process Execution Language.

"This is a step in the right direction for Oracle," said David Rudzinsky, chief information officer at Hologic. The medical instruments maker uses Oracle's E-Business Suite applications, but the new offering "will allow us to choose best-of-breed applications without the integration worries," Rudzinsky said.

Jose Lazares, Oracle's vice president of application development and strategy, said that the new offering will enable corporate customers to create links between internally built software and Oracle's business applications.

Jan Wagner, London-based director of financial operations and internal review at NATO, a user of Oracle's E-Business Suite 11i software, said that capability could cut IT development and maintenance costs for users.

Wagner is also president of the Oracle Applications Users Group, which co-sponsored this week's conference along with the database-oriented Independent Oracle Users Group and the Quest International Users Group. He noted that the adapters being added by Oracle eliminate the need for developers to create links between different systems and to support those links.

Lazares said Oracle also expects that the links will help independent software vendors integrate their offerings with Oracle applications.

Oracle contends that the new tool set will complement its integrated line of Fusion applications -- which promises to link Oracle's myriad internally built and acquired applications. It is slated to be shipped next year.

Oracle Application Integration Architecture also includes Industry Reference Models, which Oracle described as a set of tools and documentation to help users create workflows that exploit both Oracle and non-Oracle applications.

The first adapters, slated to ship in May, cover Oracle's Siebel customer relationship management (CRM) and Siebel CRM On Demand products.

The Oracle Siebel CRM On Demand Integration Pack for the Oracle E-Business Suite will enable customers to support a complete sales process without leaving the Siebel application, Oracle said. It also noted that sales leads can be converted into quotes or orders in Oracle's back-end enterprise resource planning applications.

Another adapter will let Siebel users conduct complex product configurations, see inventory availability and automatically process orders, the company said.

Lazares added that Oracle is also planning future adapters for its banking, call centre and trade promotions software.

Bill Swanton, an analyst at AMR Research, said in a research note that the new tools will let corporations implement cross-functional business processes.

However, he warned that the success of the offerings depends on Oracle ensuring that the adapters do not become too complex or expensive for customers to implement.

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