Oracle and ECM

By Dheeraj Nagpal posted 11-09-2011 15:47


Five years ago, when Oracle acquired Stellent with the aim that it will fit in the middleware tier, the first thing that came to my mind was that this is a good cross subsidy chip for Oracle to give out its Content Management free to everyone and entice them in buying more of Oracle Databases and Application Servers.

A lot of water has flown under the bridges since then but Oracle has never shown any interest in cross selling or subsidizing its UCM offering except for any specific RFP sent out to them. In-fact Microsoft was able to do the same quite successfully with SharePoint. Finally, when a couple of weeks ago when Oracle announced that it will give Oracle WebCenter (aka UCM, aka Stellent) free for all Documentum users as a trade-in, my  reaction was “too little too late”.

Documentum has been losing market share over the years. EMC doesn’t release sales figures individually for Documentum that makes it difficult to guess how much but the fact is that Documentum has lost from the leader in ECM space to number four. On Oracle’s part, it is safe to ask customers to move away from Documentum as there is sufficient negative publicity to Documentum and it is not in a position to retaliate well but I would have liked to see Oracle target more aggressively to other leaders like OpenText or even Microsoft. Microsoft and IBM are in position to retaliate strongly against oracle and I can understand the fear in Oracle to take them heads-on but taking up half of market share from OpenText and three fourths of non Life Sciences customers would be sufficient to propel Oracle to the leader in ECM space.

If I were in Oracle’s place, I would have asked the whole R&D to quickly prepare for a server that would come with Oracle Linux as the Operating System, Oracle as the database, WebLogic as the App Server and all of the Fusion Middleware installed on it with just an ability to put in a license code and enable to functionality. The benefit would have been that as a customer, I would not have to install any software, worry about compatibility or skills needed to deploy it or to size. Just build in relevant sizing logic in the system that can tell you that server A is good to run a CMS for 100 concurrent users. Server B is good for doing it for 500 users and so on. This would allow Oracle to provide its customer with one software, enable trials for them to evaluate products and most importantly, it will allow Business Units of a company to take charge of the servers without having to depend on IT department and that itself would have been a big advantage for many customers.

Oracle has done a very good strategic investment in Sun. It took them five years to do something good with the Stellent acquisition, I really hope they do something better with Sun than to just fight with Google over Java patents. Getting royalty money is easy money but that will not take Oracle very far. I can deposit all my money in bonds and earn yield on top of it but that is a non-ideal way to exploit it. Come on Oracle, there is a world out there, waiting for the next wave in ECM.


#ECM #SharePoint #Documentum #Oracle