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Ellison`s take on PeopleSoft, datahubs

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Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has reaffirmed his company`s commitment to datahubs and hinted of a merged product line after the PeopleSoft buyout.

Speaking at OracleWorld in San Francisco yesterday, Ellison`s keynote also elaborated on the company`s plans once the acquisition of PeopleSoft is finalised.

He said the company would do everything it could to support PeopleSoft 8 customers and put its efforts behind finishing the long-awaited next version of the solution, PeopleSoft 9.

In the long-term, he said Oracle plans to release a functionally-merged product, taking the best aspects of both products into consideration, combining the two engineering teams and support presences into a single, more powerful one.

"We plan to invest more in the applications and support for those applications than we could have done independently and ultimately, give SAP a good run for their money."

Datahub plans

Ellison alluded to the coming release of solutions that expand the company`s current customer datahub into other verticals, including the financial and manufacturing environments.

"For years now, the market - and Oracle in particular - has been building tools that allow companies and senior management within companies to gain greater visibility into all aspects of the organisation. And despite the best efforts, the market has never done a good job of delivering consistent and up to date information to the people that really need it."

Ellison was referring to basic information like inventory, profitability levels, staff efficiency and supplier performance.

"The big question is whether this information can be available globally and easily accessed. While the answer is yes, contrary to popular belief this is not achievable because customers are not using Oracle or any other vendor`s BI tools, it is that the information is chopped up into small pieces and stored in different systems all over the world," Ellison explained.

One of the solutions to this dilemma is Oracle`s e-business suite, which allows all applications to operate on a single database, going a long way towards solving this most fundamental IT problem, namely data fragmentation, he said.

Centralising data

The motivation for taking this route and using such a solution is quite simple, said Ellison. Many different systems housing a customer`s data cost money and are increasingly difficult to manage.

While centralising data in a single global instance will give the organisation better information, the major benefit is the savings customers can realise on the labour used to manage these systems and the infrastructure used to run these disparate systems.

While Oracle is now running on a single global instance of its database based on its e-business suite, Ellison notes that Oracle took five years to reach this point internally.

"So, if it took Oracle five years to do, how long will it take someone else? And if it`s a challenge organisations aren`t up to right now, is there something that can be done in the medium-term to deliver some of these benefits? The answer is yes and it`s something we call a datahub."

The datahub is a concept that has existed for some time in the global credit database, which is used by all global financial institutions to vet new clients, decide on the amount of credit to loan new clients and store credit exposure.

Just like this database puts the information in the hands of people that can use it, namely the banks and merchants, a datahub pulls relevant data from many disparate systems and delivers it to someone who can use it in the organisation, like the CEO.

"Right now, the most important datahub is the customer datahub (which Oracle has already made available in the market), allowing companies to gauge customer satisfaction levels, what they have purchased, what the demand levels are in the market and more. This information can be used across the organisation in areas such as sales, management and manufacturing."

One myth in the market is that this is simply another spin on data warehousing, a hyped technology that was supposed to cure all ills and provide sound and usable management data. "Datahubs are not data warehouses," Ellison stated. "Datahubs are different in that information is real-time and up to date."

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