Oracle is wagering serious money that PLM (product lifecycle management) software will become more critical to all kinds of IT customers with its US$495 million bid this week for PLM specialist Agile Software.
PLM tools help an organisation track the development of its products and document and support that process.
"It's increasingly hard for a company to differentiate itself from the competition," says Jon Chorley, vice president of supply chain execution and PLM strategy at Oracle. "There's really not much left. There's really only innovation. How you develop new products will be critical."
Subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, Oracle hopes to close the acquisition of Agile in July. Agile will then become part of Oracle's applications business and the company plans to more tightly integrate the PLM software with its other business software. For instance, Oracle will look to integrate its Siebel customer relationship management software with Agile so that customer feedback on products can be fed into the product, as well as linking demand management data from its enterprise resource planning applications to the PLM software.