Oracle Corp turned an otherwise routine new product announcement into an executive moment, as president Charles Phillips introduced the new head of its systems management product unit, and announced that it will now compete head-on with the likes of BMC, CA, IBM Tivoli, and whatever HP is calling OpenView these days.
The occasion was the formal rollout of Oracle Enterprise Manager release 3, which in all other respects was an incremental release. Its new capabilities include new management packs or adapters for Oracle E-Business suite and Siebel CRM, plus new plug-ins and connectors to Oracle Fusion middleware.
And Oracle also announced an alliance with Nimsoft, which provides adapters so Oracle Enterprise Manager can manage SAP.
But the reason for interrupting Charles Phillips’ busy schedule was to announce that Oracle Enterprise Manager would no longer be sold as an afterthought.
We’ve undersold this product, he admitted, adding, It was typically five minutes tacked onto the discussion of a database call.
Oracle will now promote Enterprise Manager based on the fact that it knows Oracle apps best. Nobody else has the ability to manage the entire stack, from the application down, Phillips claimed.
Phillips then introduced Richard Sarwall, an 18-year company veteran who is taking over as senior vice president of the systems management product unit. According to Phillips, Oracle would not only add new functionality (such as additional management packs), but also dedicate some sales staff to selling only this product. Plus, Oracle plans to cross train other parts of the field force on Enterprise Manager.
Oracle is entering a market that was fairly flat and mature until the emergence of the ITIL framework began shaking things up. Over the past 12 to 18 months, each of the major players have begun fleshing out their strategies to provide more business- and compliance-centric views on what had traditionally been a low level infrastructure management function.
Oracle is basing its message on the fact that, as an applications vendor, it will have a higher level business view of service levels than the usual suspects. And of course, it is heavily promoting its home field advantage with database and application that, for instance, gives it an obvious advantage in software patch management.
However, as Oracle comes from an application, rather than a data center infrastructure background, it is not promoting ITIL, or at least not just yet anyway.
In a way that’s surprising given its recent rollout of GRC (Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance) applications that seek to consolidate a number of similar functions from its existing application stack. There would be an obvious synergy between Enterprise Manager and GRC, given their overlap in change, service level, and access management; plus the fact that while one product reports compliance issues, the other could execute.
Consequently, with a new product version, a new head of a business unit, and a new top management mandate, Oracle says that it is going to become a real player in the application management market. But it still has some thinking to do to figure out just what it involves.