Oracle updates Demantra one year after purchase

New release supports Oracle's Fusion middleware

Oracle Corp. has released the first major new version of its demand management software a year after acquiring the technology through the purchase of Demantra.

The database, middleware and applications vendor acquired privately held Demantra in June 2006 for an undisclosed sum to beef up its demand chain planning capabilities. The Demantra software helps companies accurately predict the likely demand for their products so they can better manage worldwide supply chains.

Available Monday, Oracle's Demantra 7.1.1 software features prebuilt integration with the advanced planning applications for both the vendor's E-Business Suite and its JD Edwards EnterpriseOne software, according to Jon Chorley, vice president of supply chain management strategy at Oracle. Oracle will continue to sell Demantra as a stand-alone product, but the software will also be available as part of E-Business Suite or JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, he said.

The new release also supports Oracle's Fusion middleware and includes improved demand analysis and forecasting capabilities. The vendor is working on further integration between Demantra and Oracle's Siebel CRM (customer relationship management) software to enable, for example, a user to preview the likely effects of a particular promotional campaign on demand for a specific product.

There had been a pre-existing long-term relationship between Demantra and JD Edwards, an ERP (enterprise resource planning) software vendor, which Oracle acquired when it purchased PeopleSoft in January 2005. Chorley estimated that about 50 percent to 60 percent of the Demantra customer base is running JD Edwards or other Oracle applications, with most of the rest on SAP AG's rival applications.

Among its many acquisitions, Oracle has made two other forays into the linked areas of demand, supply and product management, with the November 2005 purchase of transportation management software vendor Global Logistics Technologies (G-Log) and the pending US$495 million acquisition of product lifecycle management company Agile Software, due to close next month.

Key to all of these purchases is Oracle's aim to compete aggressively against its main rival SAP. In terms of Demantra's competitors, Chorley named SAP and a host of more niche players including i2, JDA, Logility and CAS. Oracle's acquisition strategy continues to be a mix of tight integration with its own applications while retaining links into third-party alternatives, he said.

Unlike the G-Log acquisition where Oracle rebranded the software it bought as Oracle Transportation Management, the vendor has so far opted to retain the Demantra name, which is a contraction of "Demand is our mantra." It's a decision the company may rethink in the future, Chorley said, adding, "We've been a little inconsistent on naming." While Demantra is a well-known brand, the danger of sticking with the name is that some customers may not realize that the software is well integrated with Oracle's software, he said.

Like its application competitors, Oracle is considering which of its many applications it would make sense to make available as hosted software. "We could do Demantra on-demand; it's certainly a possibility," Chorley said. Oracle could host the software or enable other companies to do so.

Oracle is likely to begin using Demantra internally, Chorley said. Tools like Demantra are becoming increasingly relevant to software and services vendors as they look to ensure that their demand and supply chains include customer feedback and meet regulatory standards.

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