Australian BEA customers welcome Oracle buy

Middleware consolidation has its advantages, users say

Oracle's seemingly endless buying spree may have alienated some customers, but two Australina firms, Hawker de Havilland and Australian Vintage, envisage an Oracle-owned BEA as beneficial in terms of vendor management and product support.

John Williamson, IT director at Australian Boeing subsidiary Hawker de Havilland, says for the most part, a merger between the two software giants will be beneficial for his organisation.

"It's a convenient acquisition for us as it is better to deal with less vendors," Williamson says.

"We find it easier to deal with a limited number of vendors so this reduces the number we have relationships with. The second thing that would be benefit is the alignment of development paths of both applications and the prospect of tighter integration."

Williams says if BEA had been acquired by another of the big four software companies, the benefits of application integration with Oracle would have been less likely.

When asked if the acquisition may result in less competition between vendors, Williamson said yes, this is more likely, but it will be offset by the aggregation of spending and the ability to negotiate with vendors because Hawker de Havilland will have a better buying power.

"The only risk to us is that we would hope they maintain a commitment to the application as we don't want to lose our investment," he says. "Based on history you would expect [Oracle] to maintain the commitment as they have done with the bigger application suites."

Williamson says enterprise application space was destined to converge as "there are only so many ways you can execute a business process".

He doesn't believe Oracle's buying spree is motivated by a desire for greater revenue from existing customers as it can "clearly grow by expanding within its existing product space or by moving into new product spaces".

Another Oracle and BEA Systems customer is wine producer Australian Vintage, which is in the process of implementing BEA Systems WebLogic Integration 8.1 Service Pack 6.

Australian Vintage CIO Ryan Klose says the move is seen as positive, because the company is "right in the guts" of the middleware space and since both vendors have "great solutions", it was in a stalemate as to which way it would go.

"I see now with Oracle acquiring BEA they will be doing the hard work and making our jobs as CIOs a hell of a lot easier," Klose says, adding now all the eggs will move into one basket.

On competition, Klose said there will always be an element of competition being dissolved as competition "keeps them honest and innovative," but, like Williamson, he believes middleware technology has "come in front of the business".

"BEA has one agenda across the SOA landscape and Oracle has another agenda and when you are playing with two vendors, and their partners, it has been difficult."

Klose says Australian Vintage is trying to achieve a "true SOA", but has also taken an alternative look at how technology is implemented and while doing that discovered both Oracle and BEA have complementary components.

"My gut tells me Oracle will go with WebLogic as internally it's very sound and proven," he says. "Oracle is very aggressive in this space but some times you want a stable core."

Australian Vintage's WebLogic solution, to be deployed by BEA's service delivery partner, Renewtek, is aimed at streamlining the company's supply chain processes by automating stock control to meet changes in customer orders, and reduce IT development and maintenance costs.

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