Oracle Touts a Hub for Enterprise Information Integration
Customer Data Hub serves as a single repository for data consolidation and cleansing.
Data integration woes are a fact of life in most IT organizations, but late last month Oracle Corp. introduced its new Customer Data Hub that serves as a focal point for an IT organization’s enterprise information integration (EII) efforts.
Oracle says that the new hub can be used with Oracle and non-Oracle applications alike, although it's likely to be most welcomed by customers who have deployed Oracle’s E-Business Suite along with third-party, custom, or legacy applications.
Customer Data Hub proposes to serve as a single repository—effectively an operational data store—for the consolidation and cleansing of data from a variety of different sources. The product has three components: The Oracle Data Model (extended to support non-Oracle and mixed—i.e., Oracle and non-Oracle—application environments), Oracle Customers Online, and Oracle Data Librarian.
Oracle has extended its Oracle Data Model with two APIs customers can exploit to provide access to custom or third-party applications. In addition, Oracle Customers Online provides customer management, source system management, and relationship management capabilities for business applications, such that organizations can consolidate, view, or update data associated with these applications. The package’s third component, Oracle Data Librarian, offers consolidation and data quality tools.
According to Mike Schiff, a senior analyst with consultancy Current Analysis Inc., Oracle’s “new” Customer Data Hub offering sounds an awful lot like its old Customer Hub, which Schiff says has been available since at least 2002. At the same time, Schiff notes, given the forum at which Oracle trumpeted Customer Data Hub—its AppsWorld user conference in San Diego—Oracle seems serious about marketing its data integration technology this time around.
“[W]hile Customer Data Hub appears to now publicize a renamed version of its prior Customer Hub, it is now being actively marketed. This will allow the Oracle sales force to present a more credible scenario of how Oracle applications can be integrated with those already in use in the prospect’s organization,” Schiff writes.
Although the database giant has positioned Customer Data Hub as a solution for non-Oracle environments (or, at the very least, for environments that have substantial investments in custom or third-party applications), Schiff notes that it is still highly dependent on other pieces of Oracle technology – such as the Oracle database and Oracle Application Server. Schiff says the hub is probably not a good choice for a standalone EII solution in non-Oracle environments.
Oracle isn’t the first EII vendor on the block by a long shot, but analysts say that the new Customer Data Hub offers at least one compelling advantage over many competing EII products.
“It combines the functionality of an operational data store for a complete customer view with the functionality of an Enterprise Information Integration … offering for near-real-time access while also incorporating business intelligence capabilities,” Schiff writes. “However, unlike most EII solutions, the Oracle Customer Data Hub provides a persistent data store.”
Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.