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Oracle Unveils PIM Data Hub

Oracle has unveiled its product information management solution. Announced last year, the Oracle PIM Data Hub is designed to enable customers to centralize all product information from heterogeneous systems, creating a single product repository that can be leveraged across functional departments.

This offering comes after the launch last year of Oracle’s Customer Data Hub, a solution designed to centralize, update and clean customer data, and then synchronize it with enterprise applications. The company also recently announced the Oracle Financial Consolidation Hub, which is designed to provide control of the financial consolidation process by integrating and automating such processes as data synchronization, currency translation and acquisitions.

AMR Research analyst Lora Cecere, who has characterized technology such as the Oracle PIM Data Hub as "fundamental to a demand-driven supply network strategy," likes the timing of this release.

"Oracle got the data hub concept right by starting with the Customer Data Hub and has refined it with the introduction of the Oracle PIM Data Hub," Cecere says. "However, this is just a starting point. The effective use of the product data for better decisions is the next step."

The Oracle PIM Data Hub will become part of Oracle's recently re-branded Fusion Middleware product family, which includes the Oracle Application Server, Web portal, business intelligence software and other products.

The PIM Data Hub is designed to support business processes around:

  • Managing sell-side and buy-side product catalogs: Customers can store finished-goods product information and organize products into user-defined catalogs for keyword-based or parametric search.
  • Consolidating products and components into the Oracle Product Information Management Hub, allowing for the management of product specifications, product documents and product configurations in a central system.
  • Consolidating and managing bills of materials from multiple engineering systems, sales configurations, global manufacturing plants and service organizations.

No more than a cottage industry five years ago, the market for PIMs (not to be confused with personal information managers) has exploded, due in part to mandates from big retailers—first Wal-Mart, but later companies including Lowe’s and Home Depot—that require suppliers to provide product data electronically.

PIMs have also caught the attention of IT managers looking to authenticate and validate a company’s internal processes to meet SOX requirements, as well as managers looking for a way to the context for the RFID serial numbers.

Other big enterprise software vendors are already offering PIM solutions. IBM launched its WebSphere Product Center Version 5 last year, which is based on technology acquired with Trigo Technologies. SAP acquired PIM provider A2i to improve the Master Data Management capabilities of its NetWeaver platform.

Oracle plans to launch two more data hubs this year: the Oracle Citizen Data Hub, for government agencies that want to create and manage a comprehensive citizen data repository; and the Oracle Financial Services Accounting Data Hub, for financial institutions that need to centralize financial operation data, standardize accounting and reporting, and accelerate regulatory disclosure and management reporting cycles.

The Oracle PIM Data Hub is now available. For more information, go to: http://www.oracle.com/data_hub/pim_data_hub.html.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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