RealTime IT News

Oracle to Buy Retail Software Smarts

Oracle agreed to acquire ProfitLogic, which makes a type of business intelligence software that gauges customer patterns to help retailers boost profits.

Financial terms of the deal were not made public but Boston-based ProfitLogic applications and 250 employees will be integrated into Retek's merchandise planning and optimization teams. Oracle expects to close the deal by the end of this month.

The deal should provide the third leg of a comprehensive retail tripod for Oracle, which outbid giant SAP for retail applications maker Retek earlier this year and has long made its own database software for back-end systems.

Duncan Angove, general manager of Oracle's Retek global business unit, said on a conference call the combination of Oracle, Retek and ProfitLogic will create the first business intelligence-driven platform for retailers.

"What that means is the automation software that Oracle and Retek have will now be infused with insight from the ProfitLogic software," Angove said. "It builds on a shared vision the companies have that customer insight should be the foundation for all the decisions a retailer makes."

ProfitLogic current customers include some of the biggest names in retail: American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale, JC Penney and Nordstrom, among others.

Oracle shares many of the same customers as ProfitLogic and over 90 percent of ProfitLogic customers run Oracle databases. But Oracle said it will still pad its client base of over 1,900 retailers with the purchase.

Scott Friend, co-founder and president of ProfitLogic, said companies will win the retail battle not by besting Wal-Mart in efficiency, but by devoting attention to customer relationships.

"The combination of Oracle, Retek and ProfitLogic gives retailers a new level of customer intimacy into every decision they make," Friend said.

Oracle has been on something of an applications kick since gobbling up PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards in the last two years, attempting to tack on new dimensions to its software business to better compete with German applications leader SAP.

In related Oracle news, the Redwood Shores, Calif., company rolled out its Oracle Application Server Standard Edition One, geared for small- and medium-sized business customers.

The middleware will allow customers to build Web Sites using Web Scripting Languages, such as PHP, PERL and Java Server Pages (JSP). Clients can also build e-commerce applications using a Java development tool that supports standards such as JSP, servlets and Enterprise JavaBeans.

Along with per-processor pricing, the package is available with named user licensing at $149 per user with a minimum of five users.