Oracle Acquires Context Media

Oracle bought the technology and key personnel of Context Media earlier this month, in order to integrate enterprise document management (ECM) with its own software, officials said Tuesday.

The acquisition closed July 15, and officials did not release financial details.

Providence, R.I.-based Context Media is an Enterprise Content Integration (ECI) developer, creating software that ties together sometimes-incompatible enterprise content management (ECM) systems.

Rich Buchheim, Oracle senior director of project management for content products and strategy, said this kind of technology is important because many companies don’t institute corporate-wide ECM systems. Instead, small groups might have different system in place.

To bring those different systems together, an ECI application like Context Media’s Interchange Suite is necessary. The suite is made up of a context server, integration console and distribution console.

The software creates a pipeline to the different repositories, Buchheim said, as well as providing adapters and mapping tools to interface with the various systems. This prevents mismatches such as mapping of metadata, folder hierarchies or access control lists, when companies try to merge information from different systems, he added.

Based on Java and adhering to open standards, Context Media’s software allows a wide variety of ECM offerings to mingle, from EMC’s to IBM’s to Microsoft’s .

Clearly, Oracle would like to be able to migrate customers away from its competitors’ repositories and onto its own, but Buchheim indicated the company is amenable to peaceful co-existence.

“For the customer, the focus is on being able to do a broad deployment of content management to their users and minimize the change management as they move off the less-effective technologies that they’ve been using in the past,” Buchheim said. “Or, at their discretion, to co-exist with them over a period of time and also to protect their investment in their high-end ECM solutions, so that content services can co-exist side-by-side.”

Buchheim said the company is still working on ways to integrate Context Media’s software into its own software stack, but expects the company to have a product road map in place in 60 to 90 days. Oracle already has decided to put the software in its upcoming version of Oracle Collaboration Suite; it has plans to ultimately include it in a future version of the Oracle Fusion middleware suite.

Oracle follows a move made by IBM in August 2004, when it bought ECI vendor Venetica to marry its data repository with third-party offerings.

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