Oracle Seeks Better Third-Party Integration with AIA Initiative
May 1, 2007 Alex Woodie
Oracle‘s vast customer base should find it easier to connect their Oracle applications to software from third-party vendors as a result of the new Application Integration Architecture (AIA), or “Project X,” initiative the software giant announced at its user conference two weeks ago. In reaching out to its partners, Oracle also unveiled ISV Solution Maps to help customers find products that have been certified to work with their Oracle applications.
Oracle launched the AIA initiative to provide itself, as well as third-party ISVs, with another way of hooking into Oracle’s enterprise products, including E-Business Suite (EBS), PeopleSoft Enterprise, J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne and World, and Siebel CRM. Previously, participants in Oracle’s PartnerNetwork had two ways of integrating with Oracle applications: native point-to-point connections or through Oracle Fusion Middleware. With AIA, partners gain a third option, Oracle says.
The integration will be composed of a common object model that’s based on business process execution language (BPEL). It’s the same integration model used by Fusion Middleware, which Oracle developed as an internal integration platform. But “customers will be able to extend the object model and have those extensions protected during upgrades” with the AIA integration model, Oracle says.
Tom Herrmann, vice president of worldwide ISV programs and management at Oracle, says customers will benefit when both Oracle and its ISV partners are writing to the same model under AIA. “This addresses so many pain points that, frankly, we’ve had to work out ourselves,” he says. “We’re our own best customer. Now we’re trying to extend that.”
AIA will bring higher levels of code stability for integrated applications going forward, Herrmann says. “Not only Oracle applications, but we’re also allowing partners to integrate to that same standard. So once we have integrated, they don’ have to worry about changes on the back end,” he says.
Partners will connect to the AIA model through a series of Process Integration Packs (PIPs) that Oracle will develop, and which will use Fusion Middleware. The first two PIPs will connect EBS and Siebel. Plans are underway to develop eight additional PIPs, including one connecting Siebel CRM On Demand to EnterpriseOne, and one connecting Oracle Transportation Management to EnterpriseOne. There do not appear to be any plans for developing a PIP for World.
Oracle also plans to work with ISVs to help them connect to Oracle’s applications. Oracle plans to provide ISVs with a formal program of “industry process content, governance methodology, testing, and validation” for their AIA-connected products. The only fees collected by Oracle will be for testing and validating the integrations, Herrmann says.
Oracle also unveiled a series of ISV Solution Maps to help Oracle’s customers find third-party products (as well as other Oracle products) that have been proved or certified to work with Oracle’s ERP and CRM products. The map can be accessed at www.oracle.com/partnerships/solution-maps/isv-solution-maps-oow.html.
Oracle decided to present the list in two ways: by vertical industries, such as insurance or retail, and by horizontal business processes, such as procurement or human capital management. Currently, there’s no easy way to see a list of products that have been certified for a given Oracle product, such as for the J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne or World ERP systems. Instead, users must drill down through the listings to individual product pages, which are maintained by vendors, to find specific ERP and platform compatibility information.
“These are the first initial release of the maps and there are a few things to work out . . . There’s a lot of work to be done,” Herrmann says. “There are 500 ISVs we’ve identified as key, [and] the bulk of them are represented. [But] some areas are built up more than others.”