The FatWire Acquisition

In case you hadn't heard, Oracle recently announced their acquisition of FatWire, a fairly sizable Web Experience Management company. I was on vacation during most of the kerfluffle kerfuffle, so wasn't able to give a thoughtful response...

Firstly, it's important to draw a distinction between Oracle's Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Fatwire's Web Experience Management (WEM). Both of them can be used for Web Content Management (WCM), but they are different beasts. To be clear, WCM is a subset of ECM, but it's also a subset of WEM. An ECM system manages content and content life cycles. A WEM system manages the entire user experience on a web site: personalization, targeting, and social collaboration just to name a few.

Clearly, because ECM and WEM overlap, there's an open question about how this integration will ultimately work out... Oracle UCM has always "played nice" when people wanted a different front-end for their content. That was a major driver behind Site Studio 10gr4: make easy-to-use web services so you can "surface" your content in a different application. If it works in PHP and .NET, I'm sure it wouldn't be tough to show WCM content on a FatWire page. I've made far crazier integrations...

This raises a bigger question... why didn't Oracle just build a WEM solution themselves? They have UCM, ATG, WebLogic Portal, and Real-Time Decisions. Certainly they could wire these all together into something comparable to FatWire, right? Right?

Yes, of course... but I think we've bumped into the classic "build-versus-buy" dilemma... Oracle saw a need, and did some quick math. Should they hire 50 new developers and have them build out revision one of Oracle WEM (build)... or they could swoop in and purchase a mature existing product (buy)? There's no "right" answer here... they both have trade-offs.

Doing a "build" would require hiring a lot of people really fast and getting them up to speed with all the pieces... but at least it would be immediately compatible. Doing a "buy" is more costly, and you still need to spend a lot of time ensuring everything is properly hot-swappable... but in many cases a "buy" is less risky, and has the added benefit of reducing the number of moves your competitors have to keep up with you... In this case, Oracle chose the "buy" route.

What's this mean for existing UCM/WCM customers? Nothing groundbreaking... at least not yet. If you are using Site Studio the way it was designed, you likely have content-centric web sites with some AJAX or custom widgets to make them more dynamic. If you pushed WCM further, you're likely already using some kind of portal to surface your content, and FatWire would just be an alternative to the portal. But for new customers? I could see this as a very interesting time to re-vamp your e-commerce web sites...


site is down?

FatWire's site appears to be down...

i saw that...

Glitch in the matrix for about an hour there... working fine now.

Thought I'd mention the typo. I've learned a new word but you almost made me learn the wrong one ;-)

It doesn't seem to be uncommon for Oracle to have overlapping or even (close to) functionally equal technologies. I appreciate your insights on this though and this makes the acquisition make much more sense. Cheers, Wim


My spell checker didn't like kerfluffle, but oddly didn't offer any alternatives... so I just ran with it!

Although personally, I prefer my own spelling...

Oracle "new" WebCenter strategy

As Oracle Announced it's New WebCenter Strategy including WebCenter Sites which is based on the WEM of FatWire, and Oracle ECM as a part of WebCenter suite under the name of WebCenter Content, don't you think that by that Oracle is killing the WCM in ECM?!

I don't think so...

There's stuff that FatWire does that Site Studio does not, and vice versa. No matter what, FatWire will need to surface content from UCM, and doing it through the Site Studio web services makes sense. So "killing it" sounds a bit dramatic to me.

I'm hoping they will clarify their vision of the 2 products in their next webcast.



I am working as Fatwire Developer. Will it have good future?

Re: Fatwire

I think so... if the UCM acquisition is any clue, it should have a bright future. Oracle doesn't buy stuff to shut it down: that's Computer Associates. Oracle buys stuff so they can sell the hell out of it, and they usually invest a lot of money in R&D.

UCM to Fatwire migration

Hi Bex,

We use UCM to develope our web-sites. What is the advantage of migrating to Fatwire ?
How costly it is to convert tens of our sites developed on UCM over to Fatwire?


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