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Oracle Acquires Data Quality Vendor

Silver Creek buy will bolster Oracle product data management capabilities and might trigger more vendor consolidation.

Oracle this week announced it has completed the acquisition of Silver Creek Systems, the Westminster, Colo.-based purveyor of DataLens product data quality software. Oracle says the technology will bolster its data hub, product lifecycle management, supply chain and ERP applications. Silver Creek was a small, privately held company and the terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Nonetheless, the deal could spark more merger and acquisition activity in the information management arena.

Silver Creek's technology is used by companies that buy, make or sell products prone to complex data quality issues, such as computers and electronics, part and repair items, or electrical and plumbing supplies. Electronics distributor Avnet, for instance, uses Silver Creek's software to match customer line-item requests against the more than two million items in its master catalog. The software helps the company automatically match millions of electronic bids against the arcane part-numbering schemes of its more than 280 suppliers.

Last April, Oracle introduced a Product Data Quality Cleansing and Matching Server based on Silver Creek's DataLens technology. The server is used to restructure product data and then load it into Oracle Product Hub, the database vendor's master data management (MDM) system.

"The two vendors had been partnering for a while, and this acquisition makes perfect sense," wrote Gartner MDM analyst Andrew White in a blog post on the deal. "Oracle decided -- at long last -- to take Silver Creek off the market and fill in this gap in its product strategy. It was a gap that had been festering for some time, made more acute with its growing MDM strategy."

MDM is one of the fastest-growing information management software categories. Oracle's competition in the category includes IBM and SAP as well as pure-play MDM vendors Siperian, Initiate Systems and Kalido. The Silver Creek deal may have larger repercussions in the MDM market. Some believe Informatica has stayed out of the MDM market to avoid provoking Oracle, which licenses its data quality technology as part of its MDM offerings. But rumor has it that Oracle will end its supply agreement with Informatica, which would likely spark a new round of acquisitions.

Forrester data integration analyst Rob Karel recently told Intelligent Enterprise, "If Oracle were to drop the OEM relationship, it's very likely Informatica would then feel very comfortable making an MDM acquisition and competing directly with Oracle."

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