Oracle’s extended buying streak continued into 2010 with the first acquisition of the year – Silver Creek Systems, Inc., a product information management specialist based in Westminster, Colorado.

The combination of Silver Creek and Oracle is expected to enhance data quality across Oracle’s enterprise applications, particularly product information management, data hub, agile product lifecycle management, supply chain management and enterprise resource planning offerings, according to the company release.

Though Silver Creek is a relatively small private company, it holds a virtual monopoly in delivering advanced product data quality capabilities, said Rob Karel, Forrester Research analyst, in a July 2009 report.

“Silver Creek Systems is the one vendor that plays a very unique role in what it refers to as product data mastering space, and holds a major influence across many PIM and MDM solution providers,” Karel said. “While other [data quality vendors] support product data quality to some extent, none offers the same breadth of built-in capabilities and workflows that Silver Creek System has developed to support the unique and complex challenges associated with product data.”

Silver Creek’s already established OEM relationship with Oracle allowed the database, application and middleware giant to see the value of getting product data quality in house, said Dan Power, founder and president of Hub Solution Designs, Inc. “The next logical step was to bring the product in house and make it part of the Oracle family.”

It’s a step that may present a particular challenge for competitors in the space however.

“It’s a very good strategic acquisition and a very good competitive move, because many of Oracle’s competitors rely on Silver Creek to add a competitive edge. The reality is a lot of them will have to look elsewhere for product data quality expertise now,” said Karel, who expressed previous concern with Oracle’s dependence on an exclusive partner and OEM strategy.

Embedding product data quality is a good first step, says Karel, but Oracle has yet to internally address customer data quality – a much larger market place. “This is a hint to me that they see the need to bring this stuff in house, and I’m hoping they follow this up with a customer data quality acquisition as well.”

“PIM is a different kettle of fish altogether from MDM for customer data” – To read Dan Power’s column on this topic click here.