October 18, 2011 – Oracle announced it has entered into an agreement to buy Endeca Technologies Inc., a privately held provider of unstructured data management solutions.

Endeca’s MDEX Engine enables correlation and analysis of unstructured data, and is the core of its customer experience management platform, InFront, and information integration platform, Latitude. Oracle highlighted Endeca’s capabilities for dual processing and storage of structured and unstructured information as principal to the proposed deal. Oracle intends to combine its Oracle Business Intelligence (OBIEE) with Latitude, and its ATG Commerce platform with InFront, according to a news release on the announced acquisition.

Steve Papa, Endeca CEO, said that his provider’s approach to hybrid search-analytics will support many existing Oracle customers for retail, distribution, media, government and manufacturing.

Forrester analyst Boris Evelson, in his latest blog on the deal, noted that the deal gives Oracle’s BI suite an advantage with data integration and BI search over current offerings from rivals IBM and SAP, though not without “significant challenges.”

“As the first order of business I expect the combined teams to first come up with an SQL or MDX wrapper for Endeca so that OBIEE can be used to access its index,” Evelson wrote. “Beyond that I expect that Oracle will position Endeca as a special purpose BI tool.”

However, Mike Davis, analyst with independent consultancy Ovum, indicated that the acquisition is more of a move to replace its other enterprise search product, with a bit of overlap in its existing BI offerings.

“Endeca was the last of the ‘big” independent enterprise search engines – Autonomy and FAST having already been swallowed by HP and Microsoft, respectively – and [I] believe this continues to illustrate that even the biggest software companies often fail to get their innovation fast enough internally,” Davis says.

Financial details were not disclosed, and the deal is subject to closing conditions. Endeca will operate independently until the deal closes, Oracle stated.

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