Eye on Oracle

Nov 4 2008   2:50PM GMT

Oracle hunts for bargains in down economy

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

While the falling economy may be bad news for Oracle’s Web 2.0 applications, it just may have the opposite effect on Oracle’s acquisition strategy.

As one Wall Street Journal blogger wrote, “Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said recently that the souring economy would present his company with more opportunities to make acquisitions.

So, which opportunity did Ellison take first?

Last week, Oracle announced its plans to acquire RuleBurst Holdings Ltd., the parent company of the small software-maker Haley Ltd., in a deal that’s expected to close in the first quarter of 2009.

Haley, a provider of policy modeling and automation software, will push Oracle into the social services industry. According to Oracle’s press release, the software giant will combine Haley’s policy automation platform with its ERP and Siebel CRM applications to “create the first packaged software solution for social services agencies with an enhanced case management application.”

More specifically, “the combination of Oracle’s Siebel CRM and Haley products help manage the intake, screening and eligibility calculations of benefit applicants, to identify the proper benefits from social services agencies. The acquisition will simplify the solution relationship for customers and is expected to accelerate the development of integration efforts,” Oracle wrote on its website.

However, Oracle’s 10th acquisition of 2008 may do more than propel it into social services. According to Oracle, “the Haley policy automation platform is also used in other industries that are highly regulated, such as financial services and insurance, to implement and manage complicated and rapidly changing policies.”

In this blog post, Mercury News’ Jack Davis discusses how this new Oracle acquisition foretells a more regulated future. And, with this too, it seems like our economy will come into play:

“If the various iterations of the plans to rescue Wall Street from its mania for derivative financial instruments are any indication, the process will be both complex and full of very rapid changes indeed,” Davis writes about Oracle’s possible new role in the financial industry.  

It should be interesting to see what other opportunities the economy presents for Oracle in the coming months. But really, even if the economy were on the upswing, would the “acquisition machine” act any differently?

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