The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company announced this week it is developing a new bridge that will translate and manage the data flow from Siebel's sales force automation system to back office automation software like SAP's R/3 and J.D. Edwards' OneWorld product.
Oberon is one of a handful of companies that makes enterprise integration systems. The systems act as bridges between different software systems which have application programming interfaces at each end specifically built for the software system they serve. By using a product like Oberon's, a user could link SAP's enterprise resource planning system to a supply chain management system from Manugistics or in this latest case to sales force automation systems from Siebel.
Analysts say such systems could save users the time and expense of doing the integration work themselves. It also opens up choices to users who may not want to settle for buying all products from a single vendor, a common way to avoid integration headaches.
"There are two phenomena going on right now driving this market," said Harry Tse, analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston. "In the back office, the market is consolidating to a group of core backbone providers like SAP, PeopleSoft, or Oracle. So the target isn't moving anymore. And in the front office, the market has consolidated so there are only a handful of vendors."
Tse explained that application integration vendors like Oberon can easily build the integration between the limited players on each side of the equation. The problem is the vendors themselves can build that integration themselves In fact, most niche vendors like Siebel or Manugistics on the supply chain side, have built their own interfaces and links to ERP systems like SAP's and PeopleSoft's, Tse said.
This leaves a small window of opportunity for Oberon and competitors such as CrossWorlds Software and Vitria. Tse said where those firms need to carve their market niche is in developing links to legacy systems or custom building links to proprietary systems like electronic data interchange software. He added, most of the vendors are starting to head in that direction and those that aren't, should be soon.