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Business intelligence the big winner in Oracle-BEA deal?

Oracle's business intelligence software should be a perfect complement to BEA Systems' BI-light SOA stack.

Oracle's bid to acquire rival BEA Systems won't close for months, but the deal's business intelligence (BI) implications are already apparent, according to one analyst.

The news is good for BEA customers.

That's because BEA's SOA stack has long lacked a strong BI component, a shortcoming that Oracle's BI offerings should remedy, according to James Kobielus, a BI analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. "In many ways, BI being the crown jewel [of SOA], you can't have a strong SOA stack without BI," he said.

Oracle's BI Enterprise Edition and Oracle-Hyperion's performance management tools are both significant upgrades to any of BEA's current BI offerings, Kobielus said, and they will soon be the preferred choice for BEA customers.

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"Obviously, there's a lot of direct competition between BEA and Oracle," he said, "but on the business intelligence front, I think they fit like hand-in-glove."

Oracle announced Wednesday that it will acquire BEA Systems for around $8.5 billion. The deal came as a surprise to some analysts, as an $8.3 billion Oracle bid for the San Jose, Calif.-based software maker in October was rebuffed.

The two rivals complement each other on a number of other fronts as well.

"Other obvious benefits for the enterprise IT users include Oracle and BEA complementary strengths … that promise considerable synergies for their BI customers," wrote Kobielus and fellow Forrester analyst Boris Evelson in a blog post.

Oracle has particular "depth and breadth" in packaged applications, database management systems, data warehousing, extract transform load, and business performance tools, they wrote. BEA is strong in areas where Oracle is not, including complex event processing, enterprise information integration and data federation.

How long Oracle will continue offering BEA's SOA stack, however, is another question.

"Oracle will [now] have multiple SOA stacks," Kobielus said, "[and at some point] will have to show its hand in terms of what is its preferred SOA stack going forward. Chances are it will default, preferring many or most of its own existing offerings."

The good news for customers is that Kobielus doesn't expect such a move to come for at least two years -- after Oracle has rebranded and integrated BEA's BI technologies.

BEA is also a "visionary" when it comes to Web 2.0 tools and applications and is "one of the leading SOA vendors proselytizing and promoting this new approach," Kobielus said. "BEA in many ways will be Oracle's signature brand for Web 2.0-style development."

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