Oracle buys firm for unstructured search technology
BOSTON  — Oracle Corp. is buying Endeca Technologies, a move that will bolster its capabilities for searching and analyzing unstructured information.

The acquisition, announced Tuesday, may also be a response to rival Hewlett-Packard Co.’s recent acquisition of Autonomy. Terms of the Endeca deal, which is expected to close before the end of this year, were not disclosed.

Endeca’s technologies include the MDEX engine for processing unstructured information, such as emails and other text-based data, as well as the Latitude analytic application platform and InFront CEM (customer experience management) product.

Companies are grappling with an ever-larger explosion of unstructured information generated by their websites, social networks, call centers and other sources. HP [NYSE:HPQ] and Oracle [Nasdaq: ORCL] both want to offer such enterprises the ability to analyze that data quickly and comprehensively to gain insights and cost savings.

Along with Oracle’s ATG Commerce and BI (business intelligence) applications, Endeca’s products will result in “a suite of analytic tools to correlate and analyze structured and unstructured data through common sets of user interfaces,” Oracle said in a FAQ document on the acquisition. It also plans to roll out a series of industry-specific packaged analytic applications.

The Endeca buy also gives Oracle the ability to create an “integrated suite of commerce and customer experience management products to help companies improve their customers’ interactions across all channels,” the FAQ said.

Along with such technology, Endeca, based in Cambridge, Mass., will give Oracle further inroads into the world’s largest enterprise accounts. It has 600 customers, among them Toyota, Ford, Raytheon and Walmart.

In a news release announcing the deal, Oracle said Endeca’s InFront is a customer experience management platform that enables businesses to deliver highly targeted and relevant customer experiences online with advanced merchandising and content targeting tools for Web commerce. Endeca Latitude is a platform that enables businesses to rapidly develop analytic applications bringing information from many unstructured and structured information sources together.
Oracle said it will link ATG Commerce with InFront to improve online customer experiences. Oracle Business Intelligence will leverage Latitude to offer a business intelligence and analytic applications.

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