In case you were not among the 43,000 delegates this year at Oracle OpenWorld 2008, Oracle did reveal interesting details on WebCenter adoption, progress on BEA integration, and also on their enterprise portal strategy and roadmap.
As readers of the Enterprise Portals Report know, WebCenter is an impressive offering for developers, but unfortunately offers very few out-of-the-box services for business users. According to Oracle, WebCenter adoption is growing, and many of the new projects include integration to the vendor's "UCM" (formerly Stellent) offering for content management. System integrators are now beginning to build practice areas around WebCenter, as they go through initial project cycles.
If any existing BEA customers thought that Oracle would rest on the portal laurels, they clearly were wrong. Since the updated portal strategy was announced a few months ago, ALUI became a part of WebCenter Suite. As of this week, WebLogic Portal is now also a part of WebCenter Suite, so that new customers can mix and match among the four portals in Oracle's offering. Oracle claims that most BEA engineers have been retained at Oracle, which now has more than 25,000 developers on the payroll.
On the roadmap is the delayed 11g release, which is now scheduled for H1, 2009. 11g is currently in an on-going customer beta program. Among the themes for 11g are social computing, collaboration enhancements, and better standards support. Later in 2009, Oracle expects to introduce support for IBM WebSphere as an application platform, perhaps in a move to help its sales force sell WebCenter into traditional Big Blue accounts.
Finally, while SharePoint is indeed changing the portal landscape, many customers here in San Francisco and the very large Oracle ecosystem reminded me that there is still a thriving enterprise portal market outside (above?) SharePoint. I even met some who decided not to go through the difficult upgrade from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint 2007, but instead decided to shift to Oracle WebCenter.
Other customers, meanwhile, are headed in the other dirction; see for example my commentary from earlier this week: Questioning Oracle's Portal Leadership.