Oracle Prepares to Buy Primavera

9 Oct, 2008 By: Kenneth Wong

Database giant marches toward project management in manufacturing and AEC markets.

In Oracle president Charles Phillips' estimation, 20% of the world's gross domestic product is spent annually on projects. If everything goes according to plan, his company will soon own a piece of that pie. Preparations began on October 8, when Oracle announced its intent to acquire Primavera, a project management software company.

Primavera's territory is on the outskirts of CAD, in a manner of speaking. Once you have secured funding, developed your design, and identified a supply chain, Primavera software could be a tool you use to monitor your project and keep it on schedule. With features to give detailed views and snapshots of cash flow, risk factors, forecasts, and project phases, Primavera is the digital equivalent of an executive dashboard, populated with live data. The Pennsylvania-based firm has a portfolio that caters to those in aerospace and defense, AEC, high-tech, IT, and manufacturing, among others.

According to the announcement, "Primavera employees and management are expected to join Oracle to form a global business unit (GBU) focused on enterprise PPM (project portfolio management), and to help ensure a smooth transition for Primavera customers and partners. Primavera's CEO Joel Koppelman is expected to lead the business unit as senior vice-president and general manager."

Oracle's Stake in BIM
Among Primavera's partners is Bentley Systems, a building information modeling (BIM) software supplier with market shares in building, plant, civil, and geospatial industries. Using Bentley's ProjectWise Schedule Simulation, users can import schedule data from Microsoft Project, Primavera Project Planner, or Microsoft Excel to create what's sometimes referred to as 4D visualization (with time, or the construction schedule, as the fourth dimension). Similarly, Autodesk Revit users may use a product developed by Innovaya to link their BIM models with Primavera (read "BIM and Project Planning," Cadalyst, March 1, 2007).

Oracle hasn't shown any inclination to muscle its way into BIM, but ownership of Primavera will give the database giant a small stake in this market. On the other hand, if Primavera's popularity grows under the Oracle brand, more BIM software developers might be inspired to work closely with Oracle to bridge their solutions with its business applications, a scenario that could brew unforeseen integration attempts.

Just weeks before Oracle moved forward with the acquisition, Primavera touted Primavera Inspire as an SAP-endorsed business solution. As Primavera's new owner, Oracle would be in a position to pitch an SAP-endorsed product to SAP customers, adding complexity to the long-running Oracle-SAP rivalry.