Oracle today added to its ever-expanding roster of acquisitions with an agreement to purchase Art Technology Group (ATG) for $1 billion.
Cambridge, Mass.-based ATG makes e-commerce software to provide a cohesive online customer experience across channels. It's highly compatible with Oracle's CRM, ERP, Retail and Supply Chain applications, according to an Oracle statement.
"ATG is probably the most important third-party ecommerce provider," said Denis Pombriant, managing principal of Stoughton, Mass.-based Beagle Research Group LLC. "They had more in their kit out of the box and were able to deliver e-commerce faster and at a lower price than the competition. It makes sense a company like Oracle would be interested in them."
While Oracle has yet to reveal its plans for ATG other than to tout how complementary it is with Oracle's application portfolio, Pombriant suggested the combination of ATG with the Oracle CRM On Demand product would provide a useful tool.
Indeed, Oracle hinted at the possibilities of combining ATG's cross-channel e-commerce software with CRM.
“Driven by the convergence of online and traditional commerce and the need to increase revenue and improve customer loyalty, organizations across many industries are looking for a unified commerce and CRM platform to provide a seamless experience across all commerce channels,” Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of Oracle Product Development, said in a statement. “Bringing together the complementary technologies and products from Oracle and ATG will enable the delivery of next-generation, unified cross-channel commerce and CRM.”
For Suresh Vittal, principal analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc., the deal first and foremost shows that content, customers and commerce are coming together in a single platform.
"Increasingly, they're going to serve the customer through many different channels and enabling commerce at the interaction," Vittal said.
It also serves as a countermove to IBM's recent forays into the CRM market. In the past two years, IBM bought Unica, acquired Coremetrics for web analytics, predictive analytics capabilities from SPSS, Lombardi for BPM and purchased Sterling Commerce for cloud-based BPM.
"IBM's acquisition of Sterling, Unica, SPSS and Lombardi allows them to redefine the next generation CRM platform, and Oracle has made a countermove that goes after the WebSphere market," Vittal said.
Oracle made the cash offer for $6 per share and the deal is expected to close in early 2011.