A strategic move: Oracle buying S&OP specialist

In another shot across the bow to SAP, Oracle has acquired Interlace Systems, a provider of Integrated Business Planning tools, for an undisclosed sum. Interlace’s offerings help planners ensure that Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) remains on target.
By Tony Baer, contributing editor October 29, 2007

In another shot across the bow to SAP, Oracle has acquired Interlace Systems , a provider of Integrated Business Planning tools, for an undisclosed sum. Interlace’s offerings help planners ensure that Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) remains on target.

Oracle plans to fold the Interlace offering into the Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) suite that it inherited through the PeopleSoft acquisition. Specifically, Interlace would fill out a gap in EPM, which currently is used for consolidating financials to provide the bigger picture on enterprise profitability.

Interlace’s tools span across silos to fill in gaps in context that often result when sales, operations, and financial planners do not adequately communicate shared goals. They factor variables such as financial impact on revenues, working capital, and margins; demand elasticity; and supply chain-oriented parameters including inventory carrying costs, capacity modeling, and supply impacts. Using a common, dynamic body of metadata, which Interlace calls “Change-Based Data Modeling,” and an Excel spreadsheet-like front end, planners can simulate the impacts of different S&OP strategies. For instance, an analysis of a strategy to grant top priority to serving specific classes of customers might reveal that the strategy achieves marketing goals for customer retention, but violates goals for maintaining adequate margins or operational efficiency.

The company until now has played its partnering strategy straight down the middle. For instance, while it is already an Oracle technology partner, Interlace also is an IBM business partner and has achieved NetWeaver and Integration certifications from SAP . Ironically, on the day of acquisition, the company’s partner Web page gave slightly higher prominence to SAP by providing links to another page on the Interlace Web site detailing its SAP integration; no such pages existed for Oracle.

Oracle expects the deal to close next month.

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