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Oracle unveils new Portal Software release

Oracle says the new version of Portal Software is designed to streamline the processes related to communications-industry billing and revenue management systems.

Oracle this week unveiled a new version of Portal Software's billing and revenue management application for the telecommunications sector.

Oracle, which acquired Portal earlier this year after a longer than expected fracas with the company's shareholders, says the new version of the software -- Oracle Communications Billing and Revenue Management Release 7.3 -- is focused on streamlining the operational processes and costs related to managing communications billing and revenue management systems.

Sanjay Mehta, Oracle's director of product marketing for Portal, said the company streamlined these processes by providing a new central management console to monitor systems. He said the console offers tight integration with HP OpenView, Hewlett-Packard's widely used application management software.

"The second aspect of that is around providing a performance dashboard so that as you're looking at the system end-to-end, you can ensure it's running as optimally as possible on the available hardware configuration," Mehta said.

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Mehta added that in response to customer demand, the new version of the software offers the ability to conduct upgrades with zero or little downtime.

Oracle's offer to purchase Portal for about $200 million in April was initially met with opposition by some of the company's shareholders. Oracle renewed its tender offer twice before finally taking ownership of the company in June.

Ray Wang, a business applications analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research, told at the time that the purchase of Portal Software allows Oracle to compete directly with software companies like Amdocs Ltd. in the areas of order management and convergence.

Portal, which began as an Internet Service Provider in the late '80s, has since evolved to allow communications and media companies to manage finances related to multiple services including broadband, cable and voice over IP among others, according to Andrea Ward, Oracle's vice president of marketing for Portal.

"Oracle has really taken on a strategy to focus more on specific industries, and they started that about 18 months ago with the acquisition of Retek to set up their global retail business," Ward said.

During that time period Oracle has also begun making incursions into the financial services market by upping its stake in the Indian firm I-Flex, which makes analytical software for the banking industry, as well as the communications and media markets with Portal, Ward added.

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