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Risk analysis software now part of Oracle Agile PLM software portfolio

Enhancements to version 9.3 of the Agile lifecycle product focus on risk analysis and integration with more applications.

Trumpeting its product's improved risk analysis feature and ability to lower development costs, Oracle rolled out a spruced-up version of its Agile Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) backbone that can integrate with a broader array of applications.

Hardeep Gulati, Oracle's vice president in charge of PLM product strategy, said the major goal Oracle wanted to accomplish with the newly minted Version 9.3 of Agile PLM was to deliver to users a product that could not just mitigate risk but also improve user productivity.

"With the literally hundreds of changes [in Version 9.3], we think this is a more strategic tool that can really impact a corporation's profitability and mitigate their risk," Gulati said. "This version should give companies more out-of-the-box processes to support a number of different enterprise initiatives but does so within the framework of a scalable PLM backbone."

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"With 9.3, we can already see an improved level of usability and productivity in the product development processes," Hartley said. "We should be able to leverage our current applications infrastructure with the Enterprise PLM Backbone in 9.3."

Oracle focused on risk analysis in the new release because of the frequent changes to variables such as supplier performance changes, component shortages, and price changes, Gulati said. All of these factors can increase a company's risk in highly competitive, thin-margin businesses.

Consequently, in Version 9.3 the company has added Supplier Risk Analysis, which identifies high-risk suppliers based on quality and compliance; Part Risk Analysis, which helps categorize new parts or parts that lack specifics such as price; and Product Quality Risk Analysis, which can highlight the products that are most vulnerable to quality issues and prioritize user complaints according to their urgency.

Because one of its goals with the new version was easier integration with other business applications, Oracle bolstered the product's SOA capabilities, according to Gulati. Consequently, this greater integration helps corporate users more efficiently deploy PLM services and keep associated costs down.

Some of the new SOA-flavored features include modularized Web services and event management for all PLM components, an improved way to manage data mappings, and data governance across different heterogeneous systems.

The new version is also crafted to work more tightly with Oracle's Application Integration Architecture (AIA) initiative by supporting open standards-based integrations with enterprise systems such as those of rival SAP . Through the use of real-time data from some of its global clients, Oracle was able to boost user productivity by using a Web 2.0-style interface, Gulati said. In beta tests, the new interface has shown about a 70% reduction in the number of clicks.

Some of the new user interface controls include in-line editing, new drag-and-drop capabilities, and more streamlined controls. Oracle has also made it easier to access Agile documents by exposing them directly to the desktop browser.

Version 9.3 is available this week. Pricing was not available.

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