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SAN DIEGO—In an about-face on its longheld contention that it is unnecessary to enable easy integration between its E-Business Suite applications and third-party enterprise applications, Oracle Corp. announced last week that it is doing just that.

“Really big companies don’t want” to implement Oracle E-Business Suite exclusively, CEO Larry Ellison acknowledged at the company’s Oracle AppsWorld user conference here.

To that end, the forthcoming E-Business Suite Version 11i.10, due midyear, will feature an enhanced integration layer and upgraded functionality for integrating business processes.

On top of that, the Redwood Shores, Calif., company introduced last week its Customer Data Hub, which provides a central data store that cleanses and enriches data culled from a variety of sources, including outside applications.

“It looks like [Oracle] is trying to open up their environment so companies like us can integrate [outside applications],” said Tom Ennis, senior director of IT applications at BMC Software Inc., in Houston. BMC runs Oracle E-Business Suite alongside customer relationship management software from Siebel Systems Inc., of San Mateo, Calif. “They are realizing they are not the only one in the world and opening up.”

In a roundtable discussion with a handful of reporters following his keynote address, Ellison spoke about backtracking on his old belief that customers would get more out of switching all their applications to Oracle, rather than integrating E-Business Suite with third-party applications.

“Integration is a change in our strategy,” said Ellison. “We got a fair share of [customer] wins, then listened to what customers wanted. … They [want] all their customer data in one place.”

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