In its first major release since its acquisition of Agile Software two years ago, Oracle rolled out an upgrade that builds on the PLM platform's already strong analytics and useability capabilities along with enhancements that allow for more flexible and tighter integration with enterprise applications, including the Oracle business software suite.
One of the more prominent enhancements to Oracle's Agile 9.3 is in the area of risk analytics, a feature set that has always been strong in the Agile PLM suite. Borrowing from the standard Oracle business intelligence model, this version now adds out-of-the-box analytics and dashboards for monitoring product risk, supplier risk, product quality and compliance. "Financial situations across globe, market consolidation and demand and pricing pressures are creating more requirements for companies to look at different risk factors," says Hardeep Gulati, Oracle's vice president of PLM and PIM product strategy. "We're providing a view so companies can look at new products and their existing products across a portfolio and profile quality and expertise around suppliers so they can ultimately make better decisions."
For example, the product risk module lets companies track supplier performance changes, component shortages and price reductions while the part risk capabilities help categorize and identify newly introduced parts, parts that are lacking product record information (things like price, compliance and specifications) and any parts that are at risk for obsolescence. Other dashboard analytics can help detect which products are most impacted by quality issues as well as prioritizing customer complaints by urgency and severity. The product design volatility analysis functions earmark the products and product lines that have the most late-stage changes during the product release cycle, including a notation on the severity of those changes and the operational impact, according to Oracle officials.
In the area of integration, Oracle has continued with its promise to expand the Agile platform as an enterprise PLM backbone, Gulati says. Agile 9.3 supports service-oriented architecture (SOA), allowing companies to tap modularized Web services, event management and extensible scripting to integrate various components and CAD objects. The platform also now integrates Product Master Data Management functions to improve data quality and governance across heterogeneous systems and it leverages Oracle's Application Integration Architecture to support out-of-the-box open standards-based integration to other enterprise systems, including Oracle and SAP.
The third focus of the new release is on user productivity as Oracle builds on Agile's existing ease-of-use advantages by leveraging Web 2.0 functionality. Agile 9.3 sports new UI controls such as in-line table editing, context-aware pop-ups and new drag-and-drop capabilities along with enhanced personalization features such as personalized context help through the Oracle User Productivity Kit. Based on these enhancements, Gulati says users can expect to see as much as a 70-percent reduction in clicks when working with the system.