Oracle WebCenter Changes Product Names Again

WebCenter Social Network

UPDATE: Oracle’s Director of Product Management, Michelle Huff confirmed via Twitter that WebCenter Social Network IS WebCenter Social WAS WebCenter Connect.  New look.  Same innovative product.  Right Now there is very little documentation on how Social’s architecture marries up with the rest of the WebCenter stack.  There is this whitepaper that suggests it uses a separate activity stream and content architecture than the rest of the WebCenter stack but it can still integrate (PDF).  We’ll dig into it and find out.


Check out Oracle’s new WebCenter Social product.  Wait.  That’s the old WebCenter Connect (see the image in this Sept 19 blog post or read this entire July Article from Oracle)   Wait.  *That* was the Oracle OnTrack (Youtube videowhich took some of the best people (and code???) from the Oracle Beehive initiative and BEA teams to create a cool real time collaboration system.  Looks like they found a home with the webcenter team.

All this has happened in 2011.

Add to that the acquisition of Fatwire, the restructuring of the ECM and WebCenter teams and products and you have a highly dynamic environment.  Oracle is in a bind every time they make one of these moves.  Either the name-change moves are significant due to strategy or important code changes (e.g. the move from WCM to WebCenter Sites signaling a shift away from Site Studio and to Fatwire) or they are insignificant (e.g. the move from separate ecm / webcenter products to a single WebCenter platform signaling an internal combination of teams and product management).  The problem is that outside observers  – aka “clients” – have no way of knowing what kind of a change it is.

So is “WebCenter Social” a marketing or organizational shift attempting to capture better market and mindshare or is it something more – indicating new pricing, deployment complexity and engineering?

Each time Oracle does this, people wonder what kind of a pivot it is. 

The silver lining here is that Oracle certainly is giving the lie to the myth that large companies cannot zig and zag in a highly agile manner.