In this economy, IT and engineering departments are not only lean, but many of them naturally become more risk-averse. That’s bad for business because successful companies and IT groups use technology as an innovative and competitive advantage and in order to do that you have to take some healthy risks.

Oracle wants to help IT do a better job of calculating and managing risk with the latest version of its Agile Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software. On Monday, Oracle released version 9.3, which offers new Web 2.0 interface improvements, SOA modules, and an enterprise backbone to connect to other applications.

At its core, this software is about helping companies streamline the product development process, especially the IT and engineering parts of it. Oracle bought Agile back in 2007 in order to get into this market and so it’s important to see the company releasing new versions of the Agile software.

“Agile has had a tradition of being easy to use and the enhancements in version 9.3 belay any concerns that the Oracle acquisition would dilute this advantage. Agile has also led the PLM market with analytics and this continues to be true with the latest improvements,” said Michael Burkett of AMR Research.

Oracle claims that version 9.3 of the software enables better risk management in product development by helping companies visualize “supplier performance changes, component shortages, price reductions and other global value chain uncertainties.” PLM 9.3 also extends the product’s analytics platform to include the following, according Oracle:

  • Supplier Risk Analysis – Identifies high-risk suppliers based on quality, compliance and over exposure, better decisions about their supplier relationships across product portfolio.
  • Part Risk Analysis – Categorizes and identifies newly introduced parts, parts that lack product record information (price, compliance, specifications) or are at risk of obsolescence.
  • Product Quality Risk Analysis – Detects which products are most impacted by quality issues, prioritizes customer complaints by urgency and severity.
  • Product Design Volatility Analysis – Identifies which products or product lines have the most late-stage changes during the new product release cycle, and outlines the severity of those changes and operational impact.

Here’s a testimonial on Oracle’s Agile product from Quantum’s Daniel Hartley:

“Quantum has been a long time user of Oracle’s Agile Product Lifecycle Management, relying on it to help drive product data consistency, support new product development and time-to-market and create global alignment around our product objectives. This has been particularly important as we’ve built out our portfolio of disk-based, deduplication and replication solutions and reinforced our leadership in backup, recovery and archive,” ,  Quantum Corporation. “With Agile PLM 9.3, we can see improved usability and productivity in our product development processes and will be able to leverage our current applications infrastructure with the Enterprise PLM Backbone in 9.3.”