Oracle plans to add more real-time predictive analytics to its business intelligence, middleware and applications after acquiring intellectual property assets from Sigma Dynamics, a specialist in the field.Oracle confirmed Wednesday that it has purchased the assets of Sigma Dynamics, a privately held company located in San Mateo, California. The database and applications vendor didn\u2019t disclose the financial details of the deal.Analytics is loosely defined as the analysis of data contained in a company\u2019s enterprise applications to help highlight potential business trends. Being able to spot such trends early can help firms improve the speed and quality of their decision making. Sigma Dynamics software provides self-learning capabilities to refine its predictive functions over time and so adapt rapidly to changing business conditions.Oracle and its main applications rivals SAP and Microsoft are focusing more attention on their respective analytics capabilities as key product differentiators.Oracle executives have said publicly one of the reasons for purchasing Siebel was to get their hands on the CRM (customer relationship management) software vendor\u2019s analytics products and expertise. Before the acquisition, Siebel had hoped that its analytics business would help turn around its operations and drive growth.Last October, Siebel debuted a set of predictive analytics applications known as Siebel Real-Time Decisions (RTD). RTD is based on technology from Sigma Dynamics that plugs into Siebel\u2019s CRM applications to provide real-time analytical information. Once Oracle closed its US$5.8 billion acquisition of Siebel in January, RTD became an Oracle product.Looking ahead, Oracle will continue to sell Sigma Dynamics software as stand-alone offerings as well as integrating the technology into its Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Fusion middleware and its other CRM and ERP (enterprise resource planning) applications.The vendor also plans to make the Sigma Dynamics analytics technology an integral component of its upcoming Fusion application suite, due out in 2008, which will bring together the best features of the company\u2019s disparate applications. The idea is to create a set of prebuilt industry-specific decision applications to cover categories like intelligent offer management, field service optimization, predictive call routing and fraud detection, according to Oracle.In other Oracle news, the company announced Wednesday that Jennifer Minton, senior vice president of global finance and operations and chief accounting officer, will retire Nov. 30. A 17-year Oracle veteran, Minton is leaving for personal reasons and not in relation to any disagreement with the company\u2019s management or with its accounting or operating policies, Oracle said in an 8-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Oracle has begun looking for her replacement.-China Martens, IDG News Service (Boston Bureau)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.