Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1 allows enterprise users to adopt the whole platform or deploy certain modules as stand-alone platforms. At the same time, SAP is making its Business Suite 7 generally available to customers worldwide. As companies struggle to keep their IT budgets under control in the face of a global recession, modularity and SAAS approaches hold massive appeal as cost-cutting solutions.
Even as enterprises look to cut IT costs and streamline processes, Oracle
have introduced updates to their business-applications portfolios designed to
simplify day-to-day business operations.
Oracle released Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1 on May 4, with added
functionality for business fields such as Wholesale Distribution, Public
Sector, High Technology, Engineering and Construction, and Professional
According to Oracle, the new release complements existing Oracle E-Business
Suite 11i and Release 12 environments.
"There's functionality in ways that can be used by an Oracle E-Business
Suite 11.i user without doing a full upgrade," Cliff Godwin, senior vice
president of applications development at Oracle, said in an interview.
"Many of the analytics capabilities, planning applications and some other
modules can be deployed as stand-alone systems."
Stand-alone solutions available with E-Business Suite 12.1 include value chain
planning products for Supply Chain Management, Oracle Sourcing On Demand,
Oracle Incentive Compensation and Oracle Warehouse Management. The suite also
includes integrated analytics from Oracle Business Intelligence Applications,
and a talent management application with enhancements to recruiting, succession
planning, and performance and learning management.
It has been an exceptionally busy period for the company. On April 20, Oracle
announced plans to purchase Sun Microsystems
as part of a deal worth about
$7.4 billion, potentially creating a sizable market-share threat to IBM,
Hewlett-Packard and other IT giants. IBM had
previously been in talks with Sun about a possible acquisition, although that
deal fell through for still-undisclosed reasons.
Oracle also has been taking steps to increase the depth of its portfolio and
update its suite of tools for the enterprise. On May 4, the company announced
the inclusion of new features in its Oracle
Beehive enterprise collaboration platform,
a standards-based platform that
delivers e-mail, calendar functions, team workspaces and instant messaging.
Oracle rival SAP has also been active. Originally
announced in February 2009, SAP
Business Suite 7
became generally available to customers worldwide as of
SAP Business Suite 7 is designed to
provide more efficient and flexible business processes via a modular software
library that includes SAP ERP, SAP
Customer Relationship Management, SAP
Supplier Relationship Management, SAP Supply
Chain Management and SAP Product Lifecycle
Other capabilities include enhancement packages that, as with Oracle's
product, allow customers to deploy certain functionality modules without
upgrading their entire platform. Also featured are value scenarios, which
suggest how business problems with end-to-end processes can be solved in
"stepwise" fashion, an expanded industry-specific footprint that
"addresses critical business requirements" and harmonized user
In all, SAP Business Suite 7 includes
2,800 enterprise services for enabling "the flexible, modular development
of differentiating one's own practices," according to a company statement.
A built-in solution manager allows administrators to implement content changes
to Business Suite applications, cutting downtime and possibly leading to cost