Oracle Brings Scaled-Down Enterprise Suite to America

Looking at the midmarket, Oracle works the kinks out of its E-Business Suite Special Edition and announces its availability in the Americas.

Shoring up its fourth-quarter applications revenues—and its small and midmarket business strategy—Oracle Corp. announced Monday the North American version of its E-Business Suite Special Edition.

Oracles E-Business Suite Special Edition is not new. The company announced the offering more than a year ago and has been "testing" it in its AMEA (Africa, Middle East and Asia) and Asia-Pacific regions ever since. After working out some of the bugs, it is now selling the software, through resellers primarily, in the Americas.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about upgrades to Oracles E-Business Suite.

"As industry and markets start to mature, its time to look at midmarket. Weve been doing that for a couple years," said Charles Phillips, co-president of Oracle, in Redwood Shores, Calif. "But now were going to do that in a more organized way, with better products. Weve taken some time to study that market and came up with an offering thats appropriate."

The Special Edition offering is basically Oracles Enterprise Suite scaled down. Oracle has preconfigured some business practices across the suite—in Financials, Inventory, Discrete Manufacturing, Order Management, Purchasing, Field Sales, and Daily Business Intelligence—for easier implementation.

For the Special Edition applications, Oracle has opened up its business process flows—used to configure applications for certain industries—to customers and partners.

"This is not the full E-Business Suite," said Phillips. "The idea is to make it repeatable and high-quality, so we built an application within an application with a front-end configurator that captures what a customer needs and a localizer and generates a customized application."

As users grow, they have the ability to add additional functionality by purchasing different modules—while maintaining the same code base, according to Phillips.

The offering is compatible with the Standard Editions of Oracles Database 10g and Application Server 10g. The SE versions are geared toward smaller businesses.

While there is not a lot new with Oracles offering, it is the first steps in the companys fourth-quarter plan to recapture applications market share.

On Sept. 15, Oracle reported $69 million in application revenues for its final quarter, a 36 percent decline from the prior years first quarter. New software license revenue declined 10 percent, this first quarter over last—a key barometer for future maintenance revenues.

"We are not pleased with our application revenue decline," said Harry You, Oracles new chief financial officer, in an earnings call with press and analysts earlier this month. "We are making changes in sales [to accomplish that]."

/zimages/4/28571.gifFor more on Oracles earnings, click here.

With an ongoing $7.7 billion hostile tender offer to acquire business applications rival PeopleSoft Inc. still on the table, Oracle is also struggling to beat the competition. This Special Edition offering is set to go head-to-head with Microsoft Corp.s Great Plains ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite. On that front, Oracle plans to copy Redmond, Wash.-based Microsofts reseller model.

While the Special Edition software is available now through Oracle consultants and partners, the company plans to offer it exclusively through its reseller channel, Oracle PartnerNetwork, over time.

Microsoft acquired applications developer Navision two years ago for its inroads into notoriously difficult-to-reach European sales channels.

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