Oracle, IBM Software Target Midmarket

Oracle and IBM enhance business and financial apps for midsize enterprises.

Oracle Corp. and IBM are enhancing their respective business and financial applications for medium-size enterprises.

Oracle next week will announce eBusiness Suite Special Edition, a fixed-implementation version of its core enterprise applications configured for the midmarket and based on best practices.

The suite includes Financials, Order Management, Purchasing and Inventory Management software. The applications come installed and configured with Oracles 9i database and 9i Application Server and will be installed on hardware from various vendors. Cash-constrained companies with small IT staffs can get up and running in about 15 days with a fixed implementation at a fixed price, said Oracle officials, in Redwood Shores, Calif.

The Oracle eBusiness Suite Special Edition will be launched in China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa initially, with no time frame set for a U.S. rollout.

Meanwhile, IBM last week announced at a Partner Day event here that it will pump $1 billion over the next year into its partner program, with many of those dollars aimed at software makers that are leaders in the midmarket. Officials of the Armonk, N.Y., company said IBM is depending on partners to do the handholding with midsize companies used to working with smaller, regional providers.

In addition to providing training and support for smaller systems integrators looking to deploy IBM middleware, IBM introduced its WebSphere-Express application server. The software, due next month, has been scaled down and componentized for the midmarket. Pricing for the WebSphere edition was also scaled down.

The application server can be combined with IBMs WebSphere Portal Server-Express and Business Connection-Express, both announced last month, to provide an e-business infrastructure package.

Anything that can make it easier to deploy software would be a good thing, said John Garrison, chief technology officer at LLC. But even with a limited IT staff, Garrison takes a best-of-breed approach to buying software. "I dont have an urgency to pull it all together, nor do I really buy that I get an efficiency under the same vendor," said Garrison, in Atlanta.