27, Oracle laid out the details of its Oracle 11i application suite, which adds
new application modules and integrates enterprise resource planning, customer-relationship
management, supply-chain, and E-business applications in a single database.
The new release, unveiled at the Oracle Applications User Group conference in
Orlando, will do away with the company's separate releases for ERP and CRM.
By linking all applications together, Oracle claims that companies can now get
a complete view of company operations and customer interactions. Coupled with
order management is an enhanced supply-chain management suite. The suite pulls
together applications that have traditionally addressed only individual links
of the supply chain, such as demand planning, logistics, and manufacturing resource
also announced a business intelligence suite revolving almost entirely around
customer-relationship management, including Marketing Intelligence, Customer
Intelligence, Sales Intelligence, Call-Center Intelligence, and E-commerce Intelligence.
The suite will analyze sales and marketing campaign success, customer cost and
profitability, sales pipelines, and customer service, allowing companies to
not only track what customers have done, but also why they did it. Despite the
new features, the enthusiasm was tempered somewhat by the timing of the release.
It was originally intended for a fourth-quarter release, but has slipped to
the first quarter for financials, projects, human resources, supply chain, and
manufacturing, and the second quarter for the CRM and order-management applications.
new ambitious product suite perform as it claims, it would give the Company
a leading edge position in the enterprise application market, given that no
vendor, with the possible exception of SAP and Baan, has made this degree of
progress towards application integration. Oracle had a head start on most of
its competition pertaining to Internet applications, and the Company still leads
the ERP pack both on product technology vision and execution. However, Oracle
had suffered initial setbacks as it moved its entire enterprise product line
to the Internet and was losing customers that were not ready to buy into the
vision. However, we believe that Oracle's far-sighted strategy will pay off
in the future through increased sale of its enterprise applications beyond its
core ERP product.
Since the release
of the new product suite will not take place until 2Q 2000, customers in the
middle of an acquisition should not alter their plans. However, organizations
that are in an early stage of evaluating Oracle Applications should be wary
of the marketing hype and expect application integration problems, particularly
in the case where a broad group of disparate applications is bundled together.