Oracle Proud To Be Number Two
Being number two in the advanced planning and scheduling (APS) software
market is becoming a coveted prize for old guard ERP vendors. Just four
months ago, at a press/analyst event in Waltham, Massachusetts, SAP announced
that its Advanced Planner & Optimizer (APO) had captured the number two
spot from Manugistics Group based on APO's fourth quarter 1999 license
revenue of $25 million (see TEC news analysis, "SAP
Declares Victory Over Manugistics, Takes Aim at i2").
it was Oracle's turn to proclaim the title of "second best" with over
fifty small to mid-sized and large companies signing up for its new advanced
planning and scheduling (APS) solution in its first quarter of availability.
The larger of the client guinea pigs include Alcoa, Cummins Engines, EchoStar
Communications, GE Aircraft Engines, Ford Motor Company, Hitachi Data
Systems, Odwalla, TRACO, and UPS.
It seems clear that when Larry Ellison is not ruffling feathers in his
private jet or making waves in his yacht, he maintains the "common touch"
by personally writing his company's press releases. The recent announcement
came within days of Oracle's claim to have surpassed SAP as the world's
number one software vendor. When it comes to supply chain management,
however, both vendors seem content to take a back seat to i2 Technologies
- at least for a while.
and SAP will be successful selling their APS solutions to organizations
for whom "interface" is a dirty, nine-letter word. True, interfaces require
considerable design and development resources to implement and afterwards
must be updated with new versions of software and changes in technical
infrastructure. This fact is responsible for much of the success of ERP
vendors in beating out best-of-breed vendors in supply chain software
selections among existing customers.
initial success may be due primarily to the interface aspect, although
Oracle has been plagued in the past by integration issues with acquired
products. A more likely explanation is that Oracle made price concessions
on APS in order to assuage client fears over product stability and functionality.
Oracle will achieve longer term growth in SCM market share only if Oracle
APS proves to be a viable alternative to what the best-of-breeds can offer.
spite of the late entry and questionable competence of APS, Oracle presents
an immediate threat to i2, Manugistics and other SCM vendors. Oracle has
outstanding ERP market position, excellent financial standing, and a strong
direct sales force. The big question will be whether its account executives
will find selling Oracle APS easier than i2 RHYTHM or software from one
of its many other third party product alliance partners.
Users among Oracle's 6,000-plus installations should make a careful comparison
between Oracle APS and the i2 products that are available as embedded
software within the Oracle Application suite. Although some who have seen
demonstrations of Oracle APS have favorable things to say, users should
avoid accepting second-hand reviews on faith and conduct their own scripted
scenario demonstrations tailored to critical business processes.
addition, Oracle users should remember that APS is supported as an add-on
only for Oracle 11i and 10.7 and those with prior releases will be required
to upgrade to obtain the new product. Non-Oracle users have a multitude
of advanced planning and scheduling packages from which to choose, including
i2 Technologies, Aspen MIMI, Manugistics and Logility, and APS should
not be the prime candidate on their lists.