Oracle Gets Down to E-Business With 12.1 Release

As technology budgets shrink and organizations consider doing more with less, handing over payments for extended support is pretty painful right now. Perhaps with that reality in mind, Oracle Co-President Charles Phillips revealed during his keynote at Oracle's Collaborate '09 conference this week that Oracle will waive Extended Support fees for a number of the company's major product lines through 2010 and 2011.

The news coincides with the launch of the new version of Oracle's enterprise software platform, E-Business Suite (EBS) 12.1. Cliff Godwin, senior vice president for Oracle Applications, says that customers won't have to pay Extended Support on EBS until 2011 -- an extension well past the original 2010 date. Other delayed Extended Support products include:

  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.11;
  • Siebel CRM 7.8;
  • Oracle Database 10gR2; and
  • PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9.

"We've been listening to our customers, and understand that in this economic environment people may be taking longer to do upgrade projects than they normally would because of economic constraints," Godwin says. He adds, however, that he doesn't see the Extended Support delays directly correlated to customers signing on with EBS 12.1. "Customers will be able to make that choice [to upgrade] purely on the merit of the functions of the release," he says.

The EBS 12.0 release focused primarily on financial functions, Godwin says. The new 12.1 edition, on the other hand, presents customers with a well-rounded -- yet nonfinancial-- set of enhancements. The suite targets a handful of key verticals, including:

  • wholesale distribution;
  • public sector;
  • high technology;
  • engineering & construction;
  • life sciences;
  • retail;
  • professional services;
  • communications;
  • consumer goods; and
  • utilities.

Godwin highlights what he calls 12.1's potentially game-changing wholesale-distribution capabilities -- in particular, Oracle Supplier Ship and Debit and Oracle Price Protection for Wholesale Distribution provide enhanced visibility for managers in the distribution industry. Price Protection puts automation behind the processing that occurs among the distributor, supplier, and retailer. Godwin explains that often when products get bundled or when discounts are given due to a lot of inventory, money gets left on the table. Historically, large companies have developed complex systems to handle these actions or they try to file them in spreadsheets. Oracle's automation could help alleviate these pains.

Customers not yet ready to upgrade to 12.1 may still reap some of the new benefits. The release presents a number of standalone applications that enrich existing Oracle EBS 11 or 12 environments, including solutions that touch upon the following areas:

  • Supply Chain Management;
  • Oracle Sourcing On Demand;
  • Oracle Incentive Compensation; and
  • Oracle Warehouse Management.

Godwin points out that Oracle's Incentive Compensation application received a significant amount of enhancement this time around. He says that it's now easier to define compensation plans in the business suite, and the module now includes a key performance feature that allows for reporting of a far more detailed nature than was previously possible. The solution also lets users switch views between summary reporting and detailed reporting.

EBS 12.1 also delivers integrated analytics from Oracle Business Intelligence Applications.

"In today's economy, customers may not be inclined to implement large-scale upgrades of their core operational systems," said Bruce Richardson, chief research officer at AMR Research, in a statement. "The ability to recognize rapid value in the near term without requiring an upgrade could be viewed as an effective way to build a strategic [technology] roadmap and lay the ground work for long-term success."

In related news, Oracle declined to comment on rumors that circulated late last week regarding a revamp of its on-demand product portfolio. (See Friday's post on destinationCRMblog for more details.)

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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