Oracle Stresses Its Commitment to Customers and Apps

Noticeably absent from day one of Oracle's annual AppsWorld conference in San Diego was talk about the company's ongoing hostile takeover efforts of rival PeopleSoft. Instead Oracle executives addressed the more than 10,000 attendees with a vision of a ramped-up applications business and a more customer-centric focus. During his keynote on Tuesday Oracle Chairman Jeff Henley emphasized Oracle's applications business, which has often taken a backseat to the company's bread-and-butter database business. But revenue for Oracle's applications unit has been on the rise. For the past completed quarter applications revenue increased nearly 27 percent over the same period a year ago. Revenue for new applications license for the past four quarters was $630 million and overall applications revenue for the same period was $2.47 billion out of Oracle's annual $9.5 billion in revenue, according to the company's financial statements. Charles Phillips, Oracle copresident, underscored the company's commitment to applications when speaking to a group of analysts and reporters. Phillips made it clear that a commitment to applications is not contingent on acquiring PeopleSoft. The software giant has offered $7.3 billion for PeopleSoft. "The PeopleSoft bid was an opportunity we tried to take. It was opportunistic," Phillips said. Robb Ecklund, vice president of CRM Marketing, also noted that Oracle's apps push would help the company play a larger role in the midmarket. Phillips also discussed a renewed effort to improve customer service via a customer outreach program. The aggressive effort, which is slated to be a major theme over the next 12 months, will include examining customers' deployments and making money-saving recommendations. Called the Data Hub for Information Access, it is a layer that sits between the business process layer and the application servers, database, and storage layer. The data hub is expected to give users a single view of customer definitions, allow for real-time synchronization, include data cleansing of duplicate data, and include single views of key customer data like order, contract, and service history. The company is planning to roll out more details during other sessions at the conference this week.
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