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October 7, 1998

ORACLE GEARS UP TO FRONT OFFICE ONSLAUGHT

By CBR Staff Writer

In a bid to become the number two front office application vendor, Oracle Corp yesterday unveiled the latest version of its front office software suite. The Redwood Shores, California-based company said it will use version 3.0 of the software, due for roll-out next month, to compete head to head with its main competitor in the field Siebel Systems Inc. The ultimate aim, according to Mark Barrenechea, Oracle’s vice president of front office applications product development, is to become number one, in terms of growth, this year and the second biggest player in the front end apps market. We’ve gone from nowhere to being nearly second place behind Siebel, Barrenechea said, Our developers have increased from 25 to 400 and revenues [for the division] are growing at 300%. Oracle isn’t new to the front office space, but Barrenechea said this latest version of the software suite was the company’s first complete end-to-end solution. New to version 3 is the inclusion of call center technology, through the acquisition of Versatility last month, along with service, marketing and internet business modules. Oracle’s push into the front office is indicative of most large ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendors, all of whom are desperate to branch into new markets to boost revenues amid increasing consolidation within the ERP space. At its user group conference in Los Angeles last month, SAP AG made a huge song and dance about building a front office package with standalone marketing management, sales force automation, and customer service applications. Like Manugistics Inc and i2 Technologies Inc in the supply chain space (CI No 3,496), having giants like SAP and Oracle making a move on the front office market is bad news for the current market leaders like Vantive Corp and Siebel. And Barrenechea predicts it will also have a knock on effect for the likes of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Baan, none of which have made any serious front office noises. PeopleSoft announced it wouldn’t move into the front office space and look what happened to its stock earlier this week, he said, Unless they do, those companies should have some serious concerns over their viability as applications vendors. Also today, Oracle announced it is ready to ship its Oracle8i database for the free operating system Linux and Apache, a free source code web application server.

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