Oracle Corp says the initial focus of its forthcoming front office application campaign will be new sales force automation (SFA) software to be announced in a few weeks time. It’ll reportedly put 50 sales people on to the new SFA applications – actually customer support packages – which are being piloted internally. Oracle had been working on a customer support application for some years and analysts say he company had problems defining both requirements and then shrinking its database down to a size suitable for use by mobile sales reps. It’s supposedly solved the problems and revamped its Oracle Personal Light database for the task. Oracle has claimed to Wall Street brokerage bank Morgan Stanley that two other SFA vendors are considering switching from Sybase Inc’s SQLAnywhere mobile database to Oracle Personal Light. The bank notes companies in question might not continue to feel this way once Oracle enters their market. Other customer support ISVs include Clarify, Vantive, Scopus and Baan’s Aurum Software. Oracle is expected to emphasize integration with its existing application suite – at the front- and back-end – as both a differentiation and a competitive argument. Morgan Stanley says Oracle SFA users could potentially get a single view of inventory, skills assessments and the workforce as opposed to duplicating the information in front office and back end systems. The bank thinks it will be difficult for Oracle to meet an aggressive October ship date; it thinks a first quarter introduction more likely.
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