Oracle pushes 11i

SAN DIEGO – At its recent AppsWorld conference, Oracle Corp. announced new outsourcing options and implementation strategies to continue the momentum behind 11i.

At last year’s conference only 11 per cent of Oracle’s applications customer base had implemented or were implementing 11i. This year that number sits at 75 per cent, according to Mark Jarvis, senior vice-president of marketing.

The new services available to customers include Oracle Business Accelerators, which offer customers bundled product and services packages, designed to help large- to medium-sized customers address business process improvements.

Oracle’s All-In-One offers customers the total cost of an applications deployment, including software, implementation and monthly application maintenance.

Jarvis said these show people that Oracle can offer lower total cost of ownership through 11i and its accompanying applications.

Warren Shiau, an analyst with Toronto-based IDC Canada Ltd., said 11i does have some competitive price points, and that Oracle seems to be sticking to its word to keep application costs low.

However, customers interested in seeing what Oracle has to offer will have to run 11i on an Oracle database, and that, Shiau said, can get pricey. For instance the newly unveiled Oracle Business Intelligence Version 5 will only run on 11i8.5 and 9i2. Shiau noted that this does make sense in that 9i, both Versions 1 and 2, had a lot of functionality add-ons, so Oracle should be developing for that database.

Geoffrey Cronin, senior manager for Cap Gemini Ernst and Young (CGEY) Canada in Toronto, said it makes sense for Oracle to introduce products that are consistent with its newest platform. It’s not good business acumen to create a product for the newest platform, and then go back and create versions of it for all older platforms as well, he said.

CGEY recently chose to run several of its back office systems on Oracle, according to Cronin.

The U.S. office has just gone live on the e-business suite and the Canadian offices are expected to go live in April, Cronin said.

The attraction for CGEY, Cronin said, was the opportunity to have better global collaboration, having everyone running 11i and everyone connected to no more than a few databases.

“From a TCO (standpoint), Oracle is allowing us to be a global corporation,” he said. “From a functionality view, I wouldn’t say Oracle is providing us a different function from other vendors, but the architecture allows us to run a collaborative global environment.”

Marie-France Mathieu, business development analyst in the finance branch of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), said 11i seems to address a lot of their IT needs. Currently the department, in Gatineau, Que., runs 11i03, along with several other government agencies as part of a technology cluster, so any upgrades would have to be agreed on by not only the federal government, but the other offices in the technology cluster as well.

She said many of the sessions on the e-business suite were a good opportunity to gain a better idea of the functionality of 11i8, and gave her information to bring back to the other departments.

Wally Draper, director of financial policies, systems and accounting for INAC, said from his Gatineau office that a number of his colleagues are moving to 11i and strategies to move to 11i will be developed in each department.