Oracle sets date for applications suite release

Oracle Corp. plans to finally ship the next version of its E-Business Suite of enterprise applications on Monday Nov. 8, company executives said Thursday.

The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software maker officially unveiled E-Business Suite 11i.10 at its OpenWorld conference in London in early September. At the time Oracle said customers would be able to get their hands on the delayed software within 60 days.

The ship date has now been set for Nov. 8, at which time the product will be available in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian, Steve Miranda, Oracle’s vice-president of financials applications development said in a presentation at an event for system integrators at Oracle’s headquarters Thursday. Other languages will follow shortly, he said.

At Thursday’s event, Oracle pitched the system integrators on the industry specific features of 11i.10, which it also discussed at OpenWorld. The company has said 11i.10 includes at least 2,100 new capabilities.

The investments to target specific industries will continue, Charles Phillips, Oracle’s president, said Thursday. “The next wave of our applications investment will be by vertical. Some of it will be by acquisitions,” Phillips said. He did not provide any further information about Oracle’s plans, but an Oracle spokeswoman said Oracle’s bid for PeopleSoft Inc. is one of those acquisitions.

Phillips reiterated that partners are important as Oracle seeks to grow its applications business. “The percentage of revenue coming through partners is increasing…I think it will be over half soon,” he said. Oracle has a strong direct sales force, but is increasingly relying on partners, especially when it comes to sales to small and medium-sized businesses.

Oracle has already been releasing 11i.10 in piecemeal fashion, for example launching on Aug. 13 Oracle CRM 11i.10, which includes updated sales, marketing and partner relationship management modules.

Aside from a focus on specific industries, E-Business Suite 11i.10 also builds on Oracle’s integration story. Oracle is exposing many interfaces as Web services to make it easier and less costly for companies to automate business processes that span Oracle and non-Oracle applications, the company has said.

While Oracle executives on Thursday specified Nov. 8 as the release date for 11i.10, an Oracle spokeswoman at the event added as a caveat that logistical bumps could result in the product being released a few days later. The second week of November is a safe bet, she said.

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