Wyatt optimistic about OAUG’s relationship with Oracle

SAN DIEGO -Oracle Applications Users Group president Tom Wyatt is confident his organization will continue to repair its relationship with the vendor.

During an interview here at Oracle AppsWorld, Wyatt said the fact that the users group (OAUG) picked 20 per cent of the papers being presented at the conference is a positive sign that things are getting better between the two organizations. Wyatt also points to the fact that Oracle Canada will be participating in the OAUG’s spring conference in Toronto, which will be held from May 19 to 22.

“Most relationships are very cyclical. This relationship is like every other one. So as we look at the positive small steps that we’ve made, we continue to repair any of the issues that we have,” he said.

Wyatt said he’s confident that, together with Oracle, the users group will help address some concerns expressed about Oracle’s pricing practices by analyst firms Gartner Inc. and Meta Group Inc.

“We have a pricing council in the OAUG who work directly with…the pricing group here at Oracle, and we try to, or have, in the past looked at pricing structures and given comments and suggestions on how they can do better,” Wyatt said.

Because of personnel change, the users group temporarily lost touch with Oracle’s pricing group, Wyatt said.

“Unfortunately, there was some transition with different people in that group and so we lost touch…. So I think we provide great feedback, because the users group really are experts in this area. At this point we’re conducting research on pricing issues,” he said.

Wyatt said he’s heard some positive feedback from Oracle users about the latest point release of the Oracle E-Business Suite 11i. Currently, only about 1,500 customers or 10 per cent of the install base are on 11i, while 55 per cent still use the company’s Application Suite 10.7.

Customers have been slow to adopt for two reasons, Wyatt said.

“One is, as everybody knows, the earlier releases of 11i weren’t as stable and as productive as what I think everybody, including Oracle, would have liked. So people were a little hesitant to be an earlier adopter of 11i.”

This has changed with the latest release, he said. “The latest release of 11i is stable.”

Now that the suite is more stable, users will see the benefits of moving to 11i, he continued.

Users also had to look at their existing implementations before they could upgrade, Wyatt said, and see how much customization they’d done and figure out if 11i now included that functionality. If the product doesn’t match their business processes, then users must decide whether they should change their business processes or customize the application, Wyatt said.

“It’s really hard to know if people are able to change their business practices to adapt to the software. But every company has to go through that cost-benefit analysis.”

More information on the OAUG’s spring conference is at http://secure.meetingexpectations.com/oaug/Spring2002Framed.htm