Oracle grows e-business suite

Within two months, Oracle Corp. will ship its delayed E-Business Suite 11i.10, packing the new release with 2,100 new features targeting specific industries and general e-business applications.

For manufacturing, Oracle added a compliance assistance tool kit, comprised of device drivers to allow manufacturers to support RFID readers and tags. A pilot kit will also allow manufacturers to pilot the capture of RFID data in a preproduction environment for testing.

In the realm of procurement, Oracle is introducing Procurement Contracts, a solution targeted at global organizations that will enforce both contract compliance as well as contract language uniformity worldwide.

A Services Procurement module for contracting with temporary labour from janitorial to legal is also available. The service module is aimed at helping companies enforce corporate services procurement policies as well as helping mangers to normalize service rates, limit overbilling errors and enforce contract terms.

“Now you will be able to buy temporary services just like you would buy a hammer or a pump,” said Jonathan Colehower, vice-president of supply chain management at Oracle.

If there is a central, unifying theme running through all of the new features from Oracle, it is that IT should not customize applications, according to Colehower.

“If you have heavily optimized your software, it will take a significant effort to upgrade. If you’ve done what we asked you to do, don’t customize it but configure it for your business. Then, upgrading to the new release shouldn’t be a problem,” Colehower said.

According to Colehower, Oracle is offering “world class” business processes and companies should adjust their business processes to the applications rather than customizing the code.

“They won’t lose a competitive advantage by using our processes,” he said.

Josh Greenbaum, principal at Enterprise Applications Consulting,said although there is a certain amount of hubris in saying customers should do business Oracle’s way, the company is basically correct in offering this advice.

“Customizations, especially with upgrades, are the biggest problems customers have. I often see these upgrades turning into big disasters and they don’t need to be,” Greenbaum said.

Greenbaum believes that to a certain extent, customizations are “picking nits” instead of relying on the expertise embedded in the software.

“The embedded solution is often a good if not better way,” Greenbaum said.

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