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Oracle rolls out E-Business Suite 12

One executive called the software 'bullet proof'

By Marc L. Songini
February 1, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - NEW YORK -- For the first time in six years, Oracle Corp. is shipping a next generation of its flagship E-Business Suite, Version 12, with officials vowing that an upgrade to this version won't be as challenging as the move to its predecessor, Version 11i.

During an "Applications Unlimited" launch event here yesterday, Oracle announced the availability of E-Business Suite 12, along with four other releases to its other ERP and CRM applications. Oracle executives said Version 12 is easier to use, has tighter integration with Oracle's other business applications and Fusion middleware technology, offers extensive functional enhancements and has been tested thoroughly to avoid upgrade headaches for customers.

In a presentation, Oracle President Charles Phillips stressed that the E-Business Suite, as well as Oracle's PeopleSoft ERP and Siebel CRM applications, will continue to be enhanced indefinitely. And he said again that no customers will be forced off their existing investment. At the same time, Oracle is pressing ahead with plans to cobble together its next-generation set of best-of-breed applications, dubbed Fusion, which is due for release next year. Users can migrate to Fusion on their own timetable, Phillips said.

Among Version 12's enhancements is an modified graphical user interface, which has been improved using technology from Oracle's PeopleSoft Enterprise applications, said John Wookey, senior vice president of applications development at Oracle. The application will also allow international companies to better perform profitability analyses across their global lines of business, and it includes 30 new human resource localization enhancements targeted to comply with international regulations.

Oracle has also created a role-based template that can be used to more easily manage the entire process of hiring personnel. "It's not a small release," Wookey said.

He vowed that the upgrade process to Version 12 would be easier than it was with 11i, which was the first Web-architected version of the E-Business Suite. Users upgrading to it complained that doing so was difficult, as the applications hadn't been completely scrubbed of glitches and thus required extensive patching and testing. Wookey called Version 12 "bullet proof" and said Oracle had focused on the release to ensure an easy move from 11i to 12.

Several customers on hand for the launch and interviewed afterward were upbeat about the release. Jan Wagner, president of the independent Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), said the release shows Oracle's commitment to its program of continuous investment in existing product lines. "It shows users have chosen an application with a future, and so I'm very excited."

Wagner is also the London-based director of financial operations and internal review at NATO, which uses the E-Business Suite 11i 5.10 financials.

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