Oracle joins push to front office apps

Oracle joins push to front office apps

The front-office push by packaged application vendors has continued with Oracle rounding out its new line of marketing, sales and customer service software.

Oracle has announced version 3.0 of Oracle Front Office software that it first shipped in January. This is the first release that can automate marketing campaigns. Other new features include World Wide Web-based sales software and a field service contract application.

Other back-office application vendors are making similar moves. For example, Baan bought its way into the sales force automation market last year, and SAP plans to ship sales software in December and is also working on a series of marketing and customer service applications.

Easy integration

For users who have already invested in finance and other back-office software, the new products come with the promise of easy integration. But analysts said Oracle and its rivals still can't match the product depth of front-office vendors such as Siebel Systems and Vantive.

David Caruso, an analyst at AMR Research, said the offering provides only "a small slice" of the functionality needed by marketing, sales and service departments.

Mark Barrenechea, vice president of front-office applications at Oracle, said more depth will be added to the software in future releases. But he said version 3.0, which is due to ship this quarter, gives Oracle a full allotment of front-office modules.

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