Oracle's troubled applications business is set to receive a big shot in the arm with the formal worldwide launch today of several service-based initiatives targeting the small and medium business (SMB) market.
Ray Lane, Oracle's president and chief operating officer, released details of the new initiatives at an Asia-Pacific media briefing held here yesterday.
The new initiatives include a Year 2000 program based on the Fast Forward Lite methodology that guarantees compliance of its products within 60 days.
The fixed-price agreement - which includes Oracle's financials package, associated education and consulting services - will be especially beneficial for the Asian market, according to Lane.
"I don't think many companies have really focussed on 2000 - they've been focusing on year 1998." Lane said Oracle will work with other consulting companies to deliver the program.
"Anybody that wants to be certified, we will give them the Fast Forward Lite methodology and they can deliver it," Lane said.
In the Asia Pacific region, the Fast Forward Lite solutions will be officially launched "within 30 days" of the US according to Derek Williams, senior vice president of Oracle Asia Pacific.
But Oracle will reserve the right not to offer the program to companies it thinks are likely to take longer than 60 days, company officials said.
Oracle is also launching an online business allowing customers to buy its applications as a service.
"If you have a browser, you can sign on to the applications and do your accounting and we think companies more and more are going to do that - buy into a service [rather than worrying about implementing and maintaining their own infrastructure]," Lane said.
Aside from the opportunities offered by the Fast Forward Lite methodology, the channel's involvement in Oracle's push into the SMB market will extend to resellers.
"We are introducing another facet to the indirect side of Oracle's business [in the form of] Oracle Applications dealers who are reselling applications and selling system integration skills with our applications," Lane said.
Oracle will also be preloading its applications with several hardware companies, Lane added, "so this market is destined to be a multi-channel market with our direct sales force eventually becoming the head of the channel."