Oracle Australia will soon launch an outsourced 11i e-business suite service through a select number of "enabler" channel partners rather than hosting the solution itself.
Unlike its operations elsewhere in the world, which launched direct hosting services in December 2001, rolling out Oracle's outsourcing service in the Asia-Pacific has taken some time to work out.
To get the ball rolling, Keith Budge, regional managing director of Oracle South Asia, has announced that the vendor will employ data centre partners to host the solution while the vendor will provide the database and application support via a secure VPN connection into each data centre.
In Australia, the vendor has settled on three "enablers", channel partners that have hosting capabilities, to deliver its software and services over a network. These include Adelaide's Hostworks and two Sydney-based service providers, Dimension Data Central and Tripoint Corporation.
Locally Oracle is hesitant to talk about the outsourcing service as it has not yet been officially launched. However, ARN understands that Hostworks has had two customers online for eight to 10 weeks, Tripoint signed up its first customer in recent weeks, and Dimension Data Central is in the final stages of signing the necessary paperwork to begin offering the service.
"Setting up a data centre on our own requires capital investment, and we need to weigh up whether we think that would be the right way forward in the Asia-Pacific or not," said Budge. "There are a number of companies in the region that have established [data centre] facilities and capabilities, and we want to take advantage of that in terms of our capacity to get our service to customers more quickly. In this model we will jointly provide the services to the customer."
The software vendor will offer three models for outsourcing customers' IT operations, namely At Customer, At Partner or At Oracle. The Oracle environment - application software, database or application server - is managed by Oracle in all three models, but the customer has the option to have the software hosted by Oracle, or by an Oracle partner, or at their own premises.
Jonathan Klug, managing director of Dimension Data Central, said that signing on as an Oracle outsourcing "enabler" meant little in the short-to-medium term, but in the long term could provide significant opportunities. "It really depends on how Oracle applications sell," he said. "It will take some time to get it flowing - there are a lot of people in the chain. We are not going to spend all our money on it this afternoon."
Klug said it will take some time to educate end users about outsourcing their applications to groups of third-party organisations.
"It's also something new for Oracle," he said. "At the end of the day Oracle wants monthly subscription revenue. To do that, it has to provide incentives for its own salespeople to sell in an outsourced environment and to involve channel partners."