Oracle beefs up World software suite

Looking to keep its newly acquired user base happy, Oracle is providing a compliance and self-service boost to the World application set it inherited when it bought out rival PeopleSoft.

At the Quest Conference and Expo 2005 user conference in Grapevine, Texas, last week, the company rolled out the next iteration of the World line, Version A7.3, Service Pack 16. Quest represents users of J.D. Edwards & Co. World's green-screen applications, as well as World's successor EnterpriseOne software. J.D. Edwards was bought by PeopleSoft in 2003, before Oracle acquired the merged companies in January.

Looking to assuage user fears, John Schiff, vice president and general manager of the company's World organization, said Oracle is committed to the future of the product and pointed to plans for a new release next year. There will also be a direct upgrade path for customers that want to migrate to Oracle's next-generation, best-of-breed Fusion suite as that becomes available, he said, "when they choose, if they choose."

Among the enhancements in Service Pack 16 are features to support statutory compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley Act rules in the U.S. as well as European regulations, said Schiff. This includes improvements to the cash-flow reporting functions, support for better general-ledger audit trails and a new approval requirement to monitor cash outflow.

Also available are self-service applications that allow customers, employees and vendors to access the system around the clock. For instance, a customer can log onto World to check a purchase order's status and receive personalized service. There are also employee self-service functions that enable workers to check payroll, benefits and vacation-time status. Oracle has provided regulatory and local business updates for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Italy, Ireland, Mexico and Spain.

The application is shipping now.

While at the Quest show, which has been collocated here along with the Oracle Applications User Group organization, Oracle executives reiterated their vision of the Fusion architecture.

At a keynote on Monday, John Wookey, senior vice president of applications development at Oracle, explained that Fusion would deliver a real-time information-sharing architecture based on industry standards to help save customer costs.

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