Oracle to offer product and service combos

Oracle is creating predefined bundles of products and services, an Oracle executive said Wednesday.

The packages, due out later this year, will offer various combinations of software, training, consulting and support, said Jacqueline Woods, Oracle vice president in charge of pricing, in an interview at the Oracle World event here.

Customers now have to call on different parts of the company to put together their own package. The "predefined and off-the-shelf package" will take the hassle out of a customer's dealings with Oracle, Woods said.

"We want to facilitate the customer's touch points within Oracle," said Woods.

Jost Hoppermann, a vice president of research for Giga Information Group Inc., said the packages would likely appeal most to small and midsized enterprises (SMEs), not to large enterprises.

"It can make dealing with Oracle easier, especially for SMEs as they do not have the resources and the know-how to select the right training and to negotiate all this stuff individually. I am not sure if it would be an option for the large enterprises who, for example, have their own training department."

The products and services bundle won't bring the customer added discounts, though buying the bundle will be cheaper than purchasing the components individually at different times, said Woods.

"Typically, the discount is based on volume. The more you buy, the bigger the discount," she said. Woods disputed claims made by customers here -- in interviews and during conference sessions -- that Oracle's sales force still cuts special deals, especially at the end of a financial quarter.

"The goal is to treat customers consistently with deals that look alike," she said. "In the past, (large discounts at the end of a quarter) definitely existed. The company was very deal driven. But that changed when we adopted a new pricing model three years ago." Oracle now offers fixed discounts, she said.

Meanwhile, Oracle's recent simplification of pricing for the 11i E-Business Suite is working well, according to Woods. "Several hundred" of the about 2,000 customers worldwide who use 11i have moved to all-suite pricing instead of per module pricing, Woods said. The new 11i pricing option was announced in January.

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