Oracle to introduce SCM module

Former president Bill Clinton's visit aside, the major news expected at the Oracle AppsWorld user conference in New Orleans is the much-anticipated debut of transportation management enhancements to Oracle Corp.'s SCM (supply-chain management) offerings, industry observers said.

The transportation execution suite has been designed to handle domestic and international transportation needs for enterprise users, said Dwight Klappich, an analyst at the Stamford, Connecticut-based consultancy Meta Group Inc., who has been briefed on the solution. The new module will support sourcing, auctions, RFQs (requests for quotes), and contract management, Klappich said.

"It's necessary because transportation is a major aspect of supply-chain management," Klappich said. "Transportation costs are going up. Companies need to do that smarter."

Oracle will also use the event to drive home its message that enterprisewide, integrated suites are superior to best-of-breed approaches, said Robert McCullough, senior analyst at Hurwitz Group Inc. "When it comes to integration, particularly when it comes to midmarket companies, ... Oracle pretty much has that story down," McCullough said. "The [midmarket companies] are willing to sacrifice functionality for the sake of integration."

Major enterprise users, such as Compaq Computer Corp., Hostcentric Inc., and Staff Leasing, will also be presenting details of their ERP (enterprise resource planning) and e-business application deployments at the conference.

Paul Box, director of procurement at Compaq, in Houston, said one of the main reasons for his company choosing Oracle's Internet procurement suite was finding a solution that would easily integrate with Compaq's SAP financial software implementation. Compaq will be rolling out a self-service purchasing application supported by the Oracle procurement suite to its 68,000 employees during the second quarter of this year.

Mark Billitteri, senior vice president and CIO of Value Vision, a home shopping television network, said his company chose Oracle's CRM (customer relationship management) solution because it would easily mesh with Oracle's order management system. The company had considered best-of-breed solutions for its call center but found Oracle's preintegrated applications would cost 30 percent to 40 percent less, Billitteri said.

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