Oracle has once again altered the pricing terms for its E-Business application suite, this time with the hope of attracting more small and medium-sized businesses to the product.
Effective Monday, the company eliminated a requirement that customers spend at least $US250,000 to be eligible to purchase the suite.
It had also reduced from 20 per cent to 10 per cent the minimum proportion of a company's employees that must be licensed to use the software, Oracle vice-president for global practices, Jacqueline Woods, said.
At the same time, however, Oracle "streamlined" the core suite by eliminating from it certain applications. In general the applications that have been eliminated are "self service" applications such as Self Service HR.
Customers who bought the suite from Monday and who wanted those applications must now license them separately, Woods said.
The changes are embodied in a new version of the suite released Monday called Oracle E-Business Suite 2003.
The name change primarily reflects the new pricing and configuration, Woods said. Aside from that, the software is largely unchanged.
Existing customers can continue to use the E-Business Suite and buy additional modules under the terms of their existing contracts. As before, customers still have the option of buying individual applications and modules rather than the entire suite.
The changes are intended to make the suite more attractive to small and medium-sized businesses that may have been put off by the minimum entry requirements, particularly at a time when IT spending budgets are tight, Woods said.
She also argued that the new pricing model is simpler to understand.
"We did what everybody wanted, which was to consolidate the suite down to the core set of products people really want for ERP (enterprise resource planning) and CRM (customer relationship management), and the incremental functionality that's more specialised, like iSupplier Portal, that not everybody uses, you can buy separately," Woods said.
Analysts said the change was intended in part to make Oracle's software more competitive with that of PeopleSoft, which they said had gained ground among customers.