Oracle readying ASP announcements for end of month

Oracle is gearing up to make a number of announcements related to deals with ASPs to host its ERP and CRM applications by the end of this month, a senior company executive confirmed yesterday.

"We'll have ASP (Application Service Provider) announcements at the end of July and how Business OnLine is playing a role," said Mark Jarvis, Oracle's senior vice president of marketing, during an interview at Oracle's iDevelop 2000 developer conference here.

Reports surfaced late last month that the US database, tools and applications vendor was experiencing a change of heart over its decision last year not to work with ASPs. Previously, Oracle had determined to go its own way with its application hosting unit Oracle Business OnLine.

"We've not changed our mind," Jarvis said. "We've been learning how the market works and what works for the market and what doesn't."

He stressed the need for "close alignment" between Oracle and its likely ASP partners. "It's all about how you work with the third party to offer the same quality of service that Oracle can," he said. Jarvis wouldn't comment on whether Oracle has already signed deals with ASPs or on any further details about the upcoming ASP announcements.

Oracle teaming up with ASPs shouldn't be seen as meaning that the company's Business OnLine hosting service has failed. "Business OnLine is in better shape than anyone realizes," Jarvis said. "We're the largest ASP in the world." He added that the Oracle hosting unit added 100 customers last quarter, although some of those customers have yet to go live with application hosting.

Oracle continues to have extremely ambitious plans for Business OnLine and the hosting business in general.

"Our end game is not to sell any software at all, all the software will be in our data center and we'll run it," Jarvis said. "It'll be like the electricity network. The customer just signs up for it and it's there. Fifty percent of our sales will be Business OnLine within three years."

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