Release 11 of Oracle's applications suite could be too late to solve users' Year 2000 and Emu problems despite its new bells and whistles, predicted analysts at the Gartner Group this week.
The vendor's strictly browser based offering has added multicurrency support to the accounting module, an analytical tool to provide better links to the database, and additions to the manufacturing apps. But based on standard implementation times, users have run out of time to stabilise the product in time for European monetary union or the millennium, believes Gartner.
"Implementing the application in time for the millennium would be a high risk," said analyst Joyce Boland. "Companies should take a conservative approach to timing. Quality and stability are issues, especially as US vendors don't do full production beta testing so implementation is always slower."
While Boland felt the module could enable more robust Emu preparation in complex global environments she warned that users who planned to use version 11 to gear up for Emu would have to get moving.
Boland also noted that Oracle's decision to release version 11 on a browser only platform could leave many companies in the lurch.
"This will put pressure on version 10.7 and 10.6 users who want to avail of the multicurrency functionality but, like a significant number of European companies, don't have three-tier strategies," she argued.
The release also includes an analytical tool, Business Intelligence System (BIS), which will draw information from databases via Oracle applications.
"Users have been looking for a more seamless integration between Oracle's applications and databases so this should add value. But BIS is a bit too close to the abbreviation for bullshit for my liking," added Boland.
Oracle's manufacturing suite will have the capacity for flow or mixed mode manufacturing add-ons but rival vendor Baan was "surprised" at Oracle president Ray Lane's boast that "it's a just-in-time manufacturing functionality that no other ERP vendor has."
Helen Sutton, a Baan consultant said: "We've been offering just-in-time for up to four years. They are following the market rather than marking out anything new."
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