SAP unit speeds up tracking of support engineers

In a bid to improve service, TomorrowNow to offer a wireless system designed to better locate its employees.

TomorrowNow, which offers maintenance services to customers of Oracle applications, on Monday is expected to announce a system to better locate its support engineers for more reliable service.

The company, acquired by Oracle rival SAP in 2005, provides support, including bug fixes and maintenance, to companies that use business applications from PeopleSoft and J.D. Edwards, which were both acquired by Oracle.

On Monday, TomorrowNow is expected to detail an upgrade to its support system designed to speed the process of finding engineers.

Its call-routing application will now be able to monitor support professionals' handheld devices, including pagers and smart phones, to ensure that they are available. For example, the system can tell if the battery life of a handheld is going down and send an e-mail to alert the support person, said Andrew Nelson, CEO of TomorrowNow.

Nelson said that later this year, the company will start offering support services for Siebel applications--also purchased by Oracle--as well as for those from Baan.

The company's prices are half the cost Oracle charges its customers for maintenance support, Nelson said.

TomorrowNow is able to offer these lower prices because it only does maintenance services, he said. By contrast, the maintenance fees charged by traditional enterprise software vendors are used to fund both support and the development of future upgrades, he argued.

"The technology and processes we're developing are for supporting a production system, so we can cut the price in half and still do quite well because we aren't asking customers to prefund an upgrade," Nelson said.

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