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Oracle launches e-commerce apps

Oracle debuts new versions of its front office e-commerce applications for Web-based selling and customer service.

    Oracle today debuted new versions of its front office e-commerce applications for Web-based selling and customer service.

    Oracle Internet Commerce Server 2.0 and Web Customers 3.0 are electronic commerce and self-service customer care products that work with other Oracle front office and enterprise resource planning applications to help companies extend their sales channels and boost customer reach, the company said.

    Due to ship later this quarter, Oracle Internet Commerce Server 2.0 is a business-to-customer application that provides a Web-based channel for selling products directly to consumers. The server works directly with Oracle enterprise resource planning applications for accessing orders, items, inventory, and customer data.

    Oracle Internet Server 2.0 links with Oracle Call Center and Telephony suite Web-initiated callbacks. For example, when a customer selects the "call me" button on the Web site, the customer information routed to the appropriate call center agent and a pop-up screen appears on a customer service agent's desktop providing them with the information to call the customer back.

    Supporting the emerging secure electronics transaction standard, the new server also works with the Oracle Payment Server for online payment authorization functions through third-party payment technology vendors.

    Available today, Oracle Web Customers 3.0 allows businesses to reduce the quantity of change orders and manufacturing rework by giving the customer self-service ordering abilities. Web Customers also integrates with Oracle Workflow and enables sales rep order entry, customer item integration, and more search capabilities.

    Along with further integration with Oracle Call Center and Telephony suite, Web Customers 3.0 includes new features that allow customers to enter, review, and modify service requests and check order status, regardless of the channel used to place the order including over the Web, through a sales representative, or call center.

    Oracle has been making moves in the front-office applications space lately. Just last month the company acquired Versatility, a maker of front-office call center management software, for $12 million.

    Oracle and its competitors in the business process management software space, like SAP, PeopleSoft, and Baan, are quickly stretching their systems to become all-purpose business software for corporate clients. The systems traditionally manage most back office functions, automating such tasks as financial accounting, inventory replenishment, and human resource management.

    For the past year, as the huge software systems grew to become the entire backbone of corporate computing environments, the vendors began buying, building, or using a combination of the two to expand their systems into the front of the house. Most are starting to handle customer management, sales force automation, and now call centers.

    For its front office products, Oracle has sales force automation, marketing automation, customer care service, e-commerce, and business intelligence systems. Oracle was already set to roll out a call center system at the end of September. Oracle executives said Versatility's products are now to be mixed into the fold to fill out the call center offering with outbound dialing technology, and telemarketing and telesales applications, which Oracle was lacking.