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Oracle to ship suite upgrade early

The company will ship the next version of its enterprise applications suite ahead of schedule, a company source says.

Oracle (ORCL) will be shipping the next version of its enterprise applications suite with enhanced Web tools, multilingual features, and added supply-chain and front office capabilities ahead of schedule, a company source said today.

Originally set to ship in May, Oracle Applications 11 will be available as early as next month, a source in the company said under the condition of anonymity.

Looking to make a stronger presence in the global business applications market, Oracle has developed version 11 to support 28 languages, and has added many features required for the Euro that were included as beta elements in release 10.7.

European countries are tentatively scheduled to switch to the Euro standard by the turn of the century. And Oracle, like competitors in the enterprise applications market SAP, PeopleSoft , and Baan, has added full Euro compliance functionality to its suite in an effort to gain market share by attracting multinational customers.

Along with Euro compliance, the company has added features to do cross-currency settlements. With Oracle Payables, for example, users can pay an invoice in a currency other than the invoice currency, or in currencies defined with fixed exchange rates because of a country's participation in the European Monetary Union (EMU).

In addition, Oracle has boosted its manufacturing functions as well. The Project Manufacturing application is targeted at the aerospace, defense, and engineer-to-order environments. Flow Manufacturing supports customer driven, just-in-time manufacturing environments. The combination of the two completes its manufacturing package, according to the company.

"They have a good offering now," said Dennis Byron, an analyst with International Data Corporation. "The DataLogix acquisition helped them in this function a lot."

Oracle purchased DataLogix, a manufacturing software maker early last year, to shore up its manufacturing component of its suite.

Release 11 also includes enhanced supply-chain features, including Web Configurator, a partner product, a master scheduling and supply chain planning capabilities.

Analyst Byron Miller, of Giga , said it is important that Oracle now has all the features in this new suite, "but they are behind the rest of the market in announcing them."