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Oracle expands applications lineup

Oracle today added more industry-specific business applications to its roster in an attempt to expand its customer base.

Continuing its push into vertical markets,Oracle (ORCL) today said it is adding more industry-specific applications to its business software roster.

Oracle, like competitors PeopleSoft, Baan, and SAP, is looking to expand its customer base by offering applications specialized for particular industries.

All four companies are pitching their products to telecommunications, oil, and gas companies, as well as to utilities, educational institutions, and the public sector.

As part of its user conference kickoff in Orlando today, Oracle announced new versions of its core business applications for companies in the consumer packaged goods industry, the automotive industry, the high-tech industry, the aerospace and defense industries, and human resources.

By bolstering the Oracle core application offerings with new products, features, and third party-partner applications that focus on specific industrial customer requirements, the company is offering additional choices and an integrated package to meet enterprise business needs, said George Kadifa, Oracle's group vice president, industrial sector.

Scheduled to ship later this month, Oracle CPG version 2.2 is designed to meet the needs of companies in the consumer goods market. New features will include a comprehensive trade accounting capability that improves accounts receivable and credit functions to handle high volumes of cash and deduction transactions for better finance management.

Designed for the U.S. government, Oracle Government HR is a human resources management application. Like all the Oracle HRMS applications, Government HR features a graphical interface to give users all HR data. The package provides data structures made specifically to support the requirements of the federal government, including all the data recommended by the Office of Personnel Management, additional data often used by agencies within the federal government, as well as unique data required for a specific agency.

Marking an increased focus on the automotive industry, the software company has rolled out Oracle Automotive, an extended business application for both demand and supply management that leverages the integrated supply chain functions provided within Oracle Manufacturing and Oracle Supply Applications. The package includes an automotive suite of both core Oracle applications and key partner products, as well as consulting and implementation services.

For companies in the high-tech industry, Oracle has expanded its high-tech package to include Oracle Product Configurator, Web-Based Configurator, Oracle Flow Manufacturing, Oracle Workflow, and Oracle Workflow-enabled Engineering Change function. The package is designed to help tightly integrate product development with the product design and manufacturing processes.

The company has also entered into the aerospace and defense market with a new package, Oracle Aerospace and Defense. This enhanced version of Oracle's existing enterprise applications suite includes Oracle Project Manufacturing, Oracle Flow Manufacturing, and Oracle Service Resource Planning.

Oracle has not announced pricing for the new applications.

To provide consulting, implementation services, and customer support and education for customers of each industry-specific package, Oracle has formed the Industrial Sector Vertical organization.

James E. Heaton, an industry analyst and president of Advanced Manufacturing Research said the latest releases make sense. "Vertically targeted solution assembly offers a better fit to enterprise requirements than 'one size fits all' ?packages," he said.

Oracle, SAP, and Baan are among the applications makers targeting firms that supply parts to larger companies, such as those that provide components to auto makers.

So-called enterprise resource planning applications, for automating supply chain management, have become fixtures at the vast majority of large multinational corporations in recent years, but sales have begun to stagnate with market saturation. Now, companies like Oracle are looking at other markets and manufacturers for additional sales by providing packages unique to them, say analysts.

Oracle is a leading enterprise application software maker, second in the world only to SAP, according to Lehman Brothers.