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Oracle puts e-commerce in fast forward

The software maker will this week announce FastForward Internet Procurement, the latest in a suite of e-commerce applications intended for midsized companies.

Oracle wants to speed up procurement for midsized businesses.

The Redwood Shores, California-based business software maker this week is announcing Oracle FastForward Internet Procurement, the company's first suite of e-commerce applications intended for firms with less than $500 million in revenues.

FastForward Internet Procurement provides a Web-based way to help companies acquire goods and services at the lowest total cost by automating the entire purchasing life cycle from planning to procurement to payment, the company said.

The offering, which includes software, consulting, education, and support, is intended to get midsized companies up and running within two months, according to Oracle.

The software helps automate processes such as finding the biggest opportunities to save money, lets workers buy supplies over the Internet from preapproved catalogs and contracts, enables scheduling of equipment maintenance, and automates purchase approvals. The application also streamlines the process from order creation, to routing and receiving.

Like the rest of Oracle's new generation of FastForward software applications, it is completely Web-based, so no software needs to be installed on a user's personal computer.

FastForward for Internet Procurement runs on the Oracle 11 business applications and includes Oracle Self-Service Purchasing, which is a Web-based purchasing application that lets employees fill out purchase requests from a desktop PC; Oracle Purchasing, which is a financial application used for receiving, tracking, and processing purchasing requests; and Oracle Payables, which are financial applications used to process supplier payments.

Also included is a set of catalog subscription services from Oracle partners Corporate Express and W.W. Grainger, firms that provide a catalog of supplies and equipment for electronic purchase.

General availability of FastForward Internet Procurement is slated for May 5. Pricing was not disclosed.