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Oracle takes a bow for Compaq installation

Compaq Computer is done with an initial installation of the company's Internet procurement software.

Oracle on Tuesday said Compaq Computer has completed its initial installation of Oracle's Internet procurement software, as the software maker busies itself touting customers using its latest Web-based business applications.

A first batch of 3,000 employees in Compaq's North American operations now are equipped with the procurement software. When the implementation is done, the software will help automate Compaq's entire purchasing process, with the goal of increased volume discounts and reduced costs for products and services purchased over a Web-based system, Oracle said at Oracle AppsWorld 2001, a conference taking place this week in New Orleans.

The computer maker said it expects to save approximately $48 million by the end of 2001 using Oracle's software.

Oracle on Tuesday also trumpeted a strategy to expand its online services business under a new brand name, The company said will serve as a hub where customers can gain access to all of Oracle's software as well as act as a portal site for business information created by Oracle and its content partners.

The company is aiming to make the single place on the Web where a company and all of its employees can access all of Oracle's online software services, online software from third party partners, Oracle's traditional products and services, and access to other content and services.

Analysts are hoping that the database-software giant this week can deliver a series of customers actually using software from the heavily touted Oracle 11i suite of Web-based business management software. Oracle, which began launching parts of the suite last spring, has said that customers will be attracted to 11i because it encompasses applications that manage a wide range of business activities including marketing, customer service, manufacturing, human resources and financials.

Oracle said more than 180 customers have gone live with the 11i suite and more than 2,500 software implementations are under way. Companies that have finished their implementations of the suite include Compaq, Barclays Bank, Hitachi Data Systems, HostCentric, Staff Leasing and Tropian.

Oracle Chief Executive Larry Ellison is slated to deliver his keynote speech Wednesday. At last week's European version of Oracle AppsWorld, he spent a good part of his speech promoting the modest systems integration work needed to install 11i. He also reiterated the company's goal of saving $1 billion this year by using its own software and said that 11i customers would reap similar benefits in cost savings and business efficiency.

For Compaq, Oracle's internal consulting division is handling the installation, with the initial implementation on Compaq Proliant servers running the Windows NT operating system, Oracle said.

The next phase includes migration to the Tru64 Unix operating system and the integration of Oracle procurement software with a financial software system from Oracle rival SAP. Once completed, Oracle said, the procurement system will support the purchasing requirements of Compaq's 68,000 employees worldwide.

In related news, the Redwood City, Calif.-based company also on Tuesday unveiled a new collection of business-to-business software products intended to help many businesses collaborate simultaneously on product development, with greater efficiency and lower costs for customers, suppliers and partners. Dubbed the Oracle E-Business Hub, the new group of applications is an extension of 11i and is designed to enable interaction and collaboration across a broad range of key business activities over online marketplaces.

Last month, Oracle, which has been moving quickly to gain momentum in the burgeoning world of Net marketplaces, introduced three new add-ons to Oracle Exchange, its online marketplace software. Oracle said the new software will help businesses save money by linking sales, marketing, manufacturing and shipping functions.

Additionally, Oracle said it has added Appshop to its growing list of ASP (application service provider) partners. As part of the company's partner program, Appshop will begin hosting and renting 11i applications to its customers.

Like other software companies, including PeopleSoft and SAP, Oracle has its eyes on the lucrative ASP market. Oracle's once tightly held ASP strategy has branched into a growing partner strategy that includes hosting partners such as Agilera, BlueMeteor and Center 7.