Oracle to ship new sales software for midsized companies

The database-software maker is set to announce the company's first customer relationship management (CRM) software for companies with revenues of $500 million or less.

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Oracle is trying to pave an easier way for midsized companies to sell on the Net.

On Tuesday, Oracle is set to announce the company's first customer relationship management (CRM) software for companies with revenues of $500 million or less. CRM software helps automate a company's sales, customer service, and marketing needs. Competing against Oracle in the CRM space are No. 1 front office software maker Siebel Systems, as well as smaller players Vantive and Clarify. Business software maker SAP also is expected to ship a full suite of CRM products next year.

Called the FastForward Web Store, Oracle's new software provides a quick way for companies to set up shop on the Internet, according to the company. Included with the Web-based application are software implementation services; education and support by an Oracle team or one of its partners; 24-hour, seven days a week customer support; and a promise to get a Web site up and running in 45 business days or less.

Many midsized companies realize they need a global presence on the Internet, said Eve Milrod, Oracle's senior director of E-business Solutions. "That's the problem we are trying to solve," she said.

Companies installing FastForward Web Store also get Oracle's iStore and iPayment software. The company said its iStore software is a secure Internet storefront (or a Web site's front page) that enables a company to sell products and services directly to customers. iPayment, which is integrated with iStore, supports electronic-payment processing that allows shoppers to chose payment options and payment methods.

In addition, the company said it has partnered with CyberCash for credit card transaction processing and Taxware for tax calculations.

Separately, Oracle also will announce Tuesday its FastForward Distribution application intended to help midsize wholesalers reduce order cycle time, automate inventory, reduce shipping costs, eliminate paper, and automatically update the accounting/financial side of their company.

FastForward Distribution includes software licenses, consulting services, support, and education with implementation within 75 business days or less, the company said.

Like the rest of Oracle's offerings under the FastForward line, which wasfirst announced last August, customers using the applications receive one year of OracleSilver support and on-site training.

FastForward Web Store will be generally available on October 15. Pricing was not disclosed. FastForward Distribution will be available on September 21. The company said pricing for FastForward Distribution is $400,000 for 25 users.