Oracle keeps making incremental improvements to its Oracle 11i application suite. The latest version will please current customers but probably won't influence many new ones.
2001 was a bad year for Oracle's customer relations. Earlier in the year, the company seemed to sever ties with the Oracle Application User Group over ceasing support of Oracle 10.7. By year's end, the company had extended support for 10.7 and re-established its relationship with the user group. Oracle also had problems in 2001 with 11i product quality, which is starting to stabilize.
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Analysts shrug at Oracle's new software
Gartner predicts that companies will use 2002 to get their own houses in order. They need to clean up their enterprise applications in preparation for implementing challenging collaborative commerce technologies and processes later on. These enhancements from Oracle will help companies on this front.
In a poor economic climate, companies are likely deterred from full-scale upgrades by the cost, the time required and the need for support. Oracle must focus in these areas to boost 11i's uptake by providing high-quality migration tools and low-risk migration projects.
Within this context, the new 11i functions, such as improved access to sales and inventory data, and being able to share it with business partners, won't change the landscape much. They offer existing Oracle customers good value, but they aren't particularly compelling or state-of-the-art--other software vendors offer them.
Therefore, Gartner does not believe that the latest version of 11i will attract many more new customers to Oracle. It will, however, serve as an improved application platform for current customers. Oracle and 11i are headed in the right direction, but they're not moving at breakneck speed.
(For a related commentary on extended support for Oracle 10.7, see gartner.com.)
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