Oracle announces Year 2000 application bundle, services

Oracle has detailed plans to release next month an application and services package designed to help mid-sized companies implement new accounting systems that are year 2000-compliant.

The company also announced a program to help Fortune 1000 companies to evaluate their year 2000 compliance needs.

Beginning September 15 Oracle will offer mid-sized companies in the US (those with revenues of less than $US100 million its new FastForward Financials Y2K bundle, which is priced at $US300,000 for 25 users and includes financial accounting software, consulting, education and support services.

Specifically, the package includes the Oracle Financials Release 11 suite for 25 users, comprising Oracle General Ledger, Oracle Payables, Oracle Assets, Oracle Purchasing and Oracle Receivables.

Also part of the package is Oracle Consulting's FastForward Financials fixed-scope implementation service, a tailored education package that includes five days of on-site end-user training and a one-day seminar for database administrators. In addition the bundle includes one year of OracleSilver round-the-clock global telephone support and regular account management reporting.

The package will be available on Windows NT and Unix platforms until December 31, 1998, and can also be purchased pre-loaded and pre-configured on Hewlett-Packard Co. systems. By October Dell Computer Corp. will also joint the program and offer pre-installed, pre-configured FastForward packages, said Laurent Pacalin, vice president of business development, Oracle Applications for the mid-market.

The FastForward Financials offer may be extended after December 31, but most likely at a higher price, Pacalin said. A similar offer is available in the UK and the company is evaluating how to extend the program to other countries.

However, since time for year 2000 compliance work is running out and localised accounting packages vary widely to conform to different accounting standards around the world, it is not clear in how many countries Oracle will be able to offer the bundle, Pacalin said. He added that Oracle's methodology is based on best-practice business rules which aren't homogeneous around the world.

For Fortune 1000 companies that are in the process addressing the year 2000 issue, but have fallen behind schedule, Oracle is offering the Oracle Compliance evaluation package.

Developed by Oracle Consulting and also to be available September 15, the program offers customers up to two days of free evaluation assistance, covering financial accounting and human resources software. The service aims to produce "a clear implementation proposal and project plan," Oracle said. Pacalin said the goal of the program is to migrate customers off legacy systems that are not year 2000-compliant and over to Oracle Applications.

"You may initially lose some of the bells and whistles but at least customers can move over in time and establish a financial backbone," Pacalin said. "And we can later help customers to rebuild their interfaces et cetera."

The programs announced today are designed to attract new customers, Pacalin said. He estimated that about 80 per cent of Oracle Applications users are already year 2000-compliant. Since Release 7, Oracle's Applications have been year 2000-compliant, Pacalin said.

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