Oracle Extends Fixed-Cost Offerings

Mid-sized high technology manufacturing companies that have delayed addressing Year 2000 compliance problems may have a new safety net to break their fall. Under a fixed-cost, rapid implementation program being offered by Oracle Corp., manufacturers may cap the often-lengthy implementations and open-ended costs required to bring most MRP packages online.

This week Oracle unveiled the latest application suite under its FastForward program, a discrete manufacturing application suite intended for high tech manufacturers. Called FastForward ManufacturingRPM for High Tech, the offering builds upon a series of other FastForward application suites that have emerged from the database giant since last September. Suites already available include FastForward FinancialsRPM, FastForward Public Sector Sector FinancialsRPM and FastForward for ManufacturingRPM. The company plans to offer a process manufacturing package by the end of the second quarter of this year. The company says other configurations may be announced through the year.

The "RPM" designates "Rapid Pre-configured Model," which means using standardized release 11 configurations of Oracle’s Enterprise Application suite developed by Oracle’s consulting organization. The program is designed for companies under $500 million in annual revenues and works on the premise of completing an implementation under a fixed-cost, fixed-time contract.

The high-tech manufacturing package with 30 user seats carries a $575,000 price tag and includes licenses to financial applications and manufacturing/MRP modules, one year of Oracle’s OracleSilver support package and an educational component. The program promises implementation, in a 90-day window or less, through Oracle’s 10,000-person consulting unit. Alternatively, customers can contract with a local Oracle Solution Provider company. The package differs by the standard manufacturing package announced late last year with the addition of a quality control module not offered in the standard manufacturing package.

Although the program is offered for deployment on both Windows NT and Unix systems, preloaded configurations are available only on Unix systems from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

To promise a fixed price, fixed time implementation, Oracle has taken steps to limit the extent of any implementation. A potential customer must first complete a questionnaire that helps them pre-qualify for the program. Among the limitations Oracle won’t handle in the fixed-price implementation: multiple languages, multiple currencies, and migration of legacy data from existing MRP systems. "We have the ability to do data migration for our customers, but to make the offering as straightforward as possible, we’re not including data migration," says Eve Milrod, Oracle senior director of mid-market business development. – Al Gillen, Editor in Chief

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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