Oracle to offer hosted e-procurement

By Heather Harreld, InfoWorld |  Software

Oracle Corp. soon will begin offering an e-procurement hosted solution designed to be rolled out in 30 days to encompass the full range of a company's purchasing.

The second "fast track" service initiative rolled out by the company, the "Procure-to-Pay in 30 Days" plan, also includes pre-sourced catalogs, requisitioning, purchasing, invoicing, receiving, payments, electronic banking, automatic cash reconciliation, and reporting. Oracle also offers CRM (customer relationship management) installations in 90 days.

Best-of-breed e-procurement solutions do not address the complete procure-to-pay process, said Jeremy Burton, Oracle senior vice president, product and services marketing. Instead, the multi-vendor approach offers a simple requisitioning point solution that cannot match the full scope of Oracle's complete offering, he said.

"[Competing solutions] only automate the process of raising the requisition," Burton said. "It's then an integration project. You've got to hook up your procurement system with your purchasing system. You also have to link with the accounts payable system."

The solution includes pre-negotiated prices via content provider WorldCrest, based in Atlanta, Ga., on indirect goods and services from suppliers, Burton said. This is designed to allow customers to save months of negotiation with suppliers, Burton said.

"A procurement system is useless without a catalog of goods," Burton said. "[Customers] wouldn't have to go out to each supplier individually and negotiate contracts. The overall process is cheaper. The actual cost of the goods is cheaper because you can leverage the pre-negotiated contracts."

Available as an online service, the solution also is pre-connected to payment service providers so buyers can make online payments to suppliers.

The procurement solution marks the second Oracle initiative to move its software online as a service. Oracle announced in April that it would begin offering a 90-day hosted implementation of its CRM software. These hosted offerings are part of the company's "War on Complexity," a philosophy designed to urge enterprise customers to end application customization and instead mold their business processes to fit Oracle applications. Oracle has ingrained common business processes into its implementation process to speed deployment.

The Procure-To-Pay solution, which will be available July 15, will cost US$235,000 up front and will ramp up according to purchasing volume.

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