Oracle pushes BI to the iPhone

Oracle is jumping on the iPhone bandwagon, releasing Business Indicators, the first in a planned wave of applications for the red-hot mobile device.

The BI (business intelligence) application itself is a free download from Apple's App Store, but customers must have licensed Oracle's BI software, which generates the reports, analytics and alerts that get pushed to the phone.

"We're getting the value on the back end," said Lenley Hensarling, Oracle group vice president of applications development.

Apple is releasing the 3G version of the phone this week amid worldwide fanfare. Oracle's announcement coincided with the opening of the App Store.

While the iPhone is not yet a major enterprise competitor to established mobile devices such as the BlackBerry, Oracle considered it a wise move to support the platform based on clear signs of early adoption.

"We think it's going to expand and grow, but we also feel like in certain constituencies in companies, we're seeing the iPhone used for e-mail access as a preferred device," Hensarling said. "You see sales guys buying them even when the company won't buy them."

Oracle is not first to support the iPhone; the company joins the likes of on-demand ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor NetSuite and BI vendor Pentaho.

Down the road, Oracle intends to release iPhone applications that focus on ERP and CRM (customer relationship management) processes as well, the company said.

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