Oracle to provide online services for smaller firms

Oracle has taken another step towards delivering many of its software and services via the internet with the launch of its new Small Business Suite.

The world’s number two software firm is aiming the new suite at companies with less than 100 employees, many of whom lack internal IT expertise and resources. It offers online application services to manage key business processes including payroll, customer relationship management, purchasing and e-commerce.

Oracle released the product with a $99 per month introductory price. It said the launch package, which is set up for US and Canadian tax legislation, will be joined by other versions suitable for global markets.

Oracle has linked up with NetLedger, an e-business management software specialist, to create the new offering.

Delivering software via the internet allows smaller firms to bypass the often prohibitive hardware, licence fee and set-up costs associated with traditional enterprise applications, the company claims.

It also plans to develop integration tools allowing small business users to interact with large companies.

The new launch means that Oracle, used mainly by medium to large enterprises, has now joined Microsoft in the battle to reach the smaller end of the market via online delivery.

Both software giants believe the internet will give them access to new revenue streams, and keep users happy by giving them extra flexibility to pay for what they need, when they need it.

Alongside the launch of the Small Business Suite, Oracle extended the range of options for customers over where its services are hosted.

Previously users had to buy hardware management services from Oracle, but the company said they could now opt to use an in-house server or a suitable third-party host.

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