Oracle Puts Business Sales Automation on Web

Oracle announced this week a free online service to provide businesses with access to Oracle sales automation products.

Oracle, the database management software company in Redwood Shores, Calif., said in a statement Monday that more than 400 medium and large companies in 15 countries are managing their sales activities with the free online service, OracleSalesOnline.com. Among the companies Oracle named are Enterprise Rent a Car, Financial Finesse and Harris Interactive.

The software allows a business to get a sales force with as many as 500 sales representatives up and running, allowing forecasting and tracking of customer information, Oracle said.

Analyst Sheryl Kingstone at Yankee Group in Boston said the product is the first in a series of applications from Oracle's E-business Suite 11i that will be brought online. She described Oracle's move as a direct attack on Siebel Systems Inc., the leader in customer relationship management applications. But while the plain-vanilla version of Oracle's applications will be free and easy to install, Kingstone added, "nothing is ever free in the software world."

She explained that a user of the Oracle product will incur costs if the product is customized. And she warned that certain companies might find that a one-size-fits-all approach is not suitable."

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