Oracle OpenWorld: Customers desperate for collaboration, says Jarvis

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Oracle is claiming what it calls “unprecedented” levels of interest in its Collaboration Suite with the inclusion of an ASP spin as a differentiator to rival offerings from Microsoft and Lotus.

The company announced Oracle Collaboration Suite Outsourcing, a service that follows the Oracle strategy of Oracle managing and maintaining Oracle-based software rather than the customer.

Preliminary interest in Collaboration Suite has surpassed that of the company's other software products, according to chief marketing officer Mark Jarvis, with 50 pilot projects underway with the three month old software. "Typically when we launch a new product we have to explain it to customers,” he said. “In the case of Collaboration Suite, customers have been calling us."

"We have never seen that much interest early on, traditionally you only get the early adopters,” he said, adding that there were “hundreds of customers” asking for demos. “Our application server launched two years ago and we have 15,000 customers. The collaboration suite is going to be as big if not bigger than the application server.”

Oracle’s outsourcing drive is several years old and has only enjoyed a limited success. It’s orginal Business Online predictions have long since been abandoned as has the original branding. But the company claims its outsourcing customers can lower the costs of managing Oracle software by 50 percent.

Elsewhere Hewlett Packard said it would bundle an upgraded version of the Oracle application server with its servers in to spur sales of Oracle products on machines running Intel’s Itanium 2 chip. HP already bundles BEA Systems application server with some of its server range.

Oracle also announced the setting up of a wireless customer advisory board (CAB) to give customers using Oracle's wireless software a formal communication channel to Oracle's product development team for enhancements and new features. Founding members of the wireless CAB include Citigroup, Siemens Business Services, Telefonica Moviles Espana and Telia Mobile.

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