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Oracle Offers Small Businesses a Snapshot View

Executives and owners of growing businesses want a snapshot look at real-time information, according to Jim LaBelle, vice president of marketing at NetLedger, the San Mateo, Calif.-based ASP that produces the Oracle Small Business Suite.

To meet that need, the company announced today the addition of the Executive Dashboard to the software service. The feature is designed to offer from a single Web page multiple views of a company's operation.

The Oracle Small Business Suite offers integrated accounting and finance, Web site and e-commerce, and sales force automation (SFA) features, running on a central Oracle database. Based on results of a survey conducted last October, LaBelle said NetLedger and Oracle decided to offer executives and business owners "quick looks and alerts" relating to all aspects of a business. For example, a company president could set up the Executive Dashboard to offer an at-a-glance look at cash flow, profit and loss, sales leads, top customers, calendar and more.

A company executive could also have email alerts sent at particular times, said LaBelle. For example, he or she could receive daily e-mails listing sales leads, weekly updates on receivables/payables and monthly e-mails with P&L and balance sheet reports.

Users can drill down into the summary information from the Executive Dashboard for further details on critical components of the business such as large deals or overdue accounts. The dashboard's layout can be customized to suit the needs of different businesses and different roles within a business.

LaBelle said that when NetLedger first became available in 1998, its typical customer had one to 10 employees. At that time, it was strictly an accounting solution. Since then, the company had added Web store and SFA features and the target customer is now 10 to 100 employees. "The typical customer has 25 employees," LaBalle said.

LaBelle said that Oracle Small Business Suite suite users fit two profiles. They are product-oriented and use the Web store features to help sell products, or they are professional-services-oriented and use the Web site features for SFA. "We are happy that people utilize all aspects of the suite."

Pricing starts at $1,200 a year for one full user (e.g., a business owner or high-level executive) and five employees.

LaBelle also told ASPnews that on April 15th, Oracle will announce a value-added reseller (VAR) program for the Oracle Small Business Suite. While the company has had a certified program for consultants, the VAR program will be more extensive, LaBelle said.

The company will continue with a strong direct sales approach, LaBelle said, but the VAR program will provide an in-direct sales channel for customers who prefer to work with someone local. The goal is to have 100 VARs selling Oracle Small Business Suite by the end of the year.

NetLedger is listed as an ASPnews Top 20 ASP.


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