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Appshop Offers Wireless Oracle Access

Appshop Inc. Monday (March 26) announced it has entered the beta testing stage of wireless accessibility to its Oracle e-Business ASP offering.

Oracle e-Business applications, including customer relationship management (CRM), e-Commerce, enterprise resource planning (ERP), finance, human resources, manufacturing, marketing, product development, supply chain management and transportation, will be accessible through any mobile device, including PDAs, two-way messaging devices, one-way pagers and WAP phones.

"With today's announcement, we are taking the next step in expanding our definition of service by enabling customers to access Oracle applications anywhere at anytime through almost any mobile device," said Ravi Kulasekaran, CEO of Appshop.

While other ASPs are still experimenting with their business model, Appshop is moving into the next stage of development, Kulasekaran told ASP News. "We have a rock-solid business model that scales. Now it's time to enhance the user experience," he said. "The wireless market needs to be nurtured and created by businesses like ours. People need to be shown the true power of being able to interact with a database via a mobile device."

In contrast to a recent study that found Oracle users reluctant to outsource, Appshop signed 1 customer a week last year, and currently has 56 customers using one or more modules. There are recent differences in the size of today's customers and the length of their decision cycle, according to Kulasekaran. "In the last couple of months, customers are taking longer to make decisions, but it's not a matter of 'should I go ASP or not,' but 'when do I want to do it,'" he said. "Our current customer base is bigger, and the averages are higher. We're in the advanced stages of a deal right now in excess of $5 million."

"More companies are paying attention to our value offerings: predictable costs and cost savings resulting from economies of scale," Kulasekaran added.

One of Appshop's first wireless beta customers is enterprise storage networking provider McDATA (Nasdaq:MCDT), which was spun off from storage giant EMC in January. McDATA is based in Broomfield, Colo., with offices in Canada, Germany and Japan.

"We are excited to extend our partnership with Appshop by beta testing their new wireless solution," said Don Wenninger, chief information officer and vice president of information technology, McDATA. "By enabling mobile access to our Oracle applications, we expect to enhance both the external customer experience and the internal customer experience to improve customer satisfaction."

McDATA plans to use the wireless connectivity in three areas: wireless access to customers and order information; customer support and service engineering dispatch and trouble ticket data; and Internal Call Center and IT service dispatch.

The wireless offering will be generally available next quarter. "Many of our customers have expressed interest and want it now," Kulasekaran said. "We want to make sure we're generating a product that has a larger audience in mind. The biggest bang will come when we integrate voice." Kulasekaran expects the addition of voice capabilities by the end of the year.

Appshop, an Oracle Authorized Application Provider, is headquartered in Fremont, Calif. and has regional offices across the U.S. and subsidiaries in Bangalore, India and Zhuhai, China.