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Oracle Small Biz Gets Smarter

Software giant Oracle Corp., Tuesday announced the launch of the Oracle Small Business Suite Education Program, powered by NetLedger.

The program is designed to help instructors complement their classroom business curriculum with the Oracle Small Business Suite Web-based accounting and business management solution and aims to make it easier for students to learn how to simplify business processes.

The curriculum, which offers a study guide for students, a detailed instructors guide and extensive group discussion and individual exercises, helps instructors demonstrate the core aspects of running a business, including accounting, e-commerce and customer relationship management.

Jim LaBelle, vice president of marketing for NetLedger, which powers the Oracle Small Business Suite says the impetus for the program came from customers:

"We had many accounting professors approach us about using our solution to give them and their students an online tool for learning about managing a business. Instead of handling them all individually, it made sense to formalize it into a program that we could offer to all educational facilities," he explains.

The curriculum created jointly by Oracle Small Business Suite's training and marketing team and beta customer instructors who used it in their classrooms, consists of eight sections of business transaction examples and ramifications, as it follows a new fictitious start-up, says LaBelle.

Ronald S. Stone, PhD, CPA, Professor of Accounting and Information Systems, California State University, Northridge, College of Business & Economics, has implemented Oracle Small Business Suite in a course on computerized accounting for college level juniors and seniors.

"Students enjoy the convenience of doing their homework wherever they have access to the Internet. It's easy for me to check their work from my office. Using Oracle Small Business Suite, students learn how businesses use technology in an e-commerce environment."

"The real value is in giving students more than just a theoretical exposure to accounting and business management - using the Suite, students can simulate the running of a real business, and see first-hand how important it is to accurately track finances and organize business processes for success," says LaBelle.

Having worked with five beta customers prior to the launch, Oracle is in the process of provisioning 15 additional instructors who had previously expressed interest in using the Oracle Small Business Suite in the classroom.

Oracle is now starting to market the program to the academic community and anticipates the program to be a supplement to Suite's core small business customers.

"It could represent 10-20 percent of our customer base over time, with significant benefits down the road potentially from students who graduate and eventually get involved in running a business," anticipates LaBelle.