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Oracle Takes on Collaboration Market - InternetNews.
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Oracle Takes on Collaboration Market

Targeting Microsoft's and IBM's dominance in the enterprise collaboration market, Oracle Thursday trumpeted the immediate availability of Oracle Collaboration Suite Release 2, boasting new real-time Web conferencing capabilities as well as other enhancements.

"Release 2's focus is real-time," Sunir Kapoor, vice president of Oracle's Enterprise Messaging & Collaboration Business, told internetnews.com.

Kapoor also cited the new suite's compliance with the growing host of regulations that firms must deal with, from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to HIPAA to the USA Patriot Act and European Data Privacy Act. Kapoor said compliance with new regulations was a priority with Release 2, and he noted that the process has been eased by the suite's technical structure, which has been unabashedly constructed around the company's Oracle9i Application Server and Oracle9i Database.

"There's one repository," Kapoor said. "That's the mainstay of our value proposition."

Because of the deep integration with Oracle's database, the suite can offer new features like flashback recovery in Oracle Email, which allows Microsoft Outlook users to recover deleted messages without administrator assistance.

"Oracle offers a common repository model for content and collaboration, which means that for the first time, all of the infrastructure tools used to manage structured data, and the underlying skills related to database administration and storage management, can be applied to unstructured data stores," said Dan Rasmus, senior analyst with Giga Group.

Alan Wamser, Systems Analyst II at Hayes Medical, said that capability was a sure selling point for his firm.

"Consolidation of systems was a priority for us," Wamser said. "Oracle's strategic approach to collaboration just makes sense, and they are the only company presenting this option right now. By leveraging the Oracle9i Database and Oracle9i Application Server, we're not only increasing the security and scalability of our systems, we're also reducing our total cost of ownership."

Referring to Microsoft Exchange Server and IBM Lotus, Kapoor said, "The alternative is fragmented stacks."

That, he argued, will help Oracle capture Microsoft customers as they face the prospect of migration to Exchange Server 2003 (formerly known as Titanium) and the follow-up version, code-named Kodiak.

"When they start considering the cost of migration, it's expensive," Kapoor said, noting that firms face costs of $100 to $400 per seat just for the migration. Oracle is offering up Release 2 with a perpetual license for the entire suite at $60 per named user and an annual license at $15 per named user. That includes all components of the suite and limited run-time licenses for Oracle9i Database and Oracle9i Application Server. Firms that just want Oracle's new Oracle Web Conferencing as a stand-alone can obtain it for $45 per named user. Also, unlike solutions offered by competing firms, Oracle said an Oracle Collaboration Suite or Oracle Web Conferencing license is only necessary for the initiator of the Web conference, not for all the participants.

The big ticket item in the new version is Oracle Web Conferencing, which Oracle promised will allow customers to reduce operating expenses, consolidate real-time systems and offer a slew of real-time capabilities like document presentation and sharing, co-browsing, whiteboarding, chat, voice streaming and secure storage and playback of Web conferences .

Overall, the suite integrates horizontal applications like email, voicemail, calendar, files and search, and also offers collaborative application services which allow developers to extend collaboration within other applications. The new version adds custom workflow support in Oracle Files, allowing companies to create workflows that match specific business processes for managing documents. It also provides directory enhancements in Oracle Voice Mail and integration with the Outlook client that lets users configure their voicemail through Outlook. Oracle said it also enhanced resource scheduling and added a standards-based SyncML server in Oracle Calendar to provide support for a multitude of mobile devices.