Oracle Small Business looks upmarket

By : |October 29, 2001 0



PALO ALTO: Oracle Small Business on Monday said it is targeting bigger
companies with newly upgraded online services that help automate accounting,
inventory, Web activities, selling and customer service.

Software from San Mateo, California-based NetLedger powers the small business
product sold by Oracle Corp., which is the No. 1 vendor of database software.
Oracle also sells software to manage business processes at large corporations.

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In 1998, NetLedger — which has received substantial funding from Oracle
chief executive Larry Ellison — started selling online accounting software to
companies with up to 25 employees. Oracle has offered NetLedger’s integrated
software as its own brand since June and now is using its updated product to
target companies with 25 to 250 employees and sales of up to $50 million. The
new version of NetLedger’s software includes sales force automation, customer
support management and advanced shipping and receiving. It is also more
expensive.

While the base price for the service remains the same at $99 a month, the
company is trimming the number of free users included in that price from five to
two users with unfettered access and one accounting-only user. The cost for
additional user access is going up from $20 to $50 per month.

“We still feel that we are a very efficient tool for the smallest
businesses … Realistically, it’s the companies between 25 and 250 that see the
maximum benefit of this,” Evan Goldberg, president of Oracle Small Business
and chief executive of NetLedger, said of the beefed-up small business offering.

Goldberg said Oracle Small Business is aiming its selling efforts at
companies such as auto dealerships and franchise operators, which work closely
with the large businesses that Oracle is courting with its own 11i e-business
software.

NetLedger — which has 5,000 companies paying to use its service and expects
to be profitable in early to mid-2003 — competes with small business software
maker Intuit Inc., Microsoft bCentral, the small business online service from
software titan Microsoft Corp. and others. Intuit recently said it had embarked
on a plan to sell its popular QuickBooks accounting software to bigger companies
in specific industries.

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