Oracle package hits GSA sked, edges competitors

Oracle Corp. this week will announce that its Federal Financials software is available on the General Services Administration's Financial Management Systems Software schedule. Oracle officials believe the move will challenge current schedule holders while giving the company an edge over commercial rivals PeopleSoft Inc. and SAP America Inc. which have both begun to target the public sector.

The arrival of Oracle Federal Financials on the FMSS schedule is part of Oracle's renewed emphasis on applications software. Oracle is building upon its database and development tools offering "products targeted toward specific industries " said Frank Bishop vice president of Oracle Worldwide Government & Education Products Division. "The government market is one of the places we decided to [target]."

Oracle officials said the federal government will replace 53 percent of its accounting systems within the next five years. Presence on the FMSS schedule is important because agencies covered by the Chief Financial Officers Act must purchase financial systems through the schedule unless they obtain a waiver Oracle noted.

On FMSS Oracle initially will offer Release 10.6 of its graphical user interface-based financial package. Release 10.7 which will be available on the schedule next month will provide Year 2000 compliance electronic commerce and World Wide Web capabilities. Agencies purchasing Release 10.6 will be upgraded to 10.7.

Oracle's software will offer schedule buyers an alternative to the "legacy vendors" currently offering solutions on the schedule said Linda Zecher vice president of applications at Oracle Worldwide Government & Education.

She said federal agencies are "not excited about the systems on the schedule currently." She said the legacy systems now available on the schedule lack the ease of use of GUI-based systems.

American Management Systems Inc. however has developed a client/server-based financial system which is not yet on the FMSS schedule. But AMS entered GSA testing two weeks ago.

Oracle's arrival on the schedule also heads off potential competition from PeopleSoft and SAP Oracle officials maintained. Zecher predicted that those companies will not appear on the schedule for another 18 months which gives Oracle a critical window.

She noted that Year 2000 concerns are driving many federal government buying decisions which will likely be made before PeopleSoft and SAP arrive on FMSS.

PeopleSoft last week said the company has been awarded a GSA B/C Schedule. A spokeswoman for PeopleSoft said the company expects to begin the FMSS certification process this summer.SAP officials could not be reached for comment.

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