Eye on Oracle

Feb 18 2009   2:56PM GMT

Oracle’s public sector push: Is it enough?

Shayna Garlick Shayna Garlick Profile: Shayna Garlick

With all the attention toward Oracle’s investment in smaller retail and manufacturing businesses, sometimes it can be easy to forget about the software giant’s market share in its largest industry — the public sector. But with government funding in the limelight now, it seems particularly interesting to consider how technology vendors cater to the organizations that affect our everyday lives.

According to Oracle, over 1,500 public sector organizations run Oracle applications. And as of Monday, these organizations have another application to add to their list of options.

Oracle’s new version of Oracle BI Applications have features that will help public sector agencies manage funds and monitor budget spending – a popular topic of conversation these days, to say the least. The software includes ETL maps and pre-built integration with E-Business Suite’s Oracle Financials and pre-built dashboards and reports especially for the public sector.

But how does Oracle’s quantity of public sector applications compare to its quality?

The last time we took a close look at Oracle’s public sector offerings, we found that it faced tough competition from smaller, more specialized companies. Forrester analyst Ray Wang said that Oracle “takes a broader approach in terms of functionality” and has a goal to “up-sell those public sector database users on PeopleSoft and E-Business Suite applications.”

However, Oracle acquired one of those smaller, more specialized companies this past October. It purchased software-maker Haley Ltd to push itself into another aspect of the public sector — social services.

In its press release, Oracle said: “By acquiring Haley, Oracle is accelerating its investment in public sector to create an integrated solution, and bring faster time to value for our customers.”

While the software giant has faced public sector competition from smaller companies, what about the competition with its rival, SAP?

Even three years ago — when Oracle purchased a utilities industry-focused software firm — the two companies were battling for public sector supremacy. And SAP has definitely had its share of success in the industry. The IT manager of the County of Sacramento, which was the first government to use SAP (and still is), recently said that “SAP has transformed our business processes over the past 10 years.”

If you work in the public sector, what do you think of Oracle’s offerings? How could they improve? What made you chose Oracle, and what other companies did you consider for your IT needs? Will you purchase Oracle’s latest BI application?

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