There is no doubt that Oracle E-Business Suite Release 11i is a tremendously powerful suite of enterprise applications. Its ability of offer businesses a 360 degree view of their customers is one of its major selling points along with a whole host of other superb features.

Although Oracle is at the forefront with their now mature and much more stable release of 11i, many of the other big players also offer similar functionality out of the box. Most of the major vendors offer similar three- tier, Internet-based architecture, most of the major vendors offer a whole host of applications that cover most areas of business, most have a very large number of clients and offer the kind of stability and support that businesses seek when investing in this level of software.

Oracle is strong in most areas and, in particular, when it comes to application integration; the entire suite is designed to be fully integrated which in itself offers huge advantages. The technology stack that Oracle E- Business Suite is built upon is also another very strong area, this is particularly the case as the underlying database is Oracle’s own, the industry leading Oracle8i and Oracle9i. The main tools used to create the E-Biz suite are again Oracle’s very own, namely Oracle Forms, Oracle Reports and PL/SQL (as well as a number of other technologies).

When evaluating enterprise applications to determine which offers to best fit to the business, a great number of factors will be looked at, such as…

  1. First and foremost, do the applications meet the business needs
  2. Stability of the applications and the vendor
  3. Support infrastructure
  4. Hardware and additional software requirements
  5. Price and ongoing licensing/support costs
  6. Availability of suitable resource to implement and maintain the system
  7. Many more

One factor not mentioned above that will often not be fully explored is how easy are the applications to extend or enhance. Built into Oracle E-Business Suite is a whole host of features that allow various aspects of the system to be altered to meet the needs of a particular business, features such as Flexfields, Profiles and Folders to name a few offer the ability to tailor the suite without the need for any custom coding but these features are in many cases not enough. Quite often there will be a need to create an extension to the suite or enhance the suite in ways which standard functionality falls short of. In these scenarios, technical consultants are required to manually code the solutions or other, out of Oracle packages are used to solve a particular problem.
If a particular business has filtered their list of suitable vendors down to two major players (Oracle included) and can not easily differentiate the two then aspects such as cost of extension or enhancement may come into play. The usual thing would be to just determine the availability of suitability skilled resource or partner applications to solve the issue.

To make the decision much easier and more intelligible, ApplTop Solutions, an independent software vendor provides solutions designed specifically for the Oracle E-Business Suite that make the issue of flexibility and adaptability almost a non-issue in that the amount of time required, the skills required, the cost incurred and the inherent risks are reduced to almost nothing by comparison to what would be considered the traditional approach to solving such issues.

Extending the Oracle E-Business Suite is made possible using ApplTop’s Rapid Application Extension Technology product, ASL*Form. ApplTop states that ASL*Form enables almost anyone to create completely integrated application extensions that look and feel exactly like the rest of the system without any technical skills, furthermore, solution creation times can literally be hundreds of times faster.

Enhancing the Oracle E-Business Suite is made possible using ApplTop’s Rapid Application Enhancement Technology product, ASL*Accelerate. ASL*Accelerate offers similar benefits in that enhancements can be created by almost anyone and creation times can literally be hundreds of times faster along with minimal cost and risk. ASL*Accelerate is also fully in line with Oracle’s vision and message of “zero customization” in that no standard Oracle code is altered in any way.

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