First Look: Oracle Small Business Suite Version 8.0

By SmallBusinessComputing Staff | Posted October 15, 2002
Wayne N. Kawamoto
Managing Editor, www.smallbusinesscomputing.com

NetLedger announced a new release of Oracle Small Business Suite, which is designed to enhance the solution's functionality, ease of use, and reporting.

According to the company, important features in release 8.0 include:

  • Functionality enhancements - Major new functional enhancements were assigned priorities based on customer requests. The top requested features in this release include direct deposit, electronic funds transfer, multiple ship capability, enhanced Web Site customization, and flexible reporting additions.
  • Advanced usability and workflow - New features include drop-down menus and streamlined data entry forms, which should greatly enhance ease of use.
  • Pre-defined "centers" for each user type - a Support Center, Sales Center, Accounting Center, etc. These centers have portal user interfaces that reflect job functions and should speed the workflow within and between centers. The company says that unlike competing products, Oracle Small Business Suite has flexible roles and permissions that allow users to create centers that give their employees just the feature set they need to do their job. No time is wasted on wading through menus to find the information they need.
  • Flexible customization - Users should now have the ability to customize terminology to match their company's needs; for example, they should be able to change an "estimate" to a "quote." Additionally, users can create custom fields to track information that is specific to their business and customize forms such as invoices and sales orders by adding custom fields, hiding existing fields and modifying the layout of the form.

In more detail, the company outlined enhancements to Oracle Small Business Suite that include:

In Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management:

  • Marketing - Enhancements to the promotion code feature should give users the ability to track separate promotion codes for each individual transaction, and allow them to track ongoing marketing campaigns and manage promotions after customers have been acquired.
  • Customer Center - New 'Extranet' feature allows businesses to publish information and share documents with individual customers, or groups of customers.
  • Partner Center - New 'Extranet' feature allows businesses to publish information and share documents with individual partners, or groups of partners. In conjunction with the existing customer registration and reporting capabilities, a business may be able to more effectively manage their channel relationships and customer acquisition opportunities with their partners.
  • Vendor Center - New 'Extranet' feature should allow businesses to publish information and share documents with individual vendors, or groups of vendors.

In Accounting:

  • Direct Deposit - New feature should allow businesses to give employees the option of direct deposit for their paychecks.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer - Businesses can let customers pay bills electronically.7
  • Multiple Addresses - Businesses can store multiple "bill to" and "ship to" addresses for their customers, vendors and partners and select them when creating transactions.
  • Locations - Locations have been added to provide a third level, along with department and class, of classification for business information.

In Web Store:

  • Re-designed Checkout Flow - The checkout process in the Web Store has been enhanced to improve usability. Customers can now enter and/or select from multiple addresses stored in their customer profile.
  • Related Items/Cross-Sell - Businesses should be able to cross-market related products and display them on the appropriate pages in their store to increase sales.
  • Real Time UPS Integration - UPS integration should allow users to automatically calculate exact UPS shipping charges when orders are entered or when customers buy from their Web store. In addition, users should be able to add additional handling charges and even allow their customers to follow orders with UPS tracking numbers.

In Employee Management:

  • Intranet - This new feature allows information (e.g. Departmental, Human Resource or other employee-related documents) to be published to users from within their user center. Content tabs appear alongside the tabs containing Oracle Small Business Suite application functions that may ensure that information is available to employees with a click of their mouse.
  • Personalized Content - This is an extension of the Intranet capabilities. Personalized Content may allow businesses to define who can see information published to employees to allow the creation of secure intranet pages to which only specific employees have access.
  • Employee Directory - Businesses should be able to publish contact information for all their employees, which is available in each user's center.

Pricing and Availability:
Oracle Small Business Suite Version 8.0 will be available in late October at www.netledger.com. The Suite is priced at $1200/year for the first user, and $50/month for each additional user. Current users of Oracle Small Business Suite automatically receive this upgrade free of charge. For more information about NetLedger please visit www.netledger.com.

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