Early online upgrade for Oracle SMB

Oracle and Netledger are showing how dynamic software as a service can be by releasing an upgrade to Oracle Small Business Suite...

Oracle and Netledger are showing how dynamic software as a service can be by releasing an upgrade to Oracle Small Business Suite (SMB) 7.0 just six weeks after it was launched.

The ERP software, hosted by Netledger, spans accounting and finance, sales and service, Web presence, and employee management.

The move shows how online services enable a rolling upgrade environment. The downside is that all customers effectively become early implementers and potential victims of undiscovered bugs in the software. This may lead to protection clauses in contracts and faster fixes being developed when bugs emerge - which would be an improvement on the traditional software trade, where bugs are usually accepted as inevitable.

The original release of the SMB was deemed by users to be too inflexible. The new version, 7.5, addresses these issues with usability and customisation tools. It also tackles the problems of security with the addition of a File Cabinet facility which allows documents to be uploaded to specific folders that can only be accessed by certain users. This means that all documents relevant to a customer account or sale can be stored together.

Oracle has also improved the Web site design element, improved the accounting features and added a Payroll Manager feature. Evan Goldberg, chief executive at Netledger, said, "It is a testament to the power of our hosted approach that we can bring this level of benefit to our customers automatically, with no upgrade costs whatsoever to our users, less than six weeks after the previous major release."

The suite is currently only relevant in North America but the company plans to extend this to other countries in future releases.

Read more on IT for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)

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