Oracle’s FastForward Fast Roll-Out

Because of saturation in large -- $1 billion plus --accounts, ERP vendors have been concentrating on expanding into mid-market -- $500 million and under -- enterprise environments. Key competencies areas in the mid-market space include a quick time-to-implementation and integrated e-commerce capabilities. With the continued success of its thriving FastForward ERP program, Oracle Corp. is demonstrating its ability to execute in the contentious mid-market space.

According to Eve Milrod, senior director of mid-market field marketing at the database giant, "Oracle’s objective in the mid-market is to be the number one application provider to mid-size companies -- companies that are between $20 million and $500 million in revenue." An important vehicle for us to get to that point is the FastForward rapid pre-configured model (RPM) program, which is a fixed-time, fixed-cost offering designed specifically for mid-size companies."

Like other ERP applications, the FastForward RPM program includes a number of modules tailored for several horizontal markets: FastForward Internet Procurement, FastForward Financials RPM, FastForward Budgeting, FastForward Human Resources RPM and FastForward Manufacturing RPM.

In addition, the FastForward program also encompasses several modules specifically geared for vertical markets: FastForward Public Sector Financials RPM, FastForward Process Manufacturing RPM and FastForward Manufacturing for High Tech RPM.

But what distinguishes FastForward is from most of its competitors is the fast time-to-implementation of its various modules. Oracle prescribes specific deployment timeframes of often less than 60 days. At Oracle’s recent e-business day event, for example, the company highlighted a recent implementation by Pony Express Delivery Services Inc. (www.ponyexp.com) that was completed in 25 days. The success of office supply manufacturer Manco Inc. (www.manco.com) in deploying a FastForward Budgeting application also provides proof of the Oracle solution’s quick roll-out ability. "Basically, it took less than two months," says Matt Rhodes, application development team leader at Manco. "[Oracle] came in, spent about a week with us, helped us get the system up and running and we had it in the users’ hands in about a month-and-a-half."

All of the FastForward RPM modules tout integration with Oracle’s Internet Computing Architecture (ICA), which Oracle’s Milrod says enables FastForward out-of-the-box convenience with extensible e-business functionality. "We want to help companies become e-businesses within 25 days or less," she explains. "All of our software is geared toward the Internet computing architecture, and because of this the software is fully Internet enabled."

The integration of the FastForward Budgeting application with ICA has been helpful to Manco’s Rhodes, who says that the ICA’s centralized model has helped his company reduce workloads significantly. "It’s got a common interface and all of the data is stored in a centralized repository, which is really just a centralized Express database," Rhodes comments. "Once a worker is done editing a spreadsheet, [he or she has only to] hit the ‘Submit’ button, which sends the data seamlessly up to the server."