ERP – Oracle goes FastForward

US database and ERP vendor Oracle has unleased the first wave of its FastForward rapid implementation service to counteract the threat from rival schemes such as Accelerated SAP and PeopleSoft’s new mid-market strategy.

A band of partner organisations across Europe, Cap Gemini, Druid, Fulcrum Solutions, ICL, Morse, Siemens Nixdorf, Sysao and Weir Systems in the UK will roll out ready-made configurations of Oracle’s application family.

Oracle’s UK director of applications Dave Anderson said Oracle Financials and some manufacturing modules were available in the first wave and that a package for process industries should be available soon. FastForward is based on ‘shrink-wrapped’ packages for 25, 50 and 75 users.

Anderson said the ‘recommended retail price’ for the installations would range from #170,000 for 25 users to #250,000 for 75, adding that the exact prices would depend on hardware and service costs set by FastForward partners.

FastForward was developed first in the US, where around 80 FastForward implementations have taken place, Anderson said. There is a time lag introducing the programme in the UK, he added, because the company needed to tailor the configurations for the UK market.

Analysts and rival software companies have questioned whether customers taking on cut-down versions of giant ERP suites like Oracle’s will end up being stuck with an inflexible and inappropriate system.

‘The danger of being caught in an IT straitjacket is true of all systems,’ said Anderson. ‘What you need is inherent flexibility in the system, so that as your business changes, your software can adapt.’

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