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3/4/2003
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Logical Apps Touts New Offering As Cure For Oracle Apps Problems

The company's AppsRules product lets Oracle financial and ERP apps users build a business-rules layer above their applications that's integrated across them.

A company that says it's been profitable since its inception in 1999 launched a product line Monday in hopes of becoming more so. Logical Apps Inc. is touting its product as a cure for what ails the large installed base of Oracle financial and enterprise resource planning applications.

By using Logical Apps' AppsRules offering, Oracle application users can build a business-rules layer above their apps that's integrated across them, says Chris Capdevila, founder and CEO. The business-rules layer is a way of changing application controls and output without changing the applications themselves, he says.

The larger problem for any vintage packaged software user--not just users of Oracle applications--is that customers have modified the software to suit their needs, then found they couldn't upgrade because of incompatibilities between their customized version and the vendor's new version. As an application ages, more changes are made until the IT department is investing more time keeping it running than in getting what the business needs out of it, says Capdevila, a former systems integrator.

"A lot of customers got on the Oracle bandwagon early. Then they did the wrong thing: They went in and customized," he says. One result is that many of them are still running version 10.7 of Oracle applications, for which technical support will be dropped later this year, Capdevila says. Once the vendor drops support, customers spend more money keeping their applications running on their own, he says.

Although Logical Apps is unveiling a new product, AppsFlow, on Monday, it has 53 customers already using AppsRules. With the Oracle applications customer base estimated at 15,000 to 18,000 users, Capdevila figures there's a lot of room for growth for his company, which is an Oracle Portal Partner and an Oracle Certified Solutions Partner. AppsFlow will capitalize on that potential by automating business processes and generation of workflows. The software provides a framework in which business logic is separated from the application code. With the business logic in a separate layer, changes can be implemented to the rules governing the business logic without modifying the underlying procedural code, Capdevila says.

With AppsRules, which has been in use since 2001, an Oracle applications user can discover and document the business rules buried in the applications. The user can change rules or implement new ones in the AppsRules rules layer, instead of in the applications themselves. For example, he says, instead of trying to control sensitive information manipulated by the application, the user may impose an audit and accountability system that identifies any changes to vital information.

A second product, AppsRules, enforces business and security rules across the Oracle application set. The offering will make it easier for companies to comply with the internal controls required by the Sarbanes-Oxley law that sought to make corporate accounting more accountable, he says.

Scott Smith, program officer for enterprise integration with the U.S. Naval Facilities and Engineering Command, is an early user of a beta offering from Logical Apps called AppsCreate, which helps Java programmers generate a Java presentation front end for an application.

Smith says AppsCreate simplifies and accelerates building a Java project-management application that can access financial, scheduling, and contract data from separate applications. The new user-interface layer can then combine the date for one presentation to project managers who need it. "There's no easy way to do that with just the Oracle module," he notes. No date has been set for the AppsCreate general product release.

AppsFlow and AppsRules each have a base price of $25,000, with the pricing tiered to the number of operating-unit installations within a company. Capdevila says the typical package is priced closer to $75,000 to $80,000.

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