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Oracle Launches iPhone Apps For Business

Oracle is the first major business software vendor to make iPhone apps available at Apple's new App Store.
But the iPhone hasn't entirely proved itself as an effective tool for accessing enterprise data. Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney cautions against the iPhone for enterprise apps, citing Apple's lack of infrastructure and support for corporate customers. SAP demonstrated iPhone access to its CRM 2007 app last year, but hasn't yet delivered anything. iPhone support will come when the "the time is right," said an SAP spokesman, noting that the iPhone isn't a pressing priority. "We see a lot of potential there, but the BlackBerry is the gold standard," the spokesman said. In May, SAP announced co-develoment of a CRM app that runs natively on the BlackBerry.

Oracle wants in on the iPhone action. Its developers began building for the iPhone when they noticed managers bypassing company-approved smartphones for iPhones, said Lenley Hensarling, Oracle group VP of applications development. Rather than try to wring special treatment out of the consumer-oriented Apple to replicate the Oracle app appearance, Oracle worked with Apple's software development kit. It didn't try to figure out "how can [Apple] help us render our model to the iPhone," said Hensarling.

With Oracle Business Indicators, everything users access is running on an Oracle BI server, which pushes metrics based on employee roles. But that's only alerts based on preset data, not full BI capabilities like running queries as a manager might do from a desktop.

For Oracle, it's a good way to get basic BI functionality out to iPhone users. Hear that call? It's iPhone-toting employees calling IT to see if their companies use Oracle BI servers.

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