Oracle Reports More Than 23,000 Downloads Of Its iPhone Apps - InformationWeek

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Oracle Reports More Than 23,000 Downloads Of Its iPhone Apps

While Apple iPhone apps have a small presence in the business world, IT execs at Disney, Genentech, and Kraft are endorsing the iPhone.

Oracle's business intelligence software for the Apple iPhone is making slow but steady progress. Oracle, one of only two enterprise software vendors that are offering iPhone applications, said Friday that there have been 23,055 downloads of Oracle Business Indicators since the software became available at Apple's App Store one month ago.

Oracle Business Indicators was developed for 3G iPhone users whose businesses or organizations use Oracle's BI software, called Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). The only other available enterprise software offering native to the iPhone is Mobile, designed for users whose organizations are Salesforce customers.

Downloads of Oracle Business Indicators thus far represent just a fraction of the user community for OBIEE; about 5,000 organizations, some with thousands of employees, use the Oracle BI apps. Still, those 23,055 downloads show that at least some iPhone users are getting support from their companies' IT administrators, as user access to OBIEE apps typically requires the help of IT.

The U.S. Oracle BI community is by far the largest supporter of the iPhone, with 18,698 downloads of Oracle Business Indicators. The remaining downloads come from Great Britain, 1,082; the rest of Europe, 1,433; Australia, 399; and 1,443 from various other countries.

Oracle's Business Indicators applications let users of several Oracle BI applications get information sent to their iPhones. Finance, sales, and manufacturing managers can get alerts and updates based on predefined business metrics, such as if sales goals are met or shipment levels dip.

The mobile apps are free to Oracle BI customers, and data can be viewed in graphical or tabular format. Oracle plans to broaden the line to include apps that let managers make approvals -- for things such as new hires or expense reports -- using their phones. It's also promising apps that bring capabilities from its CRM software, such as contact management and sales forecasting, to iPhones.

Apple is trying to drum up business interest in the iPhone, and its Web site now includes video testimonials from Kraft CIO Mark Dajani, Disney senior VP Randy Brooks, and Genentech CIO Todd Pierce. The executives, however, do not specify how employees are using the iPhones within their organizations.

Consulting firm Gartner last week said the iPhone meets the minimum requirements for use on a corporate network, but companies that deploy the device will need to take a number of steps to prepare it for business use.

The iPhone can be safely used for a narrow set of applications, such as voice, e-mail, personal information manager, and Web browsing, Gartner said in a report. However, the firm advised businesses to deploy the iPhone slowly and assess trade-offs in hardware design and functionality relative to other options in use, such as Research In Motion BlackBerry or devices running Microsoft's Windows Mobile.

InformationWeek recently developed a report on mobile device management, including guidance for successful mobile-device management efforts. The report can be downloaded here (registration required).

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