Oracle has launched Sourcing on Demand, moving closer to the concept of on-demand ERP.

The new SaaS module aims to help businesses handle the purchase of supplies and services. It is based on components in the Oracle flagship on-premise ERP system, E-Business Suite Release 12.

The software allows various parties involved in the sourcing process to collaborate on decisions, ensuring the best deals are struck, Oracle said. It also "meets the highest security standards," includes packaged integrations with applications like Oracle Purchasing, and provides standard tech support as well as a help desk. Pricing information was not immediately available.

In providing targeted SaaS offerings along with traditional ERP systems, Oracle is following a path similar to its rival SAP, which already had an on-demand sourcing application, and is expected to announce a number of additional SaaS services later this year.

While Oracle has sold on-demand CRM software for some time, it makes sense for it to start with sourcing on the SaaS ERP side, since a number of specialised companies have already proven there's a viable market, said 451 Group analyst China Martens.

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Other on-demand sourcing and procurement vendors include PowerAdvocate, Ketera and Coupa, the last of which was formed by former Oracle employees.

Companies that are setting up shop in a new country, for example, might be attracted to the SaaS model for sourcing, since they could get it up and running more quickly, Martens said.

"It's definitely an area we've seen lend itself to the SaaS model," she added. "It's a cool thing for Oracle to do here. ... For Oracle, the question now is do you look at other pieces of ERP [for on-demand]?"