Oracle closes 10-year e-business deal with CRH


22 Sep 2003

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Irish building materials giant CRH has signed a significant deal with Oracle Consulting following a competitive pitch that will see Oracle’s e-business suite of applications deployed across the company. The lucrative contract will cover CRH’s IT investment cycle for the next 10 years.

With a turnover of some €10.7bn in 2002, CRH is one of the biggest building materials companies in the world. It employs approximately 50,000 employees in over 1,600 locations worldwide. With operations in 22 countries the company focuses on three core businesses: primary materials, value-added building products and specialist building materials distribution.

Oracle Consulting Services will deliver a totally integrated business application system, based on the financials, procurement, inventory management, projects, asset management, HR and business intelligence modules of the Oracle e-Business suite.

Describing the decision to go for the Oracle e-Business suite, CRH’s IT manager Matt O’Brien said that the availability of local support was crucial for the long-term strategic project.

“Existing company operations are currently being supported by a legacy mainframe system, which has become increasingly expensive to maintain and inadequate for current business requirements. The totally integrated architecture of the Oracle e-Business suite will give us a single, consolidated view of our business, while at the same time delivering real cost-benefit improvements,” O’Brien said.

Companies in the construction sector tend to have some specific requirements with regard to technology systems – these areas include batching, dispatching, scheduling and haulage. CRH had already selected Command Alkon, a US-based specialist technology company, as its preferred supplier in this area for its 100-plus Irish locations. Oracle was able to demonstrate that the Command Alkon system would integrate simply with Oracle’s e-Business Suite using the Oracle 9i Application Server.

The sales director of Oracle Ireland, Phil Codd said that being able to provide a single source solution in terms of licensing, support, education and consulting was key to winning the 10-year deal. “In the current business environment, total cost of ownership (TCO) is a key part of any software project decision. CRH is maximising the savings in TCO inherent in our architecture by choosing to implement this business-critical system on Linux-based hardware from IBM. When a company of the size and scale of CRH makes this decision, it is a clear statement about the security and stability of this platform,” Codd said.

By John Kennedy