Oracle has produced an update to its flagship E-Business Suite, version 12.

The software was launched along with four other releases to the company's ERP and CRM applications. Version 12 will be easier to use, have tighter integration with Oracle's other apps and Fusion middleware technology, and has been tested thoroughly to avoid upgrade headaches for customers, the company said.

Oracle president Charles Phillips stressed that the suite, as well as Oracle's PeopleSoft ERP and Siebel CRM applications, will continue to be updated indefinitely. At the same time, Oracle is pressing ahead with plans to cobble together a series of new applications, dubbed Fusion, due for release next year. Users can migrate to Fusion on their own timetable, Phillips said.

Version 12 has a modified graphical user interface and a role-based template that can be used to manage the entire process of hiring personnel.

Head of applications development John Wookey promised that the upgrade process to Version 12 would be easier than it was with 11i, which was the first Web-architected version of the E-Business Suite. Users found a number of glitches when upgrading, promptin Oracle to issue a number of patches. But version 12 will be "bullet proof", according to Wookey.

Oracle also announced four other app releases: PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.0, Siebel CRM 8.0, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.12 and JD Edwards World A9.1. World A9.1is the first major release of the application since 1998.