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Software maker Oracle has said that it will create 50 new jobs in Ireland and will open a new office in Belfast.

The maker of business software, which already employs about 850 people in the Republic of Ireland, said that it plans to have the new staff onboard by March 2005. The 50 new positions are in Oracle's new "Consulting Centre of Excellence" in East Point Business Park in Dublin. A further 100 positions in existing Oracle departments are also open and will be filled by springtime, said vice president and managing director of Oracle Ireland, Nicky Sheridan.

An unspecified number of jobs are also to be created in Belfast, where Oracle will open a sales and support office to cater for the needs of customers in the region. Sheridan said that Oracle wants to gain access to the highly skilled workforce in Northern Ireland and felt that its growing customer base in the area would benefit from local support.

Oracle's Consulting Centre of Excellence in Dublin marks something of a departure for the company, which in the past has made technological know-how a priority for its consulting staff. "Our customers are looking for a mix of technological and business skills," Sheridan commented, claiming that the new centre would fill that need. "We will now be looking for people with technical skills as before, but we will also want people with a high degree of business acumen as well," Sheridan said.

Oracle, the second biggest software maker in the world and a player in Ireland's multinational tech sector since 1987, makes a range of products for managing business data, supporting business operations, and facilitating collaboration and application development. The company is best known for its database and business applications software, but lately it has gained notoriety for its unsolicited bid to acquire PeopleSoft in a $9.2bn deal.

In September, Oracle reported a 6 per cent increase in revenue to $2.21bn during the quarter to the end of August. The company also had net income of $509m, with diluted per-share earnings of $0.10. This was up from $440m in the same quarter of the previous year, when its diluted per-share earnings were $0.08.

The company's new consulting centre in Ireland will service the Irish, UK and South African markets initially, and may expand its scope to cover more of Africa and Europe in the coming months. The creation of the unit, which Sheridan said is the first of its kind, will support the company's recently announced Oracle Expert Services initiative, which aims to offer advanced technical and business support to customers.

Roles being hired include functional consultants, project managers, technical architects, solution architects and developers.

Copyright © 2004, ENN

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