Oracle Finally Puts the Spotlight on Fusion Apps

SAN FRANCISCO, October 14, 2009 — He cracked a few jokes. He boasted about the feats of the state of California. He poked fun at his wife's driving. But, above all of that, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger conveyed his belief that innovation through technology is what will solve the world's problems. "You are building the bridge to the 21st century," Schwarzenegger told attendees here at Oracle OpenWorld's Wednesday-afternoon keynote event.

"Innovation" was clearly the theme of the afternoon. After S. Gopalakrishnan, chief executive officer of Infosys Technologies, kicked things off with a presentation on how technology trends will transform business, attendees were introduced to (and shown demonstrations of) new Oracle technology.

[Editors' Note: Earlier coverage of Oracle OpenWorld '09 can be found here and here, and blogposts about the event can be found here.]

Aside from the fun cameos by Schwarzenegger and Roger Daltrey, the former lead singer of The Who, attendees seemed to be most anxious to hear the announcements from Oracle Chief Executive Officer and cofounder Larry Ellison. The dynamic CEO began his segment of the keynote by unveiling Exadata 2, Oracle's hardware system manufactured in conjunction with newly acquired Sun Microsystems. In his own inimitable style, Ellison not only told attendees that Oracle's hardware is faster and more reliable than IBM's, but also challenged anyone to find any application that Oracle's Exadata 2 couldn't run faster. The stakes? $10 million.

Following a lengthy description of Exadata 2, Ellison delved into a topic that may have surprised many: customer support. As of today, Oracle has merged two of its support applications -- the on-premises product called Enterprise Manager and the on-demand solution My Oracle Support -- and the fused elements deliver what Ellison called "proactive problem detection." The integrated product will collect customer software and hardware configurations, identify issues, suggest patches, and fix problems. The support program will then contact other customers with similar configurations, and recommend solutions before a similar problem has an opportunity to crop up. "No one else is doing a good job of [proactive support] right now," Ellison said.

Toward the end of the keynote, Ellison finally addressed a topic that had been notably absent from presentations throughout the week: Oracle Fusion Apps. He started off the discussion by assuring customers using older Oracle applications -- such as PeopleSoft and Siebel -- that Oracle will continue to invest in those applications. "We are going to continue to enhance those applications for the next decade and beyond -- absolutely committed," he stated.

Ellison then went on to provide details about Fusion Apps, which Oracle first began talking about in 2007. "It's a big project and we've been working on it for a long time," he said. Declaring that Oracle is now "code complete" on Fusion Apps, he announced that some customers are already testing Version 1 the software.

Ellison revealed no roadmap, however, and was vague about any official release date for Fusion Apps. What he did share is a list of the applications that are going to surface, divided into two categories: new applications and replacement ones.

Replacement Applications:

  • Financial Management
  • Human Capital Management
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Supply Chain
  • Project Portfolio
  • Procurement Management

New Applications:

  • Distributed Order Management
  • Talent Management
  • Incentive Compensation
  • Territory Management
  • Financial Accounting Hub
  • Sourcing
  • Customer Data Hub
  • Product Data Hub

"It's the only suite in the world build on industry-standard middleware," Ellison said. Not only will the applications be open to integration with other Oracle offerings, but Fusion Apps' services-oriented architecture (SOA) means they are easily integrated with custom applications and offerings from outside vendors.

Ellison pointed out the following benefits of Fusion Apps:

  • Built on standards based middleware: "There are no custom tools or components," Ellison said. "There's nothing but industry-standard Java Fusion Middleware underpinning Fusion Apps."
  • Embedded business intelligence: Each application's interface is BI-driven. A user logs into Distributed Order Management and is greeted with a customizable dashboard. 
  • Modern user experience
  • Services-oriented architecture to simplify integration: "You can hire [technology] specialists who understand this because that's what they learned in college," Ellison said.
  • Software-as-a-service–ready with self-service administration: The Fusion Apps can reside either on premises or in the cloud, Ellison said.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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