One of the keynote speakers during last week’s Oracle Open World Conference van John Wookey, Senior Vice President for Oracle Applications. John is sort of an old acquaintance, as two years ago I did an interview with him on dogfood (see: Eating your own dogfood – use of Oracle Development tools within the Oracle Applications development group ). Note: at that time, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, Siebel and Retek were all competitors, no mergers on the horizon – or so I thought. And we discussed technology, of which I thought Wookey knew surprisingly much!
This keynote was a different story altogether. In front of a close to 10.000 person audience, aided by two roaring Italian motor-engines (“they are from Ducati, one of our customers, an Italian motor-cycle constructor; we also would have liked to invite Boeing…”), John spoke strategy. Strategy for Oracle Applications, not just the E-Business Suite, or Fusion Apps, but all product lines. And as the buses in San Francisco cried out all over the city: Unlimited Applications. I was at first, I’ll freely admit, a little skeptical about Unlimited Applications – Oracle’s promise to provide unlimited support for all product lines – EBS, Siebel, Retek, JD Edwards, and PeopleSoft. However, I know not only believe they will actually do this, I can even see the sense of it.
Oracle announced Oracle E-Business Suite R12 – and indicated that there will be an R13 further down the road. It also announced a new release of JD Edwards World (A9.1) on IBM I-series – the first new release of JDE since 1998 on that platform! Wookey also outlines the roadmap for Siebel – R8.0, 8.1 , 8.2 – and PeopleSoft – EE9, 9.1, 9.x. Part of the Roadmap is that all Oracle Applications will be certified against the Oracle Database as well the Oracle Application Server (which is not currently the case for all of them).
R12 had Wookey “very excited”. It is focused on thinking, working & managing globally. It benefited hugely from the Intellectual Property acquired from Siebel and PeopleSoft as well as countless manhours in usability lab. With R12, Oracle as reduced popus and duplicate screens, redesigned workflows,â€¦ Made the UI more efficient to the Business User.
Additionally, the integration of the next generation technology across the board
of Oracleâ€™s Applications was announced. That includes:
- Secure Enterprise
Search â€“ search across all unstructured enterprise data
- XML Based reporting- two steps: get data out then
shape/format/present/distribute â€“ XML Publisher in Peoplesoft and JDEdwards,
later on in Siebel too. Next step: distribute predefined XML reports
- Role based Analytics â€“ with Siebel Oracle acquired leading
analytical capabilities; taking out of Siebel and building dashboards on EBS,
JDEdwards and PSFT. Integrated view from BI perspective â€“ Financials from EBS,
Customer data from Siebel etc.
- Sustainable Integration â€“ Integrate all acquisitions (Retek, G-Log, â€¦.) How is that
done? Architecture drive approach â€“ translation layer (canonical model,
universal document type; all systems (Siebel, EBS, PSFT) ) tap into that model. Orchestration layer â€“ using Fusion MW â€“
In addition, there will be Fusion Applications, first to be available in 2008 (that still seems very ambitious). Fusion Applications is not the natural successor to any one of the five product lines, even though it apparently is founded on a data model very close to the current E-Business Suite data model. Fusion Applications will take the best in terms of functionality from all product lines – like CRM from Siebel, Retail from Retek, HRM from PeopleSoft etc. – as well as the best of existing – such as the BI technology from Siebel – and new technology. So while Fusion Applications does not carry the legacy of one of the existing major ERP vendors, and can benefit from the very latest in Web 2.0 and SOA technology, it also leverages many decades of ERP experience from many different industries.
Fusion Applications functionality and technology
Why Fusion Apps? Provide a better way to do thing – provide our (Oracle’s) customers with an competitive advantage over their competitors through IT.
- User Experience â€“ more useful, easier to use â€“ for people
for whom the internet is not new it has always been there;
- Ownership Experience â€“ faster to deploy & easier to
manager (reduce time and risk)
- Partner Experience â€“ easier to integrate, extend and support
Leverage new technology, unimpaired by legacy technology,
leveraging business expertise across the board of all Apps. Technology changes enabling Fusion:
- Web 2.0 â€“ diff between online Enc Britt and Wikipedia
- SOA â€“ more flexibility in business process
- Middleware â€“ open flexible architecture , tools that
- Standards â€“ shared toolset/technology for customers,
partners, ISV and Oracle Apps development division
The most important themes in Fusion Applications – and to some extent in the new releases of the other product lines as well – seem to be:
- Workflow driven/task oriented user interfaces, many notification features (don’t call us, we’ll…)
- Visually apealing, very user friendly user interfaces
- Integrated user interfaces – powered by Web 2.0 technology, integrating with the desktop – Outlook, Google Docs, as well as MS Office presumably – from a relatively small widget, floating on the desktop
- Frequent, almost omni-present access to Analytical information – BI everywhere, even real-time BI
- Integration Repository – a central source with meta-data on all services through which core functionality and data can be accessed
- Partner Integration – business partners and customers can get the Fusion widget too, for providing additional information, accessing data that relates directly to them etc. Customer can log in to external services, for example to get more details about discount for quote. Also collaboration tools in sidepane (for example to start chat).
See for screenshots and links to the actual audio and video the Weblog Article Fusion Apps User Interface Previews from OpenWorld by Steven Chan.