Oracle finally reveals first Fusion apps

Oracle finally reveals first Fusion apps

First three offerings will be available as SaaS

Oracle has fleshed out more details of its plans for a best-of-breed set of enterprise applications and offered delegates at its annual OpenWorld user event in San Francisco a glimpse of the first three Fusion products – all of which will be available via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

During his keynote, chief executive Larry Ellison revealed that the first Fusion apps will begin shipping in the first half of 2008. "I fantasise about it being early in the first half," he added.

Ellison continued, "Starting in 2008, virtually all our new applications will be Fusion applications…based on industry standards and they're going to have a service-oriented architecture (SOA)." He added that the apps will provide integrated business intelligence (BI) data and can all be delivered either as traditional on-premises software or as SaaS.

Elllison said that the Fusion range was being developed based on customer feedback since the announcement of the plans. He added that the three top priorities were the ability for Fusion apps to co-exist with current versions; measurable business value; and availability in a SaaS model.

"Our customers were saying, 'Whenever I start [to deploy Fusion], there's going to be a long transition period where Fusion applications need to co-exist with my current ones. Whether that's Oracle, SAP,, or something I built myself, they have to co-exist'," Ellison explained.

To answer this demand, Ellison referred to the use of standards-based middleware and a SOA, which he said would support the integration of Fusion applications with existing ERP and CRM systems. "We will pre-build integration packs to connect our Fusion applications with others," he added.

The first three Fusion apps are all salesforce automation (SFA) products - Sales Prospecter, Sales Reference and Sales Tools. Ellison said that while the first generation of SFA applications improved forecasting, the second-generation Fusion range will help firms sell more. "Forecasting was BI for the sales manager. This is BI for the sales person," he argued. "It looks at the customer database to see what types of customers are buying what types of products … and it helps to persuade other companies to buy the same products."

Sales Prospecter features built-in integration packs to existing ERP and SFA systems, according to Ellison, while Sales Reference offers a library of content and points users towards materials that other sales people have used to sell the same products.

Ellison remained vague about supported databases for Fusion applications and timing for the availability of a complete set of best-of-breed apps – only saying this would be available by 2025. "We will eventually have a Fusion version for every function. But we'll keep supporting Oracle E-Business Suite for at least a decade and we'll keep investing in PeopleSoft, JDE and other apps," he said.

On the database side, he revealed that certain Fusion apps in the financial services area will offer support for Oracle and IBM DB2. "For Fusion GL [General Ledger] and HR, we've yet to make a decision. They're clearly going to support Oracle, and we've asked IBM to put certain security features into DB2, and we're continuing to talk to them."