I can’t say that I know any of these things about Fusion for certain, as the sands are constantly shifting beneath all our feet…things could change very quickly. Rely on my thoughts here at your own risk.
It also seems difficult to get information from Oracle about Fusion Applications...probably because the effort is still in the early stages, so there is a very limited amount of information to share. Hopefully more information will be available as the project progresses.
With all the appropriate caveats out of the way, this is what I think I know about Fusion. Perhaps you’ll find some value in my thoughts.
1. Applications or Middleware?
Fusion is composed of two parts: middleware and applications
Fusion Middleware is a rebranding of the Oracle Application Server and other technology stack components that Oracle has acquired (and continues to acquire, at least for the moment). Fusion Middleware is available for deployment right now.
Fusion Applications are anticipated to be the synthesis of ERP, MFG, and CRM product suites that Oracle has acquired or developed. Fusion Applications are planned for a 2008 release.
The remaining thoughts here pertain to Fusion Applications.
2. Oracle Is Not Merging Code for Fusion Applications
Fusion is not a “code merge”, but a rearchitecting of the E-Business Suite (EBS) using service-oriented architecture (SOA) principles with additions in functionality from PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel.
Oracle has told us repeatedly that the EBS is the data model for Fusion Applications. Given the close relationship between business logic and data models, we can infer with a high degree of probability that the business logic of Fusion Applications will be deeply rooted in that of EBS.
So far as the user interface goes, we can only speculate at this time. Hopefully, the infusion of all those PeopleSoft User Interface Engineers into Oracle’s development organization will provide some outstanding results.
3. For Oracle EBS Users, Fusion Will Be An Upgrade; For Others, It Will Be A Migration
For EBS users, the move to Fusion will be similar to an upgrade…a bit more complex than moving from 10.7 to 11i, but more like an upgrade than a new system implementation. EBS users moving to Fusion can probably anticipate a new architecture, some business process changes (due to the functionality brought in from the acquired products and the emphasis on SOA), integration of Fusion Middleware technology, and a new user interface.
For PeopeSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel users, the move to Fusion will be more complex…more like a migration to a new product. Licensing costs, especially for Fusion middleware products, should be considered in your planning. In addition, changing the business logic and user interface will result in a substantial effort in dealing with process changes.
4. Applications Unlimited
Oracle’s “Applications Unlimited” announcement detailed the company’s long-term commitment to provide continued enhancements to current Oracle Applications beyond the delivery of Oracle Fusion Applications in 2008. As a result of this new policy, the question for all Oracle Apps users becomes one of considering the value proposition in upgrading or migrating to Fusion Applications.
Although the future release of Fusion promises a synthesis of business processes, functionality and user interfaces from all current Oracle application products, we’ll all need to carefully weigh that value against the cost of moving to Fusion. This weighing will be especially important now that the Applications Unlimited program may allow us to stick with the product line (EBS, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel) that we’re already using.
Well, there you have it. These four points represent my perspective on Fusion, and comes only after investing many hours in research as well as participation in OAUG’s Fusion Council and Fusion Council Executive Steering Committee. As Fusion continues to unfold, it will be interesting to see if I really knew what I thought I knew ;)