Monday, June 25, 2007

Signposts On The Road To Fusion Applications

When Oracle announced the Fusion concept in early 2006, we were told that the journey to Fusion Applications would be an evolutionary trip. Sure enough, step by step, Oracle is making progress down the road to delivering Fusion Applications in 2008. As we travel down this road, Oracle’s incremental releases amount to signposts along the road to help us figure out how we’ll reach our destination. This seems like a good time to check the signposts, taking stock of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

The engine driving the Fusion architecture, Fusion Middleware, began taking shape over a year ago with the initial release of the applications server. The components of Fusion Middleware are the tools that will drive the integration and business process orchestration, business activity management, reporting and user interface features of Fusion Applications.

We have an even better feel for integration and business process orchestration with the recently-announced Applications Integration Architecture. This is the framework by which consolidated processes can span across the various Oracle Applications products.

Fusion Intelligence, which is based on Siebel Analytics, gives us some clues as to how Fusion Applications will look and feel. It also tells us how Oracle is willing to adjust their design and branding plans to accommodate changes and opportunities in the marketplace.

In my discussions with various Oracle folks, I’ve formed the impression that much of the current effort in developing Fusion Applications is centered on writing Functional Design docs. I’ve also formed the impression that the conceptual emphasis will be based on horizontal business processes that cut across vertical application modules – thinking about functionality in terms of an acquisition business process may make more sense than considering the functionality of a purchasing application. Now, I could be wrong about all these impressions but, until Oracle unveils the product, my impressions are just as good as the next guy's.

So, to obtain a good sense of where we’re going with Fusion Applications:

1) Check out the Fusion Middleware components

2) Investigate the Applications Integration Architecture

3) Take a look at Fusion Intelligence

4) Start thinking in terms of horizontal business processes rather than vertical application modules.

In traveling down the road and checking the signposts, we’ve gotten a better vision of where we’re are and how much further we have to go to reach our destination. Step by step, we’re learning more about the details of Fusion Applications. I suspect that, over the next few months, we’ll learn quite a bit more…which should help us all in planning for the future.

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