There's a lot to be excited about in the Oracle-verse these days: the EU has finally approved the Sun acquisition, Collaborate 10 is sneaking up on us, the upcoming release of Fusion Applications. It's all very interesting stuff, but it's the last one I want to dwell on for a moment.
During the closing moments of the OpenWorld 09 keynote address, we heard that Fusion Apps 1.0 would be released sometime in 2010. Since that time, I've met quite a few Applications Unlimited customers who are scratching their heads and wondering why they should care. The thinking is that, with the depth and breadth of the Fusion Middleware Suite, they can essentially get all the functionality of Fusion Applications from the E-Business, PeopleSoft, or other Applications Unlimited products they're already running. The point missing in this logic is that it's not just about the functionality of the products, it's about the business value the products provide.
So, with that in mind, let me quickly give you three reasons to care about Fusion Applications:
1) The user interface works like tools we're already familiar with. The first place a user lands is essentially a browser web page. A click or two takes you to detail laid out in a spreadsheet-like format - it's not exactly Excel, but it looks and works an awful lot like Google Docs (which, in turn, looks and works an awful lot like Excel). So, first reason to care: it's a short learning curve to master the user interface, because it works like tools we already know - which equals lower training costs and higher productivity sooner in the lifecycle.
2) The business processes have been reengineered, especially in Financials and Human Capital Management. To reengineer those business processes, teams of Oracle engineers have made site visits to a multitude of customers to learn first-hand about best practices in business domains like Accounts Payable and Talent Management (among many others). They have used that information to redesign business processes for Fusion Apps. It's not all finished - we'll see more business process reengineering surface in the apps in later releases (personally, I'm looking forward to the BPR in Project Portfolio Management). Still, Fusion Apps will have best industry practices built in out-of-the-box. So not only are you buying software, you're buying a best-practices business process model for you enterprise. You should see efficiency gains in short order, simply because the Fusion Apps business process model will help your enterprise do things right.
3) Business intelligence is baked right into the applications…it's no longer separated from the basics of doing the job. What this leads to is the ability to manage by exception…rather than monitoring the 500 purchasing requisitions that are smoothly flowing through the process of becoming line items in a purchase order, let's focus on the three that failed to work through the process - see them quickly (via BI), fix the exceptions (reported by BI), and move on. So now, my detail specialists - the folks who manage the basic business transactions, can work by exception: quickly chasing down the stray lambs rather than shepherding the whole flock - most of whom are doing pretty nicely without any detailed oversight by you, thank you very much! Management by exception increases the throughput of those specialists and reduces the cost per transaction…CFO nirvana!
Now, there are more reasons that just these three. In fact, I could lay out at least another three right off the top of my head…but I think you're getting the idea here, so that would just be a waste of space. I just wanted to lay out three solid business reasons to get excited about Fusion Applications (note that this is a value proposition oriented toward business gains…because, in the end, it's not about the technology but about the business value) and to get ya'all thinking about the business value for your own organization.
Let the commenting begin!