SAP was in your backyard last week doing a partner recruitment event that 200-something companies attended. But it doesnt seem like Oracle is doing the equivalent. Will you aggressively be seeking partners going forward? We are starring to do that. The first thing weve been doing is reaching out to the JDE partner network, which is pretty large and hadnt been managed well. Weve been working with them. One of our Fusion initiativesand anything between now and thenis creating an ISV and SI program, leveraging what we have in the program, and leveraging that in our general application strategy.The idea is that it started with a pretty simple concept. When we were building ERP and CRM, we had contention, so we built a new architectureTrading Partner Modethat is J2EE [Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition]- and service-enabled. We delivered that and marketed it independently, but found a lot of customers used it to integrate [data] to use as a central repository, and second, to use as business intelligence, to get a sense of who customers are, what do they own. So the customer data hub was born out of that at least for visualization to create a data library, so people have actually gotten a lot of benefit [from] that. [The idea] is to use these as an additive tool. One thing it does is surfacing concerns around who owns data they start thinking about [data] in a centralized way. So people have decided as much as its another system they bring in, it gives them one point [of reference]. From that they can start evaluating and use it as a starting point to rethinking their information system, to start managing things. These are the systems we need to build long-term strategy around. Its interesting that SAP and Microsoft Corp. are on a similar timeline as Fusion, with their ESA and Project Green, respectively. How are you going to differentiate Oracle applications moving forward? There are a few things. Were going to be standards-based, with our applications written in Java, with J2EE, and around industry standards. Second, were focusing on business insight as a design point for our applications. Not that were ignoring business processthats importantbut without business insight, you cant optimize business process. We think those things integrated are important. But we think [analytics] is a different design point going forward. The last thing is really thinking about taking out as much cost and risk as possible. The biggest risk today is its just too hard to run these systems. Weve been doing a lot of incremental things [to fix that]. In the future, well make it easier to install and configure [applications] though a set of human interfaces. You have to have high-availability systemsa big part of systems is to run while there are upgrades. Therere a bunch of things you should be able to do always, even if youre getting maintenance. The basic things: more embedded [knowledge] in apps. Those we think are just a set of investments we need to make as an applications provider; what were trying to do is be very close to customers about whats important to them. Remember that $1 billion investment IBM made in PeopleSoft that would enable PeopleSoft to embed WebSphere into its suite of apps? Did any integration capabilitiesfrom PeopleTools maybeever come from that deal that will make their way into Fusion? They really hadnt signed the contract. PeopleSoft had done a lot of research of what was out there on the market [in terms of middleware]. They looked at what Oracle had; they looked at what tools different organizations had, and started thinking IBM would be a good company to partner with. They started doing a lot of work with PeopleTools X. Thats kind of nicely leveraged: Where it would have been WebSphere, now its going to be Oracle. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
Something has been vexing me about the data hub concept. The idea with the data hubs is to have all data around a specific area in one place, versus strewn throughout a bunch of databases. How is it different to have various hubs for different activitiescustomer information, or financial informationthan it is to have too many databases?