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By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2006-10-25 Print this article Print

Oracle has two years, give or take, before it completes Fusion applications. In that time, it is adding Fusion Middleware components and functionality to PeopleSoft 9, the next major release of PeopleSoft, and likely to JD Edwards and Siebel as well. Given that added functionality and the unlimited support Oracle has proposed with Applications Unlimited—in addition to all the capability in the Fusion Middleware suite as a whole—one has to wonder what will push users forward to Fusion applications? The thing is, Oracle likely does have a pretty good story to tell around Fusion applications.
It has decided on an underlying model—the E-Business Suite—and is clearly tying in elements of Fusion Middleware to the next editions of its stand-alone ERP suites, likely to create an easier upgrade (versus migration) path for users. Oracle has clearly established its database business, and Fusion Middleware seems to be doing a pretty good business as well (more than $1 billion in sales this year, Oracle officials said). So what gives on the nonexistent executive access?
Whatever the case, I will say this about OpenWorld 2006: Its downright sleepy compared with last year. The 2005 event brought together for the first time Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards users—about 30,000 people—after Oracles very acrimonious takeover of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards by default, since JD Edwards had been acquired by PeopleSoft. The next major version of Oracles E-Business Suite gains global capabilities and supports the companys Applications Unlimited approach. Click here to read more. Last year was delightful, sheer pandemonium. People were everywhere, teeming in every hall of Moscone Center. No one knew really where to go or what to do. That year, Oracles public relations teams set up plenty of press meetings with executives. Problem was, many of them didnt show up. But the executives—John Wookey, head of application development, is one that I recall—made every effort, one way or the other, to sit down with the press, one-on-one, to pound out the details of Fusion. This year, theres a rather staid feel to everything. No big pronouncements, at least not yet—Larry Ellison, Oracles bombastic CEO, is scheduled to take the stage later today (Oct. 26), so anything can happen there. And this year, the Siebel customer base has been added to the mix, bringing the attendee count up to about 41,000 people, but attendees seem much, well, calmer. The event itself is much better organized. I suppose thats a good thing, but it takes some of the excitement out of the air. Which is likely not such a bad thing from Oracles perspective. "Boring and staid and steady as it goes is actually the right message for Oracles customers," said Joshua Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, in Berkeley, Calif. "Turmoil is not good for customer satisfaction. Oracle is finally able to talk about a road map that makes sense, that isnt upsetting, so theyre really trying to stay the course." But heres a little secret: Not talking about something openly breeds more suspicion than any kind of discussion, canned or not, ever did. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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