Is Fusion Oracles equivalent to SAPs NetWeaver? I guess it kind of depends on how you talk about NetWeaverwhich started as integration product. When SAP created mySAP ERP, they had to integrate to R/3 [SAPs older ERP suite]. Its kind of grown from there. Increasingly its looked as a new entrant into the application server space.Is Fusion Oracles answer to SOA? Fusion is really about theres part of what we think is going to be important in the next generation. Service enabling applications is important, but we dont think its [revolutionary]. We didnt invent it; SAP didnt invent it a bunch of academics got together [and invented it]. Its really thinking about a business function as a service that you can integrate into an overall business strategy. Fusion is more than that. Its attacking core issues in how people deploy applicationsand building to standards. Its about how do you lower the cost of computing by automating the configuration process, and supporting more high availability of the system during upgrades? How do you lower cost and lower the risk to deploy? The other thing we think is so critical is business insight as a point of designas we design the application. Whats the real-time data that will help you do your job? We started to think about that [with Fusion]. Did the acquisition of PeopleSoft bring a fundamental shift to that thinking? Not very much. With some pretty smart people [from PeopleSoft] added to our team, we have a lot more people on the teamand tools with great user interface principals and really good customization extensibility, so its easy to extend applications so you dont have to write code. And how to manage changesthey did a great job there. Theyve been focused in different industries too. But [fundamentally] not a lot of overall changes. Will the upgrades to the E-Business Suite, Enterprise and EnterpriseOne be the first Fusion products, or is that still expected around 2008? Still expected around 2008. How will those upgrades help users migrate to a new platform? A couple ways. One is in describing a business process, it starts giving inventory of business processes that people want to see in the future successor product. Well start looking at that. You can envision in application sets all the ways people manage buying process, or CRM. The BPM tools give us a map to that, so rather than a simple set of switches, it describes the set of business functions [around a process] more clearly. The BPM tool starts giving us a pretty explicit definition of those things. One of things we envision people doing, as they move to Fusion, is to say, heres how I want run my businesswe already have these things in place, so make sure those thing are working the same in 12, as it does in Fusion. Or when you go to Fusion, say I like the way its working in 12, I want to improve it. With integration a key message from Oracle, will the underlying infrastructure of Fusion change from what it is now with the E-Business Suite? Will Fusion support more than Oracles database and application server? On the application server, we cannot be agnostic; we are going to work to the Fusion middleware. The team is going to make sure the web server interoperates with [IBM] WebSphere or BEA [Systems Inc.] so theyve been working hard to make sure they can interoperate with our application server, but were going to design our apps to our server. Databases, it hasnt been decided yet. Its Larry [Ellisons] decision. Hes spending time with customers. Thats something were talking about with customers a lot. Is the database question coming up quite a bit in customer meetings? They need to know for planning purposes. Weve been very clear that if youre a JDE customer, were still going to support you. For a very, very long time. Theyre very happy to hear that. How will you give users incentive to switch, if at all? Any customer that is running our apps, will have a free upgrade to Oracleif youre running financials of any version today, you wont have to pay any additional [license fees]. If the technology stack changes, were going to make sure people have the incentive to not have the license be an issue. So I envision JDE world customers will stay on that way past 2013. The way well incent people is by building a product that they want to move to, there really is no the other way to force people to move. Next page: The data hub concept.
If you were to draw a parallel, [Oracles] Fusion middleware is our core Java engine, BPM, analyticsall the things in a broad category that people call NetWeaver. Its a talking point to create a more flexible point for applications.