Oracles appetite for acquisition
Because of its massive acquisition appetite-Oracle has bought some 40-plus companies in about as many months-the company has found itself in a unique position. Oracle has rationalized its software purchases by promising customers a unified code base through Fusion Applications (the 1.0 version is expected this year). In the meantime, it has built up its Fusion Middleware strategy and portfolio with a two-pronged approach: that Fusion Middleware would help companies integrate Oracle-and other-applications using SOA methodology, standards and technology; and that it would be the underlying platform for Fusion Applications, which would make it easier for customers using Fusion Middleware to migrate from their old applications to the next-generation suite."[Customers said] help us, not by starting with the future, but by starting with what we have today. That's really where AIA came into the picture-to define an architecture that standardizes how applications work together, so it's not just technology but an application perspective," he said. "So we very specifically defined business objects-common standard definitions-that allow customers to integrate not just Oracle applications but outside apps and homegrown apps." It's a concept customers are thrilled about, though they admit that it's a little vague. "My understanding is that Fusion Middleware is the platform and AIA is the processes," said Joshua Greenberg, project manager at Subaru of America, which has the E-Business Suite, Siebel CRM (customer relationship management), and G-log transportation management applications from Oracle. "My hope is that Oracle is going to provide that gratis. If you have a number of Oracle products than those integrations between the products ... there's a lot of value in finding those integration points. It's easier to market, quicker to value and makes our users happier." AIA consists of a number of components, including an object library that defines representations of business entities like sales order, purchase order, item, invoice; business services that are Web service definition for performing a business task; and a reference architecture that includes two separate guidelines.
However, the future-tense development strategy left customers in a present-tense quandary, according to Aubrejuan.