Oracle to Bring Customers Along Development Track

VP John Wookey gives the OpenWorld crowd a look at Oracle's plans to protect users' current application investments as it marches toward the development of its next-generation suite.

SAN FRANCISCO—During his OpenWorld keynote address here Tuesday, John Wookey, Oracle Corp.s senior vice president of applications, drilled down on how Oracle plans to protect users current application investments as it marches toward the development of its next-generation Project Fusion suite.

"Were often thought of as the ones to be embracing the next idea and running with it, like a research organization might do," said Wookey. "But we are very focused on how to bring customers with us."

In terms of bringing users along its development track, Oracle is focusing on several areas: providing increased support for current implementations, providing next-generation functionality to its existing suites, and making the migration path from the current suites to the next generation of applications—Project Fusion—easier.

As a show of progress, Wookey announced during his address that Oracle will provide a direct integration path for current PeopleSoft Enterprise users—a statement that brought a hefty round of applause from the packed hall.


"You do not have to move to 8.8 or 8.9," said Wookey. "There is a direct path to the next generation."

Oracle is not extending that same upgrade path to J.D. Edwards Enterprise One users, according to Wookey.

Wookey also touched on Oracles lifetime support offer, announced Monday at OpenWorld. The deal essentially provides support for any suite under the Oracle umbrella, for the lifetime of that release.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about Oracles lifetime support policy.

Wookeys team is also turning its attention to extending the value of the current application suite, by adding Fusion capabilities. Some steps in that direction include certifying the PeopleSoft and JDE applications on the Fusion Middleware application server, and enabling the use of Oracles XML Publisher tool across the suites. Further in the business process management camp, Oracle will provide cross-application flows with BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) capabilities.

"The first place were seeing this is integrating Retek to Oracle financials," said Wookey, referring to the integration of the Retek retail applications Oracle acquired earlier this summer. "This will help people understand how the next generation of business process management [will progress]."

Oracle is likewise taking the extensible approach with its On Demand model by extending the same service to the PeopleSoft and JDE products, "so all the products will be supported in the On Demand model," said Wookey.

/zimages/5/28571.gifCEO Larry Ellison says that Oracle wont force customers into upgrading to the Project Fusion line of enterprise applications. Click here to read more.

With major new releases expected for each of Oracles three ERP (enterprise resource planning) suites planned for 2006, at some point Wookeys team will turn its attention fully to Project Fusion development—a time frame its looking for customers to determine, he said.

While Oracle has often talked about its concept with Project Fusion—taking the best of the best from each suite to create a sort of super suite—for the first time an executive actually pinpointed some functionality. Oracle will look to capitalize on JDEs demand-driven manufacturing capabilities, and PeopleSofts ease-of-change functionality and user interface. From its E-Business suite, Oracle will look to utilize its single data model, embedded analytics and high-tech depth. In the meantime, Wookey is taking great pains to frame Oracles development rationale for Project Fusion—one thats looking suspiciously close to Microsofts vision for its Dynamics suite development project that takes a roles-based, adaptive business approach to application development.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read eWEEKs interview with Wookey.

"We will look at two key points, business insight and adaptive industry processes, as we move forward with development," said Wookey. "We asked a simple question, In providing information what is the next step a user will take? Will they go to another application, go to a transactional system, send an e-mail? So its not just about inventing business insight, its at the starting point of how you think about doing your job—and the starting point for how we build applications."

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