Oracles Project Fusion: Just a Leap of Faith?

Q&A: AMR Research analyst Bruce Richardson sizes up the project that promises the benefits of a data hub and transaction bases without forced migration.

Project Fusion: Its supposed to glue together PeopleSoft Inc., J.D. Edwards & Co., and Oracle Corp. business applications. Its supposed to soothe the frazzled nerves of PeopleSoft and JDE users whove been scared silly that theyll be forced to emigrate onto Oracle systems. Its supposed to tie it all together with a data-hub bow to present one unified enterprise view of customers, suppliers or partners.

Sounds nice. Is it real?

Oracle Senior Vice President of Applications Development John Wookey was on stage last week at the AMR Research-sponsored Strategy 21 conference on enterprise applications in Burlingame, Calif. His message: Project Fusion is on track for 2007 and 2008 delivery.

And its being worked on by a stunning number of retained PeopleSoft developers: Oracle managed to retain 99 percent of developers and technical support staff to whom the company mailed job offers on Jan. 14, Wookey said—and, in fact, Oracle wound up making offers to more than 90 percent of PeopleSofts support and development staff.

In other words, the company swallowed PeopleSofts tech brains in one big gulp.

AMR Research analyst Bruce Richardson was on stage with Wookey with a list of some 50 questions in his hand and was responsible for getting all these details. Database Editor Lisa Vaas caught up with Richardson to get his take on Project Fusion and to find out how the future looks for JDE and PeopleSoft customers.

Should the Project Fusion update be comforting to PeopleSoft and JDE customers?

I think the message for customers is very reassuring: You dont have to do anything for a few years. If you dont want additional functionality, just pay a maintenance fee. When youre ready to do something, [Oracle will] have a bold new architecture for you.

Thats not what SAP AG would have them believe, though, what with its migration program…

Some competitors are saying, "JDE and PeopleSoft users, Oracle will make you go to 11i, then youll have to do reimplementation, then youll have to go to the new Fusion Project," and thats not the plan at all, as it turns out.

Migrating off an ERP [enterprise resource planning] platform is brutal, so I can imagine how scary that prospect could be.

If youre an ERP customer and youve been through the [migration] project once, theres an excellent chance it took a lot longer than you thought and cost a lot more than you budgeted. If they thought theyd have to rip out everything you have, it would drive users to an industry that doesnt require ERP software.

Next Page: Nobody wants to spend three years migrating ERP systems.