Analysts Doubt Oracles Fusion Message

News Analysis: The lack of detail in Oracle's Fusion Application presentation suggests to some industry experts that the company is not, as it claims, at the halfway point in developing a merged suite.

Industry analysts on Thursday questioned whether Oracle Corp. is anywhere close to reaching the halfway point in its effort to create the Fusion Applications.

Oracle executives briefed media and analysts on the companys progress in developing the data model and specifications for its Fusion Applications, at an event Wednesday at San Franciscos City Hall.

Thomas Kurian, senior vice president of Oracle Fusion Middleware Development, also disclosed that the company will add new features to its Fusion Middleware by the weeks end that will enable developers to create composite applications using a visual container.

Kurians middleware presentation followed Oracle president Charles Phillips comment that "were halfway there" with the development of the Fusion applications.

That statement is plausible when Fusion Middleware is put into perspective: Its a group of products that Oracle has had for quite some time—an application server, BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) engine, BAM (business activity monitoring) capabilities and more—that it combined to form Fusion Middleware a couple of years ago.

What Oracle has done to date is refine that product, and it has made a good deal of progress.

But Oracle missed a beat in Wednesdays Fusion road map presentation by failing to provide any real detail about the Fusion Applications themselves—where any changes will impact Oracles huge ERP (enterprise resource planning) customer base.

The omission of any substantive details leads some analysts to conclude that Oracle is nowhere close to half way there when it comes to bringing together the E-Business Suite with the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards suites to create Fusion Applications.

"Whats misleading is Charles Phillips saying theyre halfway there, because there is no way you can parse what theyre saying and come up with half. A quarter of the way there, maybe," said Joshua Greenbaum, principal of Enterprise Applications Consulting, in Berkeley, Calif.

"They were very sparse on details about the applications. They said its going to be an upgrade, not a reimplementation. You are going to be reimplementing; I dont care what they say," Greenbaum said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read about how Oracle certified PeopleSoft applications to run on Fusion Middleware.

What Oracle still has left to do, in terms of building out Fusion Applications, is lay out a functionality road map, he said.

"They are missing functionality, process and data models that are going to go into the functional areas," Greenbaum said. "These are very complicated things that have to be dealt with to build the suite. At the end of the day, I walked away saying Oracle is going to have serious trouble meeting a 2008 deadline."

Next Page: Fusion wont just be an upgrade.