Oracle to Take Gradual Approach with Project Fusion

The merged Oracle-PeopleSoft application suite will be released over a period of several years, company officials say.

NEWTON, Mass.—Oracle Corp. will gradually roll out the first deliverables of its Project Fusion plan to unite its various business applications families in stages starting in 2007 as the company seeks to assuage customer concerns of a costly, problematic upgrade.

Project Fusion will unite Oracles current E-Business Suite with the three product lines it acquired from PeopleSoft Inc. late last year on a Java-based SOA (service-oriented architecture). But the new application suite that emerges from the effort will be released over a period of several years.

"This is not some big atomic event thats going to happen in four or five years," said Oracle President Charles Phillips, speaking to a gathering of Oracle customers, many of them acquired from PeopleSoft Inc., here on Wednesday. "Its more evolutionary, more about embracing standards, more about delivering things that look like information applications. Project Fusion is a project over time."

The evolution could begin as early as 2007, on the heels of next years release of the next version of Oracles application server, which will be designed to support the next-generation application architecture. Specific industry solutions, such as for health care and pharmaceuticals, would then be built on top of the new app server, according to John Wookey, Oracles senior vice president of applications.

"Over time everything will be moved over, everything will be supported as an SOA deployment model," Wookey said.

Oracles current plans call for that migration to happen business process by business process. For example, Oracle could build a compensation management workbench module as a Web services component within the Oracle E-Business Suite and then make that component available to the PeopleSoft Enterprise Human Capital Management system without changing anything else in the PeopleSoft suite, Wookey explained.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about Project Fusion and what it might mean for JDE and PeopleSoft customers.

"If you embrace Web services and component architectures, you do it incrementally," Wookey said. "Once you identify specific processes or services, they can be componentized across all applications."

"This is evolutionary," added Phillips. "Its a process, not a big bang. As were building out the software, different and more pieces of these information-age applications will show up in each release."

Jim Whalen, CIO of Boston Properties Inc., said he still has to manage a major upgrade to J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.10 this year and plans to move on to the 8.11 and 8.12 releases to take advantage of new real-estate-specific functionality planned for those releases. Any move to Project Fusion is still a ways off, he said.

"Im not concerned," Whalen said in Boston. "I have questions and I know theyre all not being answered today, but this is a process. Ive got a comfort level with how its being played out."

John Matelski, chief security officer and deputy CIO for the city of Orlando, Fla., also a J.D. Edwards EnterpriseOne customer, said he was confident that Oracle had the intellectual and financial wherewithal to pull off Project Fusion, even as the jury remains out on the details and execution.

"My confidence is bolstered in knowing that, based on Oracles current commitment, my current implementation will be supported through 2013, so the city of Orlando does not need to rush into a hasty decision," Matelski said.

Next page: Making the migration process easier for users.