I love the UKOUG conference in Birmingham and I have lots to write, unfortunately I have to catch up on the day job first. I hope to get a chance this weekend but in the meantime here are some thoughts on Fusion from a colleague Amrito Chaube who attended the Fusion Apps demo at UKOUG.
The main reason why I wanted to attend the OUG this time was to have a preview of the Fusion Application, though the OUG, also gives you a feel of the competition and also a chance to Network.
Anyway, this is my impression and I hope the others who have seen the demonstration will be able to provide their inputs.
I think the focus of the presentation was on user experience, and the result was WOW. The interface is web2.0 based, smooth and sexy. I saw some technology bits which I thought I recognised.
The home page had a worklist with various items. This was a cross between the UWQ and outlook. The good thing was that it had my work items, i.e. things that I have to action, and a separate section for things that I need to be aware of, i.e. my leave approval request etc.
There was a secure search, from the Stellent Secure enterprise search, which is sensitive to the position in the organisation hierarchy of the individual. This will not show the bosses salary but will show the subordinates.
There was a visual org chart with a communication interface to help you chat, call (VOIP), IM (aka messenger), which I think is a part of Oracle Beehive.
The screens seemed to have a Siebel like characteristics with view applets and list applets, and show more and show less buttons on each screen. The user can save queries or used globally saved queries like in Siebel.
We saw the HR product first and the most impressive component seemed to be a People tool, which had a social network capability, and this may be true of the entire application. This seemed to come from the People tool in Peoplesoft and had a lot of flexibility, in terms of drilling down to people, looking at their connections, and then starting a HR case/transaction, like promotion. It was very impressive from a presentation perspective, and maybe used to create virtual teams.
We also saw a viewlet form the financial application, which was also quite impressive and was excellent from usability perspective.
My impression was that the usability perspective has rubbed off on Oracle from Siebel or other Product groups that Oracle has acquired! As I have never seen a focus on it earlier. That is very good and provides any application with an edge. The other encouraging signs were the integration points. The Fusion App can integrate with older version of EBS, Peoplesoft or Siebel. 'Seamlessly'? That remains to be seen, however that probably means a lot of work for the SIs.
There was also a lot of focus on embedded BI, to help decision making. This is another sexy feature and I think this is an area where SIs can provide immense valued ads, as the intelligence will have to be based on data stores based on legacy applications in the immediate future.
Finally, as a value Proposition, Oracle believes that the implementation of this would be cheaper, as there would be a lot of configuration that can be done by Business Users. I would like to believe that this meant more Business Analyst type activities and less configuration. The techstack seemed to be Java, however there seems to be a high dependence on AIA and middleware. Though the speaker thought that customisations could be done using cheap Java resources, I disagree, and think that this is a space where first movers will have a lot of advantage in terms of technical skills.
Finally, there was yet no mention of functionality included in comparison to the existing ERPs. This needs to be evaluated as there are more product announcements. This used to be the traditional selling point and was noticeable by its absence, but maybe that's just me! It is an eye catching product and hopefully will help us get out of this current lull. What I am unsure of is how this would impact customer's investment decisions in the near future.