At UKOUG TEBS (technology and E Business Suite) conference we had a fantastic agenda for Applications with a keynote from Cliff Godwin talking about EBS and the first public Fusion Application demos outside the US. Not only did Cliff give an excellent keynote but he then met with two groups of SIG leaders to answer their questions and then joined them in a two hour open question time. From start to finish of the day he talked with users, answered questions and gave insight into the future of EBS. I received an email from him a few days later where he said “Congratulations on organizing a successful conference. I was pleased with the meetings I had and the opportunity for the extensive Q&A interaction with customers.”
On the Tuesday the Fusion Apps session was over subscribed and some people had to be turned away, a great success for us but I wish everyone could have seen it. On the Wednesday we had a special Fusion Applications stream that started with a two hour session that included the first demos, and as I introduced them, I talked about how we UKOUG got to where we are today and I realised just how hard we had worked at getting there.
In 2005 when Oracle first announced Project Fusion, and remember at that time they said we would all be on Fusion by 2013, UKOUG knew that it would become very important to our members.
So I proposed to our board that we should create a Fusion Forum to look at what our members wanted. This was agreed and James and I worked on a project plan one lunch time in Texas (during Collaborate 05).
The strategy was to create 5 groups of 8 members each containing a cross section of all application users, public and private sector and partners. The split was created after a survey of the members and the groups covered Financials, Supply Chain / Manufacturing, CFM, HR / Payroll and Applications Technology. Each Group had at least 1 user from each of EBS, PeopleSoft, JDE (remember this is before the Siebel acquisition), no more than 2 partners and at least one public sector member.
These groups had a set life of one year, launched at our conference that year with a thank you dinner the following year; in between they canvassed members and wrote white papers on what they found. The response from Oracle was mixed, the HCM white paper never seemed to find the right person in Oracle but the Financials Group were asked to comment further. They found that no existing product line had the right process for encumbrance accounting, and Oracle asked what the right process should be. It is interesting that the first release of Fusion Applications does not include any public sector functionality so we will have to wait until release 2 to see how they actually deal with the functionality.
In the International Oracle Community we UKOUG were held up as best practice, "We appreciate the effort that the UKOUG Fusion Focus groups have invested in the white papers that have been submitted to Oracle. It's obvious that the participating customers devoted considerable time to write these papers. This type of detailed input is extremely valuable and timely, as we finalize requirements and begin designing Oracle Fusion.”
By this time the IOUC had created a committee to hold the Fusion Channel and UKOUG Strategy was that I should stand as chair to ensure our input. I was voted in, and 2 years later when it was up for grabs again, I stood unopposed and intend to stay until at least Fusion Applications are on General Availability. The Product Development Committee or PDC looks after more than Fusion Applications but it was our main interest until the announcement of Applications Unlimited.
As a result of the work I did and continue to do with the PDC I was nominated to be one of the first Oracle ACEs for Applications, and then named User Group Evangelist of the Year 2008, as well as gaining ACE Director status. Each quarter we have a Q&Q session with Oracle Development and the questions can be found in the library.
During this time Fusion Applications have been under wraps and I have been under non disclosure but despite that I have tried to keep people as informed as possible, presenting at SIGs, our own conferences and thanks to the ACE program at other events further afield.
And back to conference, this was planned well before Oracle Open World but with no advertising as we were not 100% sure that Larry Ellison would talk about Fusion Applications, but he did and the non disclosure was lifted and we fire ahead with the planned stream.
Clive Swan SVP Product Development responsible for HCM in Fusion along with Jeremy Ashley VP responsible for User Experience assisted by Aylin Uysal gave us a valuable insight into the Applications, and several demos.
I was then able to give feedback on the Customer Validation sessions I had attended; again supported by the ACE program, and then we had a great Q&A session. This event was another first for UKOUG, this session had its own tea & coffee delivered to ensure we wasted no time.
After lunch Nadia Bendjedou from EBS Applications Technology gave her fantastic ’10 Steps to Fusion’ presentation which now has much more Fusion Applications positioning in it. It is really worth hearing or downloading this paper as the magic behind Fusion Applications is a combination of the technology and User Experience and most of that is available to you today, and in the latest releases of Applications Unlimited you can see a lot of the technology has already been introduced.
Nadia has also worked with the PDC to create a little Oracle Applications Planning Tool which you can download to help you have the conversation in your organisation as to how you are or could adopt some of this technology.
Then there was a choice, a deeper dive into the User Experience with Ashley or the Technology with Duncan Mills.
Quite interesting that whilst Ashley and Duncan came over from Redwood, they are both British, as is Clive. Nadia works in the Oracle Paris Office and although Algerian by birth has a British passport and studied at Aston University in Birmingham. So don’t think Fusion Applications is just the next product out of Redwood, they couldn’t have done it without us Brits.
So you can see that the UKOUG board has a strategy around Fusion and has worked hard to make sure you are the most educated User Group in the world with the best access.
We are not ready for a Fusion Applications SIG but we do have a Fusion Community on ukoug.org.