SAN FRANCISCO: Oracle has finally confirmed that its long-awaited Fusion Applications suite will be available from the first quarter of 2011.
Fusion, which aims to offer a best of breed suite of enterprise applications such as CRM and financials, has been five years in the making. It was unveiled by Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison at OpenWorld 2010 in San Francisco, as covered live by V3.co.uk yesterday.
Oracle Fusion Applications will include 100 different modules and thousands of business processes spread over seven product families.
Fusion has been built on a common, standards-based middleware platform, according to Oracle, and is based on service oriented architecture. It can therefore be implemented in a modular fashion, and can co-exist with applications from Oracle or third parties such as SAP.
"Fusion is easy to use for business users, and tells you how to get a problem solved rather than how to enter a purchase request," said Ellison.
Current apps customers were reassured that Oracle will continue to invest in Siebel, E-Business Suite and other apps for years to come.
At a press session on Monday, Anthony Lye, Oracle senior vice president of CRM, defined Fusion as "the most modern set of applications on the planet".
Lye was also keen to talk up the ability to switch between on-premise and on-demand deployment as the apps are based on the same code base for both delivery models.
"You can deploy it one way and six months later if you want to change, you can," he said.
Lye added that firms can run their CRM system on one database and their financials on a separate machine, but would still get a single view of customer data.
Later this week at OpenWorld, Oracle will demonstrate Fusion running on an iPad, which will no doubt go down well with delegates as an excuse to buy one of the popular Apple tablets.
Lye said that the idea is to show how the app suite can be used for customer presentations that incorporate other content and media.
Oracle expects customers to move to Fusion over the next five years, something that Paul Hamerman, vice president of enterprise applications at Forrester, agreed with.
"Fusion offers some intriguing improvements in usability and flexibility that will benefit customers on older apps packages. The uptake will evolve slowly over several years, until Oracle can demonstrate high volume implementation experience in core modules," he said.
"The price should be comparable to existing offerings like EBS, but customers of these products can migrate without new licence fees in some scenarios."
Ellison also noted that $4bn (£2.57bn) has been earmarked for R&D this fiscal year. Part of this will be spent on finishing and enhancing Fusion, and part on enhancing JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and other standalone apps.
The Fusion Applications suite can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud, offering greater flexibility and the option to migrate from one to the other if desired, according to Ellison.
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