Despite Oracle's best efforts to keep customers informed about its Fusion roadmap, there is still plenty of uncertainty within the PeopleSoft and JD Edwards user community about their immediate migration plans.
For the first time since Oracle announced its next-generation application suite dubbed Fusion, customers came together at the Quest user conference in Melbourne last week seeking details on the direction of their IT investments.
But despite the concern expressed by many of the 200-plus users in attendance about the need for more detailed migration plans, International Oracle User Council (IOUC) vice chairman John Brown said the customer landscape is constantly improving.
Brown said feedback is significantly better than it was at the last user conference in 2004, an event he described as "terrible".
He said the last conference was held at the height of Oracle's acquisition activity when customers looked upon the enterprise application software giant as the "current caretakers of our products".
"It was all pretty weird back then; in 2004 some customers were terrified by the Oracle shark that was circling us but in 2005 I am really impressed," he said.
"Today's landscape is the best I have seen in three years and every interaction I have had with Oracle has been good; it has delivered on its promises."
A PeopleSoft customer, ANZ Banking Group technical services manager Dominic Giannetta said he was on a fact-finding mission to get greater insight into Fusion.
Giannetta was sceptical about Oracle claims that Fusion will simply be an upgrade.
"If it is just an upgrade, does that mean you add a few executables and you're fused? I'm still trying to convince myself," he said, but added that he is willing to find out more about other Oracle products.
ANZ Banking Group's head of finance management systems, Derek Prass described Fusion as the "big unknown" and noted there were a lot more JD Edwards-based sessions at the event than PeopleSoft.
With so many changes happening, the ERP manager at Foodstuffs, Murray Coates said it was time to get more involved in the user community.
"It is my first time here and I'm still implementing JD Edwards products; the conference is an opportunity for users to address issues in common," he said.
JD Edwards' customer and Godfrey Hirst finance director Jim Walsh wants to know more about the Fusion migration path, describing it as a "big issue".
"We need to know how to move forward and to find out what it involves," Walsh said.
JD Edward's World user and Warrambool Cheese & Butter finance general manager Bill Hannah was at the event to collect information on how his organization can move forward.
"We are on the World product, so it won't be just an upgrade for us to get to Fusion, we are going to need more," he said.
"I want to see what will be available for us five years from now."
Sandra Rossi attended the conference as a guest of Oracle