Oracle bringing Fusion plan to users

As senior vice president of applications development at Oracle, John Wookey faces the considerable task of crafting the vendor's next-generation suite of business software, dubbed Fusion. In an interview with Computerworld, Wookey talked about the plan to integrate Oracle's myriad applications and some of the plan's expected milestones.

Based on interviews, Oracle users are most concerned about Fusion. Can you give them some words of comfort?

We have a pretty good set of design-pattern flows for the applications, and we've started to take the customer groups through them. It gives them a sense of how the user interface will work and how we're mapping the job functions. In going through the assessments, we've been dealing with advisory boards, and we saw gaps between various products. A lot came down to the approach; the same business problems were attacked differently [by the vendors acquired by Oracle]. We'd work with the J.D. Edwards users on a process, and we'd talk to the E-Business Suite users and see how they looked at it. If something was better managed on the Oracle side, we'd go back to talk to the J.D. Edwards users about it. The nice thing is, now there are a lot of specific plans, and you can see exactly what is going on, and we can get feedback on it.

Do you find that customers are starting to understand Fusion? Over the last few months, we've seen, working with the CIO advisory board and the customer committees, that customers have been getting comfortable and conversant with what the [Fusion] plan is, and they're translating what it means into their own deployments in PeopleSoft or the E-Business Suite.

When will Fusion be completed?

The year 2008 is when the Fusion suite hits the streets. But there are a lot of things happening later this year. We're releasing libraries of Fusion reports. Using XML, customers can see how they can extract and manipulate information for reporting. We're building libraries for reports on top of PeopleSoft, J.D. Edwards and the E-Business Suite that customers can use today. This will be the basis of Fusion reporting.

What's going on with the Siebel products?

Siebel had really good [analytics] technology, and we're embracing that in Oracle. On the CRM side, we're planning Siebel 8.0, with some enhancements and a service-oriented architecture. Siebel 8.0 is under way and targeted for later this year. In addition, we plan to work aggressively to integrate Siebel CRM capabilities into Oracle and PeopleSoft ERP systems. We have a project under way, and this year we'll deliver integration.

What are your plans for the non-Siebel CRM lines?

There is a major set of enhancements for both Oracle 12 and PeopleSoft 9 [CRM] coming out.

What are your short- and long-term plans for the other application lines?

Later this year, there will be a major release of the Oracle E-Business Suite, Version 12, and PeopleSoft Enterprise, Version 9. J.D. Edwards Version 8.12 will come out in the next few months. There will also be another release of J.D. Edwards, EnterpriseOne 9.0, approximately 18 months after that. We'll also come out with J.D. Edwards World No. A9.1, early next year.

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