OPENWORLD - Oracle touts Fusion, other apps lines

Oracle will deliver its first Fusion applications in 2007 and plans to make its Fusion applications suite available in 2008, according to Oracle's John Wookey, senior vice president of Applications Development.

Wookey laid out a comprehensive battle plan for Oracle's applications business during the Oracle OpenWorld conference on Wednesday. Fusion will feature best-of-breed functionality from the various Oracle product sets.

"We've done a tremendous amount of work around the user experience," Wookey said. "We're moving to model pattern-based development in this next generation."

Web 2.0 and SOA also play into Oracle's Fusion applications strategy, with an planned architecture that understands business services are discrete events performed in the enterprise.

In the meantime, Oracle remains committed to enabling its acquired technologies such as PeopleSoft, Siebel, and JD Edwards, to work with application servers and databases from multiple vendors, Wookey said. "We have future releases planned across all these product lines," Wookey said.

Oracle E-Business Suite release 12 was previewed on Wednesday. It features a streamlined user interface and cross-industry capabilities spanning ERP, CRM, and supply chain management. Users of the suite can manage compliance globally with a centralized business rules repository. Integration with third-party applications also is featured. Capabilities are planned for profit analysis, network optimization, and projects portfolio analysis.

Oracle brought a user of its E-Business Suite, Giovanni Contino, CEO and partner of Ducati Consulting, onstage. The company was spun out of the Ducati motorcycle builder. Ducati was looking for efficiency in its IT, Contino said. "We wanted to have software which wouldn't bring us into an alleyway. We wanted to have software which was perfectly suitable with the work we were already doing and E-Business Suite was just the perfect tool for us," he said.

PeopleSoft, for its part, is being fitted with vertical functionality for areas such as higher education and financial services.

JD Edwards, meanwhile, is getting its first major functional release since 1998. "This is a very passionate group of customers," said Wookey. Oracle is planning the JD Edwards World A9.1 release of the platform.

For Siebel, modular functionality will be added to the on-demand version of the platform.

Oracle with its applications is focused on enterprise secure search, Wookey said. "Search is becoming one of the new metaphors for how people navigate through their work," he said.

"That is the expectation that I think is going to begin to grow in the apps domain," Wookey said.

The company also views XML-based reporting as a critical component of its applications arsenal gong forward. Role-based analytics and integration capabilities also are on the radar screen.

Also at the show on Wednesday, Oracle announced prebuilt integrations for its Oracle Identity Management software, with the intention of reducing users' security costs. Out-of-the-box support will be added for Oracle's JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, i-flex Flexcube, PeopleSoft Enterprise Campus solutions, and Oracle Clinical and Healthcare applications.

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