Oracle previewed the next release of its E-Business Suite applications at its Oracle OpenWorld conference Wednesday. But the preview might be as close as Oracle customers will get to the new software for a while, since availability is as much as a year off.
Oracle E-Business Suite release 12 is likely to be Oracle's last major release of its own enterprise applications before it debuts Fusion, the vendor's next-generation apps that will incorporate technology from the E-Business Suite, as well as the JD Edwards, PeopleSoft, and Siebel applications Oracle has acquired in recent years.
New capabilities in E-Business Suite 12 applications will include the ability to perform profitability analysis and reporting on products, channels, market segments, and even individual customers; tools for evaluating the cost and revenue implications of supply chain management decisions; and a project portfolio analysis feature for evaluating global projects.
The new apps will also offer improved business-rule compliance features, global application management capabilities, a new user interface, and improved integration with third-party software. The suite will also provide new apps for the communications, high-technology, and manufacturing industries. Oracle will only say that the new application suite will be available within 12 months.
Oracle has pledged to continue enhancing and supporting the E-Business Suite and its acquired apps under its Applications Unlimited program after Fusion debuts. In an Oracle OpenWorld keynote speech Wednesday, John Wookey, senior VP of applications, said Siebel 8.0, JD Edwards World A9.1, JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.12, and Siebel CRM On Demand 12 are among the application upgrades Oracle is currently developing. Oracle has also been rolling out components of PeopleSoft 9.0 this year.
Enterprise search, XML-based reporting, and role-based analytics are improvements common to many of the upgrades under development, he said. "Search is becoming one of the new metaphors for how people navigate to their work," Wookey said.
The company is also improving the level of integration between its applications, making it easier, for example, for a user of Oracle's Siebel or Retek software to connect to an E-Business Suite application to check store inventory, and connect to Oracle's acquired G-Log software to transfer inventory.
Development of the Fusion applications remains on track, Wookey said, with the first applications slated to appear next year and the complete application suite available in 2008. A key emphasis in Fusion's architecture will be the reduced cost and risk of implementing the apps, Wookey said.