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Oracle: 'We're Halfway To Fusion'

The company is incorporating elements from PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and eventually Siebel into its own applications, and is trying to do it without being disruptive to customers.
Fusion Middleware's declarative and metadata-driven development toolset eases customization, he said, adding that the ability to write applications declaratively, or without writing code, within a single design tool was adapted from PeopleSoft applications.

The product is on its seventh major release, and the latest version--10g Release 2--has 367 new features, according to Kurian. More than 625 customers in various industries now use Fusion Middleware, and 72 percent of SAP customers use it, he said.

John Wookey, senior vice president of applications development at Oracle, gave a glimpse of what Fusion applications will look like. Now that the technology platform has been delivered, the software requirements set and the architecture defined, he said the first use of Fusion technology will be delivered in 2006 on current releases.

Fusion applications incorporate the best of PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Oracle software and will be developed on a standards-based, commercially available development platform, Wookey said.

This year, Oracle plans three key application releases that will incorporate Fusion: JD Edwards 8.12, which will comprise business intelligence tools and an integrated services repository; PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.0; and Oracle E-Business Suite 12.0. Additional development for Java-based applications is also part of the 2006 road map, according to Wookey. The first features will include Fusion reporting, the publication of a Web services repository and business process flows, including business process management for Siebel as well as other industry solutions, he said.

Oracle remains on track with its previously stated goal of delivering Fusion applications in 2008, Wookey said. “The vast majority of customers will be able to upgrade their current products with Fusion apps in 2008," he said, adding that the delivery of the Fusion Suite is also slated for 2008.

“We want to help customers compete more effectively, and we believe a next-generation architecture is necessary to allow that,” Wookey said. “We have a sound foundation and a great toolset to start building applications, and we’re going to build core applications on the same toolset. So our partners and ISVs can use the same toolset.”

By providing lifetime support for Fusion products, Oracle will not push its customers to upgrade, Wookey added. "We believe customers should be able to move to the next-generation architecture when there is a business benefit to doing so," he said.

Oracle is trying to position Fusion as an evolutionary upgrade, not a rip-and-replace upgrade. For example, Fusion Reporting will supplant separate reporting tools like Oracle Forms and analogous modules for PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. In mid-2006, Oracle plans to deliver forms libraries for reports for the applications, although it will also continue to deliver PeopleSoft's SQR reports in PeopleSoft apps, Wookey said.

"We will make incremental--not disruptive--changes," he said.