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Expert: Oracle's Fusion Applications still maturing, but offer real value

Chris Kanaracus | June 11, 2013
However, customers who make the switch must be 'ready for change,' according to Fusion expert Floyd Teter.

Fusion Applications documentation was at one time "very poor," but is now improving, according to Teter. But training options are "almost nonexistent," he added. Oracle's training group may be in "catch-up mode" due to Fusion's newness and frequent updates, he said. "When you're a trainer, you like to deal with stable material."

"Transfer of Information" documents that have been created by Oracle development are crucial for all Fusion Applications customers and implementers to obtain, according to Teter. The TOI documents "saved my bacon," he said. "That's the place where you really find out how this stuff works."

DRS Technologies, which has been a customer of Oracle's E-Business Suite, has one site migrating to Fusion Applications now, said Srini Calambakkam, an Oracle ERP analyst at the defense technology provider.

Calambakkam, who attended Teter's session Monday, didn't know whether DRS will expand its adoption of Fusion Applications and hasn't had interaction with the group running the Fusion project. He had a mixed response to Fusion based on Teter's presentation, calling the Functional Setup Manager tool "really interesting," but noting the "enormous" resources apparently needed to run the software.

Another E-Business Suite user who has actually test-driven the software extensively, called Fusion Applications "wonderful."

"I can't wait to get there myself," said Donna Rosentrater, who sits on the board of NEOAUG as well as the larger Oracle Applications Users Group, in an interview at Monday's event. "You just have to give me an upgrade path to get there."

At this point, Fusion Applications doesn't seem to provide a full-blown replacement for E-Business Suite, which she has worked with for many years, Rosentrater said.

Many E-Business Suite customers seem focused now on upgrading to the latest versions, and Oracle itself is "showing interest" in these activities, she added.

That seems to reflect the "coexistence" theme Oracle has consistently pushed for Fusion Applications, encouraging customers to adopt the software piece by piece over time while continuing to run older systems.

This strategy gives Oracle the benefit of keeping customers happy while continuing to receive lucrative maintenance fees, while also giving itself more time to build out Fusion Applications from a functional standing.

Forrester Research recently offered a different perspective, arguing in a report that Oracle faces a "strategic dilemma" with Fusion because its Applications Unlimited policy ensures that E-Business Suite, Siebel and PeopleSoft customers will continue to be enhanced and supported for the foreseeable future, giving customers little reason to switch. Oracle has blasted the report, calling it inaccurate, speculative and based on old data.



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