Five years in the making, Oracle’s line of next generation business applications is finally out of the box.
The subject of almost every Oracle Openworld event for the last few years, Fusion Applications is built from the ground-up and represents a major engineering feat for the enterprise software giant.
According to Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, the company spent “a lot of time” rewriting applications with features taken from its own Oracle E-Business Suite, JD Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel.
Built with a service-oriented architecture in mind, Fusion Applications and its underlying Web services components can connect with other applications to pass on data that traverse a gamut of business processes. The software components are all built with Java and can run on industry standard Java middleware.
According to Oracle, Fusion Applications spans several product categories including Customer Relationship Management, Human Capital Management, Financials, Governance, Risk & Compliance, Supply Chain Management, Procurement and Project Portfolio Management.
Customers can acquire each product in its entirety or choose from over 100 Web services components.
“Fusion pieces can integrate with what you’re using today,” Ellison said, adding that businesses will not need to rip and replace their existing business software.
Embedding business intelligence into Fusion Applications is a key design principle that Oracle has undertaken. Unlike competing products which view analytics separately from business applications, Ellison said, Fusion Applications will give business users the information they need to make better decisions.
For instance, a manager will know if he or she will exceed the departmental budget once a purchase is approved. In other scenarios, you can also determine the best supplier for a particular product with the help of a scoring module that takes you through the decision making process.
With analytics built right into Fusion Applications, ERP software is no longer just a process automation tool. “Process automation is still important, but you get better pay-offs with more (analytics) information,” Ellison noted.
Fusion Applications can also be installed on-premise behind a company’s firewall or rolled out as a SaaS (software-as-a-service) offering.
This means a company can choose to adopt a hybrid approach where CRM software, for instance, can be deployed on-premise at manufacturing facilities and on the cloud for its sales office locations.
The business software, which also includes social networking and collaboration features, will be shipping later this year, with general availability by the first quarter of 2011.