A report from Search Oracle.com titled: Oracle Fusion Applications move toward widespread release got tongues wagging and from Oracle's perspective - for all the wrong reasons. Paul Hamerman, analyst at Forrester is way too frothy in being quoted as saying:
"Oracle Fusion Applications is generally available, and anyone who wants to buy Fusion can buy it right now; Oracle has just kind of had a soft launch," he said. Hamerman added that there are several deployment options -- including hosted, Software as a Service (SaaS) and on-premises -- as well as migrations from other platforms.
Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for Paul but he is ahead of the public curve on this one. Here are the facts as relayed to me by an Oracle spokesperson:
- Fusion is generally available but in controlled release. This is standard Oracle practice.
- There is a price book for each deployment method. The only one that has so far been put into the public domain is that upon which I have picked up before and which Search Oracle.com clearly riffed.
Ok - those are the facts. Here is the reality on the ground as recorded by Debra Lilley, UKOUG President, Oracle ACE and all around good person:
What I do want to comment on are the thoughts on the price list, yes it is very confusing and I have seen a few other reports on that. I urge Oracle, and I am very pro the product (just in case you were in doubt), to make the price list simpler. To me one the best features of the product is the User Experience, the ability to do everything from one place with a superior User Experience, yet the experience of reading, let alone understanding the price list is anything but. I have asked on behalf of all users to have this explained to us.
Debra also works for Fujitsu, one of Oracle's top partners. If she is saying this as a representative of users then what does this also say about the relationship with partners?
In the interests of full disclosure, Debra also serves as a board advisor to Constellation Research. I hold a similar position. Ray Wang, who is CEO Constellation lists Oracle as a client but has not shared any information on this topic. Debra and I have not spoken directly on the topic though her post and tone are consistent with what I have heard elsewhere and in past email, phone and Twitter conversations.
The problem is simple: is Oracle on general release as understood by those who would wish to engage/express interest or isn't it? Paul Hamerman says that Oracle will sell Fusion to anyone who expresses an interest. That's not the same thing and is unhelpful because as Debra also says:
Whoever buys a new product and doesn't have a conversation with the vendor to ensure they have the right skills does not deserve to have a successful project.
Amen to that!!
Oracle's official answer to me doesn't help either because if Fusion is on general availability/release then where are the price lists for the alternative deployment options? I'm betting the gagged anal-ysts know but have been sworn to secrecy under Oracle's anal-yst arrangements. Why should this tiny detail matter?
What we have today is confusing and having information that is either concealed behind Redwood Shores Pr/legal control or in the gagged minds of a captive analyst crew sends all the wrong messages to buyers. How can they know the best way of approaching Oracle on this topic?
Some have speculated that Oracle wants to save its energy for making a Fusion splash at the upcoming Oracle Open World. That's great. It is something that was sorely missed last year and will be welcome. In the meantime, I'd encourage Oracle to be more open. It does a better job than most on publishing price lists. This omission leaves suspicious monkeys like me wondering what 'general availability' really means. Right now it is not a term that makes too much sense.
Endnote: I use the term anal-yst to describe firm level behaviour that reflects the way certain firms derive the bulk of their income from vendors on terms that mean they are engaged in an unhealthy and lopsided relationship that brings into question their ability to truly act in the interests of buyers. It is not an indictment of any individual analyst who, at the end of the day, is an employee and does as they are told.