Oracle Fusion - a damp squib

Earlier in the week I speculated that Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle would make a monster announcement about Fusion apps. I was wrong.
Written by Dennis Howlett, Contributor

Earlier in the week I speculated that Larry Ellison, CEO Oracle would make a monster announcement about Fusion apps. I was wrong. According to Sam Diaz, it's worse:

Ellison spent some time talking about new Fusion applications coming down the pipeline. But first, Ellison said he recognized that companies have invested in other apps - PeopleSoft, Seibel, JD Edwards and so on - and there Oracle is committed to supporting those technologies for the long-term.

That's code for: 'You're paying us 22% for the pleasure - enjoy. - in case you didn't already know.'

Parts of the analyst community have been sucking up the Fusion Kool-Aid with scant regard to whether there is value for customers. I was especially taken aback by Josh Greenbaum's gushing thoughts.

The lid is finally off on a 12 month-old NDA for Fusion Applications, and in this case the long delay between when analysts were first shown Fusion Apps in the fall of 2008 and when we were given free hand to describe what we’ve seen now looks like a impressively smart move.


What was smart was that, while the apps looked pretty snazzy a year ago, the go-to-market strategy wasn’t as zippy. In fact, it really didn’t exist at all. Now, in anticipation of a 2010 release date (new revenue recognition rules at Oracle have clamped down on any specifics, but you can be sure that the Fusion team would be less vague if the lawyers would let them) Oracle’s Fusion team not only showed off a well-designed set of applications: they’ve got a pretty well-designed GTM strategy as well.

Yada yada...PR...puff and fluff.

As I always say when it comes to new product: show me the money. In this case it would be nice if they showed us some code. Per Sam Diaz:

Ellison clearly was excited about Fusion apps and brought some folks on stage to provide a demo - but, by now, the crowd has grown pretty thin.

It's THAT exciting??

I got pretty uppity about this in the Twitterstream remarking to analyst David Dobrin: 'tell me when happy customers  are running it.' His response was a good hearted: 'Well, part of our job is to figure out if happy customers will ensue.' Right -except that's what I describe as a retarded model that almost always plays to the vendor first and the buyer second. David graciously said: 'There's a lot of truth in that.'

In the back channel I was batting the same issue around with Jim Holincheck from Gartner. Jim is one of the 'good guys' who plays fair. He said: 'I agree that much less detail discussed than could have or should have been about Fusion Apps.' In a later message Jim referred me to his comments from last year where he said:

I could not help thinking during these sessions of a software joke told to me by Brian Sommer a long ago.  It goes like this:

Think about the answer to two questions: "Can I see it?"  and "Does it exist"?

  • If I can see it and it does exist, then it is Real.
  • If I can see it, but it does not exist, then it is Virtual.
  • If I cannot see it, but it does exist, then it is Transparent
  • If cannot see it and it does not exist, then it is in the Next Release

So, let's ask these questions about Fusion Applications.  Can I see it?  The answer is yes, sort of.

More seriously though - millions of dev dollars later is Oracle still stuck? In response to my goading, Jim updated his position as follows:

There is a firmer delivery date (sometime in 2010).  We also know that some customers have been testing the solution.  However, testing parts of the solution is not the same as implementing it.  As I said last year, early customers that implement and go live are the real litmus test for “does it exist”.  So, does the first release of the full suite of Fusion Applications exist?  Not yet.  Will it exist in 2010?  I think it will.

I suppose that's firm as in jello. In the meantime, my partner in enterprise apps grime Frank Scavo had this to say:

Those counting on Fusion to be a comprehensive successor for Oracle's existing products, however, will be disappointed. According to Ellison, when Fusion first reaches general availability, it will not provide the breadth of functionality currently available in Oracle's existing portfolio. This has been self-evident, but now Oracle has made it official.

If ever there was a case of caveat emptor - this is it.

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