Oracle Fusion apps go on general release

After six years in development and missing a scheduled release date, the Fusion suite of mix-and-match software goes on public sale in private and public cloud formats
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor

Oracle's stable of Fusion applications has finally gone on general sale, allowing people to use and combine over a hundred individual software programs to tackle business-process problems via on-premise hosting or in Oracle's public cloud.

Larry Ellison of Oracle

Oracle's Larry Ellison has revealed that the company's Fusion applications have gone on general sale. Photo credit: Jack Clark

The arrival of the software, which took six years to build, was announced by Oracle's chief executive Larry Ellison on Wednesday. The Fusion applications, which Oracle calls 'modules', were supposed to appear at the start of this year, but were delayed for undisclosed reasons.

"All of these hundred-plus modules are generally available to all of our customers all over the world," Ellison said in a speech at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. "ERP, human capital management, CRM — all the different pieces [have been] built on top of modern technology. It's completely integrated and finally here. It was a gigantic effort."

Fusion's goal is to draw together individual Oracle applications into a single system that can be combined, rearranged or chained together to create meta-applications that solve specific business tasks.

In an on-stage demonstration, Oracle showed how employee information could be merged with payroll and promotion modules to provide a single management console. Businesses can then use the console to give pay rises, promote staff and run predictive analysis on what effect greater financial compensation would have on employees' motivation. In addition, Ellison said Fusion can be used by businesses to create a home screen to display relevant information about employee roles.

"These are not just point solutions but a rich set of apps," Steve Miranda, head of application development at Oracle, said in a separate presentation on Wednesday. "These are not just point solutions but a rich set of apps. They were really designed from the ground up not just to be transactional applications, but we really designed them to have embedded business intelligence."

Oracle has high hopes for Fusion. In September 2010, executives said they believed over half of Oracle's customers will be using the suite within five years of its release.

Each Fusion application has been designed to run on mobile devices as well as on client PCs, he noted. Specifically, they should run on "iPads, iPhones and Androids", he said. No mention was made of BlackBerry or Windows Phone devices.

Public cloud

Fusion applications will be available in an on-premise private-cloud format or as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) from a public cloud operated by Oracle. The public cloud will be supported by "thousands" of Oracle staff and a worldwide fleet of datacentres, according to Chris Leone, the company's president of application development. If people choose to get their Fusion apps via SaaS, the modules will be updated every six months, he said.

The hundred-plus applications released on Wednesday are just the beginning, Leone told journalists.

"[The modules] range from back-office financials to procurement and portfolio management [and] front-office management," he said. "There will be additional releases — I guarantee it — but right now we have 100 modules."

No pricing was given for the software.

Ellison said SAP, Oracle's "biggest application competitor", mostly designs applications within its R3 suite that runs on-premise. Fusion's ability to run the same applications on-premise or in the cloud are what sets it apart, he said. "Fusion apps are the first complete and integrated suite to run in the cloud."

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