RSS
Archive for the ‘Fusion’ Category

Looking Forward: Why Enterprise Software Is Changing

Posted by

It’s clear that 2011 was the year of the cloud, with many traditional enterprise vendors accepting that the cloud is something they can no longer denigrate or ignore. The ‘cloud’ buzzword has been (sometimes annoyingly) tossed around for upwards of two years, but last year is when it hit critical mass in terms of action, not just marketing and positioning.

Chris Kanaracus, writing for IDG News, highlights a few enterprise trends we’re seeing and hearing in everyday conversations. These give real heft to the notion that the cloud is something everyone should be thinking about and/or planning around. It might not be happening right now, and it might not be top priority for you, but ignore this medium- to long-term direction at your peril.

Here’s one that struck us:

SAP buys SuccessFactors, Oracle buys RightNow, both accept cloud reality

Collectively, SAP and Oracle spent nearly US$5 billion this year to acquire software vendors based in the cloud. If you want to know more then you should visit this website.

Each sought different types of technologies, with SAP’s purchase of SuccessFactors boosting its human-resources software offerings as well as general cloud know-how, and Oracle’s RightNow buy giving it an array of customer-support capabilities.

But the deals have a common thread, marking a sea change for the traditional on-premise software world, said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. “[It] signals the realization that cloud deployment will be the predominant approach.”

We do a massive amount of Oracle work, and what we’re hearing from Oracle and our customers is very real and perfectly synchonized: the cloud is real, it’s mature, and it’s time to start figuring out how it can help enterprise IT. It’s not just for early adopters or skunkwork labs anymore.

Along similar lines, you can’t ignore perhaps the biggest story out of Oracle, one that’s sure to mold future IT decisions for a long, long time:

Oracle delivers Fusion Applications

It took a while, but Oracle finally managed to deliver the first wave of its next-generation Fusion Applications, and its launch strategy also showed how cloud computing has influenced the enterprise software market.

The company has taken pains to stress that Fusion Applications can be deployed in a highly modular fashion, with no need to remove existing systems, and at a time of customers’ choosing. Users will also be able to run the software both on-premises and in cloud form, although some of the details of the latter remain to be made public.

Oracle’s strategy is partly a nod to reality, since few customers will rush to rip and replace their core ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems with new software, and Oracle also wants to ensure early users are successful. But its message of easier, more flexible consumption for Fusion is straight from the cloud-vendor playbook.

Now more than ever we are being asked by our clients to come in and help them simply assess: put executive/organizational expectations on a piece of paper somewhere (harder than it sounds, trust us), inventory current systems and capabilities, and plan roadmaps. Such basic blocking and tackling, but given the churn and change in what ‘enterprise IT’ will mean in three years, so important. We offer clients two very powerful planning workshops: our BluePrint Project Services and PeopleSoft Architecture Assessment, both of which are popular. Lately, we’ve been doing a lot of our BluePrint workshops, largely because of the reasons discussed a few hundred words ago: things are changing, and smart planning has never been more important.

Questions? Don’t be afraid to drop us a line. Always happy to have conversations.

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Mirchandani: Oracle Fusion Gets Its Due

Posted by

I missed this a while back, but Vinnie Mirchandani always has interesting takes. Here’s what he saw when he watched Oracle CEO Larry Ellison give his keynote at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld:

Larry Ellison could have been somber – if he knew of his friend Steve Jobs dying he did not let on. He could have been pissy about the Marc Benioff incident in the morning. He could have been lethargic – the Infosys session that preceded his put the lady sitting next to me to sleep. Instead he was in fine fettle – humorous, sarcastic. Probably the most enjoyable OOW keynote I have seen from him in a few years.

Why?

Oracle arranged for several sessions with its Apps leadership team and several of the Fusion early adopter customers. The range and size of the customers was impressive (I spent time with senior IT and finance execs from large aerospace, mortgage, restaurant chain, federal agency, insurance, electronics firms) – as was their pragmatism. The majority were happy to be on-premise liking future flexibility to move to a SaaS or on-demand mode. Their major drivers – instead of doing a major upgrade on an existing Oracle apps platform (JDE, PeopleSoft etc) why not go with a more modern Fusion architecture?

Interesting to note that the standard upgrade junction/opportunity is making organizations consider Fusion. Some six months ago, the idea of Fusion being looked at for the next upgrade cycle was a fantasy. Now, it’s happening — for real. But is it perfect for all organizations? No –it’s still a fledgling rollout, no matter how you cut it.

Fusion is also inconsistent in its depth – richer in core financials, HRM and CRM functionality than other parts of the enterprise, and the vertical journey to migrate Retek, i-Flex etc has just begun, though Thomas Kurian , EVP Product Development gave me a confident response on the speed at which that verticalization will proceed.

Consider Fusion, but do so realistically is the takeaway here. In many of our client conversations, there’s a lot of interest in Fusion, but once the surface is scratched and pragmatism seeps into the discussion, few are ready to move away from a mature PeopleSoft system just yet.

If you have questions or comments about Fusion, its adoption and what it means for PeopleSoft, please let us know. We’ll be happy to talk. No pressure, no pitch. We enjoy talking Oracle to anyone.

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

‘Stickier Than a Roach Motel’

Posted by

The Register’s Timothy Prickett Morgan scoops what is some of the best (and latest) Oracle Fusion information I’ve seen. Here he is with the overview of the modern-day Fusion, what it is, and how it’s built:

Ellison started off talking about the Fusion apps, a reworking from the ground up of all the business logic embodied in the Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, Siebel, JD Edwards, and other applications that the software giant has either built or acquired in the past 15 years. The plan, said Ellison, was to get these Fusion applications out the door in four years, but it took six years. The Fusion suite is written in Java and uses BPEL as a means of linking the apps to outside applications. It includes more than 100 modules encompassing financial, human capital, supply chain, and project portfolio management as well as procurement and governance and compliance apps.

For our more visually-inclined readers:

(Click to enlarge)

But the most interesting aspect of this latest volley of Fusion information is Larry Ellison’s edgy, almost pugnacious presentation of the what the Fusion-powered Oracle ‘cloud’ is, especially as it relates to proprietary clouds, like, he says, those powering rival platform Salesforce.com. For those who missed the drama, note that a year ago, Benioff tweeted, during an OpenWorld keynote, “Beware of false clouds.”

Ellison didn’t pass on the opportunity this year to swipe at Benioff’s comment.

“That is such good advice. I could not have said it better myself,” Ellison sneered, rattling off a list of differences between the Oracle Public Cloud and Salesforce.com. The Oracle cloud is built on “standards,” by which Ellison meant Java, BPEL, SQL, SOA, Groovy, Web services, and so on, while Salesforce.com is a proprietary cloud platform with proprietary applications, with its APEX language, the Heroku platform cloud, and extensions like Force.com, Appforce, Siteforce, and vmforce.

By contrast, the Oracle cloud runs glatt kosher Java and supports Oracle’s database and Fusion middleware, which means you can run your applications on premise, in the Oracle Public Cloud, or even Amazon’s EC2 cloud. Salesforce.com’s applications, said Ellison, run only on its own cloud.

“It’s kind of the ultimate vendor lock-in,” said Ellison, winding the crowd up. “You can check in, but you can’t check out. It’s stickier than a roach motel.” He paused for a second and then added: “It’s like an airplane you fly into the cloud and you never come out.”

Ellison also took a few swings at Salesforce.com’s multitenancy model, which, he says, was a good idea 15 years ago, when people had no other options. Today, that’s no longer the case.

Fusion is just taking shape for many people, and it’s becoming clearer that it’s a cloud-powered, elastic layer that will use BPEL and other web services to connect your existing applications and data stores. It’s a major shift for Oracle, but one that I admire — the company couldn’t evolve without it.  Is it formidable? Of course it is — it’s Oracle, after all. And how can you not admire an enterprise company who communicates so boldly and plainly?

What are your thoughts? Is Fusion what you thought it would be?  More? Less? Still need a better understanding of what it is and where it will fit into your business?

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Finally, Some Focus Comes to Oracle Fusion

Posted by

Bill Kutik talks about Oracle’s perception problem with Fusion after their five years of secrecy, what the early adopters so far look like, and how customers are slowly looking at Fusion in earnest. But an interesting subplot is the Oracle v. Workday cage match that’s going on, one that will be ultimately considered a function of time if Kutik is correct:

What nobody talks about publicly is Oracle’s effort to derail Workday’s late-stage sales efforts to Oracle clients. Again, business as usual: It’s called capitalism. Apparently, it may have contributed to Workday’s not signing Charles Schwab, but Oracle’s efforts failed at Thomson Reuters, which was recently announced as a Workday customer.

That’s the cage match to watch going forward — with Workday currently having the advantage of older battle-tested software, being able to pursue larger customers and 230 of them already signed. But given Oracle’s much larger size, resources and installed base, those Workday advantages will shrink over time.

Fusion became generally available on June 1, Leone says, and now anyone can buy it, though still with careful qualification.

Leone confirms that Oracle is looking to HCM as its best source for larger company Fusion sales.

It will be interesting to see how Fusion gets a foothold in the market and builds momentum. It’s been a long five years, and people are interested for real developments and releases. We hear it firsthand every day.

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Fusion’s Coming, But PeopleSoft Is Alive and Well

Posted by

Contrary to what some backstreets of the ERP rumor mill will say, there’s a strong roadmap ahead for PeopleSoft, including a new current release of HCM and even a major release next year.  Here’s InformationWeek’s Doug Henschen talking about what that means for Fusion and what mindset customers should consider adopting:

…if PeopleSoft’s getting all these upgrades, what’s the purpose of Oracle Fusion, the application suite that’s supposed to blend all the best from Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards, and Siebel? Fusion was finally released June 1, but Oracle hasn’t had a lot to say about it. Expect that to change at this year’s Oracle Open World event in early October.

So at Oracle OpenWorld 2011, Oracle will give us a lot more information about Fusion. Sounds good. But what does that mean for customers who still have requirements to meet, maintenance to pay (or not), and new objectives to fulfill? Short-term, not much. Hence the very strong PeopleSoft roadmap. Here’s Henschen again:

In the meantime, here’s the latest on PeopleSoft upgrades and how customers might choose to coexist with — and someday cut over to — Oracle Fusion Applications.

This week’s feature-pack upgrade to Oracle PeopleSoft 9.1 delivers in four areas: payroll, compensation reporting, time and labor reporting, and online training integration. European customers will benefit from the payroll upgrade, which supports management of payments according to the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA). This is a fairly new standard that saves time and effort when making payments across European borders.

The feature pack delivers PeopleSoft Total Rewards Statement 9.1 as a way to provide a more holistic view of total compensation, including benefits, allocations, incentives, and bonus pay. This makes it easier for companies to help their employees count their many blessings.

Of course it’s the paycheck that matters most, and PeopleSoft Time and Labor 9.1 now includes more than 40 customizable, rules-based templates for reporting standard hours, overtime hours, holiday hours and more. Pay calculations get complicated, particularly when union-specific rules are applied. The templates are aimed at simplifying matters. Consulting firms have made a pile of money helping organizations figure this stuff out, but Oracle says templates will minimize the need for such support.

So when Fusion does hit the market, where can you expect it to fit in?

Cutting over entirely to Fusion is not an endeavor to be taken lightly. If you’re running PeopleSoft Financial Management (FM) as well as HCM the migration will be even more daunting, as Fusion Financials has more in common with Oracle E-Business than it does PeopleSoft FM. That said, Fusion does adopt PeopleSoft’s Trees metaphor for organizational hierarchies, according to Holincheck.

The bottom line is that Oracle has good reason to keep the PeopleSoft upgrades coming, and it won’t be pushing you to move to Fusion. The coexistence strategy notwithstanding, Fusion seems like a PeopleSoft alternative to be considered like any other competitive app, with cost, breadth and depth of functionality, ease of deployment, and innovation as key reasons to consider replacement.

Takeaway: the notion that Fusion represents a giant red switch that will turn itself on and PeopleSoft off is the farthest thing from the truth.

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Observations About Fusion From HUG Attendees

Posted by

I recently attended the Oracle Human Resources Group (OHUG) meeting in Orlando. As a consulting partner/vendor I had a chance to talk to a large number customers — both Oracle eBusiness and PeopleSoft HCM– about their current plans and their perception of Fusion.

I have to admit, I was surprised by what I perceived to be a general lack of enthusiasm for Fusion.  The conference had a good number of sessions devoted to the Fusion HCM products, but I found out from Oracle that those sessions were not attended as well as expected.  Most attendees were focused on their current environment or getting to a supported release of their product set.  I even met with a gentleman who was literally in a panic that Oracle was going to force Fusion on him and he didn’t want it. He just wanted to keep his PeopleSoft HRMS.

Obviously, the vast majority of customers are not early adopters — especially when cost-conservatism is still the rule of the day and new technology for new technology’s sake is a no-no. Still, I anticipated there would be more enthusiasm about the fact that Fusion was finally a reality and that the Fusion applications could be considered as part of one’s HCM Roadmap.  But most people seemed to be confused as to what the message was about Fusion and in many cases just what Fusion is.

Oracle has been consistent in its messaging to the HCM customers.  But what I perceive is that Oracle is saying blah, blah, blah and the customers are hearing exactly that: blah, blah, blah. Messaging is either not crisp or being articulated properly.  It is fear from the customers that psychologically blocks the message?  Does cost + change equal job anxiety?  Is it the belief they will have to surrender their investment in their current system and step into the Wild West with a new platform ?Is the message too marketing-oriented?

Oracle predicts that by OpenWorld there will be a good number of Oracle HCM Fusion early adopters to showcase the success of Fusion. I personally have every reason to believe them, but it won’t happen unless Oracle can figure out how to get the message across in a simplified fashion that makes people feel more comfortable.

Just some observations from where I sit.  What is your take?

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Oracle Fusion HCM: It’s Early, But It Looks Very Promising

Posted by

I watched the most recent webinar on Oracle Fusion HCM last week.  As someone who works in the trenches of HCM/HRIS every day, I must say I was impressed with what I saw and heard.  There are still a number of unanswered questions, but those will likely be explained over the next couple of months and most certainly at this year’s Oracle’s OpenWorld.

The Fusion Human Capital Management (HCM) modules being offered do not represent what you would consider a full suite of HCM products (for instance, there is no Recruitment module), but it’s a beginning — a strong beginning.  The message about co-existence (implement Fusion modules that solve a business problem and use the delivered integration with your existing PeopleSoft system) is a savvy — and logical — first move.   Already this message is making hay with some of the prospective Fusion clients (who are also PeopleSoft customers) I’m talking to.

One thing you hear from up-and-coming and niche vendors is that when the RFP is issued, Oracle can’t check yes to all of the boxes with Fusion because they are still building out functionality.  With the co-existence strategy they are talking about, Oracle Fusion HCM can not only check ‘yes’ on all of the RFP requirements, but they can now go head-to-head with an HCM SaaS offering.  It’s that compelling.  No longer can Fusion be dismissed as vaporware before moving to the next topic on the meeting’s agenda.

What was of most interest for me regarding the SaaS offering is that, unlike some other vendors, Oracle is allowing for “upgrade protected” personalization and extension of the application using the “Composer Tools.”  More on this will be revealed in the months to come, but from what I saw it was pretty impressive.

So while there still remain questions, the testimonials by the Oracle HCM Fusion early adopter clients prove that Fusion HCM applications are here, and are real.

Time to start thinking about what Fusion means to your organization.  Do you have serious plans for Fusion? If so, on what timeline?  We’d love to hear your views in the comments.

(Naturally, if you want to discuss the future of your HCM system as it relates to PeopleSoft and Fusion, I’m happy to chat with you.  Drop me an email and we’ll get going.)

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Oracle Enterprise Performance Management: Bridge to Fusion Applications

Posted by

Oracle has released a brand new white paper discussing how Oracle EPM is the bridge to Fusion applications.  While the white paper does not contain a lot of specific details, it does provide a nice foundation to begin to outline a strategy if an organization is considering moving to Fusion and either has Oracle EPM or is considering EPM as a method to help move to Fusion.  The white paper can be found here, but I’ll take a moment and highlight some of the specifics I found most interesting.

(Below, white paper excerpts are in standard text; my comments in bold italic.)

  • Oracle Fusion Applications were built on a foundation of middleware using a service-oriented approach and a common data model. Simplified configuration and a common data model enable a change-once, change-everywhere approach to business.   Comment:  I can imagine the common data model and a change one change everywhere approach will be very beneficial for changes to reports and dashboards, simplifying that change process as well.
  • Oracle Fusion Applications provide a complete set of applications — from human resources and finance organizations to field sales and supply chains. They are based upon a modular approach which allows organizations to adopt what they need when they need itComment:  This approach has a BI benefit allowing any report, dashboard changes to be integrated in as modules are deployed as opposed to reworking BI across an entire ERP solution.  BI can be migrated along with the Fusion apps strategically.
  • Oracle EPM solutions can be leveraged as a key enabler or bridge to Fusion applications.
    • Oracle Fusion Applications leverage key components and technologies from Oracle EPM solutions – for analytics and reporting.
    • Oracle Fusion and EPM applications leverage the same Fusion Middleware technologies
    • When the Oracle Fusion Applications become generally available, Oracle will have an FDM/ERPI adapter and the same integration capabilities that exist for Oracle E-Business Suite Financials, PeopleSoft Enterprise Financials and HCM, and SAP R/3 for the Fusion suite as well. This integration capability enables organizations to automate and integrate their management processes using Oracle’s EPM solutions, while integrating financial and operational information from any combination of Oracle Applications Unlimited, Fusion Applications and non-Oracle systems.  Comment: Organizations should be able to migrate to Fusion and keep the same level of integration and drill back capabilities.
    • Throughout the Fusion Applications suite, analytics and business intelligence are embedded into key business processes through integrated dashboards, analytics on transactional pages, multi-dimensional calculations, decision support and optimization. Oracle’s BI technology is leveraged across the Fusion Applications suite to provide real-time, self-service reporting and analysis directly from the transactional data or against a data warehouse. With Oracle BI embedded in Fusion Applications, users will enjoy seamless navigation between analytics and transaction processing, with role-based dashboards and reports, single-sign on and integration with the underlying meta data.  Comment: This will go along way to achieve BI nirvana of BI embedded directly into and as part of the business process.
    • Oracle EPM technology is also embedded throughout Fusion Applications including Essbase.  Oracle Essbase is seamlessly embedded within Fusion General Ledger to support multidimensional reporting and analysis of GL account balances. Every time a transaction or journal is posted in Fusion General Ledger, the embedded multi-dimensional balances are also updated at the same time to ensure that balances are always in sync and up-to-the-minute accurate. End users can then report and perform multidimensional analysis on this information via Hyperion Financial Reporting and the Smart View Excel interface.  Comment:  Real-time reporting and reporting of financials utilizing Hyperion tools will have numerous benefits related to data consistency, the ability to trust the data, data quality and overall improved financials reporting.
    • Oracle EPM and Fusion Applications leverage the same Fusion Middleware (FMW) Technology Stack such as common security and access management, system monitoring and diagnostics, application server and clustering infrastructure, and application development tools and technologies.  Comment: if your organization is already utilizing Oracle EPM, then the move to Fusion from a technology standpoint should have less challenges as common technologies will be utilized.
    • In summary, because of many of the items noted above, Oracle EPM solutions can play a role in any of the deployment scenarios Oracle customers are considering.
      • If your organization is planning to continue with your current investments in Oracle Applications – then Oracle EPM provides best in class EPM capabilities for your Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards environments.
      • If your organization is planning to incrementally add Fusion applications, Oracle EPM can integrate with and support the management processes across Fusion and Applications Unlimited applications.
      • If your organization is planning to migrate to Fusion Applications, Oracle EPM can play a key role in the migration process by providing a consistent financial planning, close and reporting environment before, during and after the migration to Fusion Applications.  Comment:  I believe the common technology stack will also aid in the migration process.

Questions or comments about this?  Still thinking about how Fusion is going to fit into your organization’s plans, regardless of EPM?  Drop me an email and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.  Lots of clients are starting to navigate this landscape, and everyone’s learning as they go.

###

More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

Live Tweets from Oracle OpenWorld

Posted by

I’ll do a ‘best of’ Oracle OpenWorld tweets after the show is over, but for now, if you want to stay abreast of the news, comments and analysis of what’s going down at OpenWorld, here’s an RSS feed for a Twitter search query based off the #oow10 hashtag.  This feed is updating quickly – another sign that Twitter is a bona fide news source for breaking news if you know how to find the data.  Some really smart insight in this stream.

###

MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Oracle posts.

Naomi Bloom’s Questions for Oracle OpenWorld 2010

Posted by

I know it’s only Monday and a bit too early in the week to have your head explode, but Naomi Bloom has posted an insanely detailed list of questions for this year’s Oracle OpenWorld. (Her particular hotspot? Fusion HCM, naturally, especially with multi-tenant capability.)

All excellent questions and ones the Oracle faithful have been asking for quite some time. Kudos to Bloom for mirroring the Oracle zeitgeist.

(Also, bonus points to Bloom for making the post’s graphic a depiction of a fusion reaction. Clever.)

###

MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More Oracle posts.