Here are the headlines, in my mind, from the opening day of OpenWorld:
- Complete. Open. Integrated -- This is the main theme for the conference which I saw repeated in a number of presentations. Here is my take on what Oracle intends it to mean:
- Complete -- Oracle is very focused on industry solutions. That is, providing a comprehensive footprint for specific target industries. It used the Communications industry as an example and cited its footprint in 2004 and how it has done a number of acquisitions which it has integrated together since then to fill out its solution map (the solution map is not an original Oracle concept, but it has been put to good use)
- Open -- Oracle has been pretty consistent in its support for a variety of standards and allowing customers to "plug and play" where possible. It has created an abstraction layer in Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM) that includes common business objects, web services, and reference process models that customers can use out of the box or adapt with the tools as necessary.
- Integrated -- This is where Oracle's Application Integration Architecture (AIA) comes into play. Oracle has taken industry standards along with a modern integration architecture (leveraging process model-driven integration with an enterprise service bus and standard integration definitions). Oracle had a number of customers touting the benefits they thought they would achieve, but almost all were still in the process of implementing (this is not a new topic, it was hot for Oracle at the last OpenWorld).
- We knew this from pre-briefing prior to OpenWorld, but it pretty much is official now (and has been suspected for far longer). There will be no suite of Oracle Fusion Applications delivered in 2008. We published this (Gartner subscription required) in 2007 based on an interview with John Wookey about Fusion Applications. Oracle had indicated at that time the first release of the suite would be in 2008. Then, we published this (Gartner subscription required) when we started to have concerns about whether or not Oracle would deliver Fusion Applications in 2008 when John Wookey left Oracle. The first phase will be edge applications, like the Social CRM applications, which have been delivered in 2008.
- PeopleSoft Enterprise 9.1 will not be delivered in 2008. I do not know if Oracle committed publicly to this date, but they had been indicating privately that 9.1 would be delivered in 2008, not 2009. HCM is the first pillar to be delivered in 9.1 and given the scope of the release (including new applications such as Succession Management and a rewritten Compensation Management), it is understandable that it would take some time. However, release 9.0 became generally available in December 2006 (see Oracle's Lifetime Support Policy for more details). So, it is going to be well over two years before the next release. In a market where new releases from Talent Management application vendors come out as frequently as monthly, that is a very long time. More to come on version 9.1 in a later post.
- Social Software Strategy -- I am not going to discuss this too much now as I am still trying to understand Oracle's strategy here. Suffice to say that there are a number of products out there including Oracle Collaboration Suite (been around for a long time), Beehive (announced today and prominently placed in the opening keynote), WebCenter (the UI for Fusion Applications that includes some elements of social software), and PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal (that also now has some elements of collaboration included with it). As soon as I get to the bottom of it with some clarity, I will post again.
- Upgrades -- As I was communicating with my colleagues and attending sessions, it became clear that sessions which discussed Applications Unlimited (Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft, JDE, etc.) product vision/roadmaps and upgrades were among the most popular. I think that supports what we have been seeing in our inquiries in terms of the primary concern for customers: is this the right time to upgrade and if so, to which release should I upgrade? There are some sessions on Wednesday around Fusion applications. I would imagine they will be popular for similar reasons.
In closing, Thomas and I had a good chat with Charles D'Souza from Emirates Bank (HQ in Dubai). It has implemented implemented core HRMS, self-service, learning management, performance management, some compensation management and succession management (which some of its own extensions to Oracle) on E-Business Suite R12. It is also about to embark on an implementation of iRecruitment as well. If you are an EBS customer looking for an understanding of what is possible (to support upgrade planning) in Talent Management on R12, this is a good customer reference.
It is always good to get the customer viewpoint, I have a number of customer sessions on the agenda for tomorrow and Wednesday. If you are an Oracle Applications customer, what do you think the highlights were for Day 1?