This was my last day at OpenWorld. I started off with a presentation from University California-Berkeley by Jeannine Raymond and David Scronce on their PeopleSoft 9.0 upgrade.
Update: My apologies to Jeannine Raymond from UC-Berkeley. She presented along with David, not Colleen Neymeyer (from Oracle), as originally indicated.
The upgrade was what I would characterize as a "Talent Management" upgrade. It has been working on developing and implementing its talent management vision since 2001. The end result is what it calls Career Compass. It includes job standards (job definitions that include job competencies), performance management (to assess competencies), and career development. UC-Berkeley is taking advantage of Profile Management, Talent Acquisition Management/Candidate Gateway, ePerformance, and eDevelopment to deliver this (it is integrating to a third-party, incumbent LMS) to deliver on this vision. It is a good story about using integrated talent management to address significant workforce issues (in an up economy, it struggles to attract and retain talent because others in their geography can and do pay much more in compensation).
I spent the rest of my time at OpenWorld investigating Fusion Applications (I was not able to attend the Larry Ellison keynote so if others want to weigh in on that, please do). I attended two sessions led by Steve Miranda that discussed Fusion Applications: one focused on the design objectives for Fusion Applications and the other focused on demonstrations of those design principles in Finance, HCM, and CRM. 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. Oracle did demo parts of the solution. It did highlight a number of interesting design points with Fusion including:
- Role-based dashboards
- Embedded analytics (with transactional activities)
- Integrated visualization (organizational charting, 9-box, rolodex cards, person gallery, contact mesh -- graphical view of your connections in the organization)
- Worklists (ok, that is not that exciting)
- Activity Guides (configurable leveraging the BPEL engine)
- Desktop Widgets
- Contextual help with user ratings
- Communities/Business Social Networks
- Accordion Panels (left-hand and right-hand panels can be expanded and contracted)
- Show more/show less (ability to configure a more detailed vs. less detailed version of the screen)
I was quite impressed with many of the design elements demonstrated. However, the scenarios (approving a journal batch, promoting an employee, prioritizing leads) showed small bits of functionality from a broader suite of Fusion Applications. So, can I see some of the potential of Fusion applications? Yes. Can I see the full Fusion Application Suite? Not yet.
Does it Exist? That is probably the more interesting question. Josh is quite bullish on it. Certainly there are "edge" applications such as Social CRM that do exist. There are other edge applications like Talent Pool Management (Candidate Relationship Management) that are close to delivery. There are also others like Talent Reviews that are expected in the next twelve months. However, based on the information provided to date, it is difficult to know exactly how much of the Fusion Application Suite is built. There was no firm commitment on delivery dates for the first release of the Suite or any indication of early customers that were implementing the Suite. Early customers that implement and go live are the real litmus test for "does it exist". So, do Fusion Edition (that is what Oracle is calling it) applications exist? Yes, there are some edge applications. Does the first release of the full suite of Fusion Applications exist? Not yet.
What do you think about Oracle's Fusion Applications?