I am not at Oracle OpenWorld this year, but have spent some quality time with Oracle leading up to the user conference. Now that the embargo is officially over, I thought I would give you my perspective (not necessarily the official Gartner perspective) on Oracle Fusion Applications by answering some of the questions I see floating around on Twitter and Blogs (and from inquiries). Gartner will publish a note soon that looks at Fusion Applications as a whole (and to which I am contributing)
Are Fusion HCM Applications Based on PeopleSoft?
No and yes. Oracle used the E-Business Suite (EBS) as a starting point for the main Fusion Applications with the exception of CRM (which used Siebel as the starting point). The main reason is that the EBS data model from an ERP perspective is more comprehensive. However, Oracle did not stop there. They added some of the best PeopleSoft features including Trees, Effective Dating (more complete than in EBS), and Set IDs (for those of you who have wanted to share job codes across business groups in EBS, you will appreciate this). They also took time to enhance capabilities from both systems. For example, in PeopleSoft 8.9, Oracle introduced the person model so that it would be easier to track the relationship an employer has with the employee over time (for example, I might start as a contractor, become an employee, move to part-time, and eventually become a contractors again). Fusion HCM will have an even more flexible person/employment model. In addition, Oracle has indicated that it will also support PeopleSoft "pillar" style adoption (which was not as easy to do in EBS or J.D. Edwards because of the integrated nature of those solutions).
Will the move to Fusion HCM Applications be a "simple" upgrade for PeopleSoft and EBS customers?
Even though Fusion HCM uses EBS as a starting point, it is a new application. The data model has been enhanced and new application logic developed using JDeveloper and Oracle Fusion Middleware (OFM). Oracle will certainly provide some data migration tools and they are leveraging the configurator technology developed for EBS to make it easier for business users to create and maintain configurations in Fusion HCM. However, customers should expect that they will need to revisit their business processes (potentially to take advantage of new capabilities), interfaces (it is a new data model), training (new user experience), and reporting (different information delivery capabilities embedded in the application). So, do not expect that it will be a "simple" upgrade (PeopleSoft customers should read "How to Determine Your PeopleSoft Next Steps" for more information - Gartner subscription required). Also, the functionality may or may not be equivalent in certain areas at a particular point in time. This leads to the next question.
How will Fusion HCM Applications compare to PeopleSoft and EBS?
I do not know. I know the planned breadth is to be a relatively comprehensive HCM solution including:
- Workforce Deployment - HR, Global Payroll (based on EBS), and Workforce Lifecycle Manager (used for Onboarding and other process management needs)
- Workforce Development - Profile Management (another carryover from PeopleSoft), Network at Work (Social Software features are included leveraging the WebCenter platform), Performance & Goal Management, and Talent Review
- Workforce Rewards - Compensation Management, Incentive Management, and Benefits Management
There are also significant enhancements in terms of visualization and embedded analytics (somewhat similar to what is in PeopleSoft 9.1). What I do not know is the depth of functionality in most of the areas. I have seen a demo of some of the capabilities like compensation management, profile management, network at work, but I have not seen a comprehensive demo yet. Oracle has not deployed the solution to any early customers yet (though they have brought customers to Oracle to test various aspects of the solution). Oracle also has not provided any sort of roadmap that gives a view of feature comparability and timeframe (which is typical for Oracle).
Will I have to pay for Fusion HCM Applications if I am an existing Oracle Applications Unlimited customer?
In the discussions I have had with Oracle, they have indicated that they customers will be able to get "like for like". It gets a little more complicated in practice as there are many more PeopleSoft modules on the price list than EBS modules. Since we have not seen the price list yet for Fusion HCM applications, it is hard to know what will actually be "like for like". Also, since the PeopleSoft acquisition, Oracle has tried to reduce the number of modules offered (get all the product lines better aligned) so it also depends on when you bought as to what modules you own and what would be considered "like for like". That is a long way to say it is hard to know yet and may be different for different customers.
Should all of this matter to an existing Applications Unlimited customer?
Possibly, but probably not. One of the intriguing things that is possible with Fusion HCM is that the talent management applications (including some of the social software capabilities) could be used in conjunction with PeopleSoft and EBS applications (possibly in a SaaS model as Oracle has indicated that they are "SaaS ready"). This may be useful to some customers that plan to move to Fusion ultimately. However, most customers I speak with are concerned with their next upgrade for their existing product (or more concerned with more mundane issues - it was interesting to see this post this morning as I was writing this). Product planning is already happening for the next releases of PeopleSoft and EBS so Oracle does plan to have more releases of those solutions.
These are some questions I have heard. What else would like to know from Oracle about Fusion HCM Applications?