Every OpenWorld I have attended really revolves around two things – new product announcements, and a chance to see the legendary Larry Ellison perform to a huge audience. This year’s closing keynote didn’t disappoint on either count.
Out of the gate, we heard that the long delayed Oracle Fusion Applications are now live at more than 200 customer sites. After a 2 year development delay, this is a huge milestone for a crucial platform. More than 100 Fusion Applications are now generally available.
Larry posed the question:
Why did we rewrite E-Business Suite, Peoplesoft, and Hyperion? They were already market leading products.
It is simple – Oracle Fusion Applications are designed to run in the cloud.
Oracle decided several years ago to re-architect their portfolio of enterprise applications, building everything on a modular technology stack designed for Internet deployment. The payoff is now available in the Fusion Applications.
The rebuild allowed the use of modern security models, a service orientated architecture, and efficient operation in virtual machine environments. In addition, user interfaces across the product set have been streamlined and made consistent, and analytics are consistently baked into every app.
Larry then made his point crystal clear – showing a screen from SAP R/3 – comparing it to looking at the fins of a 1957 Cadillac. Great technology for the era, but of little relevance to today’s business world.
When I was an Oracle sales rep many moons ago, one of the first lessons that was drummed into me was NEVER “dash to the demo”. First make sure you know what your audience wants to see.
I don’t understand why Larry felt the need to break his own rule, but he decided to run us through a demo of several Fusion Applications. The software tools look great, but boy those auditorium chairs were feeling hard by the end of it! With about 10,000 people in the audience, there were more than a few glazed eyes by the end of it.
One of the most interesting announcements of the keynote was the introduction of the Oracle Public Cloud, a broad set of integrated services that provide customers with subscription-based, self-service access to Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle Fusion Middleware and Oracle Database. All managed, hosted and supported by Oracle.
The Oracle Public Cloud includes Oracle Fusion Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud Service, Oracle Social Network, Oracle Java Cloud Service and Oracle Database Cloud Service.
Customers can also take existing standard Java and Oracle Database applications and deploy them to the Oracle Public Cloud without rewriting them, allowing them to take advantage of their existing IT assets and skills. You can move any database into the Oracle cloud and back out again, or shift it to the Amazon cloud. Platform and data portability has always been one of the key strengths of the Oracle database, and these new cloud services stick to that philosophy.
From biblical allusions to tawdry comparisons, Larry was on a roll. Poking fun at Salesforce.com in particular, he singled them out as the standard bearer for all of the current ills afflicting the cloud business model.
Beware of False Clouds.
You can check in, but you can’t checkout. Salesforce is the Roach Motel of clouds.
Rounding out the announcements was the new Oracle Social Network! While Facebook is certainly not going to be shaking in their boots, it could give Microsoft some heartburn.
Designed to integrate fully with Fusion Applications, it allows users to share real-time information and collaborate. It draws heavily on information from the human resources system, and employee’s own private social networks. Tools include personal profiles, groups, activity feeds, status updates, discussion forums, document sharing, co-browsing and editing, instant messaging, email, and web conferencing.
Overall, a great set of announcements, and a strong showing for the new Fusion Applications. Now we just need to wait to see how many of the promised features made it into version 1.0.