Oracle aims to deliver the first version of Fusion Applications to early adopters in 2009, and it is promising significant new functionality in the product.
"We're pretty far along," said Chris Leone, group vice president of applications strategy. Oracle can't talk about general availability for the applications but plans to "look for some early adopters that we can get live and get started in the 2009 time frame," he said during a panel session at the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.
Early adopters will be chosen from several hundred customers who have been providing feedback to Oracle as it develops the long-awaited software.
Fusion apps are supposed to combine "best-of-business" capabilities from Oracle's various product lines, which include E-Business Suite, J.D. Edwards, PeopleSoft and Siebel.
To date, Oracle has only shown off a handful of Fusion applications, which were oriented around CRM (customer relationship management), and the project overall has been dogged by concerns that it is behind schedule.
Oracle plans to demo more Fusion software this week at OpenWorld, according to Leone. And when it is released, the initial version of the suite will include "the majority of core financials" along with human resources and CRM functionality, he said.
While it will be some time before Fusion Applications are front-and-center in Oracle's product strategy, existing customers need to get ready now, said members of the Oracle Applications Users Group Fusion Council. Leone made his remarks during a session the group held.
The Fusion Council has been trying to tell members how to get ready for working with Fusion Applications.
For example, users will have to learn to work with Oracle 11g Fusion Middleware, as it underlies Fusion Applications. In addition, Fusion will use BPEL (business process execution language) tooling instead of existing tools like Oracle Workflow.
It may also be wise for companies to investigate hiring a SOA (service oriented architecture) solutions architect, Leone and other panelists said.
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