SAN FRANCISCO -- OpenWorld once again served as a launching pad for Oracle last week with the company unveiling a raft of new Oracle products, services and strategies, most notably its long awaited Fusion Applications.
As is his tradition, Oracle chairman Larry Ellison served as master of ceremonies on the last day of the show where he pulled back the curtain to show off the Fusion Applications for the first time. He also detailed plans for a new support portal to help corporate users more intelligently download patches to fix, and even prevent technical products.
The first version of the Fusion suite will include modules for financial management, human capital management, sales and marketing, supply chain management, project management, procurement management and GRC (governance, risk and compliance).
In a keynote address the day before Thomas Kurian, Oracle's executive vice president of product development, detailed and reinforced the company's commitment to developing its existing technology stack.
Kurian's address, in contrast to the prior day's address by Charles Phillips and Safra Catz, which detailed Oracle's vertical ambitions, sought to show that the company's technology is "best of breed" in each market it serves.
During his keynote, Kurian gave a demo of a fictional company that integrated Siebel and Demantra, used Webcenter with Application Development Framework (ADF) components and reached into an Oracle database with the E-business Suite. The demo however made no mention of non-Oracle products.
Kurian also brought customers to the stage to help with the demonstration, including Mike Siebert, global director of analytics and reporting, with Ingersoll Rand, a heavy Oracle user. Siebert outlined how Ingersoll Rand delivers applications to its users.
"Our strategy is, we try to implement new content, new features about every 100 days or every quarter, sit down with users to learn what data sources they need data from," Siebert said. "Once they have the info they need, they can be the ones to worry about how to display and how to slice and dice it."
When it comes to cloud computing, Kurian said Oracle has developed on-demand applications with CRM On Demand and that its database and middleware tools are optimized to run in cloud environments. He did not expand on Oracle's future in infrastructure in the cloud.
"We're not yet in the hardware business so we don't offer hardware as a service and infrastructure as a service," he said, referring to Oracle's acquisition of Sun, which still needs to clear some regulatory hurdles. "We do offer all of our products, middleware, database tools for infrastructure and applications as a service."
Besides Fusion Applications Oracle announced more than a dozen other products.
The company debuted Release 2.5 of its Application Integration Architecture (AIA) that now has 10 cross-industry Process Integration Packs (PIPs) along with six industry-specific PIPs including those for manufacturing, utilities retail and health sciences industries. With the updated release Oracle is focusing on simplifying business process integration as well as speeding up the delivery of SOA-flavored applications solutions, Oracle officials said.
Hoping to add some development muscle to its Java, SOA and Web 2.0 applications development, the company spelled out some details of its upcoming ADF 11g.
Oracle has spruced up the user interface components of ADF with Carousel, which displays collections of data that has the look and feel of iTunes. The company has also added Spark Chart that helps simplify page design.
With the Java-based Mobile Client, corporate and third party developers extend the reach of existing enterprise-class applications to a range of mobile devices. Developers can create a single version of an application that can be deployed on several different smartphones including those from Research In Motion (RIM) and Windows. The new client has built-in security and database synchronization services that handle data distribution with mobile applications.
Continuing with its mobile focus, Oracle also rolled out enhancements for its Mobile CRM and Social CRM for its CRM On Demand product that has improved its collaboration and communication capabilities.
The new release of Oracle Mobile Sales Assistant 2.0 for Blackberry, which has new support for the Blackberry Tour, 8900 and Storm, helps users working more efficiently with colleagues in order to close deals on the road, and now has support for 12 different languages.
Also making it first appearance was Oracle's Social CRM Applications Release 3, essentially designed to help salespeople better create campaigns using an editing tool for existing templates in their social networks or design a new template.
The Oracle CRM Sales Campaigns On Demand tracks real-time campaign results and lends insights when an email is opened or cannot be delivered due to an invalid address. The new Oracle CRM Sales Library On Demand has been enhanced to support Microsoft Word, integrate with Oracle CRM On Demand Release 16 and has a message board for members to quickly view activity within their social networks.
Oracle produced beefed-up versions of its Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management and its Primavera Contract Management that now have better integration and collaboration capabilities. Version 7.0 of the Enterprise Project Portfolio Management has features to support Web accessibility that should help IT shops better manage and deliver portfolios and projects from any location.
Version 13 of the Contract Management package provides better project control helping users manage document and project changes, keep projects on schedule and has better visibility into how individual changes affect the overall project plan.