This is part two of a two-part story on Oracle Fusion Applications. The first part looked at the availability of Fusion Applications and its complicated price list.
Before an Oracle shop even thinks about adopting Oracle Fusion Applications, it must first examine what Oracle application products and versions it already has, according to experts.
"Before you begin pricing Fusion Apps, you will want to map your existing functionality with the new Fusion capabilities," R. "Ray" Wang, principal analyst and CEO of Constellation Research Inc., recommends. "Oracle promises to keep users whole with like-to-like functionality without additional charge when they migrate to Fusion Apps," he adds. "It's important to ensure you only pay for the deltas."
Paul Hamerman, vice president and principal analyst of enterprise applications for Forrester Research Inc., said new customers may need new components to add to their enterprise architecture. Though customers won’t have to pay for comparable functionality, they may see additional costs for middleware and business intelligence products that are required to support Fusion Applications.
Complications span a gamut of previous application releases to new releases with varying upgrade paths and service and support fees.
Mark Clark, president of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), thinks that Oracle E-Business Suite 11i customers are finding that they need to update to Release 12 before moving to Fusion. The OAUG advises members to upgrade to the latest release of products they run so they can benefit from new features and avoid fees for Extended and Sustaining Support. But he added that some OAUG members are considering the “co-existence” option of having Fusion Applications running alongside existing Oracle apps.
"Additionally, I know that our members are waiting to see how the results go with some of the beta sites to see if they should think about using some of the 'point' solutions that Oracle is suggesting," he said.
Taking the leap to Fusion Applications
The benefits of plugging into Fusion Applications now will entice some customers. One quick-service restaurant chain in the United States opted out of Oracle's Early Adopter Program for Fusion but still decided to skip Oracle Applications R12 and implement Fusion Applications in 2012. As a result, it is avoiding the de-support date of November 2013 for its existing Oracle Applications.
Patrick Gresham, enterprise applications manager for the restaurant chain, said Oracle Applications R12 is similar to the company’s current version, 11.5.10. So it decided to go with Fusion, where it liked the integration with social media and business intelligence, as well as its Web-based interface.
“With Fusion, we felt as though it was embracing the emerging technology and would help us to meet some of our future strategic objectives,” he said. “The project was also perceived to be within the budget of re-implementing Oracle Application R12."
Fusion Applications as alternative to other upgrades
Hamerman said some may move to Fusion Applications because of the functionality. Others may be several versions behind and may choose to consider Fusion instead of investing in multiple upgrades.
"Right now, if I were a customer, I'd say, 'Show me some live production proof points for the core transactional applications,’ ” Hamerman said. “To me the proving ground is stuff like general ledger or payroll where you have fairly significant transaction volume and production requirements that would prove out the robustness and scalability of the system. Those proof points aren't established yet. So if I were a customer, I would wait to see some evidence of successful adoption at scale of some of these core modules."
Floyd Teter, vice president of applications delivery at Innowave Technology Inc., as well as an Oracle ACE Director and longstanding member of the OAUG Fusion Council, said it’s important to remember that the first version of Fusion Applications cannot fully replace current available Oracle applications. There is no discrete manufacturing functionality in V1, for example.
“Taking a pass on V1 does not mean a customer will never use Fusion Apps,” he said. “It only means that it's not a good match at this time."
Read about one fast-food chain that is skipping R12 to go to Fusion Applications
Watch Oracle VP Steve Miranda describe how Principal Financial Group went live with Fusion Apps