Last month I travelled to Brussels with a colleague to attend an Oracle Fusion Applications Technical Workshop run by Oracle for their partners. While (frustratingly) not being able to get our hands on the applications, we were able to see demonstrations of a lot of exciting new functionality and found out about the technology underpinning the suite.
On the whole we were very impressed by what we saw. We all know how long Oracle have taken to get the applications ready but it does appear to have been time well spent, as the whole framework looks to be very well thought out. For example the code line is exactly the same whether the application is installed on a client’s site or deployed in a multi-tenant SaaS environment (or indeed a hybrid model in between these two extremes). Very clever indeed. Also (and some would say unusually for Oracle) the applications appear to work well together, as shown by the AMX approval management solution, which deploys a common worklist across all the applications.
Particularly impressive were the range of options for customising the applications (although Oracle refer to this process as “tailoring”, as though “customisation” has become a dirty word amongst clients due to the pain and expense clients experience when it’s done badly). The big surprise for me is that Oracle aren’t making more noise about the powerful tools that can be used to tailor even SaaS implementations of these applications to a client’s requirements. It’s particularly surprising since, as Gartner reported recently, one of the most important factors limiting the spread of SaaS applications in the EMEA region is the lack of ability to apply customisations.
Perhaps the ability to customise is still a difficult message to deliver to clients who have had their fingers burned in the past, even if it is a strong differentiator for Oracle over the likes of Workday.