by Thomas Wailgum

Oracle Fusion Apps Sneak Peek: One Customer’s Hands-on Look

Jul 30, 20093 mins
Enterprise Applications

One long-time Oracle customer recently tested the next-gen application suite and claims it's worth the wait.

Floyd Teter knows Oracle products. He’s been working with the vendor’s wares since 1990 and even spent a few years as a managing principal with Oracle Consulting, according to his blogger bio.

Teter is also a self-described “project manager, solution architect, business analyst, strategist, evangelist and trouble-shooter” when it comes to all things Oracle. (In addition, his BBQs are reportedly legendary.)

So it’s of little surprise that Teter, who’s full-time gig is as a systems engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was invited by Oracle to “kick the tires” on Oracle’s next-generation product: The Oracle Fusion Applications Suite.

You will recall that Fusion Applications has been dogged by a rather lengthy and somewhat controversial past: Back in early 2006, Oracle President Charles Phillips claimed that the vendor was halfway through Fusion Applications development process. And customers are still waiting today.

Speculation as to the holdup has been rampant: I wrote that Larry Ellison & Co. have realized that there is no good reason for Oracle to trot out a next-generation applications suite to a customer base that’s in financial and infrastructural turmoil and is not looking for that kind of application horsepower or innovation right now. (See Oracle Fusion Applications: Is 2010 Delivery Too Little, Too Late or Smart Strategy? for an in-depth profile.)

Floyd Teter, on the other hand, writes on his blog that “Oracle has taken the approach that quality takes precedence over schedule. I’m good with that. In fact, I’ve been vocally supportive of that approach.”

Teter was one of the first outsiders to be hands on with Fusion Apps and called his weeklong validation testing a “peach of an assignment,” which he describes in detail on his blog:

“Faced with a choice of which product family to test (a week is just not enough time to test everything available), I chose Project Portfolio Management (PPM) because it’s the most important set of Oracle applications in my particular shop. It was an interesting week: hands on the keyboard, working through Oracle’s test scripts, kicking the tires, and sharing my likes and dislikes…. I should also point out that the overall quality of the apps is much higher than I would expect it to be at this point in the development lifecycle. Yes, I did hit some bugs, but not nearly as many as I expected to see, and nothing that prevented execution of business processes. The whole idea of using an iterative development approach to improve product quality seems to have paid off handsomely on the quality front.”

Teter goes into detail on these areas: business processes, user experience and analytics. Overall, he’s quite pleased with the progress, but he does have concerns, including: “There are lots of moving parts under the covers of Fusion Apps. The technology stack could be big and complex, so I worry about the impact of complexity on implementation and operations.”

Whatever biases you might think Teter may have, his early and hands-on look at the suite is worth the read.

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