Changes in the Fusion HCM Cloud Service specialization

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Oracle have recently updated the requirements for the Fusion HCM Cloud Service Specialization program. Previously, there was a set of exams that partners had to get employees through and a client reference to attain. Now the specialisation is a lot more involved:

Previously the requirements were:

1x Fusion HCM 11g Sales Specialist
1x Fusion HCM 11g PreSales Specialist
1x General Product Support Assessment (v3.0)

plus 1 pass in either:
Fusion HCM 11g Human Resources Implementation Specialist, or 
Fusion HCM 11g Talent Management Implementation Specialist

A total of four exams – plus the reference – would have been enough. For companies already specialised on this program – and Succeed is one of these – this only lasts until October.

The program has now changed …
Read the rest of this entry »

UKOUG Apps Transformation Day (aka Fusion SIG)

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I had the privilege of attending the UKOUG Apps Transformation day at the CBI Centre in London yesterday. I nearly missed it as the title initially didn’t grab my attention, but a friend pointed out that it was exclusively Fusion content and that was enough for me!

There were 120 people registered, however it looked like the numbers present were a lot short of that. The venue could have taken a lot more than 120 though. I wonder if the audience would have been bigger if it was more obvious that this was about Fusion?

So what did I learn? Read the rest of this entry »

Oracle’s Week of Deals

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This week Oracle announced 3 major deals. Deals of this size would normally be the single biggest piece of news in any typical week, so to get 3 in successive days means that they were lined up and unleashed in a deliberate manner to create the largest splash possible. And it’s certainly got people’s attention, with many analysts penning a series of posts on the matter.

The Microsoft Deal

Oracle and Microsoft announced a deal to make a slew of Oracle products available on the Microsoft Azure platform (their rival to Amazon Web Services). What’s so surprising about this deal is that historically the two companies haven’t been the best of friends and are the two main rivals in the battle for relational database supremacy.

When Larry teased during the earnings call last week that there were some big deals coming – including one with Microsoft – many expected something much tamer, like Microsoft certifying Oracle’s Java within Azure for example. What was announced is much bigger. Microsoft is making Oracle Java, Oracle Weblogic and – amazingly – the Oracle Database available within their Azure cloud.

The Salesforce Deal

Although Marc Benioff honed his craft while under Larry’s wing at Oracle, he’s his own man now and Salesforce and Oracle have been on a collision course for a while. Salesforce currently runs on the Oracle database, there has been some speculation that they were looking at PostgreSQL to help reduce that dependency. This deal not only negates that threat, but ties the two companies very closely together. Salesforce will run on Oracle’s Exadata machines, Oracle Linux OS, Oracle Java and the Oracle database platform for the next 9 years (although Benioff has subsequently said that it’s actually 12 years), and implement Fusion HCM internally (they currently use Workday). Quite a deal.

There are lots of positives for Oracle from this deal, but you have to wonder what Salesforce employees will think. They’ve a daring, charismatic and visionary leader who has taken the CRM market by storm, taking them to become the world’s #1 for CRM and the world’s biggest SaaS company. By aligning themselves with Oracle they’ve lost some of their autonomy, Benioff will often be playing second fiddle to Larry, and this does box Salesforce in to the CRM market – HCM and Financials will be all about Fusion (work.com and FinancialForce.com will presumably not be touted so strongly).

Does Larry also see Benioff as a successor? Larry is only just over a year off of being 70. Although we suspect he relishes deals like this, and his appreciation of Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’ is oft-recounted, there will become a time when he’ll want to reduce his influence – as Bill Gates did at Microsoft.

This isn’t good news for Dell (who previously supplied all of Salesforce’s servers). It’s a real kick in the teeth for Workday though. Extensions to Workday are created in the Force.com platform, Salesforce’s Chatter is integrated with Workday, and the CEOs are frequent speakers at each other’s conferences. It’s safe to assume that some or all of this is going to cease and it’ll be Larry presenting at this year’s Dreamforce instead.

The NetSuite Deal

This is definitely the least surprising of the 3 deals as Oracle and NetSuite have always had a friendly relationship (Larry was a heavy initial investor). The biggest question is what market is the deal aiming at? They’re after mid-sized companies where they’ll deploy Fusion HCM and NetSuite Financials – both SaaS hosted, one would assume as that’s the only model available for NetSuite. To me, this sounds like they’re aiming at Workday.

Summary

Larry has really pulled a masterstroke in getting the whole enterprise software industry talking. He’s created a huge cloud marketplace with some of the industry’s leviathons, and positioned Oracle at the centre of it – at the same time as devaluing some competitors. Larry is – right now – probably the Enterprise Tech industry’s most powerful leader.

The implications of most of these deals will come in time. Big questions remain, however:

  • How much revenue will the Azure tie-up actually bring?
  • What happens to Fusion CRM? When will it be sold in preference to Salesforce?
  • Are Salesforce’s HCM and Financial offerings no longer viable?
  • Will Oracle eventually purchase NetSuite, Salesforce, or both?

The different facets of the Fusion UI

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Most of the early screenshots that came out about Fusion were all from the Web-based UI, things like the 9-box grid etc. Now that the product is out there we’re getting to see more. I attended an excellent webinar that explained a few things that were new to me:

1) The Professional User Interface is separate to the Casual User Interface

Oracle are terming the ‘Professional UI’ to be the one that we’ve seen most of so far, and the ‘Casual UI’ to be the one that was christened Fuse that we first saw at OpenWorld. I would expect that the former is targeted at administrative or power-users, whereas the latter is more geared towards Self Service applications. Here are a couple of shots of the Casual UI (click for bigger):

Fuse1

Fuse2

2) Outlook Integration

Oracle also showed the Fusion CRM Desktop within Outlook. This looked fully integrated (as many of the tasks could be carried out without leaving Outlook and accessing the Fusion UI). I’m not going to go into any detail on this as a) desktop integration is already a staple feature of most ERPs, and b) Desktop email clients like Outlook are losing popularity to web based email so this is less important than some of the other items.

3) Fusion Tap

We also saw some screenshots of Fusion TAP integrated with the Oracle Social Network (a professional Facebook, so to speak). Fusion Tap is going to be very useful to those with tablets, and with the continued progress of tablets in the workplace – and especially the growth of BYOD – this population is only going to grow.

FusionTap and Social Network

One thing I particularly like about Fusion Tap is that it’s configurable, so you can adjust what the user sees and what they don’t. It’s not just a static native app.

4) Mobilytics

This is still in development, but it’s very aesthetically pleasing (as with the above pics, click for bigger):

Mobilytics 1Mobilytics 3

Mobilytics 4Mobilytics 2

5) Oracle Voice

The biggest surprise of all for me was the mention of Oracle Voice. It’s basically a Siri, but for Fusion. It’s being integrated with CRM first (and it’s not hard to see that this is where it’d be most useful).

Oracle Voice

So in summary, there are some really strong UI facets that are currently available, and there are some very exciting innovations that are in the pipeline.

(All of the above is covered by the standard Oracle Safe Harbour agreement, so don’t base anything contractual on what you see here. Some of the above is still in development too, so there’ll be improvements before it is ready.)

The Fusion UX

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“The User Experience – by itself – is probably enough to sell this product.”

Spotted by Ultan.

New Fusion video

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All,

As part of my work at Succeed I’ve put together a short 2 minute video showing some of the Fusion highlights for our Simply Talent campaign.

For more info go to the Simply Talent website.

Initial Fusion deployments are mostly cloud based / 1,000 improvements in 6 months

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There was an interesting comment earlier today at Collaborate where a senior exec mentioned that of the 250 customers who’ve licensed Fusion already, most of them have opted for a cloud-based deployment. It’s encouraging that there is widespread adoption of the cloud, however you do wonder if some of these will move on-premise once things have settled down – as Green Mountain Coffee Roasters are intending to do.

I suspect that many of these early adopters are co-existing their Fusion modules with an existing core system, so SaaS hosting is understandable. When the time comes to replace the core system they may well move things back in-house.

It was also interesting to hear that Oracle expects to have made around 1,000 customer-driven enhancements by OpenWorld. That’s an incredible amount of improvements in such a short space of time.

See more here.