Oracle’s ‘Project Fusion’ Aims To Retain Customers

Having gobbled up JD Edwards and PeopleSoft, Oracle yesterday held a comingout party for “Project Fusion,” its plan to meld theproducts of the three companies and hold onto the customer base for which it paidUS$10.5 billion.

“The big news is that Oracle is not forcing customers to migrate,” EvanQuinn, vice president of enterprise application research at IDC, told CRMBuyer. “That to me was the major announcement. Everybody presumed therewould be a ‘nudged’ migration path to Oracle E-Business Suite.”

Java-Based Suite

Instead, Oracle announced that around 2008 it would release “ProjectFusion,” an integration of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards enterprise applicationsinto its product suite. The suite will be built on standards-based Javaplatform, an announcement Quinn found less than startling.

“Oracle made large commitment to Java several years ago,” he said. “I don’tconsider this to be a revolution — more a formalization of the path theywere already on.”

The lack of details in Oracle’s announcements could leave an opening forother vendors.

“In the short term, I would expect that enterprises that are starting vendor evaluations will be quite confused in terms of which of the Oracle/PeopleSoft/JD Edwards solutions will meet their needs,” JasonCorsello, senior analyst at Yankee Group, told CRM Buyer.

Door’s Open for Migration

That’s exactly what Oracle is trying to prevent, since confusion may lead todissatisfied and disloyal customers.

“This is a switching opportunity for vendors such as SAP,” Quinn said. “Whatthis is all about is Oracle trying to protect its newly bought customers.”

He added, “Other vendors are going to attack that customer base. There’s a reasonablysized minority of PeopleSoft and JD Edwards customers who may not be lookingforward to being Oracle customers.”

Quinn said he believes that window of opportunity will remain open for abouta year. He also noted that migrating enterprise applications suites is no simpletask.

“A year from now, if Oracle did a good job of protecting its customer base, itwill have aggrandized its place in the market,” Quinn said. “We’ll see a lotof very aggressive gamesmanship in 2005. This is the year to make it happen.This year will have definite impact [in the market] for years to come.”

Product Road Map

But Oracle still has a lot of practical work to do before that year is up.

“The challenge or question that remains is how Oracle will integrate themultiple product lines from Oracle, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards together inthe future,” Corsello said. “For example, both PeopleSoft and Oracle have recruiting modulesin their HCM suite/solution. The question remain[ing] is which one of thoseproducts will survive and/or how they will converge overlapping productlines?”

Oracle will continue to support PeopleSoft products. It said it wouldrelease PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 this year. In 2006, it will release OracleE-Business Suite Version 12, PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 and EnterpriseOne 8.12.

Also yesterday, Oracle followed through on its promise to release quarterlysecurity patches, with its first Critical Patch Update. The release includessecurity updates for nearly two dozen holes, including flaws in OracleDatabase Server, Application Server and Collaboration Server.

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