The UK Oracle User Group has backed Oracle’s plans to link together its ERP applications under the Fusion middleware strategy, but admitted it should have done more to raise awareness about the scheme.
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At the group’s annual conference in Birmingham last week, it was revealed that only half of the UK’s Oracle users said they understood the company’s plans for Fusion.
Ronan Miles, who chairs the user group, said, “I regard the lack of awareness of Fusion as my failure to communicate with users, rather than Oracle’s.
“The idea of Fusion is unquestionably right, and if it does not work, the industry will just have to return to it until it does.”
The lack of awareness about Fusion is likely to worry Oracle, since by 2008 Fusion is due to link the company’s ERP platforms. As well as Oracle E-Business Suite, the supplier sells systems it acquired from PeopleSoft and Siebel. In addition, Peoplesoft includes the JD Edwards platform, which PeopleSoft acquired before it was bought by Oracle.
In this year’s UK Oracle User Group survey, 64% of Siebel users said they felt secure about Oracle’s ownership of Siebel. The other 36% said they felt they were in a fragile position following the takeover
And 68% of JD Edwards users said they were positive about Oracle being their supplier, compared with 10% who were negative.
Miles said, “JD Edwards people felt battered and bruised because they thought they were only bought [by Peoplesoft] to keep Oracle away. We are seeing a swing to neutral opinions among JD Edwards users.”
We want better reporting, say users
Despite the lack of awareness about Fusion among UK users, those that have engaged with Oracle about its strategy to link ERP systems are pushing the supplier to ensure it offers a closer fit with essential business processes.
David Bouskill, chairman of the UK Oracle User Group’s finance subgroup, said UK Oracle users were at the forefront of a global user push to ask for fundamental improvements, including changes to Fusion’s reporting structure. He said special interest groups within the UKOUG had submitted hundreds of recommendations for changes, with the finance arm alone submitting more than 700 recommendations on behalf of 205 UK companies.
Oracle has highlighted the business intelligence capabilities of Fusion, including strategic reporting tools for finance directors. But many finance users said at last week’s user conference that their priority was to get more relevant reporting tools to make possible many basic business processes.
Bouskill said one example among many was the need for a tool to let staff working on accounts payable identify those suppliers that have been late delivering goods.
The UKOUG finance special interest group has also asked that Fusion’s user interface be based closely on the interface that Oracle acquired when it bought Peoplesoft.
Oracle has yet to confirm when it will announce the final features of Fusion.
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