Oracle User Group: We can help you understand Fusion Apps

Oracle’s about-to-be released Fusion Applications is an opportunity for the UK Oracle User Group (OUG) to demonstrate its value, according to its new chair.

Debra Lilley, who earlier this month took over from Ronan Miles as chairman of the UKOUG, has been instrumental in ensuring that the user group was fully involved in the development of Oracle’s Fusion enterprise applications.

She was able to do this in her role as leader of the Product Development Committee for the International Oracle Users Group Community (IOUC), which focused on Fusion applications. Oracle has also invited Lilley to sit on a panel at the official Oracle event showcasing the new suite tomorrow in London, which Lilley said indicated that her “work has paid off”.

“We started [to get involved with Fusion Apps] six years ago, and ever since, we’ve had constant input.

“Every quarter, we have collected questions from members worldwide and every quarter Oracle has answered the frequently asked questions that we have taken to them,” said Lilley.

An example of when the user group has had a direct influence on the development of the new application suite is when Oracle was looking to extend the financial functionality used in the public sector. The Fusion Applications are supposed to have “best of the best” features, but the user group community found that this was not the case with this particular application.

Lilley said: “We said there is no ‘best of best’, so they came back to us and asked us if we would like to work on what the best of best is.”

Having been so closely involved in all stages of the Fusion Applications development, including testing, Lilley personally thinks that the product is “phenomenal”.

“It will change the way we work,” she said. “I’ve invested six years of my life in Fusion Apps. I want the GA [general availability] to go live and I want the communication [with users] to be effective. That’s ready, and I want to see that happening,” she said.

However, she admitted that there will be a “curve” in the uptake, like with all new products, especially because there are so many Oracle offerings to choose from.

“That choice is great, except it requires the end user to be far more educated about those choices. That’s the value that the user group can bring,” Lilley added.

According to Lilley, the number one question from customers about Fusion Applications is: “Do I upgrade to the latest release, or wait for Fusion?”

Unfortunately, there is no clearer answer to this than “it depends”, but Lilley said that this is how the user group can help, to understand what the new product means for them, and whether or not it is suitable for their business.

Oracle is promising customers an ‘exclusive first look’ at Fusion Applications at the Oracle Applications: A New Standard for Innovation - Chart Your Course to Business Success’ event in London today (31 March).

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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