Oracle maintains mystery around Fusion Apps general release date

Early adopter programme still running its course

Oracle updated customers on the latest Fusion Applications news today at am event in London, but avoided any mention of when the long-awaited software suite would actually be available.

This is despite general availlability being widely reported as being from Q1 2011, and a common belief in the analyst community that it will be available on 1 June 2011. Development of Fusion Apps started around six years ago.

After speaking to an enthusiastic audience, Mark Wilkinson, VP of EPM and BI for EMEA at Oracle, told Computerworld UK that Fusion Apps would be on general release when the early adopter programme, which started in January, ends. "There's no end date for the programme," he added.

Wilkinson said that the general release date was not his decision, but when pressed further, he did reveal that the "goal would be [to] not [take] a year".

At present, Oracle has 40 global customers on its early adopter programme, which Wilkinson insisted was "a little more than" beta testing.

The vendor's priority is to help these customers go live, in order to give Oracle an element of "product assurance".

"We're looking to gain a rich experience across the products," he said. "We want to make sure we have gone through every assurance that we can."

Depending on what Fusion application they are implementing - Wilkinson said that some of the HR tools are relatively quicker to implement than some of the supply chain apps, for example - the early adopters are on the whole taking "months" to go live.

Wilkinson was more specific about the fact that none of the early adopters have gone for a rip-out and replace strategy, which Oracle does not recommend. He said that most customers are going for a "co-existence" strategy.

"You feel that customers looking to do something as far reaching and broad as that they would be better serviced going with a mature, proved product," he said.

Wilkinson was keen to reassure customers that "existing products very much remain supported" as the company helped tcustomers move to Fusion Apps.

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