Last week, I (briefly) attended Collaborate 2014, the annual conference for the largest US based Oracle User Groups. I especially wanted to meet Debra Lilley, who recently left Fujitsu with which she served as an Oracle consultant for the last 25 years to set up her own consulting business, DCL.
Debra is one of my favorite people on the conference circuit with an encyclopedic knowledge of Oracle applications and technology. She is also that very rare type who actively and vocally advocates for the buyer albeit in a consulting capacity. In recent years, she has served as director and president of the UK Oracle User Group.
I wanted to meet Debra in her new role as an independent consultant and who, although a strong advocate for Oracle, knows when to call them out. In the past, she has been a valuable source for fact checking as well as the go to person when something was in the wind but where confirmation was difficult to come by. Always considered and brutally honest, I thoroughly recommend spending quality time with Debra who can be found at: debra[at]dclilley[dot]com
Our video conversation, which focused on Fusion, ran much longer than is usual. I have therefore split the whole recording into three sections. The playlist is at the top of this post and I encourage you to watch as little or as much as you wish.
In the meantime, here are some show notes to help you decide.
Part 1 - where are we today?
Now that Fusion has been in the wild for a couple of years, customers are getting more comfortable talking about what works, what doesn't, what was hard and lessons learned. The most significant observation comes in user adoption where Oracle has spent a lot of time ensuring that pieces of the solution is easy to use. This translates into savings. The principle lesson comes in early preparation. For those customers that have experience with Fusion Middleware, then the change is relatively easy but is a steep learning curve for those that have not. Best practices are emerging which help with implementation.
Part 2 - what about benefits?
Oracle has learned from early implementations. Now, the company is offering 'simplified UI' approaches for the casual user - this has won over the hearts and minds of those users while leaving the professional user with the rich functionality they require.
Part 3 - Oracle in the cloud
We're past 'what is cloud?' Fusion cloud is there now and more parts are coming online weekly. There's been an acceleration in adoption because the cloud removes a lot of the difficulty. In one sales cycle, a partial setup was achieved in a matter of days for proof of concept. Predictability in pricing is now possible with Fusion.
I was genuinely surprised at Debra's enthusiasm given the rocky road of the past that has often been in sharp contrast to the marketing rhetoric and customer grumbles. I ran into several users who said much the same thing. There is always the caveat that getting from the past to Fusion is not quite as simple as may be painted but the outcomes are much better than anticipated in large measure because the user experience is so much better than what went before.
Fusion is still not quite all there but that seems to matter less than the fact that customers are able and willing to adopt at their own pace. This is important and something that those with an eye to rapid pace consumer applications adoption should bear in mind.
The enterprise is different and for good reason.
Disclosure: Oracle is a diginomica partner at time of writing but did not provide T&E assistance for this event.