Most of the 250 customers that have so far licensed Oracle's recently-launched Fusion Applications have chosen a hosted deployment model, according to a senior executive at the software vendor.
The majority of the customers are also running Fusion "in a coexistence fashion" alongside long-installed Oracle business software, such as the E-Business Suite, while planning to add more Fusion modules over time, said Chris Leone, senior vice president of applications development, during a keynote address at the company's Collaborate user group conference in Las Vegas last month.
The Fusion Applications suite, which finally started shipping last October after some six years in development, is made up of a superset of Oracle's JD Edwards, E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft and Siebel software.
Fusion is the first application suite designed by Oracle primarily for cloud-based delivery, though an on-premises version is also available.
"If you wanted to run Fusion Applications in your company, for the next two years, the only way I would do it is with Oracle hosting," said Michael Brown, technical manager at database consulting firm Colibri.
He said that installing Oracle Fusion on site requires a multilayered identity management framework and a sheaf of other Oracle middleware, as well as expensive servers with large amounts of main memory.
Systems integrator IT Convergence decided to take on the challenge of an on-premises deployment in part because it plans to develop a consulting practice around Fusion and wanted to give staffers first-hand experience with the software.
The company began its implementation of Fusion human capital management software in March, said CTO Gustavo Gonzalez.
He agreed that a software-as-a-service version would be best for most users because "you're removing the installation challenges."
One prospective Fusion Applications customer, Abt Associates, a public policy and business consultancy, won't even consider the on-premises version, said Albina Shekhtman, director of business application services and programs.
"Our direction is: Let somebody else have the headaches," she said.
Abt Associates today runs an E-Business Suite implementation that lacks high-availability functions. "In the cloud, I don't have this issue," she noted.
Shekhtman said that the sole reason she began evaluating Fusion was because she heard it was an online product.
She hopes to first roll out the Fusion human capital management software for recruitment, applicant tracking and employee onboarding, if she's able to convince Abt's human resources officials that it's the right move.
The company's HR department today has "a very complicated situation" with a software portfolio that includes Oracle's E-Business Suite "and a lot of bolt-ons," which has led to inaccuracies and inefficiencies, she said.
In general, Gonzalez suggested that organizations start Fusion implementations "as small as possible."
He also cautioned that users seeking to exchange older software for Fusion licenses should gird for battle, despite Leone's pledge to offer users of older Oracle software license credits for "like-to-like" functionality.
"If you have an HR license, you're going to get that license for Fusion," he said. "[But] if there's any feature you don't have in the core HR, you'll have to acquire it. That's where it becomes tricky. You have to be careful."
Kanaracus is a reporter for the IDG News Service.
This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that appeared earlier on Computerworld.com.
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