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Oracle HCM (con)Fusion

As far as Silicon Valley goes, I try to read up, keep up and put to practice any and all of the new ideas that come around.  I am a fan of experiments. I follow founders, inventors, bold thinkers and operational geniuses.  I haven’t come across Oracle in a while. I haven’t seen any powerful, practical or otherwise good software ideas from Oracle in many years, so I was generally inspired by Oracle Fusion (when it was announced, and then announced again, and again, and now again). 

I recently read a blog entitled “Oracle Goes After Workday, SuccessFactors with Fusion HCM”.   I was, and I am still shocked.  Chris Kanaracus is a fantastic journalist, but…

Dear Oracle, can you please explain the following:

1. How can you call Oracle Fusion a SaaS offering?

Oracle claims that “all Fusion applications will be deployable on-premise AND in the cloud”. What does this mean? Generally, if a part of your suite is installed on-premise – you are NOT SaaS. What are we missing?  Additionally, what does it mean to deploy HCM in the cloud and other components on-premise?  Why does it make sense? SaaS success has never seen a hybrid deployment model.  Has it?  If it has, dear Oracle, can you name a product evangelist on your team who has done this in their past successfully, please?

2. Does Oracle Fusion HCM have real agility?

I speak from experience when I say that agility in software development, at best, means monthly iterations (many innovative companies follow weekly iteration routine) – meaning that customers experience seamless enhancements and upgrades on at least a monthly basis.  According to executive interviews and press reviews, Oracle Fusion will have numerous enhancements “delivered every six months”.  Is this agile? What architectural, design, engineering or other limitations are preventing you from delivering innovation with more agility? More importantly, should the years that it took you to get something (almost) to market be taken as anything but agility on your side? Is it slow thinking, or good logic? If this is indeed an awesome new approach to building software, can you tell us what it is, please?

3. Single code line, really?

Multiple references to Oracle Fusion HCM tell us, in pertinent part that “Fusion HCM and other Fusion applications will have a single code line, no matter what the deployment model is”. Does this mean that I can install my financial apps on-premise and use HCM apps in the cloud, and both will always be on the same code line? How is that possible?  What if my IT team refuses to upgrade the financial suite and HCM pushes an update?  Are we still on the same code line? I understand the compatibility between versions, but I just can't see one code line in cases where you let people deploy on-premise.  If I am wrong, can you please tell us how are you going to accomplish this?  Can you please offer us more information on this rather bizarre architectural nuance? Oh, and can you give us the name of a product evangelist on your team who has done this in their past successfully, please?

I am sticking to my rule of “three” – no more questions until we get these answered! Thanks for reading.

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