Existing customers of Oracle's ERP (enterprise resource planning) product lines like E-Business Suite that are current on support payments will receive "net-for-net" credit when upgrading to the company's upcoming Fusion Applications, but some aspects of the next-generation suite will cost extra, said Thomas Kurian, executive vice president of product development, Thursday during a webcast presentation for analysts.
Fusion Applications will bring together the top attributes of Oracle's ERP product lines and are peppered with BI (business intelligence) and collaboration capabilities. Oracle has also touted the software's slick user interface, which it developed along with user groups.
Fusion's initial launch wave, which is expected to be released in several months, won't include a full spectrum of ERP functionality, despite the fact that some 100 modules will be available. The first release includes financials, HCM (human capital management), SCM (supply chain management), PPM (project portfolio management), procurement, CRM (customer relationship management) and GRC (governance, risk and compliance). Areas like core manufacturing will come later.
Kurian clarified what will be included in a net-for-net upgrade. For example, a customer with CRM licenses for sales and marketing will get the same number of Fusion licenses with no incremental charge, he said. But if they wished to add "net-new" Fusion functionality, such as for territory management, it would be licensed separately.
In addition, Kurian alluded briefly to potential costs for middleware and packaged content, including certain BI capabilities. More details weren't immediately available Thursday.
Kurian did not provide pricing for any of the applications, but said early adopter customers have been informed.
Oracle spent ample time at its recent OpenWorld conference talking to customers about other aspects of Fusion Applications. For example, they will have the same codebase whether they are run on-premises or on-demand.
Oracle has also tried to make the software easier to customize, through a metadata layer that lets customers fine-tune their business processes without touching the underlying code.
All the same, Oracle has repeatedly stressed that many customers' systems will co-exist with Fusion modules, and is placing no public pressure on them to do full-blown upgrades quickly.
Analysts say this approach makes sense because most customers simply won't want to take a big-bang approach, given Fusion's newness. In addition, Oracle undoubtedly wants to constrain the rollout in order to avoid a messy project failure early on.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com