Last week's OpenWorld conference made on thing clear: Oracle remains committed to its next-generation Fusion Applications but massive growth in the product line is probably not around the corner.
Unlike in past years, Fusion Applications received no top-level billing or even much mention in OpenWorld's major keynotes. Even the Fusion Applications brand name seemed downplayed in favor of terms such as HCM Cloud, for Oracle's human resources software.
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Fusion Applications are the result of a massive development effort that saw repeated delays until the product line's general availability in 2011.
While Oracle has always stressed that Fusion Applications can be adopted in a "co-existence" fashion with older products, it's not positioning them as the be-all, end-all of its future applications strategy.
"Fusion Applications form the baseline for what we've delivered in the cloud today," said Chris Leone, senior vice president of applications development, during a question-and-answer session at OpenWorld.
"In order to accelerate our time to market in a couple of areas we made some strategic acquisitions," he added, referring to purchases like marketing software vendor Eloqua.
But Oracle is not phasing out the Fusion Applications brand name, Leone said. "I think we're just trying to simplify what we've been doing."
There are more than 650 Fusion Applications customers today, with about 220 of them live, Oracle said in an emailed statement.
Both Fusion HCM and Fusion CRM have 300 customers each. In both cases, 100 customers are live for each application. So far, 50 customers have chosen Fusion ERP, and 20 of them have gone live with it, according to Oracle.
Oracle had previously said more than 400 customers had bought Fusion Applications, suggesting some momentum, although the total remains only a minuscule percentage of its overall applications base.
"Over the past year they did a poor job marketing [Fusion Applications]," said analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research.
Still, with Fusion Applications, Oracle has been getting some "key wins" lately over the likes of Workday and Salesforce.com, Wang said. "They seemed at first to be exceptions, but they seem to be gaining some traction," he said.
It's not surprising that so few initial Fusion customers are for ERP, according to Wang. "In general it's hard to replace core ERP," he said. "However, newer companies are looking to Fusion Apps for ERP."
Meanwhile, some 85 percent of Fusion customers are choosing the cloud-based deployment option, according to Oracle.
An Oracle executive wouldn't say whether the company is encouraging customers to go with SaaS for Fusion because it's reportedly too difficult to install them on-premises.