When Oracle launched its Fusion Apps effort back in 2005 (yes, that’s 6+ years ago), it seems to follow the right idea of starting from scratch when building a next generation solution. Who wouldn’t want to have a megasuite of solutions that promises to encapsulate all the functionality of every ERP suite that Oracle has built or acquired?
Sounds great on the surface. Now that’s 2012 (or 4710 - Happy Lunar New Year) and, after a few left turns, we still only see a small subset of capabilities that were promised in the middle of the last decade.
Wait, you say. You said that people are now able to quickly create websites and applications with today’s tools.
That’s right — I did say that.
However, I don’t count Java as part of “today’s tools.”
It’s probably my baggage as a person starting in client-server way back when, but the enterprise solutions that have been successful in the past have always been based on a platform that allows the developer to stay at a high level and focus on the process, not the technology. There’s a reason why SAP developed ABAP, PeopleSoft had PeopleTools and Salesforce.com has APEX. And if you want to go way back, COBOL was so huge when Big Blue was really the only choice you had.
(Sidenote: I worked for a small consulting firm that did a lot of PowerBuilder client-server apps. I always thought it was a mistake for Sybase/PowerSoft to keep its focus on tools when it should have built a suite of enterprise apps based on its technology)
Java is definitely better than C and C++ in that respect. However, Java is too low level to be an effective development environment for business solutions. From what I’ve seen, it just takes too much work to get stuff done. The only reason why it became so popular during Web 0.9 is because it was really the only “blessed” platform that seemingly could scale to large websites and handle enterprise requirements.
Times have changed, and better tools have emerged from the FOSS world that come much closer (but not entirely) to meet the needs for developing business solutions quickly. You see that today with Coupa and Ruby and Expensify with PHP.
Yes, what platform and development environment is only a small part of whether or not a company will be successful. However, if you want fast innovation, I would look to see what’s coming up rather than just rely on the incumbents in the space that rely on an ossified platform.
I used to work at a company where the head guy kept deriding the concept of two guys in a garage when it came to business solutions. Funny how a small company of 15 (including non-engineers) has been able to innovate much more quickly than a team of 20+ engineers at his company that supposedly has a unique platform that is at the core of its competitive advantage.
If what we see with Fusion Apps is what we can get after 6+ years of development effort, that to me is either an indictment of Oracle’s Fusion approach or lack of ability to manage innovation while balancing the needs of its legacy suites.
Which is worse?