15 Apr 2012

Oracle Fusion Middleware: A Primer For The Non-IT Decision Maker

Oracle has always been a company about delivering IT business solutions. Since its inception, it has provided a suite of software that was meant to be used together by businesses so that business processes would be as standardised and streamlined as possible. Even after Oracle had launched its Fusion product, however, all of the different stacks of software included in the suite were separate from one another; while there was an effort to make the software all uniform in design, there was still a disconnectedness between the software included within the suite.

Oracle EMEA SVP for middleware Andrew Sutherland reveals in an interesting interview with ZDNET that:

“At the beginning of the Fusion programme, Sutherland said the Oracle technology resembled a series of disconnected icebergs. Users only saw the front end of the technology they used while the code supporting this user experience was hidden.

‘What we discovered was that as we looked at our customers’ organisations, they weren’t running their applications as a single stack. They were running multiple icebergs. What they weren’t seeing was that eight-ninths of the costs were sitting below the waterline,’ Sutherland said.”

Thus, the crux of Oracle Fusion Middleware today as we know it was to bring all of the software together under one unified back end, thus making it much more user-friendly and capable of sharing data. This, of course, is at the heart of middleware; it is the “connective tissue” that brings together disparate software systems and allows them to communicate effectively. And because delivering operational savings and productivity increases was at the heart of Fusion’s upgrade, that’s exactly what Oracle seeks to sell its customers on with Oracle Fusion Middleware.

The other big advantage of having all of a company’s IT solutions under one unified back-end, as Sutherland explains, “you’d have [the back-end technology] once, you’d have business intelligence here once, you’d have a portal, you’d have sign-on, you would have your process engine all in there at one time.” Not only does this make the business solution much easier to use, but also it allows for big businesses to plug in new software solutions that work seamlessly with older applications: “The applications all use the same back-end technology, which forms the middleware stack, and so can easily be integrated with each other and plugged into the middleware when businesses want to add them.”

This is the beauty of a middleware solution like Oracle Fusion Middleware. It allows the following:

  • By having a middleware platform that can support all Oracle applications, businesses should be able to reduce their costs when implementing and integrating technology.
  • When they add new applications onto the platform they know that the underlying technology within the middleware will be certified. That certification means they won’t have to check every piece of software individually.
  • Any upgrades to the middleware also only need to be done once because the applications running will be able to access the upgrades due to the way they’re integrated into the Fusion platform using service-oriented architecture (SOA).
  • The applications themselves will also provide benefits as they will be better integrated with each other and will be able to make use of additional functionality embedded in the middleware.
  • When applications are being set up, IT departments can use the middleware to add elements, such as business intelligence, collaboration and security, which aren’t already part of the applications themselves.

So, what are the applications? Simply put, Oracle Fusion Middleware provides all of the most critical business management software solutions that companies need to do business. Current fusion applications include: CRM, financials, government risk and compliance, human-capital management, procurement, project portfolio management and supply-chain management. And this list is always continuously growing and expanding, in order to encompass a wider range of needed tasks.

Of course, there is still much more to the world of Oracle Fusion Middleware that what this little blog post covers. But hopefully from this article you, the business professional, can get a better understanding of how it can come to make a huge difference in your company’s bottom line.

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