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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Oracle to demo Fusion HCM in September - Hallelujah!

And better late than never. Waiting for Fusion HCM reminds me of Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot" where you wait and wait and wait just to find out there is no Godot at all. Now, I'm sure Gretchen Alarcon (VP, Product Strategy, Oracle HCM) will have something to demo, but if past Oracle behavior is anything to go by the demo will be a big anti-climax. 

After five years of press releases and PowerPoints which showed that Fusion existed only in the (manifestly wild) imagination of Oracle executives, the demo (probably concocted a few days before) will try to give the impression that all of Oracle HRMS and PeopleSoft HCM functionality has made it into this next-generation product (which so far has no name nor do we know if it's going to be on-demand or a plug-in to the current products). The truth of the matter is that, probably built around  the Talent Management offering to counter the rising threat from the Taleos and SuccessFactors towards which Oracle/PeopleSoft customers are flocking in droves, it will, at best, consist of some PeopleSoft bells and whistles added to Oracle eBS code. What usually goes by the phrase "lipstick on a pig." And how can it be otherwise? Gretchen's team may have gathered their requirements accurately but when they passed them on to the Product Development side they were met with a "Sorry, too many competing demands chasing too few resources" (remember they are all working on Oracle, PeopleSoft and Fusion, that is three HCM parallel tracks), "so you'll be lucky if you get 20% of what you asked for." Meaning they'll end up testing and releasing far less. And don't forget that many Oracle and PeopleSoft HCM customers are large, global companies with operations in many countries, with the need to be supported by several localizations. Do you think that all the countries that Oracle and PeopleSoft support now will make it into Fusion? 

To help you with the answer remember that when Oracle had just one HCM product in the 90's/00's it took them 10 years to add a fourth payroll country (France) to an illustrious EMEA list including the UK, Ireland and South Africa. And then for several years they couldn't find any French company to buy it due to the crummy quality of the localized product (as far as I know today they are still looking for that ever elusive customer.) Not even Oracle France wants to use it! Any doubts? Just pay attention to the first slide Gretchen will present (no Oracle demo is complete without slideware, sometimes that's all it consists of): it will have a General Disclaimer that will warn you that Oracle does not commit in any way, shape or form to anything your eyes might have seen or your ears heard. 

So, Fusion HCM (or whatever name they decide to call it) is going to premiere at HR Tech? Great! Just make sure it's right after lunch, so that I can enjoy a quiet nap while watching the demo.

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