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GlaxoSmithKline hits out at Oracle over open UIs and Fusion Apps

GSK’s global consumer & commercial IT director was speaking this week at Oracle Open World

An IT director at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has hit out at Oracle this week, demanding that it provides companies with open user interfaces (UIs) for mobile and a clear strategy on Fusion applications.

Speaking at Oracle Open World in San Francisco, Joe Felix, director of global consumer & commercial IT at GSK, hailed the success of implementing Oracle's Siebel CRM application across 80 countries, but was also keen to put forward a number of complaints to George Jacob, group VP of CRM applications at Oracle, who was also in attendance.

"These projects are not sprints, they are marathons. I started this project six years ago and have now implemented a sales-force automation system that processes 250,000 calls a day, has over 25,000 users, 18,000 of which are remote, and has a Siebel Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) data warehouse that processes a billion transactions a day," said Felix.

He said that GSK has reduced its support cost functions by 23% and increased its sales outside of the US by 38% - where it targeted markets such as Vietnam and Malaysia.

Felix described his relationship with Oracle as 'good', but also said that they 'fight a lot'. He went on to present a 'wish list' to Jacob and said that Oracle should make moves to address these complaints.

"The number one on my wish-list is open UI and mobility. Although we do support iPad, the number one complaint that I get back is the lack of usability and simplification," said Felix.

"We have worked with Oracle on the beta for open UI, but I need it to be delivered."

Other items on the 'wish-list' include addressing how a multi-channel approach, such as including social networking, can be incorporated into CRM- something he said Oracle needsto 'figure out how that works' - and also the need to simplify and improve performance on OBIEE.

He said: "All of you that work with OBIEE know that the data scheme isn't the simplest thing in the world."

Finally, Felix hit out at Fusion apps, Oracle's next generation enterprise applications, that have been built from the ground up and are 100% based on open standards.

"I'm not hearing much about fusion so far and I do ask Oracle to figure out what is 'Fusion versus Siebel'? We need to have a way of joining those strategies together," he said.

Oracle's release of Fusion apps has caused some confusion amongst its customer base who now are presented with the option of upgrading their current applications to the next version or migrating to Fusion. Oracle has also made a number of announcements that it will continue to invest in its older application offerings, such as PeopleSoft.

A number of attendees at the Oracle Open World session with GSK raised questions about the Siebel roadmap since the introduction of Fusion apps.

However, ex-president of the Oracle UK User Group, Debra Lilley, who had heavy involvement in the design of Fusion apps, told Computerworld UK last year that the product is 'phenomenal' and it will 'change the way we work'.


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