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OpenWorld If there's a theme to the sprawling Oracle OpenWorld conference this week in San Francisco, it's get ready for the Fusion transition. It feels like a Borg cube is hovering nearby, or that girl with the bad hair in The Ring is about to crawl through your TV.

In her session, 10 Things You Can Do Today to Prepare for Oracle Fusion Applications, Nadia Bendjedou turned that creepy feeling of inevitability into a practical guide. "The title of my talk is a bit misleading," she told her audience that earlier on had lined up down the long, Barton-Fink-like hall at the West wing of San Francisco's Moscone Conference Center to get into the crowded session), "because I'm going to talk about things you can do right now to extend the value of your applications, not just things you should do to get to Fusion."

Bendjedou, director of product strategy, offered a list of steps the attendees could take to make the most of her company's burgeoning family of middleware products. Fusion middleware currently bundles a dozen tools and technologies - everything from an application server to business process analysis tools, an SOA suite to data integration developer tools.

Here's her list - try and spot the underlying theme, of buying more expensive Oracle software and consulting services:

1. Keep current with your application releases. "Each release we deliver is based on next-generation technology, so keeping current with the latest releases builds your skills in future technology."

2. Prepare to "adapt" your enterprise to Fusion. "This is not a big-brainer. We can help you to evaluate your organization and create a roadmap to Fusion. But you need to ask yourself where you want to invest, which functionality you really want in your enterprise."

3. Inventory your enterprise assets. "You have to know what you have before you can upgrade."

4. Rethink your customization strategy: "There are two things that are really important for you to look at today. This is one of them. Do you know all the customization you have? Do you have a good customization library? Is it still valid? Is what you have in place worth keeping? This [and number three] is not a best practice just for Fusion. It's important for any upgrade."

5. Consider your master data. "This is the other one. Do you know your master data - who are your customers, what are your products, who are you employees? Do you know who owns it? Who updates it? This is a critical asset. And our tools are not going to clean your dirty data. So start cleaning your data today."

6. Embrace an SOA-based integration. "It's easy for me say, but I know it's complicated to do. So, consider a pre-built SOA, but you might also build your own SOA with Oracle tools designed for that. We have done a lot of things to help you with this."

7. Extend your business intelligence portfolio. "The idea is to start moving into a heterogeneous business intelligence portfolio."

8. Adopt enterprise reporting and publishing tools. "Consider alternative tools that are available now that weren't available a few years ago. Maybe now is a good time to start moving to the reporting tool that's going to be part of Fusion that is available today."

9. Secure your global enterprise by consolidating. "Review your custom and legacy applications for data fragmentations and security fragmentation. Start consolidating security functions by centralizing access control."

10. Centralize your application management. "How do you manage your applications today? Consider using the Oracle Application Manager today. It's the same tool you will use to manage applications of Fusion."®

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