Did you know that 2011 just started?  Today is the first day of the new Oracle fiscal year.  If the Chinese can have their New Year start on a different schedule than most of the rest of us, why can’t Oracle?  Few of you will have the chance to wish Oracle people a happy new year this week since contact with customers usually drops dramatically in early June while they tidy up after the end of year sales push. 

Overall, Fiscal Year 2010 was a good one for Oracle – we will know exactly how good financially soon.  Sales bounced back after the industry-wide slowdown, market share was gained versus hated rival SAP, and the finally approved Sun acquisition propelled Oracle into a new place in the IT market. 

Oracle executives are looking forward to an even better FY2011.  The first of many shoes will drop very soon in the form of the official announcement of Business Intelligence 11g.  This will include a large number of new releases of products within Oracle’s BI portfolio.  Soon after it happens officially we will weigh in with some commentary. 

Ending its fiscal year in May puts Oracle in an awkward position in terms of new product introductions.  Anything not ready for announcement in June usually is held back until OpenWorld to avoid getting limited attention during the July / August holiday period.  That will certainly be the case this year so we can expect more fireworks in September than usual.  If there ever was a good year to be at OpenWorld this is it.  Don’t expect hotels to be cheap or easy to get so sign up soon if you want to be there. 

Unless something goes terribly wrong, Fusion Applications will finally make its debut at OpenWorld – hopefully with testimonials from customers who have actually put some of it to use in production.   Release 1 of anything new always has limitations, but there is reason to be optimistic that what we will see will still be impressive.  After five years of hearing hype about an unlike-anything-else new generation of applications it will be great to actually be able to see the real thing. 

The biggest publicity splash of FY2011 is likely to also come at OpenWorld as Oracle tries to prove to us that acquiring Sun Microsystems was a good idea.  My best guess is that we will see Sun/Oracle appliances galore with Larry Ellison personally talking them up.  He seems to prefer using his time at OpenWorld to extol the virtues of specific products rather than to talk about issues of broad strategy.  Ellison is fun to watch as well since his minders can never control what he says and he is rarely reluctant to attack competitors in a colorful way. 

In any case, the Oracle fiscal year now dawning should prove to be an entertaining one to watch unfold.  Let me be among the first to wish all of our Oracle readers a Happy New Year.