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Supply Chain Matters Attendance at Oracle Open World 2015- Some Random Information Nuggets


This author managed to once again navigate among the various spread-out venues and thousands of people attending this year’s Oracle Open World. Making my way home, I accumulated some random nuggets of information which I felt would be of some general interest or perhaps curiosity to our Supply Chain Matters readers.

So in no particular order, here is some information to chew-on:

In his executive keynote, Oracle Co-CEO Mark Hurd shared the following data: For the period 2008-2015, average revenue growth among S&P 500 listed firms averaged less than one percent.  During that same time period, corporate earnings averaged 5 percent annually.  In Hurd’s usual direct style, he declared that those earnings likely came from an overwhelming pattern reflecting reduction in costs. From our Supply Chain Matters lens, is it no wonder that supply chains and IT remain under constant pressure for reducing costs further? Consider also the renewed wave of mega-mergers and acquisitions as another means to chase needed growth while shedding expenses. And, as many of our readers can attest, the most favored target for overall cost savings is the firm’s supply chain.

Mark Hurd further shared his collection of personal predictions regarding the IT industry over the next ten years.  One of these predictions declared that only two technology vendors will dominate 80 percent of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market by 2025.  One was confidently expressed as being Oracle.  The other was left up for the audience to decide.  I’m sure our readers have their own guesses as to the other provider.  What’s your guess Amazon-Google-Sales Force-IBM-SAP?  Who can say?

General Electric CIO Jim Fowler shared that his organization’s goal is to have 70 percent of all internal applications running in the Cloud by 2020.  GE today has 20 percent of its applications now Cloud based. The company has an internal goal to achieve one billion in productivity savings over the next three years. In a separate Infosys keynote, David Bartlett, CTO of GE’s Aircraft division reminded the audience of GE CEO Jeff Immelt’s declaration about the velocity of business change: “Where once we were a diversified manufacturing and services company, we woke-up as a software and analytics company.” GE will not be alone.

In a press and analyst question and answer session, Oracle President Thomas Kurian indicated that Oracle currently manages 1000 Petabytes of information storage, 34 billion transactions and 30 million simultaneous users per day in its current Cloud landscape.  That transaction volume represents nearly six times the amount of daily credit card transactions across the U.S. The company further operates and manages 19 computing centers across North America, 7 in Europe and 3 in the Asia-Pacific region.  That is obviously a lot of silicon, iron and software code. That sort answers the question- why not outsource IT and let another vendor worry about all the headaches.

In all of the Open Worlds previously attended, we always look forward to Larry Ellison’s talks since they are direct and include many insights, albeit a bit biased.  In this year’s two keynotes, Ellison observed that the IT industry has quickly entered a new era of utility computing, which is as a big a deal as when the personal computer arrived. He further declared that it has taken Oracle nearly a decade to transform all of its applications and infrastructure to a true Cloud based architecture and services model. It was described as a huge engineering effort. Thus far in 2015, Oracle has released 83 different on the Cloud, including the newly announced SCM Cloud suite. According to Ellison, only one other competitor gets Cloud, that being Microsoft. “The rest of the major Cloud vendors are still in discovery. “  You can always count on Ellison to do not disappoint an Open World audience by a challenge to the competition.

And finally, one other nugget: Did you know that Larry Ellison prepares his own PowerPoint slides. Yes, he admitted on-stage that even though his presentations are sometimes criticized for lack of spiffy graphics, it is because he just does not have the inclination.  Since stepping aside as CEO into the newly created role of CTO, Ellison conducts his own on-live, on-stage software demos.  In his second keynote, he moved an entire large database from a private to public Cloud instance with just one-hint from an audience member (right-click!). How many 71 year old billionaires owning an entire Hawaiian island and an America’s Cup sailing team chose to create their own PowerPoints and conduct on-stage software demos? Perhaps not many.

You gotta love the world of tech!

Bob Ferrari


Supply Chain Matters at Oracle Open World 2015- Reflection on the Importance of Accurate Information


We continue with our series of Supply Chain Matters commentaries concerning this week’s Oracle Open World Conference being held in San Francisco. Our previous commentaries can be viewed here and here.

While attending enterprise vendor related conferences, I make it a point to attend sessions that provide updates on new functionality and inputs from customer advisory councils. Attending two such sessions at this year’s Open World provide some consistent evidence that technology consumers are becoming far more concerned with ongoing data management, discovery and maintenance. That is clearly good.

While attending a session related to the latest 12.2.5 release of Oracle E-Business Suite Order Management (OM) application, a reflected theme was customer advocating for information discovery tools. A product manager described Oracle’s prior acquisition of Endeca as the “greatest acquisition that Oracle has made” regarding the ability to leverage its information discovery capabilities across order management capabilities. With its latest release, OM includes the ability to perform 360 degree customer views of information related to orders from various channels including online. There is added application in quoting, where users can explore which quotes were the most successful along with product pricing attraction trending.

One of Oracle’s more popular applications in the area of supply chain management is Oracle OTM (transportation management), the result of the prior acquisition of G-Log. The session related to the latest version of Cloud OTM reportedly responded to customer council input related to more simplified, automated tools to update freight rate changes. Rate simplification maintenance includes the ability to easily download rates to a spreadsheet for easier user update. Also included were needs for improved dashboards, data visualization and adoption of Oracle’s standard ADK web user interface that can accommodate a wider variety of computing platforms including tablets and smartphones.

The session related to the current release of Oracle Value Chain Planning (VCP) outlined four development themes in the 12.2.5 release which all touched upon easier data management, update and discovery. VCP has now adopted the Oracle ATK web user interface, while the look and feel among the Oracle Demantra and VCP has been unified. There are now new, user-configurable, Oracle ASCP workbenches including the ability for planners to view key information they need to review on a daily basis. VCP now includes simplified export to spreadsheet capabilities, another customer advisory input. Users further requested workflow enhancements that help enable group workflow collaborations and quickly recover data from a stalled workflow.

With the current clock-speed of business across multiple industries, supply chain teams are managing the realities that planning and execution information synchronization are new table stakes for more responsive Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP). Applied use of more predictive analytics to anticipate events and better respond to events is only effective as the accuracy of the data and information fueling applications. A emphasis on easier and more automated means to insure data is accurate and timely is arguably a wise and prudent investment, and technology vendors such as Oracle are responding to such needs.

Insure that all of your on-premise and Cloud based applications software vendors are similarly sensitized to the reality that the velocity, clarity and accuracy of data and information are now rather important in insuring more contextual, relevant and timely decision-making. Tools that automate-simplify-enhance-alert to information management, discovery and maintenance will pay dividends.

Bob Ferrari

Supply Chain Matters Attendance at Oracle Open World 2015- A View of Information Security


This week, Supply Chain Matters is attending the Oracle Open World Conference being held in San Francisco. This year’s Open World has an overwhelming theme reflecting Oracle’s declared year of innovation related to Cloud computing. There have been a slew of product announcements, frankly too many to mention in any one blog commentary. In our previous Open World commentary, we focused on the announced SCM Public Cloud suite of applications.

Today, Oracle former CEO and now CTO Larry Ellison delivered his second keynote address and again reiterated all of the various new Cloud based products that have been announced. Several years ago, when Oracle declared that it would be more than just a software and middleware provider, many scoffed. In 2015, the fruits of a far broader strategy that emphasized engineered systems that spanned computing hardware, database systems, middleware, analytics and packaged applications has transformed to a provider now laser focused on enabling Cloud based computing from multiple dimensions. That includes a full competitive thrust at existing Cloud based infrastructure providers such as Amazon Web Services.

Supply chain teams are acutely aware of the mission-critical aspects for many cross-functional and cross-business processes. Security of information is a very, very big deal, in supply chain applications and considerations of deployment of many Cloud based applications will be centered in information security assurances. That is especially relevant for Cloud based order management, supply chain planning and supply chain business intelligence systems.

That is why it was so refreshing to hear a senior and quite influential tech senior executive publically declare today that information security is not what it should be. Ellison declared that tech vendors and users are not winning the current wave of cyber-battles, and that the “current state-of-the-art is not getting the job done.

Oracle has therefore been on a mission to address data security in the Cloud with a design principle that information security must be implemented lower in the IT architecture stack, namely at the database level, where all data can be encrypted. Ellison further declared that security measures must be always on with no “off” buttons. “Users and IT should not be able to randomly turn on and off information security.”

To that end, Oracle announced a series of database security applications; the most profound is a new micro-processor termed M7 Microprocessor, which embeds information security at the silicon level. The micro-processor includes a hidden “color key” and lockset attached to every request for memory allocation. All queries to that data require validation of the key with any mismatch triggering a security alert. In non-IT terms, the analogy is that of an electronic toll booth, that each time you pass an electronic reader, your electronic tag is validated.

Ellison further challenged system selection teams evaluating a Cloud based application vendor to seek answers to two rather critically important questions:

Can you, the Cloud hosting vendor, see our data?”

“Can your engineers and database administrators read our data?”

Ellison’s retort was that most Cloud vendors would have to answer yes to both of these questions, and that should be an unacceptable answer. Instead, Oracle has opted for an all-encryption Cloud-based data model where the encryption keys remain under customer control and/or custody.

For supply chain systems selection teams, these are important questions to resolve, particularly when considering information related to customers, suppliers, products and other proprietary data. Heed such advice and insure that your IT support team include information security requirements criteria and mitigation processes concerning any Cloud-based tech provider.

Bob Ferrari

Supply Chain Matters Attendance at Oracle Open World 2015- Oracle SCM Cloud


This week, Supply Chain Matters is attending the Oracle Open World Conference being held in San Francisco. One of the most significant announcements concerning the supply chain management community announced at this year’s Open World was that of the availability of Oracle SCM Cloud. Oracle CTO Larry Ellison, in his opening keynote on Sunday, made specific mention of the availability of SCM Cloud as a significant achievement.

What makes this application suite noteworthy is that it represents a rather broad-based product suite available on a public cloud-based platform. It includes integrated suite functionality support for product lifecycle management, supply chain planning, procurement, customer fulfillment, transportation, warehousing as well as manufacturing management. Oracle developers initially focused this cloud-based product suite on hi-tech and industrial manufacturing business process support needs but Oracle executives indicate that broader industry support functionality will evolve rapidly.

From our lens, Oracle has developed one of the broadest cross-functional supply chain management, public cloud based applications currently available in the marketplace. That stated, there are qualifiers in that this public cloud suite provides standard functionality as opposed to the ability to support customized customer business needs. Its strength resides in faster time-to-value and potentially lower IT infrastructure deployment costs.

Paths to the cloud are described as complimentary, incremental or as transformational, “big-bang” deployments. Application code design was defined as the same as Oracle’s current on premise software applications thus providing customer’s broader options as to combinations of either on premise or full cloud deployment.

Rick Jewell, Oracle’s senior vice president of SCM applications indicated in today’s briefing that the cloud suite should meet nearly 80 percent of broad-based functionality needs. Joining in today’s announcement was IBM Global Services which is offering its own complimentary deployment services that include seven, process-centric rapid-start deployment templates. They include:

  • Indirect procure-to-pay
  • Ideation-to-commercialization
  • Logistics
  • Plan-to-build
  • Quote-to- cash
  • Order-to-cash
  • Product and customer hub

Oracle is currently recruiting early adopters for this new SCM Cloud application offering a dedicated vice-president to oversee each deployment.

Supply Chain Matters began noting the pending development of Oracle SCM Cloud almost three years ago from previous Open World briefings and it’s good to note that the application has finally arrived.

Stay here for continuing coverage of Open World 2015.

Bob Ferrari

Supply Chain Matters Attending Oracle Open World 2015


Over the next couple of days Supply Chain Matters will be attending the Oracle Open World Conference being held in San Francisco.

Our interests and coverage will focus on the new developments in cloud, database and predictive analytics technologies, along with new and upcoming Oracle applications functionality in the areas of supply chain planning, execution, sourcing and procurement, product lifecycle management and end-to-end supply chain business processes.

Check in with us this week for ongoing coverage, announcements and conference insights.

Oracle Expands Supply Chain Management Public Cloud into Order Fulfillment

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Oracle today announced an expansion of the Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud with the inclusion of two new applications, Oracle Order Management Cloud and Oracle Global Order Promising Cloud. These new applications are part of Release 10 or Oracle SCM Cloud, not to be confused with the predominant on-site Oracle Business Systems (EBS) suite of applications which is currently within Release 12 versions. Eventually, both release nomenclatures will converge and perhaps provide more confusion for customers.  The takeaway however is that Oracle remains committed toward a broader development and release plan surrounding broad SCM applications in the Public Cloud platform than perhaps other competitors such as SAP. Both providers claim that they are responding to the stated needs of customers.

Oracle Order Management Cloud is an order capture and fulfillment Cloud application that is includes integration with Oracle Global Order Promising Cloud.  The application was designed to improve order handling across the order-to-cash process.  Pre-integration, centrally-managed orchestration policies, global availability, and fulfillment monitoring are included.

Supply Chain Matters spoke with Oracle SCM Vice President Jon Chorley, who informed us that these new SCM applications are linked with a dependency on Oracle CPQ (Configure, Price and Quote), the result of a prior Oracle acquisition.  According to Oracle, this totally cloud-based application is currently appropriate for small or large-scale firms that have a predominant quote-to-cash customer fulfillment driven process. Down the road, in future Oracle Public Cloud releases, other sales and distribution channel customer fulfillment needs will be targeted and supported.

The pricing model for the cloud-based order-to-cash application is pegged to a combination fee structure associated with internal users supported and with order lines being processed.

Release 10 Cloud further includes Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) support, including a Product Hub, a primary vendor facing, master data management support application and a front-end, product development support application.

In Release 11 of Oracle Cloud SCM, the enterprise technology provider will target additional manufacturing focused support needs, most likely to be announced at the upcoming Oracle Open World conference in the fall.

Bob Ferrari

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