Supply Chain Matters Attendance at Oracle Modern Supply Chain Experience Conference- Part Five Summary Impressions
Supply Chain Matters has been attending the Oracle Modern Supply Chain Experience conference being held this week in San Jose California, drawing over 2800 attendees.
In our Part One posting, we provided some highlights from the first’s day’s keynotes.
On our Part Two posting, we shared impressions of the Oracle S&OP Cloud application currently in-development.
Our Part Three posting provided highlights of the second day’s keynotes that were focused on future dimensions of transformation.
In Part Four, I shared impressions related to supply chain related transformation, and how this conference again reinforced the increased external forces of change impacting many industry supply chains.
In this final conference wrap-up commentary, we share, in no particular order, our takeaway impressions from the various sessions and conversations we were able to participate in this week.
Let’s begin with attendance, namely upwards of 2800 attendees at a supply chain management information technology focused conference. That ladies and gentlemen, is quite extraordinary and significant. And yes, for those cynics out there, not all wore Oracle on their conference badge. Our sense from various conference Q&A and attendee indicators during sessions, many came to learn and better educate their organizations on Oracle’s evolving platform and applications strategies related to the broad umbrella of processes within supply chain management and to the implications of Cloud.
While we once were critical of Oracle regarding our perception of a slow, somewhat glacial development pace involving Oracle SCM Cloud, this week’s event demonstrated much more momentum that is underway, including the new Cloud S&OP application highlighted in our Part Two commentary. Attendees were informed that over 1300 customers are now on various transition paths involved with Oracle SCM Cloud, which is a doubling of last year’s number. Attendees further witnessed a real-time manifestation of the development release dynamic in one of the on-stage keynotes. Oracle CEO Safra Katz was featured in a fireside chat format, and among her many remarks to the audience, she indicated that one of the company’s key strategic goals was to implement Oracle SCM Cloud within the company’s hardware manufacturing operations by the end of this calendar year. To that end, she indicated her view that development has to deliver at faster pace. That should have resonated with IT and systems implementation attendees. When joined onstage by Cindy Reese, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, both acknowledged a little sweating and concern to make the December implementation milestone, but that in the end, it will get done. We highlight this since we felt attendees should have perceived that even Oracle internal operations teams are not immune to new technology implementation and change management dynamics. Reese indicated to the audience that her teams needed the Cloud based technology because they could not execute required supply chain process changes needing to get done with the existing Oracle E-Business Suite capabilities. “The architecture is so much simpler than EBS and the built-in analytics of Cloud is a huge benefit for our supply planners. It’s a game changer.”
Supply Chain Matters will keep a keen eye on Oracle’s own implementation and hopefully have some added updates for readers.
We sat in on an Oracle Procurement solution roadmap update session and learned that Oracle will begin to partner with E2open in extending procurement process needs across a B2B network. In fact, there was another session at the conference to educate attendees on the initial phases. This is noteworthy and bears watching.
We planned our agenda to attend as many customer focused sessions as we could. Besides the theme of increased external business change that we shared in Part Four, we noted further common themes reflecting that upgrading of existing behind-the-firewall applications has indeed been determined to be too disruptive for many supply chain organizations. That has led to the motivation of customers to begin to either pilot elements of SCM Cloud, begin efforts to develop strategies for phasing into Cloud, or gather more education and feedback from Oracle customers and partners on best strategies to take advantage of what Cloud can provide over the coming months. This is different than last year’s conference in that customers appear to be more engaged in various levels of active interest. Obviously, this implies a critical phase for Oracle in assuring that pilot customers have what they need to insure successful current and future phases of SCM Cloud.
One of the albeit, indirect benefits of Oracle’s full embodiment of Cloud is the development work being performed in improving the user level productivity and interfaces of existing licensed Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Procurement, and Oracle Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) applications. Most all the roadmap sessions we attended regarding these application suites made mention of improved user interfaces and user productivity enhancements. They occurred because a lot of the functionality had to be moved to Cloud instances as well, which implied needs to improve both. Such efforts were further high on the priority lists of Oracle customer advisory teams, and hopefully, will yield a win-win for both camps.
This author was impressed with Oracle’s ongoing efforts to provide deeper analytics and more predictive decision making support features in many of the Cloud based applications. This is bound to pay dividends for customers.
Before closing this Modern Supply Chain Conference impressions commentary, we would be remiss in not complimenting Oracle’s SCM conference planning team in once again, granting the opportunity for more than 120 university students majoring in supply chain management to attend and participate in a Future Supply Chain Leaders tract of sessions. This year, an invitation was also extended to select students from Design Tech High School, a free public charter high school, authorized by the San Mateo Union High School District, that includes co-sponsorship from Oracle and eventual physical presence on the Oracle headquarters campus. We declared last year that this was a great way to garner interest levels in careers in supply chain management and we again urge other tech providers to consider such efforts.
Oracle CEO Safra Katz also chaired a Woman in Supply Chain Management luncheon, and we heard some great feedback regarding the value of that event.
Conference organizers should further be complimented in taking to heart attendee feedback from previous year’s events. They asked for more customer focused educational sessions and more opportunities for peer networking and exchange. Again, from our observations, that seem to be accomplished. We were also a bit tired of previous endless sessions of a solution marketing context. This year’s sessions were more advisory and educational.
We leave the conference with upwards of 20 pages of notes, and we will continue to feature more Oracle focused blog commentaries on a monthly cadence.
© Copyright 2017. The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.
This afternoon marked the opening keynotes of the Oracle Modern Supply Chain Experience conference that is expected to draw over 2800 attendees.
Rick Jewell, Oracle Senior Vice President for Supply Chain Applications Development kicked-off the event with his presentation titled: The Adaptive Intelligent Supply Chain Cloud. In this presentation, Jewell re-iterated a number of supply chain predictions relative to digital supply chain transformation and on Oracle’s current efforts in development of the Oracle SCM Cloud suite of applications. Release 13 of the SCM Cloud Suite is expected this summer.
Jewell then moderated a customer panel consisting of:
Jeff Abbott, Vice-President, Supply Chain and Logistics, Sears Canada Inc.
Debi Hanes, CIO Supply Chain, General Electric Global Operations
Emre Kusce, Supply Chain Engineer, Transit Wireless
Chris Nerf, Senior Director, Supply Chain, NCR
Each panelist described their business motivations for adopting elements of Oracle SCM Cloud, along with important lessons learned that would be of interest to the conference audience. The session, from this analyst’s lens, provided rather important learnings which Supply Chain Matters will dwell further upon in a subsequent posting
Jewell further took this opportunity to announce Oracle’s upcoming new applications supporting Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud capabilities. This announcement includes expanding its Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio with four new cloud applications to help businesses fully utilize the benefits of digital supply chains. The applications are being designed to enable businesses to detect, analyze, and respond to IoT signals and incorporate these insights into existing and rapidly evolving market capabilities.
Applications will include:
IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud: being designed to monitor assets, utilization, availability, and data from connected sensors and creates incidents in the backend SCM, ERP, or Service Clouds to automate workflows’
IoT Connected Worker Cloud: designed to tracks employees to support safety, service, and regulatory compliance initiatives.
IoT Fleet Monitoring Cloud: Monitors position and progress of passenger, service, and transportation delivery vehicles and driver-behavior.
IoT Production Monitoring Cloud: designed to monitor production equipment to assess and predict manufacturing issues.
This supply chain industry analyst had the opportunity to attend a conference pre-session held by three Oracle development executives that briefed a standing-room only audience on these upcoming applications.
According to the executives, the overall strategy for Oracle is to support five dimensions of supply chain visibility that include market, partner, enterprise asset and social visibility needs. They described Oracle’s unique approach to IoT, namely to bring together structured, semi-structured and unstructured information to support the convergence of operational technology (OT) systems and IT business applications. The approach leverages Oracle’s prior acquisitions of select data analytics tech providers as Oracle’s newly announced Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) platform along with its existing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms. A design principle emphasized was how to get access to OT data while managing this data in a cost-effective storage and hardware approach. The design approach makes use of supporting a streaming data lake strategy that leverages open source Hardoop running in the background.
Release of this new compliment of Oracle’s IoT cloud applications is expected later this year.
This afternoon’s keynotes included a fairly interesting presentation delivered by K.S. Khurana, Vice President, Sourcing and Engineering Operations at Facebook. He opened his talk with the obvious question, why would a senior Facebook infrastructure development executive be presenting at a supply chain management conference. The answer became fairly obvious 10-15 minutes later after Khurana outlined Facebook’s strategies in the planning, forecasting and acquiring the social media’s giant’s own uniquely designed data center hardware and networking needs while supporting the explosive growth to support data management needs with a fixed staff of 600 operations personnel.
© Copyright 2017. The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.
Thus far, we have posted deep-dives on the first nine of our 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains. The one prediction remaining is our final Prediction Ten, which for each year, dives into what we foresee as unique industry-specific supply chain challenges or environments for the coming year.
This year’s industry-specific challenges were especially challenging in that we contemplated adding a lot of industries, more so than prior years. In the end, we will hone in on those industries that merit additional monitoring and updates in the coming months.
As Editor, I have also decided for the purposes of brevity and reader interest, to present each industry in a separate Supply Chain Matters blog posting. We will be also posting these industry-specific predictions in a faster cadence.
Our prior Prediction Ten posting, we dived into Automotive Supply Chain Residing Across North America .
B2C, B2B-to-C and Traditional Retail Focused Supply Chains
In August of 2016, The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group, published a research advisory titled: The Beginning of a New Phase of Online and Omni-Channel Fulfillment for B2C and Retail Supply Chains. (Available for complimentary downloading in our Research Center) The prime takeaways from that advisory was that 2016 marked the beginning of the newest phase of B2C online retail fulfillment, namely the consequences of permanent changes in consumer shopping habits beginning to impact the long-term presence of brick and mortar retail and their supporting supply chain strategy frameworks. Consumer preferences and desires have permanently changed in retail, and online platforms and consumer loyalty programs such as that of Amazon are rapidly garnering consumer loyalty and dependence. Amazon itself continues to pose a serious threat to traditional retailers as well other consumer-facing businesses, but the increasing cost challenges of online fulfillment and transportation also present an ongoing challenge for the industry as-well.
In early 2017, with the bulk of results of the industry all-important 2016 holiday fulfillment quarter now reported, the implications of permanent reductions in physical foot traffic among traditional retailers have become ever more profound. While retail sales grew an overall 4 percent during the holiday period, online sales will likely have increased in a range of 16-20 percent. Traditional retailers such as Kohls, Macys, Sears and Target reported declining sales involving physical stores. Additional store closings are planned for 2017 as our efforts to invest more in online capabilities. Wal-Mart announced two rounds of headcount reductions in 2016, one involving retail store support positions and one involving a trimming of corporate staff including some initial online commerce executives an IT support staffers.
Amazon’s juggernaut as a dominant online retail platform notched more consumer market-share with one estimate indicating the online retailer captured nearly 40 percent of total online holiday focused sales. The online retailer further demonstrated the first clear signs of integrated logistics, transportation and last-mile fulfillment that has been deployed since late 2015. Traditional retailers have now learned that competing head-to-head with Amazon is a daunting and rather expensive effort, with a likely better strategy being that of a differentiated strategy that emphasizes customer fulfillment capabilities that Amazon cannot. Retailer Best Buy has been the best example among specialty retailers while Dollar Shave Club served as a great example in the online services segment. There are opportunities and they will more than likely be focused segments that emphasize the brand and the experience.
As predicted in 2016, and now again in 2017, the retail industry will continue to come to grips with the notions that the physical store is now the virtual online store, and that the physical store may be one advantage over Amazon. In this new online dominant environment, merchandising is now about analytics-driven knowledge of customer needs and inventory management is anchored in more sophisticated item level planning that involves the end-to-end supply chain supporting all retail fulfillment channels, both online and physical.
The physical store now serves as an extension of online, and supply chain strategy and business process must accommodate or influence this changed thinking. The supply chain is not a cost center to essentially support inventory warehousing and store replenishment, but rather a collection of collective capabilities directed as supporting an Omni-channel customer fulfillment capability. In 2017 and beyond, the alternatives are in-house, outsourced, or hybrid capabilities.
The same principles apply to outsourced logistics, transportation and customer fulfillment partners. In addition to customer-facing capabilities, it is now clear that what Amazon has been building is a well thought out, customized online retail logistics, transportation and last-mile fulfillment capability to support multiple merchants in addition to Amazon. Third-party logistics and transportation providers seeking continued partnerships with retailers need to think more innovatively as well.
We predict that retail industry supply chains will begin to improve capabilities at supporting analytics-driven, demand-driven planning, multi-channel and more intelligence based customer fulfillment capabilities, supported by advanced inventory management with flexible and adaptable logistics. The concepts of supply chain segmentation strategy will continue to take hold among traditional retailers supporting both online and physical stores.
The industry is already experiencing higher turnover and shorter tenures of CEO’s and C-Suite executives. Supply chain leaders will either get on board with integrated capabilities or suffer the same consequences.
The industry implications and trends are compelling as well as inescapable in 2017 and the retail industry and its associated supply chains must adapt or suffer the consequences. It’s tough messages, but then again, this an industry dealing with unprecedented forces of change.
This concludes our 2017 prediction related specifically to retail industry supply chains. We are still in the process of finalizing data and inputs for other industry specific supply chain sectors and expect additional postings next week.
Readers are reminded to review all our prior 2017 predictions postings. And a final reminder, all ten of our 2017 predictions will be available in a full research report which we expect to be available for downloading in our Research Center by February 10th.
© Copyright 2017. The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and the Supply Chain Matters® blog. All rights reserved.
This Supply Chain Matters market education series directed at clarifying needs and requirements addressing supply chain wide visibility.
One of the most critical challenges cited by multi-industry supply chain teams is consistently expressed as wider and deeper supply chain visibility. This challenge is becoming universal as industry supply and value-chain processes continue to become more complex with constant changes in needs for business support. The notions of increased direct involvement in B2B-to-C and direct B2C customer fulfillment adds even more impetus for broader multi-tier supply chain visibility, particularly when it concerns a view of total inventory. Likewise, with future Internet-of Things (IoT) enabled business models now attracting more attention from senior business management for growing top-line revenue growth, such models will likewise need a foundation in much broader levels of supply chain visibility.
As noted in the first commentary of this educational series, supply chain wide visibility often stems from differing business process perspectives or different business priorities that can involve planning, customer fulfillment execution, supply chain intelligence as well as other more informed and more-timely decision-making needs. Often, this visibility term is lumped into other challenges including supply chain wide traceability, transparency, capacity, or inventory management. Thus, it is rather important for teams to clarify specific short and long-term visibility capability needs and decision-support requirements from the ongoing distraction of day-to-day symptoms stemming from lack of needed information. Equally important is to build a phased approach in tackling visibility with a broader vision in mind, one that can support multiple process and decision-making support needs over time.
In our second commentary in this series, we stated that creating a unified view of important data related to supply chain business processes is not a simple task without first considering foundational strategies. Supply chain data and information is typically spread among multiple systems in both structured transactional or unstructured data and information formats. Supply chain wide visibility, by our continued view, is not about a rip and replace technology strategy since that would be far too disruptive. We advocate that visibility should be viewed in the context of building-out enhanced decision-making support capabilities from more streamlined and better accessible sources of existing planning, execution, and customer fulfillment information.
In our third series commentary, we addressed the information technology considerations for supply chain wide visibility. We observed that too many supply chain focused organizations are drowning in too much data, pulling such data from multiple sources without proper context, organizational knowledge, or user-friendly data management tools. We put forth the analogy of an information utility platform where key data is automatically ‘streaming’ (vs. statically housed) from various existing supply chain focused software applications, be that planning, logistics or customer fulfillment The data utility should make it easier to collect, validate, cleanse, normalize and model data to form information insights that support decision-making needs that can either be what-if scenario based, simulation based, or actual operationally based. Other analysts are utilizing terms related to historian, data lake or store to refer to such a capability to feed various needs in supply chain wide decision-making.
Supply Chain Wide Visibility and Knowledge Management
In this our fourth commentary, we address the concepts of knowledge management in the context of the need for greater levels of supply chain wide visibility, and in the important notions of process-people and technology dimensions.
In today’s industry supply chains, knowledge is often distributed across multi-function, multi-geography and multi-level dimensions. That is why creating supply chain focused centers-of-excellence (COE) is so important as a means for better managing constant business changes and more timely decision-making because a COE should include a basis of virtual centralized knowledge in its core mission.
If you have followed along with our 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains, you likely know that COE’s are going to be very busy and very important to analyzing, simulating or managing even more expected changes, particularly in areas of global outsourcing, near shoring or Omni-channel customer fulfillment needs.
From the people lens, we predicted a supply chain talent perfect storm occurring, further implying the need for virtual knowledge related to planning, execution and customer fulfillment process and decision-making needs. The ongoing pressures for added people and process productivity along more with data-driven decision making capabilities will add to needs for supply chain digital transformation, which has a strong dependency on talent and organizational readiness. Organizations that are driven more by digital transformation capabilities imply self-directed teams, consequent avoidance of barriers among supply chain functional and line-of-business teams with tighter decision feedback loops. Multiple user-centric spreadsheets or information work-arounds are not the answer to more timely and more informed decision-making needs. Having more automated and far more user-friendly tools for assimilating the most appropriate data and needed insights, and the ability of COE teams to test the outcomes of certain decisions via either what-if or simulation models is a better and more rewarding leverage of talent and knowledge.
Regarding technology, the challenge is to leverage the information and insights generated by existing software applications into more meaningful and detailed analytics that can predict various outcomes of decisions and help teams to determine the most risk-balanced decision. Supply Chain network design and planning technology provider LLamasoft references this need as “Planning by Design”. Other technology providers refer to capabilities toward more adaptable supply chain systems or optimizing planning and operational performance. From our lens, the need being addressed is leveraging existing data, information, and insights into more prescriptive and predictive supply chain decision-making capabilities without the need to disrupt or replace existing core supply chain systems and by empowering existing teams with more user-centric, user-friendly decision support capabilities.
The good news here is that today’s advances in data management, business and data intelligence focused technology makes such approaches far more doable from a cost-effective deployment perspective.
Implementing broader and deeper levels of supply chain wide visibility starts with a broad vision, firm foundation, concise and unified view of data and information needs directed at building broader levels of insight. They can be enabled by supply chain centers of excellence empowered by virtual knowledge management concepts and by a focus toward more user-centric, prescriptive, and predictive decision-making capabilities anchored in the timeliest supply chain wide data and information.
This educational series has been sponsored by LLamasoft, Inc.
Deep Dive on 2017 Prediction Seven: Enhanced Supply Chain Intelligence Capabilities Among B2B Network Platform and Managed Services Providers Will Pay Dividends for Industry Supply Chains
The following Supply Chain Matters blog is part of our ongoing series of deep dives into each of our previously unveiled ten 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains.
At the start of the New Year, our parent, the Ferrari Consulting and Research Group along with our Supply Chain Matters blog as a broadcast medium, provide a series of predictions for the coming year. These predictions are shared in the spirit of assisting industry specific and global supply chain cross-functional teams in helping to set management objectives for the year ahead. Our further goal is helping our readers and clients to prepare supply chain management and line-of-business teams in establishing impactful programs, initiatives, and educational agendas.
The context for these predictions includes a broad cross-functional umbrella of supply chain strategy, planning, execution, product lifecycle management, procurement, manufacturing, transportation, logistics and customer service management.
In an earlier Supply Chain Matters blog postings, we provided deep dives related to:
In this deep-dive series posting, we drill down on our next prediction.
2017 Prediction Seven- Enhanced Supply Chain Intelligence Capabilities Among B2B Network Platform and Managed Services Providers Will Pay Dividends for Customers
In 2017 and beyond, there will exist increased industry specific needs for deeper and wider levels of customer, product, physical object and supply network focused information visibility, capture and analysis. This need is coupled to building multi-industry supply chain requirements for more predictive, analytics data-driven decision making competencies that involve outside-in insights. The objective is a literal 360-degree view of supply chain wide data and information, horizontally spanning the end-to-end supply and vertically coupling high level enterprise to shop-floor decision-support needs. Enhanced business intelligence and overall process improvements further enhances the ability of industry supply chains to support new, more innovative business models that can leverage digital technologies in areas of product or customer related services.
A means to achieve such capabilities are analytics and business intelligence engines that are now being embedded across supply chain focused B2B network platforms, edge systems and production shop floor transactional and information transfer flows. B2B business networks and edge platforms are today the prime opportunity for digitizing the horizontal and vertical flow of information and analytics across end-to-end supply chains. Whereas predominantly EDI messaging platforms were viewed as required external messaging utilities to transfer and receive transaction and electronic messaging information across disparate systems, there is now collective movement by network providers to transform these platforms to business intelligence and analytics based information repositories available to support broader supply chain and product focused decision support needs. As noted in Prediction Six, this an area where blockchain technology can have a profound long-term impact, but beyond that, many existing B2B technology platform vendors such as Ariba, an SAP Company, E2Open, GT Nexus, IBM, OpenText are already moving in the direction of blending supply chain wide planning and execution related transactional data with analytics, cognitive and business intelligence capture. Such analytics and trending information can then be moved to and from various existing business application systems related to planning and customer fulfillment.
Similarly, the vertical notions of what is being often described as either Industrial Networks, Industrial Internet and edge systems, are various physical devices communicating via IoT enabled technology, within their respective operational and performance status data streams. Here again, emerging IoT network technology providers are similarly incorporating cognitive and analytics based capabilities to synthesize the streaming levels of data being captured into information and required decision-making alerts.
An Evolving New Challenge
The evolving new challenge for industry supply chains will be the ability to exchange information and insights among various existing Cloud-based B2B networks and resident business software applications focused on either customer, product, supply, production, service or fulfillment process needs. This is a challenge that must be addressed in order to gain the full benefits of the Cloud. Ideally, supply chain teams will seek the ability to have a virtual information utility or data lake, but that could be expensive and many industry supply chain teams are not necessarily ready to manage such capabilities at this point. Today, such challenges fuel an evolving need for managed services providers or systems integrators to tie-together such structured and unstructured information and analytics in virtual streaming information and analytics data pools or zones available to all enterprise and supply chain business applications and systems.
Technology vendors now recognize this problem. For instance, Oracle recently released a Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Services utility as part of its Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Cloud infrastructure services. Oracle’s intent with this service is to support the needs of data movement, data transformation, data quality and applications integration among multiple Cloud platforms and applications.
Focus on a Networked Cloud Strategy
All the above stated, industry supply chain and line-of-business teams should strive to prioritize and scope certain business process decision need areas, for example customer fulfillment and logistics, or an initial supply chain control tower capability, and work with an individual platform vendor or focused systems integrator to start the journey towards streaming analytics and insights from external Cloud-based platforms. We view this as a prime process and business support opportunity for supply chain teams in 2017.
B2B or B2B-to-B2C business network platforms related to process needs in areas such as procurement, product management, planning, logistics or customer fulfillment should no longer be viewed as solely messaging or transactional platforms. Over time, they will serve as sources of analytics, insights and alerts related to process, suppliers, and customers. Business, functional and sales and operations planning teams can gain more real-time insights by broadening their perspectives beyond messaging to messaging and trending.
This concludes our Prediction Seven drill-down. In our next posting of this series, we will explore Prediction Eight reflecting on how Alibaba and Amazon will continue to battle for global online platform dominance.