The Supply Chain Matters blog, with the presence of Bob Ferrari, Founder and Executive Editor, is this week providing highlights and insights from the Oracle OpenWorld 2019 conference held in San Francisco.

In our Part Two update commentary, we provided highlights and insights related to Larry Ellison’s Gen 2 Cloud Technology keynote, the CEO Business Update keynote, and the Applications Strategy keynote. Oracle OpenWorld 2019

Our Part Three update provided highlights and observations related to Larry Ellison’s Oracle Applications Strategy update keynote that included specific mention of Oracle SCM Cloud.

Within this Part Four commentary, we provide highlights and observations of Wednesday’s SCM Cloud suite focused keynote.

 

Richard Jewell’s Oracle SCM Cloud Keynote

Rick Jewell, Oracle Senior Vice President, Supply Chain and Manufacturing Applications Development anchored a 90-minute keynote session focused on a report of progress on Oracle’s exiting SCM Cloud applications suite. This session was co-anchored by Deloitte Solutions.

Jewell opened the session with a declaration that on-premise systems are for the most part, hindering efforts to support business needs for digital transformation.  With upwards of 70 percent of IT budgets still consumed by systems maintenance, innovation is hampered with inflexibility and lack of integrated information and decision-making. More profoundly, the cost and the bar of not changing is getting higher, given today’s ever-changing supply chain complexities.

Oracle SCM Cloud customer Titan International was profiled as to the manufacturer’s ongoing digital supply chain journey, along with video profiles of customers Broadcom, Cleveland Golf and Western Digital.

 

Accelerating Adoption

Regarding overall customer adoption, Jewell indicated that there are now over 2700 Oracle SCM Cloud customers in various stages of adoption. Our readers are likely aware that we have been monitoring the momentum of Oracle SCM Cloud since its announcement four years ago. Initial momentum was hampered by certain customer needs to adopt elements of Oracle ERP Cloud in areas such as Procurement and Financials support.

We can clearly state to our readers that the adoption momentum is now on the increase, especially for new to Oracle customers.

The support ecosystem now includes over 10,000 trained consultants. Implementation paths and fast start templates are now available for both prospective customers and system integration partners. More important, various adoption paths are provided that are focused on quick wins and time-to-value, which are critically important in today’s business environments. Jewell emphatically indicated that Oracle’s emphasis is not to support the multi-year death marches that are often fostered from a particular competitor.

 

Product Announcements

Jewell had to admit to the audience that Larry Ellison had stole the thunder related to the announced expanded support for broader manufacturing process environments. (Noted in our Part Three commentary)

In the Supply Chain Planning dimension, added enhancements are in the process of being released in areas of Constrained Planning, Replenishment Planning, Backlog Management and Production Scheduling. One of the initial notions of the ability to leverage Oracle’s enhanced machine-learning technologies will be in the area of Segmentation Planning, predicated on artificial intelligence generated forecasts for new products.

Reiterated was Oracle’s fit-to-purpose-built product strategies related to customer needs to support specific process areas that can best be leveraged by either Blockchain, Internet of Things, or a combination of both enabling technologies. The emphasis is not on the technology, but on the process support needs. Jewell indicated awareness to as many as ten separate Blockchain enabled proof-of-concept customer initiatives currently underway.

Announced was a new application, Integrated Business Planning and Execution, that integrates elements from Oracle Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud and Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud to assist customers in improving operational efficiency and business agility by integrating financial planning with supply chain operations.

There was a formal announcement of the introduction of Digital Assistant capabilities being applied in the latest updates to SCM Cloud, where a “conversation” is enabled between the user and the assistant to identify problem areas and address solution alternatives. Initial focus areas will be in logistics use cases with plans for broader expansion in other supply chain, manufacturing and product lifecycle management process and decision-making dimensions.

Following on with Larry Ellison’s keynote indicating the future use of an entirely new technology user interface named Redwood, plans are already underway for future SCM Cloud enhancements to begin to leverage this new look and feel. The keynote included a spiffy on-stage demo of a product recall process that enables a user to completely interact either within the application or utilize and external system to tap SCM Cloud information, including machine-learning generated recommendations as to action steps to be taken by various team members and automated confirmation that actions have been completed. The interface leverages conversational digital assistant, distributed tasks, collaboration and rich visualization all within a singular experience.

 

Oracle Business Network

In the addition to the above highlighted product announcements, from our Supply Chain Matters lens, the most far reaching announcement involved that of the Oracle Business Network.

It is described as a comprehensive, single-click capability for customers to be able to electronically search and connect various trading partners and suppliers to support B2B collaboration needs electronic information exchange requirements. Customer can additionally tap third-party industry-specific networks for electronic information exchange and process collaboration. Initial support is targeted for the Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) process support dimension, with future plans to extend B2B Network support to sell-side process collaboration needs.

B2B Business Network connectivity and collaboration was previously a glaring hole in Oracle’s ability to support Sourcing, Procurement and Trading Partner electronic process needs. There was longstanding speculation that Oracle would likely acquire this capability through acquisition. Thus, the announcement has special significance for the Oracle customer community.

Jewell specifically addressed this newly announced capability with a statement indicating that: “Oracle has absolutely no interest in monetizing Oracle Business Network.” In other words, there will be no financial or transactional charges for business network participants. Being an Oracle SCM Cloud or Cloud Procurement customer reportedly provides for access and use.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is a significant announcement with broader B2B Network technology market implications that can be far-reaching. From our lens, it represents Oracle’s shot across the bow directed at existing B2B Network technology participants, not the least of which is SAP Ariba.

While the functionality remains to be totally built-out, Oracle’s bold step provides a market counterbalance that will likely spur added competitive dynamics.

 

Our next update will provide highlights and observations related to other Oracle application technology areas that will likely be of interest to readers and clients.

 

Bob Ferrari

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