Last week, Supply Chain Matters, with the presence of Executive Editor Bob Ferrari, attended and participated in the annual Oracle Modern Supply Chain Experience Conference in San Jose California.

In our Part One commentary, we provided highlights from the first day’s opening sessions.

In our Part Two commentary, we shared highlights of Tuesday’s full-day of sessions.

Our Part Three commentary, highlighted briefings and discussions with Oracle and other attending executives and participants, along with some updated factoids.

In our Part Four commentary, Executive Editor Bob Ferrari shared highlights and key messages delivered in the two panel sessions he participated within.

In this final Summary Impressions blog commentary, this Editor shares highlights, perspectives, and key takeaways from this year’s MSCE conference.

Attendance

As noted in our initial blog, this year represents the 6th annual occurrence of this conference, and each year the attendance has grown larger. Over 3000 attendees were registered for this year’s event, breaking last year’s attendee number of 2800. While Oracle can boast that the conference represents the largest single supply chain technology focused conference held, Supply Chain Matters would advise that it is far better to focus on the broader interest and attention being placed in understanding, influencing, and deploying advanced technology use in supply chain business process and decision-making needs.  Oracle MSCE

That is the takeaway of 2018 MSCE attendance, a growing interest and engagement on Cloud-based supply chain management technology.

Oracle SCM Cloud Suite

Oracle executives shared that there are now upwards of 1800 Oracle SCM Cloud focused customers on various transformational journeys toward digital transformation. That number is indeed meaningful given our tracking of such numbers since the SCM Cloud suite of applications was originally released. Oracle development teams have now shifted into a continuous quarterly release schedule for added functionality. The addition of more web services, Blockchain, advanced analytics, machine learning and Internet of Things technology aspects to suite applications is an indication that Oracle remains committed to widening its lead in availability of one of the market’s broadest Cloud-based, end-to-end software applications, advanced technology, and underlying infrastructure suite. We view that taking advantage of this year’s MSCE keynote stage to announce availability of Digital Twin and Augmented Reality technology in conjunction with existing product management was a shrewd strategy to potentially fill-in the vacuum that will likely be created by GE’s ongoing restructuring that includes GE Digital and associated GE Digital Manufacturing and Industrial Internet business strategy cutbacks.

Another highlight was assessing the progress of last year’s acquisition of Cloud WMS provider Logfire, which is now manifested as Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud. A session delivered by Derek Gittoes, Vice President, SCM Product Strategy addressed Oracle Logistics and Order Management Cloud Overview and Roadmap, and it was excellent in concise information delivery to existing or prospective customers.

Oracle continues to broaden the suite’s capability and beyond the current focus on discrete manufacturing industry support, Oracle SCM development teams have Project Based Manufacturing and Process Manufacturing industry support in the development pipeline. Having the opening keynote include an on-stage interview with the CIO of The Wonderful Company provide ample evidence that this process manufacturer will have an influential voice in the latter.

Cloud Technology Acquisition Dynamics

In his on-stage keynote, Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd pointed out an important observation, namely that in today’s business and technology circles, Cloud is not just a technical discussion, but a broader business and strategy discussion. He spoke of the organizational dynamics driving CIO and line-of-business executives, each with different stakeholder agenda. In later briefings with Oracle SCM executives, the observation was amplified in that companies are still not taking the broadened business-wide perspective to Cloud, but rather the usual supply chain point solution focus.

The investment consideration is one that needs to address whether Cloud provides easier methods to add more agility to supply chain and line of business processes, added security of data and information while at the same time, lowering the costs and maintenance of overall IT infrastructure. By this analyst’s view, some organizations continue with a narrower functional scope because of perceived budget limitations, missing the opportunity to influence a far broader business value proposition.  Others, particularly high-growth mid-market firms, quickly grasp the broader objective, that being the opportunity to acquire enterprise class software and technology without the burden of years of legacies in systems development, maintenance and upgrade pains that result in meaningful business disruption.

Some Cloud technology providers, including those with enterprise-wide offerings, have not seemed to grasp these same concepts and considerations.

Other Oracle SCM Futures

Reviewing some of the Oracle SCM development solution roadmaps that were shared at this year’s MSCE provided a perspective of other areas which Oracle has plans to address.

One is in the B2B messaging and business network area with broader planned support for B2B Business Network messaging types and the subsequent mining of B2B messaging activity for business insights. There was some mention of an Oracle Cloud B2B Network down the road, supporting Oracle Cloud tenets.

In the Logistics and Order Management area, was mention of logistics network design and modeling support that can perform what-if analysis on the entire customer fulfillment network.

Of real interest to this analyst was disclosure of personalized configure and extend functionality that can help organizations with large deployment footprints to provide some personalization and customization via a configuration routine that protects such customization when periodic Cloud platform upgrades occur. Oracle is also broadening support for custom user interfaces to support needs for mobile-based computing or information sharing with external strategic partners.

Summary Takeaway

The 2018 Oracle MSCE conference was from this analyst and Editor’s lens, another positive experience. We sense that attendees had that same impression.

The sessions were more balanced to provide both Oracle and supply chain management thought leadership topics. Some of the featured keynotes addressed global wide sustainability and industry supply chain efforts, as well as a humorous personal account of climbing Mt. Everest that was truly unique in delivery.

Assimilating prior attendee feedback, conference organizers provided more opportunities for attendee networking, opportunities to meet directly with Oracle SCM development teams and with industry peers. The conference technology expo featured smaller booths, allowing a broader representation of Oracle partners in multiple application areas.

We were once again pleased to observe the contingent of high school and college students that were provided the opportunity to attend, and soak in a lot of technology knowledge that would take multiple semesters and on-the-job experience to garner.

Once again, the Women in Supply Chain luncheon was sold out and we were informed that attendees were pleased and gained benefit from this particular event. In our prior Part Four commentary, we highlighted the interest and enthusiasm shared by attendees for the Building Supply Chain Talent panel session.

Congratulations to all who organized and executed this event.

Bob Ferrari

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