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

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

In our Part Two commentary, we provided highlights of Tuesday’s full-day of session

In this commentary, we are going to highlight highlights relative to our briefings and discussions with Oracle and other attending executives and participants, along with some updated. factoids

Executive Briefings

This author attended a briefing of industry analysts with Oracle’s senior supply chain management product development and customer relationship executives Rick Jewell, Jon Chorley, and John Shorter.

Each of these executives shared updates and observations relative to Oracle’s ongoing supply chain technology development efforts along with observations as to current customer and pipeline activity.

Senior Vice President Rick Jewell shared that many new SCM Cloud customers have taken a broader holistic view of technology transformation, and have included complete IT data center infrastructure, consulting, and Cloud suites as part of their multi-year contracts. He further shared a recent meeting with EMEA and Asian sales teams observing that not having large data center legacies, manufacturers and service providers in these regions are leapfrogging ERP to Cloud based SCM and Financials.

Jewell also indicated that he continues to be surprised as well as pleased with the ongoing high level of interest among small and mid-sized companies in their active interests to embark on a Cloud-based approach of supply chain management technology adoption. This leap-frog strategy of moving from prior legacy internally developed, behind-the-firewall packed applications or pure spreadsheets centric, direct to the Cloud with access to capabilities available to far larger enterprises is increasingly of active interest to such customers.

This author would add, that we have validated such observations with other technology company executives as well mid-market operational executives. The availability of the depth and breadth of such functionality is of-course, a prime attraction, but that must be factored with overall cost and affordability. The good news is that some technology companies are becoming more creative and flexible in pricing strategies, knowing that a growing company provides a longer-term opportunity for added services.

Vice President John Shorter joined Oracle after a multi-year leadership role at General Electric overseeing information technology initiatives and deployments. Shorter now interacts in Oracle’s supply chain management customer ecosystem speaking directly with IT and supply chain executives on their technology needs and frustrations. He shared his observation that in many of these ongoing interactions, the conversations revolve around organizations taking a supply chain point-solutions focused at addressing a process challenge vs. a more comprehensive approach that addresses end-to-end supply chain transformation and outside in process perspectives.

Regarding his direct experiences at GE, he noted that while the company had very deep experience and capabilities in understanding and supporting equipment operational systems, including Internet-of-Things (IoT) enablement, there was an understanding that all that data and information related to operational performance had to find its way to and from business software and enterprise decision-support applications such as ERP backbone systems. Collecting data from operational equipment is the easy part, an architecturally framework of information driving predictive analytics among various business applications is another. That, according to Shorter, is why he elected to sign-on with Oracle.

Readers may recall that within or 2018 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains, we stated that the high C-Suite and board level concerns regarding the ongoing sophistication of cyberattacks compromising sensitive data would impact supply chain management technology direction and initiatives. In that vein, Shorter shared with this author, a recent four-day visit with a prominent Midwest based manufacturer sharing Oracle’s SCM Cloud’s data security architecture, methods, and data encryption practices.

Factoids

Readers familiar with Oracle will recall the enterprise software technology provider’s previous acquisition of former IT server manufacturer Sun Microsystems. That server engineering design and manufacturing capability has subsequently become the IT hardware supplier strategy for Oracle’s combined software and hosted IT systems infrastructure,

SCM Development Senior Vice President Rick Jewell shared with gathered analysts an announcement described as a new threshold, namely that now, over 50 percent of the newly produced Sun servers are powering the backbone of Oracle’s ongoing PaaS and SaaS hosted data center platforms deployed globally. Oracle SPARC Servers are now the dominant hardware supplier for Oracle Cloud performance and capability

On that same vein, Oracle SCM Cloud is also being deployed internally within Oracle’s hardware and business operations groups. This month marked the go-live of Cloud-based Indirect Procurement and Financials, and next week, Oracle SCM Cloud-Supply Chain Planning Cloud including sales and operations planning support is planned for go-live. Full Oracle SCM Cloud implementation is scheduled for June implementation.

And yes, even mighty Oracle is not immune to some setbacks and changes to original go-live implementations. As noted in our commentary related to the 2017 MSCE event, the original go-live date for full internal SCM Cloud deployment was the end of 2017.

Perhaps this is a reinforcement that sometimes a technology firm’s internal operations can be a distinct challenge.  As yes, this author admits to a bias, in that in my previous career, I served as an internal IT system implementation manager at Sun Microsystems. I knew of the internal culture of undocumented creativity and customization of IT systems.

Stay tuned for further dispatches regarding Oracle’s 2018 MSCE, including this Editor’s sharing of my panelist participation in the session: Transforming Your Business End-to-End Supply Chain.

Bob Ferrari

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