In a previous August commentary, Supply Chain Matters highlighted some of the major features of Oracle’s SCM Cloud, Release 13. In this commentary we have the opportunity to update our procurement focused readers on some of the Release 13 features within Oracle Procurement Cloud.
As noted in our coverage of this year’s Oracle OpenWorld combined customer conference, this analyst and author had the opportunity to sit-in on a session related to Oracle Procurement Cloud Strategy and Roadmap. This Cloud-based suite has made considerable progress in its ability to support an end-to-end procurement process. Added efficiency and decision-support needs. Release 13 provides added functionality in areas of Sourcing, Supplier Management, Contracts, Self-Service Procurement, Budgetary Control, Encumbrance Accounting, and P2P process support.
The following are some major highlights.
Release 13 has added a series of enhancements related to the overall Sourcing process. Earlier quarterly updates addressed areas of Team Scoring, Supplier Response Tabulation, and Price Visibility Control. The concept of a Sourcing Program, has been added including the integration with Oracle Project Management. Users gain the ability to leverage additional collaboration processes including integration with the Oracle Social Network. Other enhancements relate to added simplification and efficiencies for individual or team supplier scoring activities that come with built-in guided navigation or negotiation styles. Busy Category Managers can also find it cumbersome to frequently check suppliers’ acknowledgment of the negotiation invitation. When a negotiation is amended, category managers can now notify suppliers with an email notification that includes the updated negotiation PDF as an attachment. Supplier contacts and additional email recipients will receive the notification email with a PDF attachment, where they can review the negotiation details and take the appropriate next action.
In the area of Supplier Management, Release 13 adds enhancements to the process of on-boarding new suppliers, which is often a challenge for many businesses. Release 13 adds functionality to make downstream supplier additions more efficient including the use of online questionnaires, prequalification to specified spend levels, along with a process for sourcing and re-qualification of prior suppliers. If desired, suppliers have the ability to login and change their own profile data. Developers included improved visual landing pages where procurement users can select from a variety of supplier landing page options. Another added enhancement enables suppliers that are configured as part of a parent-child hierarchy to share the same taxpayer ID. According to release notes, every supplier record within that hierarchy can share the same taxpayer ID. This enables reporting and payments for each of those suppliers based on the shared taxpayer ID, eliminating a need for manual processes.
Release 13 adds to areas for enforcement of business policies, standard terms, and areas to reduce risk exposures. Contract professionals can create and enhance pre-approved contract clause libraries as well as identify deviations from defined standards, highlight specific risks and enforce specified document approvals. There is now a searchable contract repository to improve contract visibility or too more quickly search for contract clauses.
Release 13 provides what is described as a more modern user interface for self-service process needs. Mobile application support for either IOS or Android is now incorporated which is likely a huge benefit for mobile based employees. The new release adds to needs to enforce rules-driven business policies via user-defined controls and management approvals more easily. Earlier releases this year addressed support for Outside Processing that typically occurs at manufacturing companies, where one or more production operations related to a work order are outsourced to a specialty supplier.
Now included is the ability to configure management processes for either a centralized or de-centralized control approach. Differences can be defined by Category, Line-of-Business for either requisitioning, purchasing, receiving, or invoicing. There is a simplified electronic purchase order delivery configuration for suppliers as well as a new tool to streamline a B2B messaging framework that includes the flexibility to use XLT protocol for mapping messaging data.
Finally, the latest release of Oracle Purchasing Cloud leverages Oracle’s latest data visualization and graphical presentation capabilities. Blockchain enabled processes is another new area of support moving forward.
As we observed in our previous blog highlighting Release 13 of Oracle SCM Cloud, existing licensed Oracle E-Business Suite or other ERP focused customers may be of the view that the Cloud versions of Oracle’s supply chain management focused applications may be thin in the functionality area. Quite the contrary exists as various Oracle development teams continue to have their focus on making Cloud based versions of various business applications viable alternatives for managing various enterprise level or industry-specific business process support needs. Once more, SCM Cloud and Purchasing Cloud suites are enhanced with a cadence of four quarterly release updates in a given year, thus customers can expect a continuing stream of enhancements. Oracle has also created a vibrant Oracle Cloud Customer Connect Community that consists of available forums, idea labs, upgrade resources or events that customers can take advantage of. Attendees of OpenWorld were informed of a 128 percent year-on-year membership growth in this forum.
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