This commentary continues our series of Supply Chain Matters impressions from this week’s Oracle Industry Analyst World Spring event held at the company’s corporate campus in Redwood Shores California.

In our previous Dispatch One commentary we focused on general impressions of Oracle’s current direction in technology and support for customer IT solution needs. Our Dispatch Two commentary provided impressions and an information update related to Oracle SCM applications support.

In this Supply Chain Matters dispatch, we focus on some highlights of Oracle’s transition to Fusion powered SCM, the ability to provide core SCM applications in a cloud or SaaS environment.

Fusion SCM is being designed and incrementally deployed to leverage five underlying core frameworks:

  • Data model and services
  • Business process support
  • Analytics and calculation
  • Integration services
  • Data model extensibility

The applications that will be deployed on the outlined technology stack in a phased rollout strategy over the next 12-18 months.  Some applications are already in co-existence mode while others will be re-architected or introduced in a cloud offering. Oracle executives are quick to note that customers are not asking for a “big-bang” rollout, but rather an evolution over time which IT and functional organizations can absorb. The deployment strategy is also industry targeted, with high tech and consumer electronics as the initial objective, followed by other manufacturing and service focused industries.

Highlighted applications currently in phased rollout include:

  • Distributed Order Orchestration (DOO) being designed to support B2B and B2C commerce fulfillment needs involving multiple backend systems.  This application has strong interest for Cross-Channel commerce fulfillment needs that are evident in current Retailer business support environments.
  • Product Master Data Management Hub to support regulatory compliance, product catalog or product portfolio analysis needs.
  • Inventory and Cost Management to support multiple channel fulfillment needs.

Down the road, Oracle SCM customers can anticipate additional Fusion elements related to Value Chain Planning and supply chain orchestration support functionality.

We also had the opportunity to have some conversation with Oracle executive David Hope Ross regarding Oracle strategies in supporting procurement process needs.  There are interesting opportunities at play related to leveraging Oracle’s engineered systems components to procurement business process needs. These include continued leveraging Endeca information discovery tools in supplier management and analysis, and areas of P2P process and electronic invoicing support.  Business analytics will also have increased potential for analyzing procurement spend trending in direct and indirect services.

The most interesting takeaway for Supply Chain Matters was the summation of certain Oracle customer feedback forums that indicate the readiness to consider some deployment of SCM support applications in a cloud or hosted environment if certain service and uptime conditions are assured. This reinforces a new and different deployment phase that can well manifest itself in the one, two or possibly three year time horizon. This is a significant threshold for supply chain technology and Oracle and possibly a couple other enterprise class vendors will lead in this space.

In a later posting, we will provide some other takeaways and summary impressions after we have had the opportunity to absorb our over 40 pages of briefing notes.  There was no shortage of interesting content in these two days of briefings.

Bob Ferrari

©2012 The Ferrari Consulting and Research Group and Supply Chain Matters blog.  All rights reserved.

Disclosure: Oracle has no current financial or sponsorship interests in this blog or our consulting services business