I was invited by Oracle’s Supply Chain Analyst Relations team to participate in an SCM Analyst Summit briefing last week. Various Oracle executives shared product and strategy updates on the applications and industry support strategy that now make up the Oracle SCM applications suite.  The briefing also served as a preview to announcements expected to be made at the upcoming Oracle Open World 2008 conference that is being held from September 21-25 in San Francisco.

Since 2001, I for one have been impressed by Oracle’s vision for SCM, and each year that I participate in these update briefings, I am continually impressed with the overall progress that is being made by the Oracle teams.  A potent suite of applications continue to be assembled and matured, to bring application, database, and information integration together on a cohesive platform. Also, with the JD Edwards offering, both large as well as mid-sized supply chain organizations have budget and functionality choices for supply chain process support needs.

The Oracle strategy for supporting supply chain management of late involves a two-prong strategy of coupling market competitive functionality with a platform that can support a services-oriented integration of information across the various applications  Readers may be familiar with the fact that Oracle has not been shy about augmenting its supply chain functionality via acquisition, and the applications of Agile for supporting  PLM, Demantra for S&OP and demand management, and G-Log for transportation have each been augmented to Oracle’s existing supply chain suite of applications for planning, procurement, fulfillment, warehouse management, collaboration, network optimization and business intelligence.  Oracle SCM is more and more being wedded to the Applications Integration Architecture (AIA) which is Oracle’s framework for supporting cross-application business processes. This means that if you are interested in any of the newly acquired SCM applications, they can be implemented on a stand-alone basis, without the immediate need for the entire suite. And to take advantage of this strategy, Oracle has elected to maintain an augmented sales team of specialty representatives representing the applications of Agile, Demantra, OTM (Transportation), in addition to the ERP teams.

I am restricted by Oracle in sharing any of the five product announcements prior to Open World 2008.  I can however inform Supply Chain Matters readers that I was impressed by the progress being made by Oracle, and that this vendor continues to invest in additional customer functionality among its acquired applications.  My notes indicate over 300 enhancements to Agile PLM, 100 enhancements to Demantra, and 40 enhancements to G-Log, now termed Oracle Transportation Management (OTM).  Oracle’s SCM Suite is now at Release 12.1,  and readers who plan to be attending Open World 2008 can anticipate a number of presentations on strategy and direction, as well as a customer panel. I will provide additional commentary for readers during the week of Oracle Open World.

 Bob Ferrari