This week, Supply Chain Matters Executive Editor Bob Ferrari is attending the Oracle OpenWorld 2018 conference being held in San Francisco.

In our prior Dispatch One commentary, we highlighted impressions of Day One including Larry Ellison’s first keynote.

In our Dispatch Two commentary, we highlighted and shared observations relative to Oracle’s product announcement related to Blockchain technology.  Oracle OpenWorld 2018

In our Dispatch Three commentary, we reflected on the deployment of both Internet of Things and Blockchain technologies in supply chain management process areas and what makes Oracle’s approach different.

In this blog, we focus on Larry Ellison’s second keynote which was solely dedicated to the Oracle Fusion Application suites that sit on the enterprise tech providers underlying Gen2 Cloud database, analytics and infrastructure.


A Different Applications Architectural Approach

In our many years of dedicated coverage of Oracle, Supply Chain Matters has highlighted this enterprise technology provider for the uniqueness it provides to supply chain management focused technology.

For the past ten years, Oracle’s technology strategy has been laser focused in developing both market leading business process support applications and the underlying Cloud based infrastructure, data management and advanced analytics capabilities engineered to support such applications, down to specific computing hardware, software, networking and artificial intelligence capabilities required to support the entire stack. Oracle’s bet was on the need for customers to rely on a one-stop partner for both applications and IT technology.  That strategy has led to this year’s OpenWorld and a declaration that Oracle is not stopping, buy rather moving ahead to Generation 2 for both dimensions.

Applications Growth

We are not shy in admitting that several years ago, we were one of the first industry analyst advisory firms to advise our clients and readers that Oracle’s SCM Cloud suite was unique and differentiated in the market, in that it was the only fully based SaaS Cloud suite. In his second keynote, Ellison made specific mention of SCM Cloud and Manufacturing, validating that indeed the suite has become the number one Cloud based suite in the market.  What existing on-premise and net new customers are discovering is that Oracle has a laser focus on helping customers to determine their various different roadmaps to the Cloud, and unlike certain other competitors, roadmaps are clear, easily understood and flexible.  Customers are each assigned a specific Oracle customer support executive to help guide the journey.

The prior two OpenWorld’s had major emphasis on Oracle Cloud and far too less emphasis on the Oracle Fusion Applications. That changed this year and its obvious why, because Oracle is garnering added attention in this area.  Ellison shared that all Fusion Applications have garnered 6000 customers to date, 4000 of which are live. The prior acquisition of NetSuite adds another 15,000 customers. Oracle is now declaring overall leadership in ERP Cloud, and as we indicated in our Dispatch One commentary, Cloud ERP adoption now exceeds 5500 customers.

Ellison’s message to Applications customers was that the similar artificial and machine-learning computing techniques that went into the development of OCI, Oracle’s now termed Gen 2 Cloud, are now being leveraged across various Fusion Applications. Examples provided were the ability to automate the complete business financial closing.  Similar capabilities can be applied to purchase order approvals and issuance, closing off order management and fulfillment systems or automating resolution of open orders. The main message that Ellison provided is that autonomous applies to automating tedious processes that take-up too much time. Think about all of those tedious master data misalignment or missing data issues that lead to added distractions. More important, such machine-learning capabilities can be applied to providing more insights to all forms of workers all the way up to executive level.

What caught this analyst’s attention is the ability to leverage the same machine-learning technology underpinning Oracle’s data security management, to mine insights related to either customer demand or supply network anomalies.  They can well be the catalyst to empowering a supply chain data science specialist or to provide more predictive analytics capabilities to supply chain control tower processes.

Ellison highlighted the existence of Visual Builder across all Fusion applications. That is significant because it allows internal IT, SI partners or even super users to extend applications across different tiers of the supply chain including mobility-based interfaces. Noted was that Builder can support the formation of an entirely new data warehouse from within a Fusion application and can bring in external data such as SAP related data. That mention of SAP was once again Ellison’s coy slight at SAP HANA and an inference that Oracle will always be a more open standards-based HANA alternative.

Similar to SAP this year, Oracle premiered a new generation of voice interface allowing employees to interact with applications in Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant like conversational sessions to secure information or initiate actions.  We trust that Oracle figured out the nuances of foreign languages and dialects in such technology.

Ellison’s keynote also made reference to the Oracle Soar program, a service provided by Oracle Consulting that is designed to help existing on-premise licensed applications customers better automate and experience a more planned and smoother upgrade to respective Fusion Applications platforms including both ERP Cloud or SCM Cloud. Supply Chain Matters highlighted this new initiative in a prior Oracle focused commentary.

Our final commentary related to this week’s 2018 Oracle Open World will be our Summary Highlights focused commentary.


Stay tuned.



Bob Ferrari

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