This week, Supply Chain Matters Executive Editor Bob Ferrari is attending the Oracle OpenWorld 2018 conference being held in San Francisco. Is this Dispatch One commentary, we highlight some of our initial impressions of day one. Oracle OpenWorld 2018

As with each OpenWorld that we have attended these many years, the breadth of global scope grows larger. Attendance for this year’s event was noted as 60,000 representing 175 countries, not to mention many more tuning in via the Internet.

This supply chain industry analyst concentrated most of today attending the dedicated Industry Analyst and Influencers briefing sessions which provided a broad perspective of what this year’s conference will provide for attendees.

Conference Major Themes

As with OpenWorld themes from the past four years, the 2018 conference was again a Net Change report of progress on Oracle’s march toward Cloud based computing, database and applications.  That’s different than some enterprise tech providers that introduce a new vision or direction each year.

In today’s conference keynote Oracle founder and CTO Larry Ellison highlighted Oracle’s vision of next generation Cloud which will be termed Gen 2 of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

This next generation has emphasis on two key capabilities that Ellison argued are critical for businesses:  Broader autonomous capabilities in database, transactional and computing infrastructure that adds to Oracle’s vision of hardware and software re-configured for the Cloud. The second, and more sobering component, that being data and information security, and a recognition that bad actors are increasingly far more sophisticated in their cyber-attacks. The argument is that no single business can hire enough cyber experts to protect itself from attacks.

For Oracle, that implies that systems can no longer have a sole alliance on humans to protect systems from evil actors. Shared with the audience is that most cyber vulnerabilities are caused by system configuration vulnerabilities. Ellison argues strongly for autonomous robots augmented by machine-learning algorithms to detect any intrusion and rapidly patch, repair and protect systems from potential damage without any human intervention. The key notion is speed in response and isolation. Oracle’s architectural approach is to isolate its broader Cloud platform with a separate Cloud Central Computer, the literal brains of the Cloud, and physically isolated for autonomous control.

The simplest analogy for our audience is the notion of lots of individual factory control systems supervised by an overall factory control center architecture that monitors all systems.

In in last year’s keynote, Ellison had a laser focus of comparison of Oracle Coud to Amazon Web Services (AWS) in cost, performance and data security. More direct to the point was a statement that AWS architecture is vulnerable to customer data on AWS being shared with other scrupulous customers.  Such a statement was likely designed to catch the attention of retail and E-commerce businesses.


Oracle SCM and ERP Cloud

The net change of Oracle SCM Cloud was yet another increase in customer uptake, now reported as over 2500 customers from the 1200 reported at last year’s OpenWorld.  This year there has featured three quarterly update releases of functionality, each with increasingly more features, the 18C (Q3) release consisting of 320 updates.

The Oracle ERP Cloud ERP customer adoption now exceeds 5500 customers with over half now live with various ERP components, increasingly being recognized as the leading Cloud based ERP in the market.

Oracle’s SVP of SCM and Manufacturing Applications development Rick Jewell communicated to attendees a broadened industry focus in the 2019 development roadmap. Moving on from the current concentration in high tech and industrial manufacturing industry, SCM Cloud is planned to expand coverage in Project Manufacturing, Service Logistics, Process Manufacturing and Healthcare industry specific support capabilities.

There was a report of progress on last year’s release of four specific IoT focused applications, including customer adoptions. Jewell continues to stress that in the areas of IoT and Blockchain, Oracle’s development approach will not be a tool- based platform that customer can leverage but rather advanced technology pre-built with specific business process and applications challenges. Regarding the latter, stay tuned for an announcement on Oracle’s latest Blockchain efforts tomorrow.

And to update our readers, Oracle has completed its internal business wide implementation of SCM Cloud for its internal procurement, manufacturing inventory management and distribution capabilities. Initial implementation began in January of this year and just completed prior to OpenWorld.

This concludes our Supply Chain Matters Dispatch One update. Our net updates will focus on Day Two highlights and Oracle’s new SCM announcement.

Bob Ferrari

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