This week, Supply Chain Matters, with the presence of Executive Editor Bob Ferrari, is in San Jose California attending and participating in the annual Oracle Modern Supply Chain Experience Conference.

In our previous Part One commentary, highlights from the first day’s opening sessions were provided. In this commentary, we touch upon day two, which was a full day of sessions on just about all supply chain technology topics.  Oracle MSCE

CEO Keynote

While last year’s MSCE featured a talk by Oracle Co-CEO Safra Katz, this year’s MSCE conference keynote was delivered by Mark Hurd. This author has long observed and admired the communication skills of Hurd, his ability to capture and rivet the attention of audiences with the language of C-Suite executives, and how that manifests to technology decisions, and for this particular audience, how it manifests to industry supply chain pressures and expected outcomes. No need to reiterate and highlight previous observations, but we should highlight some new observations and insights.

Hurd stressed that most IT attention is focused on the explosive needs for “Consumer IT’, Omni-channel and online presence, especially in retail and consumer products industries. That IT spend was cited at around 20 percent in total spend while B2B IT spend is nearly zero growth. With CEO’s consumed with the goals of growing top-line revenue growth while constantly driving lower overall spend levels, that results in “no money” to transform the end-to-end supply chain. Hurd’s conclusion was that supply chain teams need to be more resourceful in stating the business case as driving or impacting the two primary C-Suite goals. He further introduced a new CEO agenda- managing corporate risk, specifically cyber and data security risks that indeed include the end-to-end supply chain.  Our 2018 Predictions for Global and Industry Supply Chains (available for complimentary downloading in our Research Center) indeed includes a prediction the Cyber-Security needs will capture more of the attention of industry supply chain risk, mediation, and IT time allocation efforts.

Hurd’s conclusion was that Cloud is not just a technical discussion, but also a business process and strategy discussion. He spoke of the organizational dynamics driving the CIO and line-of-business executives, each with different stakeholder agenda. Does Cloud provide easier methods to add more agility to supply chain processes, added security of data, information and added IT infrastructure, all at lower overall cost. Important concepts for both functional supply chain and line-of-business teams to understand and assess.

Perhaps some of these organizational dynamics will resonate with our readers because they are occurring much more often, and with greater frequency.

Day Two Session Highlights

The year’s MSCE has a special emphasis on the disruptive technologies of Internet of Things, Digital Twin, Blockchain, Digital Chatbots and advanced analytics, each designed not just as a standalone technology effort, but rather interacting and exchanging data and information with backbone business applications. That was a consistent message brought forward from Oracle’s SCM development teams, namely, let Oracle technology remove the needs for added data scientists, data administrators and security experts. Some of such applications are in early release while some are still in the development pipeline. The design principle has meaning, and in our added MSCE commentary we will dwell more on this.

Another highlight for this analyst was assessing the progress of last year’s acquisition of Cloud WMS provider Logfire, which is now manifested as Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud. A session delivered by Derek Gittoes, Vice President, SCM Product Strategy addressed Oracle Logistics and Order Management Cloud Overview and Roadmap, and it was excellent in concise information delivery to existing or prospective customers. We will feature some highlights of that session.

One of the last sessions this author had on his must-attend list was Cisco’s Model Based Enterprise Journey to a Digital Supply Chain, delivered by Benny Yap, Senior Technical Director at Cisco. This was an impressive session, one that laid out a well thought out strategy of bringing together product design and management and end-to-end supply chain, in an overall digital process framework.  This analyst walked away with the impression that Cisco totally gets digital transformation, and will in short time, provide wider recognition of how end-to-end supply chain capabilities come together in a digital supply chain capability in many dimensions. Our counsel to MSCE attendees, insure that you get the opportunity to view this presentation. It is eye-opening in vision and in roadmap.

We will have to stop at this point to get on with some evening commitments.

Stay tuned for further dispatches.


Bob Ferrari