Supply Chain Matters has been attending the Oracle Modern Supply Chain Experience conference being held in San Jose California and drawing over 2800 attendees.
In our Part One posting, we provided some highlights from the first’s day’s keynotes.
In this particular posting, we wanted to highlight for readers, Oracle’s evolving efforts to develop a Cloud-based application dedicated to supporting a firm’s Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) and Integrated Business Planning (IBP) processes which remain challenging areas for many companies, particularly in the current highly uncertain multi-industry business environments.
Candidly, Oracle itself has been somewhat of a laggard in developing a fully Cloud-based application to support these processes. Multiple best-of-breed supply chain planning technology providers have come to market with dedicated S&OP/IBP applications that are either behind-the-firewall or Cloud based. Similarly, other ERP providers such as SAP have announced such dedicated applications, but in the context of multi-year roadmaps of broader IBP based functionality.
After attending a particular conference session: Sales and Operations Planning Cloud: An In-Depth Look, this analyst walked away with the perception that perhaps being a laggard, can provide advantages as to what technology really needs to do to support today’s challenging needs in these process areas.
Co-presenter’s Kevin Elder and Michael Liebson stressed to attendees that Oracle’s development to this new application was a built from the ground-up effort, designed to leverage the best of Cloud-platform technology, along with the technology best practices garnered from Oracle’s existing ASCP and Demantra software technology offerings. The primary difference stressed was that development had a clean slate in its business process architectural and functionality approach.
Included was the perspective that S&OP should be a forward-looking process (outside-in perspective) focused on execution of strategy. The process should be scenario or simulation driven, grounded with the best available analytics and market insights, with a need to support enterprise-wide, cross-functional alignment to include financial business plans and objectives.
The presenter’s stressed Oracle’s S&OP Cloud application is anchored in a collection of Align-Analyze-Act process capabilities with the goal of providing businesses “out-of-the-box” best practice capabilities in managing their alignment processes. That would include built-in support for the five broad process stages of S&OP that can be supported by advanced planning and simulation technology along with the ability to leverage enterprise-level social collaboration tools to provide a genealogy of decision-making steps among all process participants.
A demo of the application featured the various best-practice dashboards, KPI’s and reports available for each S&OP stage. Planning capabilities include the ability to plan at different product levels but the process itself is anchored in high-level product plans, with drill-downs to more detailed levels as needed by the process. Rapid, on-the-fly scenario and simulation planning capabilities are featured to support the ability to run alternative demand and/or supply plans, along with the ability to iterate needed decisions among process participants to make any given scenario plan the ability to be the new supply chain resource plan.
This author was further impressed with the interoperability capabilities of this application. That was described as tight integration with existing Oracle Planning Central, Demand Management and Supply Planning applications. In the audience Q&A, the obvious question of interoperability with non-Oracle systems was asked. The response was yes; that the application can be architected with Oracle’s other Cloud platform capabilities that integrate various existing non-Oracle enterprise applications.
The Oracle S&OP Cloud application is currently scheduled for release to customers this summer. We venture an opinion that there will be a lot of customer and market-wide interest in this particular application.
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