Supply Chain Matters Attendance at Oracle Open World- Commentary Four

Supply Chain Matters continues with our observations from this year’s Oracle Open World being held in San Francisco. Readers can view previous commentaries by clicking on the below links;

Commentary One

Commentary Two

Commentary Three

As I observe, speak with and listen to supply chain and B2B fulfillment professionals, one clear, consistent message that has resonated of late is the stated and well identified shortage of the key skills required to manage the complex aspects and information-aware decisions required to manage globally extended supply chains.

This week, as we navigated the vast array of Open World sessions that articulated the current and not too distant awesome power of analysis and decision-support tools that emerging technology will deliver, one really gets a sense to the profound implications of these tools.  Make no mistake; these capabilities go far beyond the notions of what was once an MRP, MPS or forecasting view of the supply chain.

In his second keynote, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison conducted his own self-directed demo of analyzing over 5 billion records associated with 27 billion relationships to support a hypothetical decision as to who could be the most influential spokesperson for the Lexus automobile brand.  Think of that, one of the world’s most wealthy executive, surrounded by handlers, took the time to understand and effectively demonstrate the power of the technology that his company advocates.

While readers can logically argue that such a scenario is a bit extreme to today’s every day supply chain decisions, the point is that the implications of this technology are profound to the skills required in the intelligence-driven supply chain.  In an interview with a high level decision support manager for a major corporation, we talked about the current reality of how some individuals readily embrace these newer and more powerful analysis tools while others may resist.  That is not to take away from the inherent skills required in leadership, team building and managing multi-cultural work teams.  It does imply however that advanced analytic tools, leveraged by experienced people, can provide pretty powerful implications for evaluation of all likely alternatives and making the best informed decision.

Each time I attend these technology conferences, I come away with yet another reinforcement of the profound implications on how businesses and their associated supply chains will be managed in the not too distant future.

We depart Oracle Open World tomorrow.  After assimilating our extensive notes and thoughts, our final commentary will outline our summary impressions from this year’s conference.

Bob Ferrari