In this Supply Chain Matters blog, we call reader attention to the broad area of supply chain management execution business process support, and the ongoing needs for convergence of supply chain execution, planning and analytics-based decision-making processes. A specific context of this commentary is on Oracle, and its continuously evolving and pre-integrated Cloud-based supply chain execution and planning process support offerings.

Traditionally, execution and planning were often viewed as separate and distinct processes by many businesses that were either distribution or manufacturing-centric, but in today’s faster moving, Omni-channel and global-based based customer fulfillment business models, overall decision-making requires a far more integrated context for combined planning and execution information needs. Both processes must become far more integrated to be able to insure faster, more-informed decision-making relative to customer and business performance requirements. Another important consideration has been the movement of both families of applications toward Cloud-based capabilities, especially in the area of transportation management and tendering. Thus, the goal for businesses to consider for initiatives directed at supply chain process transformation is any particular technology provider’s broad and deep support of needs for supporting overall process convergence.

We would venture to state that several years ago, the technology market did tend to not look favorably on Oracle’s strength in supply chain execution support. But all of that has changed, particularly because of this enterprise technology provider’s all-in ten-year commitment towards converting the entire applications offering to Cloud-based architecture offerings, including supply chain executioOraclen, planning, collaboration and decision-making. Another important consideration for Oracle was an acquisition strategy that focused on augmenting the supply chain execution process support area, specifically Cloud-based TMS and WMS.

This Editor first alerted readers to Oracle’s integrated Cloud vision in a blog commentary published in 2008. The provider had just completed the acquisition of a well-recognized TMS best-of-breed technology provider G-Log, a provider that was also on the acquisition radar screen of rival SAP. There was the subsequent acquisition of Demantra in the supply chain planning, forecasting and decision-making support area, also a leading-edge best-of-breed support provider.  Each of these application support areas have since been brought toward far-broader Cloud-based support capabilities.

In 2016, the acquisition of Logfire in the Cloud-based WMS support dimension, yet another well regarded former best-of-breed Cloud provider that had built-in support for broader customer fulfillment needs in online sales support along with more seamless integration with TMS decision-making needs, provided yet another level of supply chain planning and execution convergence depth. Renamed as Oracle Warehouse Management Cloud, it is now positioned, along with Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) to be a prime support capabilities for the broader dimensions of supply chain execution and planning digital convergence.

As readers may have now noted not only from this blog, but from other industry analyst focused viewpoints, Oracle is now been largely recognized as providing one of the broadest, most comprehensive Cloud-based SCM market offerings.

Industry analyst briefings and actual Oracle ERP Cloud new customer adoption or existing customer upgrade statistics point to either OTM and WMS Cloud as being the on-ramp or follow-on to ERP Cloud adoption. In other words, they serve as subsequent steps in boader focused supply chain digital-based process transformation. The latest Oracle reporting points to 2500 customers that are adopting various Oracle SCM Cloud based implementation actions.

As much as its pains us to have to cite Gartner’s published research, the 2018 Magic Quadrants for both TMS and WMS systems each rate Oracle’s capabilities in either supply chain execution and broader supply chain process transformation in the Leaders quadrant. In the TMS process support area, Gartner indicates: “Besides having one of the most functionally broad, deep and robust TMS’s, Oracle has also the largest global reach of any of the TMS vendors, with customers across all continents.” For WMS support, Gartner cites Oracle as having the strongest capabilities in multichannel and e-commerce fulfilment and in fulfillment intensive industries notably retail and consumer goods while having one of the strongest ecosystems of global-based integration partners.

Reader Takeaways

Oracle has come quite a long-way in overall process support for integrated supply chain execution and planning. Oracle’s product management teams often describe this maturity as moving from supporting many supply chain execution, planning and analytics-based applications to one integrated Cloud-based application stack leveraging a single data model. From our lens, and increasingly others, that is not marketing buzz. The architecture is one of core Cloud-based ERP, surrounded by integrated SCM, yet the Cloud SCM side can truly be multi-vendor and multi-integrated stand-alone. Not many enterprise technology providers can demonstrate such capabilities.

When considering an investment in broad supply chain management digital transformation, look first to the goal of overall integration of execution, planning and decision-making processes leveraging a singular data model. Consider that Cloud-based applications and supporting architectures now provide more viable options for broader, less-costly, and less-disruptive transformation. Consider that enterprise tech provider Oracle is now being more broadly recognized as having the most comprehensive end-to-end supply chain management process and technology support capabilities.  It has taken over ten years, but the vision and consequent strategies are now increasingly recognized.


Bob Ferrari

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