Oracle’s CloudWorld conference was held in Las Vegas last week and virtually worldwide. Amongst the plethora of announcements and press releases that accompany this event, one announcement stood out for me as an absolute game-changer – Oracle called it B2B Commerce. B2B Commerce is a frictionless way to do business with a network of external service providers such as banks, insurers, shippers, and more. I was fortunate to sit down with Natalia Rachelson, Group Vice President, Outbound Product Management, Cloud Applications at Oracle, to better understand and confirm my instincts that the B2B Commerce announcement is a big deal for customers.
Extending Oracle Applications through partners
Oracle Cloud Applications are a suite of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications designed to reside in the cloud. SaaS as a cloud-based software delivery model means all users get access to application software and automatic software updates via the internet on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Oracle Cloud Applications span the gamut of essential business functions—from enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain management (SCM), and human capital management (HCM) to advertising and customer experience.
Oracle B2B Commerce is a new set of services available to all customers across the Oracle Cloud Applications suite. The new services will integrate and automate end-to-end business-to-business (B2B) transactions.
B2B eCommerce is, at best semi-automated
Typically, finance will present IT with a request for a new integration between the company’s ERP solution and the new bank. The standard response has been to build an adapter, a bespoke process that could take four to eight weeks to complete. Most enterprises work with many banks, so duplicating a custom in-house solution becomes an enormous effort for any IT department.
In most B2B transactions today, there is an overall disparity in systems, data, and processes, resulting in complexity and inefficiencies. Just think of any significant B2B transaction. Such transactions will involve a purchase order, sales order, loan documentation, and payment from different departments that might be using other systems.
Inaugural partnerships - JPMorgan and FedEx
Oracle announced two inaugural partnerships with JPMorgan and FedEx.
Integration with J.P. Morgan Payments systems will enable Oracle Cloud ERP customers direct access to a range of native banking services, including fully automated end-to-end payment processing, corporate credit card processing with touchless expense reporting, and cash forecasting.
Oracle B2B Commerce will simplify expense reporting through a touchless mobile experience. When employees use the new Oracle J.P. Morgan corporate card, the resulting business expenses get recorded, itemized, and audited automatically in the Oracle Cloud ERP expense system, eliminating time-consuming report filing and accelerating approvals and payment.
Oracle Cloud ERP gives companies a real-time view of banks' cash and investment positions. Still, Oracle B2B Commerce can improve cash forecasting by combining data with information from other ongoing transactions. Previously, customers had to collect data manually from disparate systems, so cash predictions were often outdated by the time the data was in hand.
Oracle has delivered turnkey connectivity and integration with J.P. Morgan Payments, significantly reducing payment set-up, configuration, and technical complexity. Customers can integrate parts of the J.P. Morgan Payments offering, operate in Cloud ERP within hours, and eliminate weeks of technical integration work during implementation.
Fully automated end-to-end payment processing maximizes efficiency in funds capture, cash disbursement, and credit card processing. In addition, real-time cash positions enable timely, predictive cash forecasting.
When a charge goes on a J.P. Morgan corporate card, authorization data will be sent in near real-time so that business expenses get recorded, itemized, and audited automatically; this eliminates tedious expense report filing, streamlines approvals, and helps accelerate reimbursement.
Employees will have a touchless mobile experience that will reduce reimbursement cycles. Notification of charges will go to the employee's phone. If the amount is within company policy, no action is needed. A background process for reimbursement is automatic.
The FedEx integration appeared to still be in the planning phase. The FedEx Compatible program will enable Oracle Cloud ERP customers to access native onboarding, real-time rate quoting, shipping, and tracking capabilities.
In the future, the integration will deliver advanced capabilities to help optimize logistics operations to reduce delivery costs and improve performance.
FedEx and J.P. Morgan are just the start of a long line of ecosystem partners. I am expecting new partners on a quarterly basis.
The business-to-consumer (B2C) experiences we enjoy in our daily lives have changed expectations for business-to-business (B2B) and the expectations of working with suppliers and partners. Right now, the B2B experience is sadly lacking, and Oracle is moving with B2B Commerce to change the status quo.
Connecting business partners enables real-time information exchange, reduces misunderstandings and errors, and improves efficiency. The back-end ERP system becomes the platform that connects the ecosystem of front-end commerce, such as service providers, banks, logistics, insurance companies, and more.
The current customer base is forty thousand businesses across Oracle Fusion and NetSuite. Any customer in this ecosystem can connect directly to JP Morgan at the push of a button in a few hours.
Oracle plans to add more banks in the future, providing access to account balances, cash disbursements, cash receipts, and the ability for accurate forecasting and cash flow projections.
With this initiative, Oracle is reducing the cost of doing business and enabling efficiencies. The result will be better customer and employee experiences and the opportunity for service providers to innovate with new offerings.
As Natalia Rachelson said, “at the end of the day, it is all about enabling partners in the ecosystem to offer new solutions to the joint customer base ." I look forward to tracking Oracle's progress in building the ecosystem.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.