For most people, upgrading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems that support the core business and data is a daunting prospect. Upgrades typically occur when the current applications limit business processing efficiencies, decision-making abilities, and overall competitiveness.
In a past article, I described how Oracle has quietly become anessential cloud applications company. Oracle's success is due in large part to the use of a SaaS model to rapidly evolve the software suite with hundreds of new features delivered quarterly to thousands of customers in the cloud.
So why are folks moving to Oracle and away from companies like SAP per Larry Ellison in droves? This article will highlight the key attributes that make the Oracle solution so compelling, along with updates to Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (Oracle Cloud SCM).
SaaS applications deliver continuous innovation
The primary reason to upgrade is to be able to react to the speed of change. It is hard to remain competitive if your system gets an update every five to 10 years.
Oracle doesn’t share the number of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications customers, but it has publicly said there are more than 7,500 customers on Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Add applications for supply chain, human resources and customer experience to this and it would be fair to say that Oracle has well over 10,000 customers on its SaaS applications. These customers receive the same quarterly updates with hundreds of new features. As a result, SaaS they can rapidly adopt new features and functionality as it is release, which makes them nimbler than ever before. The Covid-19 pandemic illustrated the value of this point as business models changed overnight and organizations scrambled to shift business models, close the books remotely and introduce new workforce safety protocols.
It took Oracle more than five years to rebuild the application suite from the ground up for the cloud. Customers are certainly seeing the value of that effort.
Utilize machine learning and AI everywhere
Oracle continues to add machine learning throughout the product suite, particularly in ERP.
Oracle is extending the idea of a touchless office with new features for automated intelligent document recognition and intelligent process automation. When dealing with papers, you can use document character recognition to pre-populate and complete transactions. Also, using machine learning and AI allows forecasting in real-time based on a predictive model.
Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) manages all the transportation activity throughout the supply chain. New machine learning capabilities in Oracle IoT Fleet Monitoring can predict transit times for shipments, reduce unplanned delay costs and increase the overall logistics efficiency.
There are added capabilities around connected logistics, including monitoring goods and services to predict repairs or providing telemetry data for process improvements. Additionally, there are a host of features for global trade and transportation management. Covid-19 caused many organizations to rethink global supply chains, looking to remove bottlenecks or single source locations, which became problematic as parts of the world were off-limits.
IoT – go beyond the hype
There has been much IoT hype over the years, but there have been several barriers to broad adoption. The first challenge was dealing with analog "things" that you need to extract data and then feed that data into a data lake or data warehouse, build some analytics, and then figure out what the data told you and hook it up to an execution system. Initially, the end-to-end solution was not available, so it became build your own. Part of the problem early with the hype curve is there were data ingestion and a concept of machine learning, but there was nothing that put it all together.
The applications that Oracle is now delivering with improved sensors can now do something with the information, and I think it's just starting to take off. We went through the natural hype curve where it was overhyped before it was ready, but now we're getting to the point where it's ready and usable.
Integration between OTM and Oracle IoT Intelligent Apps uses IoT sensor-based monitoring to track equipment and shipments and monitor the cargo's condition.
Help is on the way
For current users of Oracle on-premises applications, Oracle offers Oracle Soar as a means to upgrade to the cloud, which claims to get customers live on Oracle Fusion Applications 20 percent faster (implementation in under 20 weeks) with 30 percent less cost. Oracle Soar automates the data conversion process and the build of integrations and includes training for customers who work side by side with Oracle Consulting during the upgrade. This training allows customers to seamlessly take control of the applications and build integrations once the applications go-live.
While the service is primarily for organizations moving from Oracle’s on-premises applications to Oracle Fusion Applications, Oracle Consulting has extended the program to include migrations from third party vendors. For example, during the pandemic, a large U.S. grocery chain saw a 92 percent increase in online grocery sales and the company’s legacy HR applications (Infor and SAP SuccessFactors) could no longer keep up with workforce demands. The Oracle Soar program and its promise to accelerate a move to the cloud made the decision to adopt Oracle Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) even more appealing.
While Oracle Consulting might appear to have its advantages, Oracle affirms its commitment to its partner ecosystem. There are many knowledgeable systems integrators for customers currently running competitive platforms to help with the migration process.
A healthcare customer example
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted most organizations but none more than the healthcare system. One such health system, Northwell Health, is just one example of the 750 New Customer Rollouts in the past six months.
Northwell Health, an extensive health system in New York, implemented Oracle Analytics Cloud and Oracle Cloud HCM for its 75,000 employees to optimize patient care during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Before implementing the new system, Northwell Health’s data was managed by individual hospitals using spreadsheets to understand staffing shortages at each hospital and unit. Not what you want during a pandemic when every minute counts. With Oracle Analytics Cloud, Northwell Health created a real-time-staffing dashboard in less than a month to provide automated insight into the complete staffing picture. The result was a more efficient deployment of over 700 agency nurses to sites where the need was most.
Northwell Health also rolled out payroll, core HR, benefits, recruitment, compensation, talent management, learning and helpdesk modules in Oracle Cloud HCM to enable one system of truth for Northwell’s HR leaders. Centralizing data into a unified platform has not only created immense value for HR, nursing leadership, and front-line managers but also helped Northwell’s internal agency manage agency nurses and control spending.
I have enjoyed following the evolution of Oracle Fusion Applications. The move to a SaaS model was significant, and the products are more comprehensive and feature-rich today, enhanced by the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.
After a year of disruption, many organizations realize that now is the time to rethink and modernize the supply chains. The latest updates to Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (Oracle Cloud SCM) enable resilient supply chains that support sustained growth and success.
The pace of business is accelerating, and the pandemic has just accelerated that even more. Customers who have moved to Oracle Fusion Applications are nimbler now with less risk to the company. A testament to the benefit of continuous investment through an actual SaaS model. Competitively, Oracle is looking really good in particular versus SAP who doesn’t have a cloud SCM, or for that matter, ERP. More on ERP later.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.