Covid-torn supply chains speed cloud adoption, says Oracle’s Miranda

Second wave of pandemic has seen some Oracle customers speed up adoption and others attend to some enterprise software housekeeping

Oracle is introducing some new elements to its Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (SCM) application at its Oracle Live event today.

Presiding at the event will be Steve Miranda, executive vice-president, applications development, who leads Oracle applications development globally.

Miranda told Computer Weekly in a briefing ahead of the event that the supplier’s customers have been speeding up “go-lives” during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, across the board. But in technology and financial services, “companies have actually accelerated and their business has sped up”, he said. “The need to fulfil demand or need to get new systems out has increased [pace].”

Miranda mentioned supply chain companies as accelerating in adopting more of Oracle’s software as a service applications functionality in response to the second wave of the pandemic. “Whether it’s Federal Express or Unilever – companies of that sort have also seen either an acceleration or an increased demand in certain areas, driven from the pandemic,” he said.

However, he also noted that other Oracle customers have used the pandemic period to do some house cleaning, and here he cited Marriott. “They’ve seen a slowdown in terms of their overall business,” he said. “Travel and hospitality has been impacted by the pandemic. So, they have used the time to get some new systems in place, to improve their infrastructure.

“In Marriott’s case, there was a go-live across the board in HR. Given that they didn’t have a lot of other things going on in the business, they were able to focus on some of the infrastructure assignments.”

In terms of Oracle’s supply chain technology delivered as software as a service (SaaS), Miranda said the pandemic has accelerated adoption for certain industries. “That’s not only about new features, but in the supply chain product itself,” he said. “Clearly, we are seeing companies taking lessons learned from the pandemic and trying to eliminate single-source bottlenecks from their supply chain, including single-source geographies for their supply chains.

“And so products like supply chain planning, transportation planning and global trade management, while those are not new products, are seeing increased interest and adoption because of the pandemic. There are lessons learned and changes people either have had to make or are making proactively to make their supply chains more robust. That’s been where the biggest change was.”

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In a statement to coincide with Oracle Live, the supplier said the new features in Oracle Cloud SCM will “help customers orchestrate frictionless operations, plan and execute perfect deliveries, and increase operational efficiency”. 

Among the new tools the supplier has added are what it describes as a new order management capability, whereby users can “move on to other tasks while large orders process in the background and execute secure and fast credit card payments for sales orders”.

In terms of procurement, it said: “New auction prebids help suppliers better prepare for negotiations; master contract variables improve the accuracy of contract information; and expanded purchase order distribution capabilities will help customers collaborate more effectively.”

Oracle said it has also added new logistics capabilities to help organisations plan and adapt to disruptions. These include Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) machine learning capabilities that it said helps customers to predict transit times accurately, reduce costs associated with unplanned delays, and increase logistics efficiency.

Another machine learning feature is Oracle IoT Fleet Monitoring, which is said to improve accuracy and deliver cost savings by “applying feature-based machine learning on OTM data to determine insights and predict transit times for planned shipments”.

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