Oracle is promoting customer wins against SAP in the latest quarterly release cycle of its cloud-based Fusion applications suite.
Steve Miranda, executive vice-president of applications development at Oracle, is interviewing three SAP customers which have made the switch at the supplier’s Oracle Live virtual event.
North American railcar pooling company TTX, food and drinks company Mondelez International, and US supermarket retailer The Kroger Company have opted for Oracle cloud applications over their historical investment in SAP.
In a pre-event interview, Miranda said: “We are seeing a groundswell of SAP customers who are looking to make a move from their legacy applications. [TTX has] shifted its end-to-end ERP [enterprise resource planning] from on-premise SAP to Fusion cloud: core ERP, EPM [enterprise performance management], HCM [human capital management] and supply chain management. It had no Oracle footprint before.”
Bruce Schinelli, chief information officer at TTX Corporation, said: “We had a heavily customised on-premise SAP ERP system, which required custom code and third-party software-as-a-service apps for other functions, including HR. This ‘goat’s breakfast’ of systems required a lot of manual effort to use and maintain, so adapting to change or even keeping up with technology advancements was nearly impossible.
“Oracle Fusion Applications gave us the most complete modern suite of enterprise applications on a common data sharing platform, allowing us to concentrate on growing our business and not on the technology that supports it.”
Mondelez International, which owns the Cadbury brand, is “more of a surround move, [about] transportation management”, said Miranda, and the Kroger grocery chain has gone for HCM first, he confirmed.
“Gone are the days, in our product line, of an annual announcement of a big new product release – it’s quarter after quarter, speed and consistency of delivery of innovation. And we feel that is unmatched,” he said.
“We are seeing a groundswell of SAP customers who are looking to make a move from their legacy applications”
Steve Miranda, Oracle
This quarter, the supplier is showcasing ERP and EPM enhancements, he said, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) features.
The latest release detailed ML-enhanced intelligent performance management that would “enable finance teams to import existing machine learning models from third-party applications, such as those that analyse customer data, deal profile data, or other operational data outside of finance, into Oracle Cloud EPM”.
“This helps users validate and add context to plans, make more informed decisions, and more quickly turn predictions into business opportunities,” it stated.
The quarterly release also included financial reporting skills that would enable finance teams to easily manage account reconciliation, financial consolidation and close processes with Oracle Digital Assistant. “With the enhanced financial reporting processes, users can ask simple questions, like ‘What are the reconciliations due today?’,” it stated.
Oracle in attack mode
For industry watchers, the intensification of a competitive drive against SAP will be notable. Oracle founder, chairman and chief technology officer Larry Ellison used the company’s most recent financial results release to verbally attack SAP. In the financial analyst call linked to the earnings release, Ellison listed more than 100 customer wins from SAP. Among the companies Ellison listed were the UK’s “G4S plc security services firm, the world’s largest security company by revenue, complete replacement of SAP R/3 with Oracle ERP and Oracle HCM”.
Miranda, in the pre-event interview, said: “We see two things here again and again. All 8,000 of our customers are on the same release, with the same updates, whereas SAP has a hosted approach, with the on-premise application hosted. And if you go for S/4 Hana, you will have another hop in your future. So, speed of innovation is an advantage for us. [And the second thing is] we have a strategy of unlimited support for the applications. SAP has forced the issue with end of support dates for its application.”
Miranda added that Oracle was being pragmatic with the adoption of its cloud applications suite. “We’d love it if everyone could do a big bang move from our competitor to Oracle, as with TTX. But pragmatically, that does not always happen, as with Kroger and HCM. Others move in stages, as with Mondelez. But we are confident that if you try one pillar, you will get more.
“We [see] a lot of companies who want to de-risk and move pragmatically. Make no mistake, it’s still the faster the better. But we have to be pragmatic, especially with the larger organisations. Some customers want to try it [moving to cloud applications] and have some scepticism. Others have an end state vision but are pragmatic about how to get there,” he said.
TTX has gone big bang. It operates more than 165,000 railcars across North America, and has replaced SAP with Oracle Fusion Cloud suite. It also selected Oracle Analytics Cloud and Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse.
Vicki Dudley, chief financial officer and treasurer at TTX Corporation, said: “Oracle has allowed us to navigate unexpected changes in demand – spotting the drop in usage early so we could control costs in line with revenues – all while working remotely. The ability to take quick action based on real-time insights enabled us to meet our financial plan targets for 2020, even though we got there in some unexpected ways. With our old SAP systems, we just wouldn’t have been able to be that agile.”
Miranda added: “TTX plays a huge role in controlling logistics costs and keeping the North American economy moving. TTX is now more agile – with greater visibility of demand and more control over costs – so it can continue to serve the North American rail industry.”