Orchestrating the Virtual Enterprise, Part II
By Kathryn Perry on Sep 18, 2012
A guest post by Jon Chorley, Oracle's CSO & Vice President, SCM Product Strategy
Almost everyone has ordered from Amazon.com at one time or another. Our orders are as likely to be fulfilled by third parties as they are by Amazon itself. To deliver the order promptly and efficiently, Amazon has to send it to the right fulfillment location and know the availability in that location. It needs to be able to track status of the fulfillment and deal with exceptions.
As a virtual enterprise, Amazon's operations, using thousands of trading partners, requires a very different approach to fulfillment than the traditional 'take an order and ship it from your own warehouse' model. Amazon had no choice but to develop a complex, expensive and custom solution to tackle this problem as there used to be no product solution available. Now, other companies who want to follow similar models have a better off-the-shelf choice -- Oracle Distributed Order Orchestration (DOO).
Consider how another of our customers is using our distributed orchestration solution. This major airplane manufacturer has a highly complex business and interacts regularly with the U.S. Government and major airlines. It sits in the middle of an intricate supply chain and needed to improve visibility across its many different entities. Oracle Fusion DOO gives the company an orchestration mechanism so it could improve quality, speed, flexibility, and consistency without requiring an organ transplant of these highly complex legacy systems.
Many retailers face the challenge of dealing with brick and mortar, Web, and reseller channels. They all need to be knitted together into a virtual enterprise experience that is consistent for their customers. When a large U.K. grocer with a strong brick and mortar retail operation added an online business, they turned to Oracle Fusion DOO to bring these entities together.
Disturbing the Peace with Acquisitions
Quite often a company's ERP system is disrupted when it acquires a new company. An acquisition can inject a new set of processes and systems -- or even introduce an entirely new business like Sun's hardware did at Oracle. This challenge has been a driver for some of our DOO customers. A large power management company is using Oracle Fusion DOO to provide the flexibility to rapidly integrate additional products and services into its central fulfillment operation.
The Flip Side of Fulfillment
Meanwhile, we haven't ignored similar challenges on the supply side of the equation. Specifically, how to manage complex supply in a flexible way when there are multiple trading parties involved? How to manage the supply to suppliers? How to manage critical components that need to merge in a tier two or tier three supply chain? By investing in supply orchestration solutions for the virtual enterprise, we plan to give users better visibility into their network of suppliers to help them drive down costs.
We also think this technology and full orchestration process can be applied to the financial side of organizations. An example is transactions that flow through complex internal structures to minimize tax exposure. We can help companies manage those transactions effectively by thinking about the internal organization as a virtual enterprise and bringing the same solution set to this internal challenge.
The Clear Front Runner
No other company is investing in solving the virtual enterprise supply chain issues like Oracle is. Oracle is in a unique position to become the gold standard in this market space. We have the infrastructure of Oracle technology. We already have an Oracle Fusion DOO application which embraces the best of what's required in this area. And we're absolutely committed to extending our Fusion solution to other use cases and delivering even more business value.
Chief Sustainability Officer & Vice President, SCM Product Strategy