As we turn the page on 2021, all of us can look back at a year that refused to stand still. With the pandemic lingering longer than anyone expected, market disruptions continued to find their way into every aspect of our lives and businesses, upending supply chains and rearranging the way we work.
But in the midst of the turbulence, people rediscovered what matters most to them. Things like time with family and friends, a sense of purpose in their work, and a planet that will still be here for their grandchildren. More than anything, the pandemic accelerated the pace of change as organizations around the globe were forced to quickly react and adapt to radically new circumstances.
We saw how a new generation of modern cloud enterprise applications helped organizations build greater operational resilience and adapt to sudden shocks faster and more easily from a position of strength. For a growing number of businesses, Oracle Cloud Applications were core to adopting new capabilities that made change simpler to manage, helping propel innovation and accelerating digital transformation.
Oracle customer Kraft Heinz, maker of household brands such as Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, and Grey Poupon mustard, turned to Oracle Fusion Cloud EPM to quickly understand how their industry was changing – and optimize its marketing strategies accordingly. The company’s finance team can now provide faster and more granular insights on sales forecasts, actual results, and the costs of manufacturing and distributing its household names.
From parts shortages that snarled production lines to empty shelves that frustrated consumers, the year was plagued by supply chain disruptions that few managed to predict, much less manage. In a world of heightened uncertainty, resilience and agility have never been more important.
In response, companies adopted more flexible sourcing and distribution strategies, including shifting to suppliers that are closer to home. They realigned operations and supply chains to securely support remote workers and learned to engage with customers in new – often virtual – ways. Omnichannel ordering and fulfillment have provided alternate pathways to work through unforeseen bottlenecks.
These capabilities keep expanding as Oracle continues to introduce new SCM products and features, from project-based planning and backlog management to purpose-built IoT logistics apps, integrated geofencing technologies, connected wearables, and much more.
Fast-growing restaurant chain Chipotle is keeping its profit-engine humming with a cloud-based financial system based on Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP. Oracle was the perfect solution to help Chipotle pivot its business when the pandemic hit, helping the fresh-ingredient restaurant chain accelerate the move to digital and online ordering services. Oracle Cloud ERP also gave the brand clearer visibility into its supply chain – all the way down to the farm level – and helped it become more responsive to changing conditions with more precise forecasts.
This year, we have continued to see companies shy away from fossil fuels and other non-renewables and upping their investments in ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) initiatives. Increasingly sustainability is becoming a requirement of businesses as they deal with customers, regulators, and society as a whole.
For years, Oracle is making sustainability an intrinsic part of its conversations with customers across every part of their business, from manufacturing and product design to planning, logistics and more. When done right, embracing sustainability and ethical business practices can be good for the business, generating cost savings, efficiencies and brand equity that can be truly transformative.
This year, we celebrated all of the sustainability initiatives our customers have driven using Oracle technologies. Among these environmental standouts are food packagers seeking to decarbonize their supply chain, automakers looking at ways to use less and cleaner energy, and iconic consumer brands like Unilever cutting emission with optimized logistics solution. Thousands more customers can share similar successes.
Tetra Pak, a Swedish company that produces innovative and environmentally friendly packaging, is striving to become carbon neutral by 2030. Oracle is part of the company’s sustainability game plan with Tetra Pak deploying Oracle Transportation Management to consolidate freight operations, optimize vehicle utilization, and gain the visibility to shrink its environmental footprint practically to zero.
It was a uphill struggle for many global workforces this year, with pandemic-fueled employee turnover and staff shortages hitting record highs -- part of a phenomenon many have dubbed the Great Resignation. The rush is on to find the human resources needed to fill in the gaps, and many are turning to Oracle for sourcing strategies that can attract top talent with the right skillsets though the right channels.
COVID took a toll on employees this year, with many stay-at-home workers logging in more work hours and enduring higher levels of stress. Leadership teams are under pressure to learn how to keep their staff mentally fresh and motivated. To avoid employee burnout, one strategy is to approach work like a champion cyclist, balancing intensive training with well-deserved rest.
Meanwhile, as vaccines flash a green light for many to return to work, more people are looking forward to resuming life in the “new normal.” But the transition to the post-covid workplace is complicated by new rules and practices. HR teams can help make this journey smoother with the Oracle Digital Assistant making verifying vaccination status and other declarations quick and easy.
This past year, we were reminded that innovation, perhaps more than anything else, is the real engine of success for businesses. Yet maintaining leadership in innovation is really tough, especially if you’re stuck with aging business systems that make it hard to access critical data to bring new ideas to market quickly. Oracle is helping enterprises jump start and sustain innovation by unifying their data and processes on a single “platform for innovation.”
Having built-in analytics, internet-of-things, artificial intelligence, and digital twin capabilities can help companies innovate and go to market faster while ensuring high-quality products. It’s no surprise that AI is become the decisive factor for businesses choosing a cloud provider. Oracle is a leader in this and other emerging technologies, providing an impressive array of IoT Intelligent Applications that connect data and leverage AI and machine learning to enable smart factory production, ensure perfect delivery, and transforming maintenance operations.
Not least, Oracle’s IoT Apps integrated with Oracle Cloud HCM has created a workplace safety solution that is saving lives by preventing people from making critical missteps on the job.
Iconic automaker Volvo turned to Oracle to double down on its ethical sourcing initiative. The company is working with its suppliers to monitor the raw materials that go into its lithium-ion batteries. To ensure that cobalt miners do not use unsafe or unethical processes, Volvo enlisted sourcing specialist Circulor to develop the carmaker’s traceability network running on Oracle Blockchain Platform.
According to a top analyst at IDC, “Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications characterize this new generation of business applications and cloud services that are imperative for dealing with disruption from a position of strength.”
Although 2021 was a challenging year marked by persistent disruptions, for future-thinking companies that embraced cloud technologies and digital transformation the year presented unique opportunities to innovate, grow and separate from the competition.
Joyce is vice president of applications marketing. She has spent 30+ years in the enterprise applications market helping organizations get the best results from their technology investments. Before joining Oracle, Joyce was vice president enterprise and supply chain management at Gartner Europe. Prior to that, Joyce had various consulting and sales roles at Dun & Bradstreet Software Europe and was a finance manager at Expeditors International, a global logistics company