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Oracle’s innovation in a new generation of Cloud Applications

Digital transformation is nothing new, and the most forward-looking companies have been doing it for years. Yet in 2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of transformation to unheard-of speeds. Almost overnight, entire countries and industries had to change the way they operated. The businesses that were already on a software as a service (SaaS) and cloud journey prior to the pandemic had a head start—and in many cases, they fared better than those that put off transformation until the pandemic forced them to make the move. Businesses today have learned that a new generation of modern enterprise applications is key to helping them build a resilient organization—one that can respond and adapt to sudden shocks faster and more easily.   The importance of modern cloud applications Research firm IDC took a closer look at modern cloud applications in a recent report, Oracle Innovation Manifests in a New Generation of Cloud Applications. Author Frank Della Rosa, Research Director for SaaS and Cloud Software at IDC, writes: “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.” The strength that IDC refers to comes from the common data model of Oracle Fusion Cloud Applications, supporting native integration across our Fusion Cloud line of business apps covering: Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management and Manufacturing (SCM), Customer Experience (CX), and Human Capital Management (HCM). According to IDC, “A new generation of cloud applications is intelligent, easy to use, and better positioned to meet the rapidly changing needs of today's IT and business buyer that expects a frictionless purchase and onboarding experience; a consumer-like, responsive interface that encourages user adoption; and faster time to value.” They are “smarter, are fully integrated, deliver faster time to value, and are easy to onboard and use.” With these capabilities, our customers are fast-tracking digital innovation in disruptive times. Reliable data is critical for decision-making In 2020, the world discovered that reliable data and processes are vital for survival—literal survival, in the case of vaccines and virus-tracking, but also economic survival, as we started to navigate the world of remote work and omnichannel fulfillment. Old business processes that didn't support rapid shifts were replaced with new digital processes, helping employees get access to the right data, at the right time, to make informed decisions and respond to their customers. Along with integration and reliable data, what are some other benefits of a complete, interoperable suite of SaaS applications? For one thing, you don’t have to uptake the whole suite at once; you can onboard new capabilities in weeks and migrate your line of business applications at your own pace. A complete, interoperable suite We often see scenarios where our customers have legacy systems from competitors and want to modernize and digitize key processes immediately. For example, SAP ERP customers often adopt Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) to improve their financial planning, reporting, and close process. Or they enhance their supply chain capabilities with Oracle Cloud Transportation Management, part of our SCM solution. This approach to transformation helps you meet the business's most immediate needs while migrating your creaking, legacy core systems at a slower pace to minimize disruption. (Learn more about our offerings to SAP ERP customers here.) Ultimately, as you transition more of your business onto the suite, you start to “eliminate the cost and complexity associated with a myriad of point solutions by investing in a platform that simplifies integration, features a common data architecture, and supports multiple deployment options.” That is a very compelling argument to adopt the next generation of application software—and be ready for whatever comes next. Read the full IDC report and learn more about Oracle's new generation of cloud applications. Watch highlights of our Oracle Live broadcast: Hear about innovations across our cloud applications suite from Steve Miranda, Oracle Executive Vice President, Applications Product Development, and his development leaders. Hear how our customers responded to the last 12 months of uncertainty by partnering with Oracle as their innovator of choice.                  

Digital transformation is nothing new, and the most forward-looking companies have been doing it for years. Yet in 2020, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the pace of transformation to...

Project Portfolio Management

6 Opportunities to Eliminate Waste in Supply Chain Projects

By Kaushik Sivakumar, SCM, Oracle, Product Management Asset-intensive projects are typically long-term initiatives that can cost millions or even billions of dollars over the asset’s implementation. During these uncertain times, it is even more important to streamline efficiencies for effective project management and to eliminate waste on highly capital-intensive projects. Some examples of asset intensive projects are nationally based cellular buildouts or a utility company’s project to install smart meters throughout a city. According to PMI Pulse of the Profession* survey, 9.9% of every dollar is wasted on poor project management, which equates to $99 million on a $1 billion project.   According to the same study, only 64% of the most mature project management teams deliver a project on time, and only 67% of projects are delivered on budget. When you compare those KPIs to low maturity project teams, only 36% of projects are delivered on time and 43% are on budget. Unnoticed Project Wastefulness There are many reasons for the excessive waste and poor project performance—a lack of visibility into financials for a given project, disconnected software applications, manual processes, workarounds to derive data from siloed information. Some traditional supply chain solutions provide data as sources for some of the project metrics, but they often don’t provide the detailed insight that a project manager needs to course correct quickly to prevent waste or knowing when to adjust supplies. Phases of a project Let’s dig a little deeper into the progression of an asset-intensive project, such as building a cellular network. Here are the typical phases of such a project: •    Quote/bid, initiate the project – This includes engineering functions, as well as negotiations, legal reviews, contracts, and project planning.  Depending on the contract terms, it may include prototypes of cell towers or suppliers providing quotes for other major physical components of the cellular network that are being built out or upgraded. •    Supply Chain Planning and Materials Management – This starts the initial phase of the supply chain processes that include planning, ordering, manufacturing, managing inventory, and transporting goods for the project. It also typically involves subcontracted services for specific aspects of the project, e.g. hiring architecture or site planning company, engineering services, or welders and electricians to help construct cell towers. •    Construction – Actual work of the project is performed at project sites. The project manager carefully manages the process, inventory and contractors to try to avoid delays and mitigate risks so that the construction project is completed on time and within budget. •    Transfer of ownership and service – Here, the completed asset, in this case, a cell tower network is transferred from the project manager/contractor to the owner. Depending on the project, it may be a private company or a public entity. And then, the asset typically rolls into a maintenance phase. At this point warranties, service contracts, SLAs, and replacement parts come in to play when there’s a hardware failure, upgrade or damage to a cell tower network. •    Capitalization, billing and revenue – The finance department will account for the receivables and payables, properly attributing costs and expenses to the correct project, and capitalizing assets. Common Challenges to Overcome What has been described is the intersection between projects and supply chain processes. Without an integrated solution, these processes can be a muddle of disparate management software applications, manual tasks, and cumbersome work-arounds. Add in delays in the timeline because of macroeconomics events, inclement weather, resource scheduling conflicts, permit reviews, approvals from cities or component part delays, and you could quite easily have a confusing trail that requires forensic investigation to see if a project is on budget, let alone identify the nuances of project waste and detect in-flight project scope creep. The Solution:  Six Opportunities to Eliminate Waste in Supply Chain Projects An end to end project-driven supply chain solution that integrates the six functions listed below can help project managers eliminate waste.   1.    Project planning—with dashboard KPIs to streamline scheduling and budgets for individual projects to quickly gain insight and track the progress at any point in the lifecycle. 2.    Procurement—designed for project-specific purchasing to ensure materials are priced, procured, and received into inventory according to the specifications of each individual project. 3.    Supply chain—with automated functionality to orchestrate a complex multi-project supply chain, you can set up business rules for project requests, orders, creating documents, look-ups and attachment categories, and replenishment planning with a dashboard work area to manage the workflows. 4.    Manufacturing—offering functionality to create work orders, review availability and pick materials at the project or task level, attribute work orders as well as manage inventory and costs per individual project. 5.    Maintenance—with a process flow to create work orders, issue parts from a common or project-specific inventory, the solution also enables you to purchase outside services, import materials, and resource costs, with all costs, resources, and details associated with individual projects. 6.    Finance—with controls to ensure that multiple projects, customers, and associated activities can be accounted for separately with visibility into costs, expenses, and payables. Benefits of a Project Driven Supply Chain Fully supporting supply chain processes within the context of a specific project, including procurement, inventory, ordering, manufacturing, shipping, maintenance and costing, as well as finance functions and project accounting makes it makes easier to gain oversight and take corrective action as needed.  When connected to finance, the project manager can gain visibility into how each project relates to the planned budget at any point in time. For more information on a complete suite of cloud-based applications, go to www.oracle.com/applications. For Project-driven supply chain information, go here.   *2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession Survey                    

By Kaushik Sivakumar, SCM, Oracle, Product Management Asset-intensive projects are typically long-term initiatives that can cost millions or even billions of dollars over the asset’s implementation....

Finance Topics & Trends

7 Ways to be an Inclusive Leader while Social Distancing

Throughout my career, I have always appreciated that people are the most critical resource and determinant of whether our initiatives will be successful. New technologies, processes, and strategies will only work if team members are motivated and appreciated. As we navigate these uncertain times, we must challenge ourselves to further develop and enhance our talent management strategies. Inclusive leadership is important whether in person or working remotely.  Being inclusive at a distance can absolutely be challenging, but I am confident we can figure it out. Almost overnight, many businesses moved to remote operations and began using web conferencing. YES! But, let’s not stop there. Online meetings are a great first start, but more effort is needed. For leaders who are accustomed to onsite employees, the dramatic shift to employees who are remote takes a shift in mindset. Many studies have reported that employees are actually more productive at home. I have been a virtual team member at Oracle for almost my entire career here, and I absolutely love that there is no traffic between my bedroom and office. Yes! If there is any good news about the challenges we are facing, it is certainly that my colleagues have reduced their commute by as much as three hours a day. However, one of the many down sides of mandatory shelter-in-place order is the anxiety and worry that jobs could be in jeopardy since “out of sight” could also mean “out of mind.” Fearful employees may even take extreme measures by creating and working on many “busy” projects and also by sending volumes of unnecessary emails. Avoiding and reducing this level of stress is why managers and leaders at all levels must develop or enhance inclusive leadership techniques to promote cohesion, collaboration, expectations, and cooperation as we collectively navigate this new uncharted territory.   What is Inclusive Leadership? It’s a verb … an action … in which leaders intentionally create an environment where the entire team is comfortable and confident in bringing forth their respective ideas and recommendations. This goes above and beyond usual techniques that focus on the outcome more than the process. In outcome-focused leadership, the team is almost singularly focused on getting the task completed without room for discussion about different approaches for completing the task or even evaluating whether the approach will yield the best results. Inclusive leadership means understanding the strengths of each person on the team and what is needed to maximize their contributions—starting with making sure that everyone on the team understands the importance of their role within the context of the larger organization. It also involves creating opportunities for team members to build relationships. This doesn’t change just because everyone is in a different location. In a normal work environment, effective leadership is challenging. But now, as the ground seems to be shifting under our feet from week to week, inclusive leadership can make the critical difference between a team that’s just hanging on and one that’s thriving. Here are my tips for practicing inclusive leadership: 1. Communicate, communicate, communicate Leaders cannot communicate enough when everyone is juggling different priorities at work and at home. Challenging schedules intertwined with work and home responsibilities, like managing children while working from home or caring for family members, may mean that each person receives communications differently and at different times. Thus, leaders must use all appropriate communication mechanisms at their disposal to reach the team—email, text, video conferencing, and chat. In sharing details about new business initiatives, strategies, customer engagements, or partnerships, leaders must carefully consider the overall communication plan to reduce the grapevine and rumor mill. 2. Provide clear, consistent communications In times of uncertainty, team members need frequent and direct communication—almost to the point of over communication in order to stay focused. In communications, please consider that if the team members know what to expect and how any news impacts them directly, they will be less stressed. This may include details about how the company is doing as a whole, how the team is tracking against goals, new business models, pivot strategies, new technology roll-outs, etc. Incomplete details and unanswered questions can escalate challenges and uncertainty. 3. Create frequent, proactive touch points to connect your team In team meetings, it is a good idea to build in time for short round-robin discussions to check in on team members, foster comradery and promote networking. Each meeting could have a different topic and team members can suggest creative discussion topics. Here are a few ideas to get you going: •    Mindfulness Mondays—encourage each person to share something they do to promote self-care, for example, recommending their favorite wellness app, online exercise class, or podcast •    Happy Hour Tuesday—ask everyone to share some good news … it can be work-related or personal •    Recognition Wednesday—each person acknowledges someone on the team who helped them recently •    Thankful Thursday—encourage people to share something they appreciate … again, it can be about work or in their personal lives •    Funday Friday—ask people to share something they are looking forward to that weekend Other ideas: •    Binge Mondays—what did you binge-watch over the weekend? •    Throwback Thursday—remember when … there were no iPhones, there was no email, there was no social media, etc. •    Reimagine Friday—what would you do about xyz initiative if you were in charge? 4. Share boundaries for the day or the week In the current environment, team members are juggling many priorities that may not coincide with the typical work day. If team members aren’t going to be available for specific segments of work day, ask them to share their availability by email or via another collaboration tool so that the entire team knows when to connect and/or when to expect a response. 5. Avoid accidental exclusion Inclusive leadership means no one is left out. This means paying extra attention to emails and posts that could unintentionally forget someone. For instance, if leaders hold a call about a particular topic, excluding someone from a meeting related to their responsibility only serves to alienate them and result in their worry about their roles. Another example is related to LinkedIn posts where the leader creates a post thanking specific people who worked on a project. Please be sure not to forget anyone by accident. Further, if leaders like and share posts on LinkedIn or other social media outlets, be sure to mix it up so you’re following, liking, and sharing posts from people across the organization. Optics are important. Trust me, team members notice if leaders only like the posts of upper management. A few unintentional slights like these can cause the team to feel completely marginalized. 6. Welcome new employees Usually when a new team member joins, they are taken around the office and introduced to all of the other team members. We can’t forget the benefits of a having a network and a few “go to” team members we can ask questions. In a remote environment, we must mirror this process as much as possible. Everyone must make an extra effort to get to know new team members by engaging them, inviting them to a virtual coffee, helping them get to know others in the organization, and also sharing context to get acclimated to the team as soon as possible. 7. Strike a balance between managing and micromanaging Demographic characteristics of the team must also be considered. There is a difference between Gen Y and Baby Boomer team members just as there are differences between new team members and seasoned ones. Each team member requires a different level of interaction, guidance, and autonomy—especially in remote environments where the inclination is to ask for daily reports and over-managing. And while it’s important to remember that everyone may be different, a new team member in a remote environment will require much more engagement than a tenured employee who knows the organization. At the same time, seasoned team members still need help and guidance from time to time. Although these team members typically prefer autonomy, leaders must not ignore them since there is a risk they could feel adrift within the organization. "Pay-it-forward" for employees and customers In closing, every leader has the ability to be an Inclusive leader. With intentional effort, leaders can enable and promote an inclusive environment in a virtual setting that is just as effective as the physical office space. I think the saying that “customers will never love you, until your employees do first” is 100% true. The benefits of new and strengthened alliances, collaboration, and comradery are well worth the effort. Customers and business partners will see and absolutely recognize these efforts. It’s a win-win! For more information about how Oracle Cloud Applications can help you and your team work remotely, go to www.oracle.com/applications. To learn more about Kimberly Ellison-Taylor you can access her Oracle Executive Biography here and also follow her on Linkedin.    

Throughout my career, I have always appreciated that people are the most critical resource and determinant of whether our initiatives will be successful. New technologies, processes, and strategies...