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The Supply Chain Management Blog covers the latest in SCM strategy, technology, and innovation.

  • October 8, 2018

Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference 2018: A Review

Guest Author

By Charles Karren, Senior Director, Analyst Relations

Oracle was honored to be a part of one of the leading supply chain conferences of the year: the Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference (GSCES) in London.

The event showcased Oracle’s leadership including a keynote by Jon Chorley, Chief Sustainability Officer & Group Vice President, Supply Chain Management Product Strategy.  Mr. Chorley spoke about  “Tomorrow’s Supply Chain, Today: Making it Real” and how Oracle SCM Cloud is helping companies establish a platform for continuous growth and supply chain innovation.

This year was compelling because the conference showed exactly how much and how far the supply chain world has come in embracing digital transformation. There was a sense that the supply chain industry has finally pivoted and is ready to meet the challenges of a new digital economy head on.

Gartner MQ for WMS 2018

While the expanding roles of artificial intelligence, blockchain, and big data continue to be imagination drivers in the world – more and more use cases are being illustrated. Panels and vendors who could show how emerging technology can help with predictive analytics in manufacturing and logistics were popular, but this year there was also a lot of conversation around people and how to optimize them and get them to work together to use the technology.

One of the more interesting ideas to come out of the conference this year is the idea that technology – while important and the enabler of change – is still only a tool for PEOPLE to use.  If people aren’t comfortable using technology or changing their approach then all the gadgets and bells and whistles in the world aren’t going to help a product get somewhere in time.

Supply chains need plasticity at the people level as much as at the data level, and it was refreshing to hear panels and hear people talking about Agile teams and Scrums in a way I hadn’t really heard before. An outsider might think this is a few years late, but I think it shows the Supply Chain world has finally gotten on board with the realities of the digital world and is finally ready to step up.

This year’s conference was interesting in that it was generally agreed that high visibility and elastic, end-to-end, scalable technology that is highly reactive to change – essentially cloud technology – is the most realistic answer to the challenge of successfully conducting modern digital business.

Gartner MQ for TMS 2018

Once again there was no shortage of cloud vendors at the conference this year. Per usual they showcased all sorts of solutions to the supply chain community, and per usual these products were mostly one offs. Single point solutions solving a single problem and trumpeting their integration schemes – as if those aren’t just table stakes anywhere. The fact is all of this single point software will require huge investments in time and money to keep them integrated and working as a single environment.

I suppose a company could build an end-to-end solution from a patchwork of products, but that seems like headache to maintain and control. It seems inflexible. The more points there are to touch and manage the easier the chance the whole thing could break down.  And sure, I understand that everything comes with support, but is a company going to have to hire someone just to manage all those trouble tickets?

It may seem self-serving, but the only cloud-based end-to-end supply chain solution on the market is Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud. One Company. One Cloud Platform. And one set of tools that allows businesses to manage their data within the supply chain and then across their business.

A business can have tomorrow’s supply chain, today, and they can connect it to their entire organization – finally turning that cost center into a business partner. That’s how you enable business teams. Connect them seamlessly.

We hammered the idea over and over -- overarching cloud architecture embedded in business architecture is the key to truly meeting the demands of the marketplace.

See you next year in Barcelona.

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