Tom McDonough, Sr. Director Product Marketing
The 2018 Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference in May was a big success for Oracle. Over the course of the three day event, Oracle had hundreds of unique business visits to our product display booth where sales and consulting personnel presented much of the suite of Supply Chain Management products. There was a great deal of interest in the integrated SaaS platform for end to end supply chain management (SCM).
Oracle attendees noted they had received a much larger quantity of questions coming from partners, prospects, customers and even competitors about IoT and Block Chain than expected.
Disruptive (Industry 4.0) technologies like IoT and Cognitive Computing featured prominently in presentations. Gartner analysts recognized, many of these projects are in proof of concept mode with the top 20-30% of Supply Chain thought leaders sponsoring early stage projects.
Many of the companies presenting projects were engaged in Supply Chain Visibility and Collaboration Projects. I had the chance to engage with thought leaders from Walmart, Bridgestone and Western Digital on this topic. The benefits to their company in these projects range from reduction in operating expenses to greater success in managing the growing complexity in Omnichannel demand (and the resulting customer satisfaction benefits).
Also front and center with many of the Gartner presentations was the concept of the Digital Supply Chain. This was a primary driver of customer interest in the Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud. While ‘digital’ can be a catch all term, after reviewing my notes from several presentations on the topic it seems to focus customers on “Upgrading to user friendly SaaS Clouds which support mobility, omnichannel demand management and process automation”, very much in line with Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud. Often disruptive technologies were dropped into these discussions but, as recognized by Gartner, they are early in the “hype cycle” (3-5 years until true adoption at scale, if they prove valuable). This is not to say people aren’t investing, they are, and the Oracle IoT Cloud and its’ applications in supply chain management was a frequent discussion topic.
On the topic of the Digital Supply Chain, a growing number of participants are IT executives joining their business counterparts. Conversations I had with these attendees focused on four areas of interest – 1) is the Oracle supply chain management cloud a truly integrated user experience (yes) 2) What are the migration challenges from on premise? 3) What integration or data management products are available to assist a mixed environment or new project 4) How is Oracle managing the automation of standard tasks that do not require human intervention?
Supply Chain Management processes are increasingly becoming machine driven (aka Digital). With increasing data volumes and complexity in operations, customers are going to continue to pursue answers to these traditionally IT oriented questions when making their SCM systems buying decisions.
The main event for Oracle was a well-attended presentation by John Shorter, Vice President of ERP/SCM Transformation. The presentation provided the audience with an overview of how the Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud, as an end to end integrated SaaS solution, can help customers manage supply chain challenges and how Oracle is innovating to create tomorrow’s supply chain, today.