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Oracle adds supply chain application to analytics suite

The tech giant added a prebuilt SaaS application for supply chain management to its set of Fusion Cloud applications. Other Fusion Cloud apps collect and monitor ERP and HR data.

Oracle unveiled a new prebuilt SaaS capability that will enable Oracle Analytics Cloud customers to monitor supply chain key performance indicators to better detect, understand and resolve potential problems.

Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (SCM) Analytics joins Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Oracle Fusion Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM) Analytics as prebuilt Oracle Analytics Cloud applications designed for specific applications.

Oracle Analytics Cloud is the business intelligence portion of tech giant Oracle's analytics platform, which was revamped in 2019 to pare 18 products down to three. In addition to Oracle Analytics Cloud, the Oracle analytics platform includes Oracle Analytics Server and Oracle Fusion Analytics Warehouse.

Oracle -- now based in Austin, Texas, after moving from its longtime headquarters in Redwood City, Calif. -- revealed Fusion Cloud SCM during a live virtual presentation on Nov. 2.

The tool is now generally available.

"Data is the most valuable asset any organization possesses," T.K. Anand, senior vice president of analytics at Oracle, said during the presentation. "It's growing at a tremendous pace, and … organizations' ability to bring it together and turn it into actionable insight will be the key to achieving business transformation in this digital age."

T.K. Anand, senior vice president of analytics at Oracle
T.K. Anand, senior vice president of analytics at Oracle, speaks during a virtual presentation to introduce new Oracle analytics capabilities.

The Fusion Analytics applications enable organizations to bring their data together, pulling data from disparate sources and joining it in the Fusion Analytics Warehouse, he continued. He noted that Oracle launched Fusion ERP Analytics in 2019 and then Fusion HCM Analytics in 2020, and since then, both products have been rapidly evolving.

"Now, we announce the general availability of Fusion SCM Analytics, and as with the other application pillars, we'll be rapidly enhancing it with new features and capabilities every quarter," Anand said.

Supply chain insight

Fusion Cloud SCM comes with prebuilt KPIs, metrics and dashboards that are ready to use immediately.

It enables customers to gain better visibility into the performance of their supply chains with KPI dashboards, correlates the supply chain process with business goals to optimize resources and drive revenue gains, and uses machine learning to help organizations monitor supply chains, detect potential changes and anomalies and reach insights, Oracle said.

In addition, the Fusion Analytics suite of applications enable users to interact with their data using natural language processing, thereby eliminating the need to know how to write code.

"Conversational insights -- the ability to speak queries and get results -- is particularly powerful," said David Menninger, analyst at Ventana Research. "Part of the purpose of packaging analytics into applications is to make them more accessible to the workforce. Conversational insights make analytics even more accessible."

All of [this] eliminates a ton of work that customers would otherwise have to expend, and it dramatically reduces the time required to get to a rich set of insights that might have taken months if not years to develop.
Doug HenschenAnalyst, Constellation Research

Meanwhile, taken in concert with Oracle's preexisting Fusion Cloud ERP and Fusion Cloud HCM applications (all built on top of the Fusion Analytics Warehouse), the addition of Fusion Cloud SCM further reduces the time it takes data consumers to reach insight, according to Doug Henschen, analyst at Constellation Research.

"The benefit of Oracle Fusion Analytics is not so much what you can do but what you don't have to do," he said. "Oracle Fusion Analytics are delivered entirely as a service [and] you can quickly tap data from whatever Fusion applications you are using."

He added that the machine learning and predictive modeling capabilities of the Fusion Analytics applications are significant, especially when combined with the ability to quickly access data.

"Oracle is also pushing into ML and predictive capabilities built off the same data foundation," he said. "All of [this] eliminates a ton of work that customers would otherwise have to expend, and it dramatically reduces the time required to get to a rich set of insights that might have taken months, if not years, to develop."

During the live presentation introducing Fusion Cloud SCM, Tom Cullen, CIO at Corsair Gaming, said that the company, based in Fremont, Calif., has been hurt by supply chain problems during the pandemic.

In particular, the vendor has been plagued by delays in the shipment of graphic processing units, and those delays have held 2021 revenues back by about 10%, he continued.

Corsair, however, is an early adopter of Fusion Cloud SCM, and the vendor hopes that will enable it to get a better view of its supply chain and head off future supply chain problems that could result in lost revenue, according to Cullen.

"All the analytics aren't available yet because we're an early adopter of the technology, but Fusion Analytics Warehouse is going to provide visibility out of the box, which we're really looking forward to," he said. "And as we mature on the [Oracle Analytics Cloud] platform, we're hoping to take advantage of AI by being able to predictively model, play out scenarios and make decisions."

More updates

In addition to the introduction of Fusion Cloud SCM, Oracle unveiled updates to Fusion ERP Analytics and Fusion Cloud HCM Analytics.

The updated version of Fusion Cloud HCM Analytics includes new prebuilt KPIs, metrics and dashboards designed to help human resources leaders better address the "Great Resignation" as workers leave their jobs in search of better-paying jobs and more flexibility.

The new KPIs, metrics and dashboards enable HR departments to keep employees engaged by identifying which ones are ready for new roles, recruit and retain top performers, and identify skills gaps to help employees grow.

The updated version of Fusion ERP Analytics, meanwhile, also adds new prebuilt KPIs, metrics and dashboards.

The new out-of-the-box tools are aimed at helping finance and operations leaders better understand project costs and commitments, track fixed assets, optimize spending and improve procurement and supplier performance.

And in the larger context of the embedded analytics and predictive capabilities Oracle is adding across other parts of its analytics platform, the new prebuilt features are yet more tools to simplify the process of reaching insights that lead to action, Henschen noted.

"The company has been very aggressive about hiding the messy details of data management, routine BI and analytics, and even ML-based prediction," he said. "It's just serving insights and recommendations up within the context of applications without a lot of fuss … and minimizing the time and effort required to harness and analyze the data behind these applications."

Menninger said he expects Oracle to continue adding to its Fusion Analytics suite.

"After re-platforming its analytics to the cloud with a competitive offering, Oracle has turned its attention to applying its analytics platform to the various business applications it provides," he said. "It's a natural place for Oracle to make investments and I expect we'll continue to see more investment by Oracle and other application vendors to package analytics as part of their offerings."

Steve Miranda, executive vice president of applications development at Oracle, confirmed that the tech giant isn't done adding Fusion Analytics applications, nor is it finished adding capabilities to those it has already built.

"We're going to keep building," he said.

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