Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain and Manufacturing has added new business intelligence capabilities for logistics and transportation management.
Available now at no extra cost, the new capabilities are aimed at managing the flow and distribution of goods, as the transportation and global trade functionalities are built on the same platform, according to Srini Rajagopal, vice president of logistics product strategy at Oracle. They include built-in BI integrations that connect applications on the supply chain management (SCM) platform to Oracle Fusion Data Intelligence and advanced Logistics Network Modeling (LNM).
"Companies have the ability to manage both the physical flow of goods and all the logistics that that entails, and also account for all the trade regulations that come into play when the goods cross country borders," Rajagopal said.
The BI integration enables customers to incorporate transportation and trade data into supply chain metrics and supply chain dashboards in Fusion Data Intelligence, he said. This provides a comprehensive and real-time view of logistics and trade data.
The LNM capability enables customers to analyze and design transportation networks and build resilience into logistics management processes, Rajagopal said. For example, logistics managers can plan for disruptions in shipping routes or ports by understanding available backup routes or scheduling options.
Other new capabilities include a trade incentive program to manage and automate trade documentation for country-specific trade programs; an updated Oracle Transportation Management mobile app to enable communication between shippers and fleet drivers while on the road; and a new configurable UI workbench that provides a single view of operations.
The new capabilities for LNM use AI and machine learning in the applications such as predictive estimated time of arrivals (ETAs) for orders and shipments that adjust based on network data, he said.
"When there are disruptions in your shipping network, it will adapt and learn and give you updated ETAs on your future shipments," Rajagopal said.
Momentum for cloud-based SCM
Overall, the new capabilities are not huge news, but they do indicate momentum that Oracle is building around cloud-based enterprise logistics systems integrated across Oracle Fusion Cloud, said Jon Reed, co-founder of Diginomica, an enterprise industry analysis firm.
Because capabilities are delivered via the cloud, Oracle can focus on what customers need and make it available in a way that's easier to onboard than traditional on-premises updates, which is important now for logistics applications, he said.
Jon ReedCo-founder, Diginomica
"Oracle is in a rhythm, and it's become clear that supply chain management, logistics systems and networks are incredibly complex and have lacked proper visibility historically," Reed said.
That's not good for companies in a customer-first world, because they want to be where their goods are so that they can inform customers as well as be aware of potential inventory problems, he said.
Having all the logistics and transportation data in one place -- or at least providing a more consolidated view -- is a big deal, Reed said. But on top of this, the new capabilities bring in AI, which can help with real-time supply chain visibility and improve delivery time estimates and shipment planning.
"All that is potentially a good story for cloud adoption in an area where there haven't been a lot of SaaS software applications operating at a global scale," he said. "Of course, customers should evaluate all their options before implementing new functionality, but having all your data in one place is huge, and Oracle can start thinking about inserting more things around next best actions, which you can't do if the data is siloed."
There are many standalone supply chain and logistics applications in the market, but Oracle Fusion Cloud doesn't appear to be competing directly with these, Reed said.
"If they keep on building this out, it's possible that Oracle can make some hay in the supply chain management business and sell some of these as standalone components," he said. "That's fine, but that's not the bar that they need to go for now. They have a lower bar, which is delivering the best services for their customers."
The market for supply chain and logistics management software is crowded, agreed Predrag Jakovljevic, industry analyst at Technology Evaluation Centers, but Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM can stand with any competitors.
Oracle Fusion Cloud SCM has what E2open, Infor Nexus and Blue Yonder have to offer combined, he said. However, the platform is not as well known, perhaps because Oracle mostly focuses on its own customer base.
"Oracle SCM is the best-kept secret in the market -- it has many best-of-breed features that hardly anyone knows about," Jakovljevic said. "Usually in SCM, people think of Blue Yonder or Manhattan Associates as the leaders, but Oracle can at least match them in features, if not in brand recognition."
Jim O'Donnell is a senior news writer who covers ERP and other enterprise applications for TechTarget Editorial.