Oracle Emphasizes Cloud Procurement at Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018

Two members of the Spend Matters analyst team attended Oracle’s Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018 event in San Jose this week. Procurement received its own track at the event, and various Oracle procurement solutions — with an emphasis on the source-to-pay cloud offerings — were on display in the solution pavilion. We also had a chance to speak both informally and formally with different members of the Oracle procurement product, marketing and development teams.

For the remainder of this week and the next on Spend Matters, we’ll be sharing a number of our “softer” learnings from the event. We’re also excited to welcome Oracle as a participant in SolutionMap in the first half of 2018. SolutionMap will enable us to offer granular benchmark and comparative product comparisons across different Oracle source-to-pay components and the overall source-to-pay suite (for the Cloud product line) in the Q1 and Q2 SolutionMap releases.

In the meantime, here’s a summary of some of the major themes from the event in the procurement area:

  • The future of Oracle’s procurement solutions can be summed up in one word (and product line): Cloud. Cloud is not just for Oracle financials customers or those migrating from enterprise software financials. In fact, Oracle shared that roughly 65% of Cloud customers are “net new” to Oracle, and Spend Matters estimates that Cloud Procurement specifically is also gaining traction with customers that previously have not been “Oracle shops” at close to a similar clip. For a recent review of Oracle Procurement Cloud on Spend Matters PRO, see our 2017 Spend Matters overview and analysis (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3).
  • The rest of Oracle’s legacy source-to-pay product lines (e.g., eBusiness Suite, PeopleSoft SRM, JD Edwards) continue on and were featured (albeit less prominently) in the presentations and kiosks that Oracle opted to focus on at the event. Spend Matters believes the level of innovation/enhancement within the Cloud product line, however, is outpacing these solutions areas. Oracle is honoring its “Apps Unlimited” promise to continue to support these product lines, and in one presentation at the event, Oracle noted that it plans to fully support eBusiness Suite at least until 2030. We hope to eventually include these solution lines in the SolutionMap source-to-pay benchmark given their continued availability.
  • Oracle is making investments in a range disruptive technologies that are already starting to work their way into different components of both production and planned product releases. For example, both blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) feature prominently in Oracle’s roadmap for procurement. With blockchain, in particular, Oracle appears to be as far along as any best-of-breed procurement technology vendor — if not ahead of the pack — in fleshing out use cases and offerings.

  • Oracle’s supplier network strategy remains “agnostic” in the words of Tom Anthony, vice president of procurement product strategy. Anthony noted that Oracle will continue to support the Oracle Supplier Network (OSN) but he does not see Oracle “doing more than we’ve been doing.” Rather, Oracle wants to foster integration and interoperability with other networks, as customers require it, and offer the OSN as one supplier integration option. Beyond transactional connectivity alone, Oracle does offer basic integration with Amazon Business today (for search), as well as Amazon and a range of other distributors, MRO and other suppliers that are already preconfigured to support transactional connectivity for free (for both buyers and suppliers) via the OSN.
  • Oracle is is extending its Cloud into a platform as a service (PaaS) environment. While PaaS is not the primary emphasis of Oracle’s Cloud Procurement Strategy — modular application build out is the focus — Oracle is quietly doing more with PaaS generally than many of its peers in the procurement technology sector. This is due to the broader investments Oracle is making in its Cloud Marketplace. (Incidentally, type in “procurement” and check out the various applications that come up when you search.) Oracle told Spend Matters that it personally approves all procurement application proposals submitted to its “app store” team to make sure suggested third-party applications are not on Oracle’s own near-term development roadmap, so as not to discourage partners from building apps.

Stay tuned for additional coverage of Oracle’s Modern Supply Chain Experience 2018 in the days to come, including a deeper analysis on Spend Matters PRO focused on Oracle’s Cloud procurement suite and modular strategy, as well as Oracle’s plans for its roadmap, blockchain and more.

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