The official blog of Oracle Corporation. This blog shares News from Oracle's Database Team. They use this space to tell you the latest about the #1 database in the industry helping you optimize your move from on-premises to the cloud.
Last week, Oracle was named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 2019 100 Best Corporate Citizens list, which recognizes outstanding environmental, social and governance (ESG) transparency and performance amongst the 1,000 largest US public companies. Oracle ranked #41, up from #97 in 2018—a testament to the tremendous progress we have made in our global corporate citizenship efforts in the past year.
“Good corporate citizenship means being intentional and thoughtful about the value we generate as a company—not only for our shareholders, but also for our people, our planet, and future generations,” says Oracle CEO Safra Catz. “It means applying the same level of commitment, rigor, and sincerity to changing lives as we do to building cutting-edge technology for our customers.”
Here are a few key highlights from FY18:
Oracle made history by building a permanent home for Design Tech High School—a California public charter high school—on its headquarters campus.
Through Oracle Giving, we donated US$20 million to support more than 4,600 nonprofit organizations globally.
More than 25,000 Oracle Volunteers donated 100,000 hours globally to support causes close to their hearts.
We achieved 100% renewable energy use at 58 Oracle offices around the world, and were recognized on the CDP Climate A List for the third consecutive year.
The 100 Best Corporate Citizens ranking uses 134 total corporate disclosure and performance factors in several categories, including climate change, environment, finance, governance, human rights, and stakeholders and society. See the full list here.
We have a tremendous opportunity before us—as companies and as industries—to not only solve problems for customers but also to do something just as important—to delight them with our products and services.
What’s the secret for making this possible? Staying focused on one of our most important resources: the customer. My fellow senior vice president in Oracle’s user experience design group, Jenny Lam, and I are working to create innovative, customer-focused processes known as a design culture. It’s an initiative that’s doubling down on what’s been a goal at Oracle for the past 41 years—giving customers tools they love to use.
Executives at every company say they’re focused on customers—and most of them are, to varying degrees. So, what makes the most customer-centric ones special? They’re better listeners. They start by gathering anonymized, quantitative data that shows how people are using their products and services. Usage data will tell them which features deliver the most value and which ones need to be improved because they don’t address actual problems or because they fall short in other ways.
Leaders also take advantage of qualitative listening. They speak with customers through focus groups, sitting with them as they use the company’s products, or via other direct communications—so company personnel can add insight and texture to the quantitative data.
Finally, the best listeners take a holistic view of user experience. They monitor all digital and physical touchpoints with customers—from sales, marketing, and support experiences to social media communications. By looking at every interaction the company has with customers, they see all the opportunities for either delighting or disappointing them. From there they can focus like a laser on how to make all future experiences great.
Whether your company delivers cloud services or makes widgets, it will benefit from a design that listens to customers’ problems and aspirations, as well as their unique preferences and needs, and then uses these insights to think creatively about how to address them. In design cultures, product managers, engineers, testers, senior executives, marketers, salespeople, support reps, writers, graphic designers, and user researchers all come together with the shared purpose of better serving customer needs.
Here’s a hypothetical example of how a customer-oriented design process can result in an exciting innovation for HR departments. The onboarding process is a critical step when bringing in new talent. How well it goes influences a new employee’s overall impression of the firm and may even determine how long he or she stays with the company. But imagine the typical first day: Instead of diving into the job, an individual often endures hours of “hurry up and wait,” spending valuable time with paperwork and specifying what computers and mobile devices are needed, provisioning email accounts, and working through other logistics.
Now imagine an employee interacting with a chatbot prior to the start date. Together they’d run through resource requirements and configuration preferences so everything is set up and the person feels welcome and appreciated from the start. Quantitative and qualitative listening at a technology company can be an essential resource for producing game-changing chatbots like this.
Companies that listen to customers and delight them with the help of design will distinguish themselves in an important way—they’ll beat the competition, today and tomorrow.
Hillel Cooperman is senior vice president for user experience design at Oracle.
This post provides highlights from the recent release of Oracle Enterprise Manager, including management for Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Database 19c and more!
“With this new update of Oracle Enterprise Manager, we have introduced support for Oracle Autonomous Database in Oracle Cloud and other capabilities to enable our customers to monitor and manage their hybrid environments using the same tool they’ve been familiar with for years.” —Wim Coekaerts, Senior Vice President, Engineering, Oracle
A recent survey of the International Oracle User Group shows that most database administrators feel they are spending too much time dealing with day-to-day issues and not enough on user experience and proactive planning. With this release of Oracle Enterprise Manager, we are taking important steps to enable faster adoption of Oracle Autonomous Database for enterprise-grade Oracle Database environments, allowing DBAs to transfer their knowledge and tooling know how to efficiently manage cloud and on-premises environments encompassing Oracle Database, Oracle Engineered Systems, Oracle Middleware, Oracle Apps and Oracle Cloud.
Support for Autonomous Database (ATP-Dedicated)
The feedback from customers has been crystal clear—customers are excited to leverage the new Oracle Autonomous Database as part of their overall Database fleet and are looking to Oracle to provide the automation and tooling to make the experience seamless. The new Database Plug-In for Oracle Enterprise Manager contains everything you’ll need to apply your Oracle Enterprise Manager skillset to the Autonomous Transaction Processing—Dedicated (ATP-D) portion of your fleet. Stay tuned for more details in this area in an upcoming update of this blog.
Advanced Management Capabilities for Database 19c, Oracle Exadata X7/X8 and Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance (ZDLRA)
Oracle Enterprise Manager now fully-supports end-to-end management of customer environments such as Oracle Database 19c and the latest releases of Oracle Exadata. Available capabilities include all of Oracle Enterprise Manager’s traditional performance management capabilities, as well as lifecycle management capabilities such as patching, provisioning, cloning, configuration management, and consolidation planning. Oracle Exadata customers can take advantage of support for the latest Oracle Exadata componentry such as Cisco 9348 switches and ILOM 4.x. Oracle Database 19c customers will be able to take advantage of new REST-enabled Fleet Maintenance capabilities such as advanced pre- and post-scripting support as well as new Cloud Management capabilities, such as Pluggable Database-as-a-Service enhancements, for instance, resizing, data profiles, and Container Database/Pluggable Database cloud pooling. Oracle Exadata customers will be able to take advantage of photo-realistic Oracle Exadata schematics and advanced infrastructure telemetry for key Oracle Exadata components. And ZDLRA customers will be able to take advantage of updates to ZDLRA chargeback reporting and lifecycle features such as Database Cloning from Backups on ZDLRA.
Security Features: SQL Monitoring for Developers and restricted Database monitoring and reporting for Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance (ZDLRA) Maintain Segregation of Duties
The performance-related features for Oracle Autonomous Database, Oracle Database 19c and Oracle Exadata are especially useful when coupled with a new Oracle Enterprise Manager 13.3 PG feature that can be used against any Oracle Database – SQL Monitoring for Developers. This new feature, which will work against all supported databases, maintains segregation of duties by hiding information from lower-privileged developer users who still need to do SQL monitoring. For example, developer users can only see reports of SQL they have executed, or developer users may have access to views, but not the underlying tables. SQL monitoring of developers will allow more widespread use of Oracle Enterprise Manager inside an enterprise without compromising security. A similar security feature is available for ZDLRA targets, in which database monitoring and reporting is restricted to protected databases managed by a DBA.
More Security Features: RADIUS Authentication Maintains Operational Access Integrity, New Oracle JET-Powered User Interface
Additional security features in Oracle Enterprise Manager 13.3 PG include new hardening options such as, RADIUS authentication options for Oracle Database monitoring credentials and, importantly, the new Oracle JET-powered User Interface. We’ve updated all Oracle Enterprise Manager pages that previously used outdated, less secure charting technologies such as Flash with Oracle’s modern JET technology. In addition to minimizing security vulnerabilities, the JET technology provides more cross-platform support and better performance.
Oracle Enterprise Manager’s new user interface, powered by Oracle JET UI technology.
Features Delivered via Updates to Oracle Enterprise Manager Plug-Ins
Those of you who pay close attention to the Self-Update feature in Oracle Enterprise Manager might have noticed that we recently released several Plug-In updates in the Oracle Enterprise Manager 13.3 PG release – the above-mentioned features are delivered via these updates. Specifically, the following Plug-Ins are now available via Oracle Enterprise Manager Self-Update, marked as version 18.104.22.168.0:
Enterprise Manager for Systems Infrastructure
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Exadata
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Virtual Infrastructure
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Cloud Application
Enterprise Manager for Zero Data Loss Recovery Appliance
Enterprise Manager for Cloud Services Management
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Database
Enterprise Manager for Oracle Cloud Framework
Next Steps: Try the Dashboard for the Modern Database Fleet on Oracle Cloud
Trying out Oracle Enterprise Manager has never been easier, thanks to the new Oracle Enterprise Manager app in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure Marketplace, which allows customers to do quick deployments of Oracle Enterprise Manager on specially-sized Oracle Cloud Infrastructure environments. Customers can install the app (which is a full Oracle Enterprise Manager 13.3 installation) and then simply update the plug-ins to 13.3 PG and get started. See for yourself how powerful your Dashboard for the Modern Database Fleet can be.
Safe Harbor Disclaimer:
The preceding is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, timing, and pricing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products may change and remains at the sole discretion of Oracle Corporation.
If you're seeking to build a more insight-driven organization, you're probably looking for ways to extend and improve your business analytics. There are plenty of products on the market today, but the one you choose will determine just how well—and how quickly—your organization will be able to create value from data. To be effective, the solution must be able to support existing use cases while also allowing your users to connect, enrich, combine, and visualize data on their own.
According to Stewart Bryson, CEO and founder of Red Pill Analytics, that's where Oracle Analytics Cloud stands out from other cloud-based data analytics products.
"With Oracle Analytics Cloud, you get best-of-breed data visualization and cloud connectivity while still being able to satisfy your enterprise use cases—all in a single solution," Bryson says. "Other offerings, such as Microsoft Power BI, require you to purchase multiple products to satisfy enterprise use cases and perform just-in-time modeling. And even after you purchase those products, you might need to spend time and resources on configuration and integration before you'll realize any value from your investment."
As Bryson explains, "Oracle Analytics Cloud is built to address all the ways in which organizations interact with their data, and it requires minimal configuration compared to Microsoft Power BI. Oracle Analytics Cloud lets you connect to all Oracle SaaS offerings without additional tools—or extra work. The self-service data visualization capability is a quality solution from a development perspective, providing support for both cloud data services and the curated enterprise catalog that companies are used to. And Oracle Analytics Cloud lets you mash-up between those two use cases so you can prototype how new datasets from nontraditional sources might look alongside, or even joined to, enterprise use cases."
Bryson believes that this capability is truly unique, providing all the requirements and discovery processes businesses need, together within one tool.
Accelerating Your Time to Value
Having all of these rich capabilities available in a single solution provides Red Pill Analytics customers with immediate value in terms of time saved.
"Other solutions usually require you to implement and integrate multiple components," Bryson says, "but you can stand up Oracle Analytics Cloud in just a few clicks. And the service is very easy to provision, so you get faster time to value compared to Microsoft Power BI and other products.
"Oracle Analytics Cloud gives you the freedom to stand up a variety of use cases and new models," he adds. "You can spin up one service as a production environment, another for development, another for test, and other Oracle Analytics Cloud services for proofs of concept. This gives you the opportunity to test theories and use cases outside of production, quickly and easily. Trying new things in a protected environment in this way helps you get right to the analytics that bring value to your company. Oracle Analytics Cloud is designed for organizations that want to be data-driven, not infrastructure-driven."
Elastic Scaling Without Heavy Lifting
Bryson is certain that Oracle Analytics Cloud is also a step ahead in its ability to scale up or scale down to adjust resources for the changing nature of workloads. Paired with Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse, which is an easy-to-use, fully autonomous database cloud service, it dramatically reduces the time and money needed to scale. "You can scale elastically when you need to, without spending a large chunk of time on capacity planning. And you can easily extend multiple Oracle Analytics Cloud services for different departments or organizations or stand up one large service for multiple organizations. At the data tier and at the analytics tier, it's easy to take a snapshot of what you have and increase the size of the service as often as you want," Bryson says.
The Complete Solution for Cloud-Based Analytics
Finally, Bryson told me that Oracle Analytics Cloud is a great tool even if you aren't a full Oracle shop—it still brings significant and unique value. "With Oracle Analytics Cloud, you have the freedom to use other analytics solutions that you've already invested in—without needing to create an Oracle silo."
When it comes to agility, scalability, and support for innovation, the Red Pill Analytics CEO knows from experience that competitive offerings like Microsoft Power BI simply come up short. "There's no question that Oracle Analytics Cloud offers the most complete solution for cloud-based business analytics," Bryson says.
For more information on how Oracle Analytics compares to Power BI, check out this white paper. To find out more about how analytics can benefit your enterprise, visit our website and begin your journey into Oracle Analytics.
Rich Clayton is an Oracle vice president of product strategy.
Oracle has introduced Oracle GraalVM Enterprise Edition, which is built on the global standard for enterprise-class application development, Java SE. GraalVM Enterprise is a multilingual virtual machine, and delivers even higher efficiency, better isolation, and greater agility for enterprises in cloud and hybrid environments.
GraalVM is ideal for cloud native environments because it starts services up to 100X faster and reduces memory usage up to 5X by compiling programs, including Java applications, ahead-of-time. Fast startup and low footprint make GraalVM excellent for running microservices, Function-as-a-Service and service mesh.
GraalVM's core features include:
GraalVM Native Image, available as an early access feature––allows scripted applications to be compiled ahead of time into a native machine-code binary
GraalVM Compiler––generates compiled code to run applications on a JVM, standalone, or embedded in another system
Language Implementation Framework––enables implementing any language for the GraalVM environment
LLVM Runtime––permits native code to run in a managed environment in GraalVM Enterprise
GraalVM Enterprise contains optimization algorithms that seek out opportunities to accelerate application processes by rearranging compiled code. The addition of these, and other, algorithms typically provide an additional 20% application performance improvement, while at the same time reducing the memory footprint.
Path Duplication––specializes optimizations for each code path based on profiling
Advanced Vectorization––uses optimistic aliasing and high-level map/reduce/fill vector analysis to vectorize complex loops
GraalVM Enterprise shows up to 3x performance improvements on a wide variety of measurements in the new JVM benchmark called “Renaissance,” which was accepted at the most prestigious programming language conference—PLDI. The benchmark and performance results are maintained by Charles University in Prague.
Considering those issues, GraalVM Enterprise includes a “managed mode” for native libraries based on our LLVM bitcode runtime. Safe Mode compiles even those portions of the application implemented in C code to use managed memory, garbage collection and bounds-checks, which help protect against common security applications vulnerabilities like buffer overflows. In addition, GraalVM Native Image improves security by reducing your application attack surface by putting only the code needed by your application into the runtime, removing unused code that expands the attack surface.
The multilingual capabilities of GraalVM allow legacy applications to be modernized and new ones to be built faster. The open source library ecosystem for all of the supported GraalVM languages is available to your application, not just the one for the language in which you wrote the application. Legacy applications can be rewritten one piece at a time rather than all at once and new cloud microservices can mix multiple languages with no performance overhead. Developers can use diagnostic tools, including GraalVM Visual VM, NetBeans and Chrome debugging across language boundaries, resulting in faster diagnosis and development. GraalVM is designed to be embeddable in any other server or runtime with virtualized interfaces for any access points. For example, GraalVM Enterprise is integrated into Oracle Netsuite and the Oracle RDBMS Multilingual Engine.
The Internet of Things is poised to revolutionize just about every industry. In fact, in the Vodafone 2019 IoT Barometer survey, 76% of respondents who have adopted IoT technologies say their projects are mission-critical. The problem? Traditional IT systems are not well equipped to handle the massive influx of data that full IoT deployment represents. The volume, velocity, and variety of data produced by IoT networks threaten either to overwhelm enterprise systems or severely limit the ability to trigger timely decisions against trusted data. We spoke to Beverly Macy, who teaches at UCLA Anderson and is the strategic advisor for the L.A. Blockchain Lab, about ways in which blockchain technology could overcome these impediments to a large-scale IoT deployment. Here’s what she told us.
Moving Past the Hype
Macy is optimistic about enterprise adoption of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrency and points to research in multiple industries resulting in proofs of concept and pilot programs. “The cryptocurrency side of blockchain put a lot of excitement into the marketplace in the last couple of years, but now the real work will begin,” she says. “I think that that's what we're seeing with the convergence of blockchain in IoT and also AI. What is emerging is that blockchain might be (and I say ‘might’ because we're still very early in this convergence concept) something that will be integral into how AI and IoT evolve.”
Two Decentralized Technologies: Better Together?
The current model of IoT deployment is centralized, typically via the cloud, but that hub-and-spoke structure requires huge bandwidth to implement, with each point of transfer a potential data integrity and security risk. By contrast, blockchain’s shared system of record, hash-based security, and provenance authentication could potentially limit illicit access while reducing the bandwidth required.
At the same time, the ability to embed business terms facilitates automating transactions between IoT nodes and between IoT partners. This could also reduce transmission lag, particularly if the transactions in question didn’t require the computing power of the cloud to process. “There may be interesting kinds of applications that we aren’t thinking about yet,” Macy says. “The transition from centralized to decentralized is something of a cultural barrier to overcome. It's a complete upheaval in many ways. Does the enterprise feel like it's losing control of data because it's not in its own data center or in its own private cloud? Do we want to decentralize everything or just decentralize some things? Who's going to have access to this decentralized data? Who's going to own it?” Solutions to these questions will hopefully spur additional innovation in the space.
Enter Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning may help organizations address these questions while also offering additional ways to integrate IoT and blockchain technology. “The real challenge with IoT is figuring out, from this huge volume of data, what is the data that you really need,” Macy says. “It seems like AI can play a role there.” Using artificial intelligence, she explains, IoT/blockchain ecosystems could sift through the torrent of data to determine what information is critical to analysis and business decision-making, where it should be stored, and even what should be collected. “AI could potentially make blockchain more functional and much smarter. If it does, then that will be very helpful, especially with the terabytes of data that are pouring in.”
Use Case: Supply Chain Monitoring
One of the promising early use cases for IoT and blockchain is supply chain, Macy says, pointing to initiatives such as food safety and multinational shipping. “These are initiatives that are maturing as we speak,” she adds. On the manufacturing side, Macy has seen interest from the aerospace and automotive industries in automating just-in-time parts delivery to reduce inventory levels for automated assembly lines. “They’re beginning to have conversations with their supply chain participants about where to place sensors, as well as sensorizing cargo to track shipping.” It remains to be seen, Macy notes, whether blockchain will become a fixture within these IoT deployments, but the technology shows plenty of promise.
Given the apparent affinities between blockchain and IoT—notably the decentralized distribution of each technology—it’s easy to imagine a future in which blockchain could make IoT deployment faster, simpler, and more secure. But it’s still early days. Macy recommends that any company considering IoT and blockchain ask hard questions about whether these technologies, in tandem, will add value or not. In the meantime, she feels that an educated wait-and-see stance is appropriate for organizations not fully comfortable with the bleeding edge of technology. Nonetheless, the potential is still there for forward-thinking enterprises to devise novel ways to pair these emerging technologies. The question is, will your organization be one of them?
“Where are our best prospects?” the CEO asks the sales manager. “Two companies in our market are merging—how will that affect us?” the CEO asks a business analyst.
To answer these types of questions with enough depth to make decisions, management teams need lots of data that’s relevant to the decisions and actions the team must face.
What’s more, the data must be easily analyzable by traditional business intelligence tools and artificial intelligence. But simply having access to relevant data that’s accurate and fresh and interpretable by AI-based analytics is not enough. Business leaders can gain a competitive edge by incorporating dynamic signals into their applications to drive contextual action.
Dynamic signals are AI-driven insights that chew through the internal data and external feeds to provide timely, relevant alerts. By embedding these capabilities into enterprise applications, businesses can make the best decisions based on the available information and signals as fast as possible.
Moving to Europe? Let’s Find the Best Customer Prospects
InnovationQuarter, based in The Hague and Rotterdam, helps foreign companies—from startups to large corporations—establish a business presence in West Holland. The organization, funded by the Dutch national, provincial, and local governments and three universities in the region, provides information to help companies learn about doing business in the Netherlands, helps them find office space and housing, assists with hiring and permits, and even offers business-to-business networking and public relations services.
AI-based data analytics and smart signals help InnovationQuarter identify companies that might want to expand into the Netherlands, explains Chris van Voorden, director of foreign investments. A challenge: There are hundreds, even thousands, of prospective clients, and van Voorden’s 14-person team needs to find the best ones. But who are they?
One tactic is trade shows. “We go to those events, but it’s much better to investigate the companies that will be exhibiting or attending an event up front,” van Voorden says, to determine if they’re worth pursuing. That’s where the data feeds and AI analytics come in. And that’s where Oracle DataFox comes in.
Oracle DataFox provides access to data on millions of organizations, including most public companies worldwide. Algorithms continuously source, refresh, and analyze data, performing more than 49 million customer record updates per week to help ensure that the data is fresh and accurate. By providing data on company head count, funding, revenue, growth, and more, Oracle DataFox integrations within Oracle’s ERP, sales, and marketing applications enable improved AI outcomes.
“Now we can import these exhibitor and attendee lists into Oracle DataFox, and it will come up with indicators we are looking for in these companies, the right sorts of signals,” van Voorden says. “Did they get new funding? Do they have international expansion plans? Is something changing in their geographical footprint? Are they recruiting business development managers or directors for the EMEA region: Europe, Middle East, and Africa?
“Those are the signals we can get out of the Oracle DataFox system. This helps us to become more effective, because we know which companies to talk to. We also have the indications of what to start a conversation about. We’re saving money, saving time on preparation, and finding the right targets.”
The Best Data Is Fresh, Accurate, Complete, and Dynamic
The more of that fresh and accurate data, the better the insights. Take company information: Oracle DataFox monitors press releases, web-based information, blogs, and other sources of competitive intelligence on more than 3.7 million public and private organizations, updating much of that information weekly. That information can then be scored and correlated to help prioritize top sales prospects, identify opportunities, and warn of risks.
The smarter that data, the better. “Smart data is precise. It’s high quality,” says Bastiaan Janmaat, former CEO of DataFox and vice president of product management at Oracle. “Smart data is continually refreshed, so it’s not stale or static. Also, smart data includes dynamic signals, reflecting data types that are constantly changing.”
And finally, Janmaat adds, “smart data, with artificial intelligence, should be embedded into business applications.” Those AI-infused applications then “nudge” users with information on what they need to know and do, says Clive Swan, senior vice president for applications development at Oracle.
“All of our solutions are underpinned by Oracle’s smart-data strategy, which enriches first-party application data with third-party, web-scale, trusted data, enabling our AI solutions to make even better decisions,” Swan says.
Presenting the Right Talk to the Right Person at the Right Time
BrightTALK, which operates a library of 150,000 expert online talks on topics ranging from information technology to financial securities, reaches eight million professionals, thanks in part to its AI-based recommendation engine, which helps connect the right content with the right person at the right time.
Oracle DataFox is part of BrightTALK’s multilayered AI. “Oracle DataFox plays a big role in working with our customers at the business level,” says David Pitta, BrightTALK’s chief marketing officer. “It’s key to our go-to-market strategy and how we acquire, retain, and grow our business with customers.”
BrightTALK’s comprehensive, custom AI solution—Ada—presents the company’s webinars and videos to specific professionals. “Ada is constantly serving content to professional audiences and giving them the option to curate a unique experience,” Pitta says.
As professionals engage with BrightTALK, “our AI is learning their interest in specific topics and where that content fits in their journey,” he says. “This builds out the user’s profile and trains Ada”—to not only make better recommendations but also to improve the overall experience.
Furthermore, AI is helping make BrightTALK employees more productive, enabling them to spend more time on higher-value tasks. “Our vision includes the use of AI to minimize or eliminate the low-value tasks performed by our people and get their brains focused on solving high-value, complex business problems,” Pitta says. “The year 2019 is all about simplifying and automating our business.”
Simplification and automation: Those are benefits Oracle’s Janmaat sees as well. “Every customer is quick to see that AI, built on smart data, is good for them,” he says.
Customers often don’t need to get involved at the most complex algorithmic level. “What they care about is the output,” Janmaat says. “They don’t need to know how the sausage got made, as long as the sausage is delicious.”
But the ingredients are important. Says Janmaat: “It’s the Oracle DataFox code under the hood that gets all this data from all these different places and structures it all, cleans it up, throws out the junk, keeps the stuff that’s useful, deduplicates when we’re grabbing data from multiple sources, and then puts it all in one place.”
What will supply chains look like in the future? People envision unmanned vehicles zipping around crowded streets and overhead drones dropping packages on doorsteps. Whilst autonomous delivery will certainly be part of the future supply chain, the most meaningful changes are taking place behind the scenes: Modern cloud applications for supply chain management (SCM) are helping supply chains transform so they can flex and respond as new technologies emerge and customer expectations change.
Supply chains are the backbone of product-centric companies and have the greatest potential to affect overall performance, for better or worse. In fact, the World Economic Forum reports that 75% of manufacturing, logistics, and retail businesses expect a positive financial impact from digital technologies in their supply chains. We explore this topic in the eBook Accelerate Innovation and Agility Across Your Supply Chain, and this blog provides a summary about why and how supply chains need to change.
Data and connectivity are core to the ability of companies to serve increasingly demanding customers. Online consumers have come to expect personalized service and rapid response in all purchase channels. Similarly, business leaders want highly responsive and more agile supply chains that can rapidly process customer orders and fulfill them according to customer expectations.
What changes should organizations make to ensure their supply chains stay competitive?
Commit to Modernizing with the Cloud
Replacing siloed legacy systems and processes with connected cloud applications is the first step toward achieving an agile and responsive supply chain.
On-premises SCM applications are typically limited in scope and rarely designed to support fast-and-informed order fulfillment. As a result of their siloed information structures, users typically lack complete visibility into all supply chain processes and can’t easily share information among functions to allow everyone to quickly and easily adjust for changes.
By contrast, an end-to-end cloud platform of connected SCM applications creates a digital thread that connects products, services, and assets with customers, employees, and partners. The result is comprehensive and real-time visibility, communication, and control.
Let’s take a look at six characteristics of adaptive and agile supply chains:
Powerful cloud-based applications: Modern supply chains use cloud solutions to:
Work across systems and devices, so everyone in multiple locations can keep tabs on tasks and process hand-offs.
Analyze large amounts of data and provide rich insights to supply chain members.
Use social collaboration and mobile capabilities to streamline processes, work more effectively, and connect instantly regardless of location.
Integrated emerging technologies: Cloud solutions provide intuitive, built-in, and always up-to-date analytics. They also increasingly use advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Advanced technologies enable elevating levels of automation in applications and better business decisions through predictive and prescriptive modeling and recommendations. They also provide the foundation for companies wanting to take advantage of other emerging opportunities, such as blockchain for private trading networks and track-and-trace capabilities.
Easily accessible information: Cloud solutions provide up-to-date visibility into various aspects of the supply chain, such as inventory, order status, and shipments, as well as alerts about status changes that might negatively affect business outcomes. Cloud applications can also provide insight into events that once were hard to detect by using embedded analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. For example, fragile or perishable goods can be monitored for environmental conditions, such as changes in temperature and humidity.
Scalability and security: Cloud applications are more scalable than on-premises applications. New users can be added faster and without hardware/software requisitions. On-premises applications lack this capability, and this has limited how they can be used to manage supply chain challenges such as seasonal spikes in demand. With cloud, for example, a business can deploy a full warehouse management system (WMS) to manage overflow seasonal inventory and then turn it off once it is no longer needed. This was neither economically viable nor operationally feasible in the days of on-premises WMS deployments. Another benefit of using cloud SCM applications is that the data within the system is stored by the service provider in a highly secure data center; this means administrators can apply patches immediately to address the type of rapidly emerging cyber threats that can so quickly affect modern supply chains.
Easy-to-maintain and update systems: Businesses need to be able to concentrate on customer experience instead of the limits and lifecycles of their applications. All aspects of managing SCM applications are easier in the cloud versus on-premises: adoption, use, management, configurability, and upgrades. Using an end-to-end cloud platform also eliminates a common challenge of legacy applications where adoption of SCM functionality is dependent upon, and often subservient to, the core ERP. Many supply chains can’t rapidly change business processes or adopt emerging technologies because updates to their on-premises SCM applications can only take place once a major ERP implementation or release upgrade had been completed, a process that can sometimes take years.
An understanding partner: Having a cloud partner that not only has deep technical skills, but also proven business expertise, can make a supply chain upgrade easier and more successful. No two supply chains are alike, and a partner with a long history of architecting and supporting business solutions for all types of businesses can bring valuable extras to the table. For example, Oracle has a large installed base of SCM customers both on-premises and in the cloud. As on-premises customers transition to the cloud, they can sync data between the two sets of applications so that teams are working with the same information. Once in the cloud, customers can use anonymized user data to benchmark their performance against peers because all users have the same, standardized applications.
Say Goodbye to Yesterday’s Supply Chain
Customer expectations have changed. They want fast and safe delivery of goods regardless of whether they are ordering cheap household consumables or millions of dollars in industrial equipment. This disruption is reverberating across supply chains and requires change from the old SCM model to a new, more agile version that is connected, flexible, and proactive.
Legacy on-premises SCM applications simply can’t provide the capabilities needed to make this transformation, but modern cloud-based systems can. An end-to-end SCM platform, such as Oracle SCM Cloud, integrates information into one place and provides deep visibility and control, so that supply chains can flex to meet changing demand and conditions.
With an ambitious vision of “a world without waste,” Recology has its sights set on the future. The 100-year-old recycling and waste management company bills itself as a “resource recovery” leader, using new technology to sort and salvage landfill waste for compost, recycling, and reuse. In addition to innovative trash processing, the company actively provides outreach and education and works in the community to promote its zero-waste mission—with results that are transformative for the environment.
In its San Francisco headquarters, for example, the company worked with the city government in 2009 to pass the Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance, which requires residents and businesses to presort their waste into recyclables, organics, and landfill waste. As a result, since 2012 San Francisco has diverted 80% of waste away from landfills—the most of any major US city.
Such a forward-looking vision requires next-generation technology—not just in the recycling facilities but also in the back office. The leaders of Recology, one of the nation’s 10 largest 100% employee-owned companies, wanted their employees to have mobile capabilities to access everything from financials to human resources. They wanted to implement IoT solutions to better manage their 2,000-plus trucks. And they wanted to utilize new, modern capabilities continuously, without potentially disruptive and costly upgrades to their systems.
With these goals in mind, and with the assistance of Oracle partner Grant Thornton, the company upgraded to Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2 in 2018 and started down a path to digital transformation.
Recology’s roots are in scavenging. Its founders immigrated to San Francisco from Italy in the mid-1800s and became scavengers, sorting through trash to find items that were salvageable and reusable. Although the company’s name has changed through the decades, the descendants of its founders have long continued to be active company leaders, including its current CEO, Mike Sangiacomo.
In 1986 the company, then Norcal Solid Waste Systems, moved to an employee stock ownership model. Today Recology remains 100% employee-owned, with approximately 3,800 employees at more than 60 offices and facilities and about a million customers across California, Oregon, and Washington. Minority and women employees own more than 56% of the value of the company.
To meet its ambitious zero-waste goals, Recology continuously researches and implements new technologies for waste processing. Among its current innovative technologies are optical sorting, which automatically sorts plastics with an infrared sensor, based on their size, shape, and structure; negative-aerated static pile composting, a simple and inexpensive approach to composting large volumes of organic waste; and a landfill gas capture system that turns the methane gas generated by landfill into electricity that powers homes and businesses nearby.
In the back office, upgrading to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2 “falls in line with our company’s strategic vision to be at the highest level technologically and to bring new features and functionality into the company,” says Raj Uppal, manager of enterprise resource planning (ERP) at Recology.
Recology has used JD Edwards software since 1999, starting with JD Edwards World. In 2006 it implemented Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.0, which coexisted with World, and it stayed on that platform until its 2012 migration to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1. Now, with JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2’s continuous delivery model, the company no longer needs to schedule and perform major upgrades. Instead, it receives recurring updates to the ERP system incrementally two or three times a year and can select which new functionality to add.
“It’s not all or nothing. We can pick and choose which upgrades we want to apply, making our sprints to those updates smaller and more effective,” says Uppal. “We felt that functionality and the future that it holds add a lot of value.”
“Now, it’s nice to be able to say to our employees, ‘Tell us what you need, and we’ll bring back an answer,’” says Recology Director of IT Mike McLaughlin. “At this point, probably 99% of the time, we can accommodate whatever they need.”
Gaining Mobile Capabilities
Recology uses JD Edwards EnterpriseOne throughout the organization for finance, human resources and payroll, capital asset management, order management, health and safety, and leasing. With its 60 offices and facilities spread over three states, plus countless customer locations to service, Recology’s employees need to be able to access information anytime from anywhere. McLaughlin plans to implement JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.2’s mobile capabilities for the approvals process for purchasing and payables and potentially for time approvals as well. The finance department is interested in automating as much of its process as possible and having it accessible via mobile devices.
Much of Recology’s waste management work is done on its 2,000 trucks. The company’s 2012 upgrade to JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.1 enabled paperless fleet maintenance through the capital asset management module. Mechanics can now see their work orders in the system and fill them out, giving company managers real-time information instead of their having to chase down paper orders to get current information on vehicles.
With the new functionality of the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne UX One feature, users will have access to the system through role-based landing pages and forms. Recology was able to personalize these forms easily within standard applications, eradicating the need for customized applications. For example, Recology’s health and safety team needed a few changes to the fields of the JD Edwards health and safety module, which streamlines health and safety processes and creates one central electronic repository for documents. Uppal said the team was able to personalize the standard application by utilizing form extensions instead of building and deploying a customized application.
“Changing an application to a user’s needs became easier by using the form personalization and form extension user-defined objects,” says Uppal. “It simplified the experience of form-level changes and does not create a barrier to adopting future new updates from JD Edwards.”
Read the original post for more on Recology’s IoT-enabled fleet and the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Orchestrator feature to create actionable business processes.
Oracle understands the needs of businesses better than anyone. That understanding is reflected in the four pillars on which we built our second-generation cloud: enterprise expertise, price performance, security, and openness.
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With the strong shift to cloud native technologies and DevOps methodologies across businesses of all sizes, companies want an open cloud that offers flexibility and avoids lock-in. Oracle embraces open standards, so organizations can pursue the hybrid and multicloud strategies that make sense for them.
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Oracle Cloud Infrastructure is a complete and modern public cloud platform that features powerful compute and networking, and a comprehensive portfolio of leading-edge cloud products and services. We're ready to help you move your mission-critical workloads to the cloud.