OpenWorld 2017 in review: Oracle cloud offerings at center stage
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Oracle continues to push its cloud business with updates to Oracle Cloud apps. But the company is appeasing customers...
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who prefer on premises by enhancing EBS support.
Oracle has updated its Oracle Cloud Applications with Release 13 to enhance its capabilities in customer experience, finance, HR and supply chain.
Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud received perhaps the biggest face-lift with the latest release, as Oracle introduced 200 features and six new products covering sales and operation planning, demand management, supply planning, collaboration, quality management and maintenance.
The update, analysts said, reiterated how much of a priority the cloud has become for Oracle, not just with these updated cloud applications, but also with other services, such as MySQL Cloud or the Oracle Mobile development platform.
"One of the key improvements across the suite of [Oracle] cloud applications is better insight, along with productivity and collaboration," said Robert Sheldon, a technical consultant and TechTarget contributor.
"More and more, customers expect cloud-based services to provide ways of confirming how services are being used, what patterns are emerging and where bottlenecks might exist, along with other insights into the applications and users," Sheldon said.
A major challenge that customers face is the lack of visibility across its business space, so the latest Oracle Cloud apps update aims to help prevent business planning from being exposed, an Oracle spokesperson said. Supply chain collaboration aims to streamline a business initiative through demand, sales and operations planning, and supply planning.
Oracle EBS support remains
As Oracle makes an even bigger push into the cloud, the company also revealed plans to expand its support for its E-Business Suite (EBS) product line until 2030. Oracle said another major release of E-Business Suite is expected at an undisclosed time.
"While we are not announcing a date for the future '12.X' release, we are committing to support it through 2030 at least," the statement, released as a PDF on Oracle's website said. It went on to say that "this update to the Oracle E-Business Suite roadmap should reassure customers who run critical operations on EBS that their system will continue to be supported and enhanced for years to come."
For many EBS customers who haven't yet dipped into the cloud, this comes as a much-welcomed relief.
"Oracle's messaging and marketing is around cloud, so this is a question we get quite often: whether Oracle would discontinue its EBS support," said Alyssa Johnson, president of the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) in Dallas. "We've been able to reassure customers that are still using EBS products that Oracle is going to continue to support its on-premises products."
Johnson pointed out that while Oracle's tone of late has been focused on cloud, the company has also emphasized the hybrid model for its customers as far back as its annual OpenWorld conference last October, so it shouldn't come as a total shock that Oracle has elected to extend its EBS support.
"We [at the OAUG] have always had a close relationship with [Oracle's] product app teams, so we knew they were going to continue to support EBS even with their push into cloud products," Johnson said. "They have a team specifically focused on on-premises licensing, and it helped to clarify with our members that Oracle will have support moving forward."
Oracle's central app design
Earlier this year, Oracle came under some heat after it doubled its cloud licensing requirements for Amazon Web Services and Azure customers.
The emphasis for Oracle cloud apps on understanding work flows is central to its design, and that shows in Release 13, Sheldon said.
"Rising expectations demand that customers -- and, by extension, users -- become a more central consideration when building applications," he said.
In addition to updates to Oracle SCM, the company also updated its Customer Experience (CX) Cloud Suite, ERP Cloud and Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud. As of Release 13, Oracle CX Cloud added features to its Oracle Sales Cloud with enhanced mobile and data visualization capabilities, while Oracle ERP Cloud now includes more functionalities, including Dynamic Discounting and Multi-Funding. Oracle HCM Cloud introduced expanded user personalization and branding, as well as tier 1 localization support.
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