2020.10.1:Pivot Forward: Oracle Live 2020 Event (A CIMdata Highlight)

Oracle convened Oracle Live 2020, a series of focused virtual sessions that replace their Oracle OpenWorld 2020 in-person event. CIMdata had the pleasure of attending the Oracle Live: Cloud Applications sessions on September 29, including an analyst-only Q&A session with Mr. Steven Miranda, Oracle Executive Vice President for Applications. 

Oracle started their cloud journey with their Fusion initiative to bring together the many leading enterprise applications Oracle acquired in the first decade of the 21st century. In 2012, they rebranded their initiative as the basis of their Cloud portfolio. In the product lifecycle management (PLM) segment they systematically built their Oracle Cloud PLM portfolio on the roots of one of their first Fusion applications, Oracle Product Hub Cloud.1 They started with the “enterprise product record” data structure from Oracle Product Hub Cloud and expanded it as they built out their cloud PLM offerings. 

Mr. Miranda emphasized that many drivers and customer needs that were once “nice to have” have moved front and center. Support for working remotely, defining and implementing health and safety protocols, and employee training were a few of the examples cited in his remarks. In some ways Oracle, and the whole PLM Economy of software and service providers, have been preparing to support these needs for the last several decades. Synchronous and asynchronous collaboration are central to most PLM-enabling solutions. Many companies used these capabilities to supplement the more dominant face-to-face interactions that are part of the product lifecycle at many industrial companies. Today, forced to work remotely across a wide range of use cases, many companies have realized that their resistance to remote work was misplaced, as companies have continued to be productive during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Mr. Miranda commented that many Oracle customers and prospects have sped up their timeliness for adoption and deployment, often to support digital transformation initiatives. This is consistent with CIMdata’s experience in our industrial consulting and is strongly supported by other prominent researchers. This is also a partial explanation for the strong half year results in many PLM segments measured as part of CIMdata’s global quantitative PLM market research. Mr. Miranda emphasized that the way through the COVID-19 crisis requires more than resiliency. Successful companies will need to “pivot forward” to redefine themselves for this new normal. 

While this high-level session did not provide much detail on product moves, Mr. Miranda did highlight a significant organizational change that is already seeing positive results for Oracle and their customers. As part of a recent reorganization, Oracle put their Customer Success and Support organizations under Mr. Miranda, combining it with his development resources. Mr. Miranda believes this helps them better listen to their customers and deliver the services and software more quickly to address their needs and concerns. This makes a lot of sense to CIMdata. Their cloud solutions provide more telemetry (Mr. Miranda’s term) on their customers that they are leveraging to enhance their solutions. In response to an analyst question about the speed and effectiveness of this transition, Mr. Miranda admitted that in some ways it was still a work in progress but early returns are positive. 

Mr. Miranda also welcomed some of his team to provide focused remarks on their application areas and highlights from selected customers. Mr. Rick Jewell, Oracle Senior Vice President for Applications responsible for Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management solutions, reinforced a point that CIMdata has made since early in the COVID-19 crisis. More people in the general population know the words “supply chain” than before the pandemic and have a gut appreciation for its complexities and weak points. According to Mr. Jewell, there are new conversations in boardrooms about resiliency, sourcing alternatives, and flexibility. He stated his belief that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift from sourcing in the East and shipping and selling in the West. Now people are looking to make where they sell and supply where they make. This should provide opportunity for supply chain management solutions and the consulting help often used to reimagine those supply chains. 

The one big product announcement emphasized in his session was a major change to their user experience (UX) enabled by their next generation “Redwood” user interface, which is being rolled out to all of their portfolio, sometimes enhanced using Oracle’s machine learning (ML) capabilities. This is a welcome announcement, one that expands on the Redwood introduction at Oracle OpenWorld 2019. Oracle users will get a consistent, “consumer grade” UX across applications and platforms, with an emphasis on mobile and augmenting human intelligence with ML and voice interaction. CIMdata looks forward to seeing what this means for their PLM portfolio. 

Oracle Live helped Oracle pivot forward from their in-person events to supporting their customers, partners, and interested parties like CIMdata to stay abreast of their strategies, solutions, and customer successes. Based on these sessions, they did a great job taking the event virtual and are well positioned to help their customers and prospects meet their strategic objectives to remain successful in this new normal. 

1 Oracle is in the process of renaming their cloud solutions and some inconsistencies remain on their Web platforms. For example, their cloud-based PLM portfolio was formerly called Oracle PLM Cloud. 

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