Oracle opens up ERP app platform, updates Fusion Cloud offerings

Oracle on Wednesday said that it is opening up its ERP applications platform to customer developers and partners, unveiled new B2B commerce services, and announced a variety of additions to its enterprise planning management (EPM), supply chain management (SCM) and human capital management (HCM) Fusion Cloud offerings.

The updates, which were announced at the company’s ongoing CloudWorld 2022 conference, are meant to not only to enhance its ERP offerings for customers, but also  compete with rivals such as Microsoft, SAP, Infor and IFS.

These announcements come at a time when competition in the ERP market is heating up.

By 2024, at least 50% of existing customers of large ERP vendors will evaluate multiple vendors, rather than automatically adopt the latest version of their incumbent ERP suite, according to a Gartner report.  

Oracle’s Fusion Cloud service, the market research firm noted, is targeted toward upper-midsize and large enterprises.

The company, which has been adding incremental updates in the past twelve months, has been baking in more automation and analytics into its Fusion Cloud ERP and EPM suite.

Oracle opens app platform to developers

Now, as enterprises look to add applications to their ERP suite, Oracle said that it was opening up its applications platform to allow customer developers and partners to design their own applications for their ERP systems.

“With Oracle Applications Platform, we’re giving customers and partners access to the same tools that Oracle’s own development organization uses to enable them to extend and personalize our applications to fit their unique needs,” Jenny Lam, senior vice president of user experience design at Oracle, said in a statement.

The platform consists of several tools, including the company’s Redwood UX Building Blocks, a low-code development suite, a search and recommendation engine, a digital assistant, and analytics features.  

Oracle describes the UX Building Blocks as a software development toolkit that allows developers to modify and assemble UX (user experience) components without the need for lengthy software development projects, thereby saving time.

The toolkit resources include Redwood reference application, page templates, a component repository, reference architecture, and design guides.

The search component of the platform allows developers to integrate self-tuning search capabilities in applications, the company said, adding that self-tuning is achieved by the incorporation of machine learning in the system.

The components of the platform include a machine-learning based recommendation engine for developers, allowing them to create user interfaces that adapt to user needs, according to predictions of user behavior.

Further, the platform comes with Oracle’s Visual Builder Studio, a low-code development platform, and analytics components from Oracle Analytics Cloud, to allow developers to embed data visualizations within their applications.

B2B service automates transactions among Oracle customers

Claiming to reduce the cost of doing business, Oracle has added a set of services, dubbed B2B Commerce, designed to integrate and automate business-to-business transactions.

The company’s strategy is to bring together most of its ERP customers and build transactional connectivity in between them, if possible, said Natalia Rachelson, group vice president of outbound product management in the cloud applications division at Oracle.

In order to launch the new set of services, which will be offered via the Fusion Cloud ERP suite, the company has partnered with JP Morgan and FedEx.

“Oracle B2B Commerce will combine direct connectivity between Oracle Cloud ERP and service providers ranging from J.P. Morgan Payments and FedEx to other financial services firms, insurance companies, and delivery services with a unified data model and secure workflows to digitize the entire B2B commerce process for mutual customers,” Oracle said in a statement.

Oracle will work with FedEx partnership to offer an integrated logistics solution that they claim will eliminate the need for custom integrations and provide features including real-time rate quoting as well as shipping and tracking capabilities.

More advanced capabilities that look to reduce delivery costs and improve performance are already in the works, Oracle said.

JP Morgan and Oracle also expect to offer a mobile application for employee reimbursements and an integrated travel card.

Meanwhile, Oracle will work with JP Morgan to offer integrated banking services that they say will not only reduce time for deployment but also add capabilities such as understanding real-time cash positions and predictive cash forecasting.

HCM gets talent acquisition updates

At a time when enterprises are dealing with issues around skilled labor, Oracle has introduced a new talent acquisition feature, dubbed Oracle Recruiting Booster, that allows enterprises to improve engagement with candidates, build communities of top talent and personalize the hiring process, the company said.

Recruiting Booster, which is an addition to the existing Oracle Fusion Cloud Recruiting tool offered under the HCM suite, adds capabilities for hiring-event promotion, two-way messaging with candidates, an interview management streamlining tool and a digital assistant.

The digital assistant includes features that allow candidates to sign up for and check into recruiting events, receive job recommendations based on preferences and qualifications, complete job applications, answer pre-screening questions, and schedule interviews.

The assistant can also conduct candidate surveys to help recruiters better understand overall sentiment, the company said, adding that the interview management tool can identify ideal times for interviews that align with the hiring team’s availability.

In April, the company launched a new employee experience platform, dubbed Oracle ME, under its Fusion HCM suite to help enterprises with workforce challenges such as attrition in the wake of the Great Resignation and the pandemic.

Automation helps prevent asset downtime

At a time when enterprises are looking at ways to deal with economic headwinds, Oracle has launched a new service to automate the prevention of asset downtime, specifically targeted toward high tech and manufacturing industry sectors.

The service, which will be offered as part of Oracle Cloud Fusion Applications suite, will help enterprises predict and prevent asset downtime to reduce costs, and optimize service efficiency, the company said, adding that the service was pre-integrated with the Fusion SCM suite.

The services includes proactive monitoring and maintenance, automated field service capabilities, and capabilities for depot repair automation.

Under the depot repair automation feature, the service automatically generates repair estimates and authorizations while creating work orders and following the workflow to purchase new parts.

AI updated for Unity customer data suite

Oracle also said that it was adding 15 baseline AI models to its Unity Customer Data Platform (CDP), an offering inside Oracle’s Fusion Customer Experience suite.

As part of the update, Unity will blend these AI models with industry-specific data to deliver highly personalized, industry-specific analysis capabilities across sectors such as automotive, consumer packaged goods, communications, financial services, healthcare, and high-tech.

In May, the company had enabled the integration of data from Unity into its customer service offering, dubbed Oracle Service.

Oracle gave the following information for availability of the Fusion Cloud updates: the apps platform development capabilities, the Recruiting Booster, asset services for high tech and manufacturing, and the Unity updates are generally available now; the B2B commerce services will be available “soon.”

(This story has been updated with details for availability of the new Oracle software.)

Cloud Computing, Developer, ERP Systems