Oracle adds intelligent features across cloud applications

In addition to updating ERP, HCM, CX and Data Cloud applications, Oracle is introducing subscription management

At the Oracle OpenWorld conference this week, Oracle is rolling out a series of updates to its cloud applications portfolio, infusing more automation and intelligence into ERP, HCM, CX and Data Cloud applications. It's also expanding its SaaS portfolio to include subscription management services.

By embedding AI into its SaaS products, Oracle intends to show at this year's OpenWorld "how we help customers change their business processes and business models, and help shape the future at large around machine learning, AI and adapted intelligence," Juergen Lindner, SVP of SaaS product marketing at Oracle, said to ZDNet.

The rising tension between IoT and ERP systems

The Internet of Things is the new frontier. However, generations of ERP systems were not designed to handle global networks of sensors and devices.

Read More

Within the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud, Oracle announced a number of AI-driven updates. First, Oracle is adding Intelligent Process Automation, which adds intelligent rules-based processing across Oracle Cloud Applications for the automation of labor-intensive tasks. It's also adding a new chatbot assistant expressly for reporting expenses, which Oracle says will improve controls and audit compliance.

Additionally, the ERP Cloud is getting AI-powered payments capabilities, which will enable an organization to make smart, vendor-specific offers. By assessing a supplier's profile and risk data, this feature will suggest offers an organization can make in exchange for early payment of outstanding payables. Oracle is also using supplier data -- as well as data about purchase orders, invoices, payables, and other details with external sources of data -- to offer supplier recommendations.

The EPM Cloud, meanwhile, is getting AI capabilities for performance management. By uncovering hard-to-spot data patterns, the updated EPM Cloud promises to help improve the business impact of financial and operational decisions.

In terms of customer experience, Oracle is rolling out CX Unity, a service pre-integrated with the CX Cloud to provide a single, dynamic view of a customer. It combines customer data from across an organization -- online and offline data -- as well as third-party customer data sources. Using machine learning, CX Unity should help create an optimal customer experience across touchpoints, Oracle says.

Building on its ERP and CX experience, Oracle this week is also announcing a new subscription management service. The aim is to help organizations take advantage of the growing consumer preference for subscription-based products and services, the way Stitch Fix has done so for fashion.

The opportunity for subscription-based business models is "broader than most of us currently experience it," Lindner said. As an example, he pointed to the car insurance industry, which can use sensors to track a driver's behavior for a subscription-based business model -- as opposed to the traditional fixed-priced model.

Oracle's offering supports subscription experiences that span sales, service, fulfillment, invoicing, revenue recognition, customer success, satisfaction and renewals. Personnel can get a full view of customer programs via rich analytics and reporting tools.

Oracle is also adding AI-powered features to its Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud, with the ultimate goal of helping companies build up solid workforces, reduce employee turnover, and improve the employee experience. For instance, the updated HCM Cloud uses AI to help recruiters consider a number of factors when assessing job candidates, such as a candidate's likelihood to accept, performance predictions and expected tenure.

The HCM Cloud also offers an HR-trained bot to help employees quickly get answers to common HR questions. There are also advanced controls, intended to improve the security of the HCM Cloud and data privacy, that use machine learning to detect access anomalies. The HCM Cloud also has new integrations with LinkedIn to assist recruiters.

Within the Oracle Data Cloud, Oracle is launching a new service to help B2B marketers reach more small and mid-size businesses. It enables account-based marketing for sales outreach to contacts at SMBs across 48 industry and sub-industry segments. Marketers can target audiences based on criteria such as number of employees, financial risk profiles, growth patterns, accepted payments, e-commerce capabilities, or past purchases.