Oracle updates Fusion Cloud tools as COVID-19 crisis drives interest in cloud

Oracle is updating its ERP, EPM and SCM cloud applications while highlighting how customers are accelerating their digital transformation efforts.

Oracle on Tuesday announced several updates to its Fusion Cloud applications, including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) and Supply Chain Managment (SCM). The updates come as customers try to modernize their digital infrastructure, Oracle says, in spite of the budget and logistical constraints they currently face. 

"The digital acceleration need has not slowed down but accelerated," Juergen Lindner, Oracle's SVP of product marketing for cloud ERP and supply chain applications, said to ZDNet. Customers, he said, "have seen how cloud can help with navigating the crisis." 

The tech giant's sales were down in its most recent quarterly financial report -- the result of customers that have had to rein in spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oracle's Fusion Cloud ERP Suite was a bright spot in its Q4 earnings, with 35 percent year-over-year growth. 

A number of the cloud updates announced Tuesday should help finance teams boost productivity and reduce costs through the dynamic changes brought on by the pandemic, Lindner said. 

For many customers, he said, "this is the first time they've had to remotely close the books. Quarterly planning is moving into weekly planning... The global unfolding of the recovery plans [means they have to stay] swift on their feet."

The new Fusion ERP features include: 

  • Predictive Planning, which gives users access to predictions at data load time. This can help them more quickly forecast variances, identify patterns and make plan revisions. 
  • Intelligent Code Defaulting, which uses machine learning to recommend account codes for payables transactions.
  • Intelligent Document Recognition, for the faster ingestion of information from PDFs and other popular financial document formats.
  • The expansion of Digital Assistant Skills for reviewing and submitting time sheets, and for tracking the status of projects.
  • Embedded Incident Management for more intuitive incident reporting workflows. 
  • Oracle is also introducing a Joint Venture Accounting capability into Fusion ERP, for industries like Oil & Gas, which often work with partners. The new feature automates  transaction processing and introduces role-based tools.

The new Fusion SCM tools include: 

  • Replenishment Planning, which helps organizations predict consumption and respond with efficient supply replenishment using highly-automated and customizable features.  
  • Backlog Management, which helps organizations prioritize backlog orders to ensure the most important orders are fulfilled first. 
  • Depot Repair, for managing the workflow in repair organizations. 
  • Channel Revenue Management, which automates processing and settlement. 

Spanning both SCM and ERP, Oracle is also introducing a Project-Driven Supply Chain feature, to help asset-intensive organizations (like automakers and other big manufacturers) ensure their supply chain strategy aligns with changing business dynamics. The feature allows customers to track project-driven material, manufacturing, and maintenance costs in one place.