Machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and other automated features from Oracle were the main attraction at the recent OpenWorld 2017, where the company’s ongoing commitment to Cloud offerings was evident with the new Autonomous Database Cloud. Here, we’ll explore some of those exciting developments, as well as what is planned for the tried-and-true Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) ERP system.
Inside the Database Cloud
Oracle’s Autonomous Database Cloud—powered by Oracle Database 18c—is a “self-driving” database that eliminates human labor required to manage a database by automatically tuning, patching, and upgrading while the database runs. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison referred to the new technology as the “biggest thing we’ve done in decades,” and Oracle’s marketing engine was in overdrive, calling the machine learning underlying the database as “revolutionary as the internet itself.” Ellison also said the new database outperforms Amazon Web Services in terms of speed and cost, offering to write into contracts that its bill will be half that of Amazon’s.
Improved security with the Autonomous Database Cloud was another emphasis from Oracle at OpenWorld. The company highlighted how the self-patching database can eliminate the kind of human error at play in the recent Equifax data loss. In addition, the autonomous database is supported by a new, highly automated cyber defense system that automatically detects threats and irregular activity. While not yet fully autonomous like the new database, cyber defense will be improved with machine learning that finds anomalies to identify threats, while working with the database to automatically patch against them.
Adaptive Intelligence Informs Business Decisions
Building on last year’s announcement of AI integration, which was released to customer experience applications earlier this year as “Adaptive Intelligence,” Oracle is embedding AI capabilities across the full range of Cloud applications: ERP Cloud, HCM Cloud and SCM Cloud. The company claims that these AI capabilities are comparable to that of Salesforce Einstein, which infuses AI capabilities across all Salesforce Clouds.
The Adaptive Intelligence Apps also tap into the Oracle Data Cloud, which includes more than five billion global consumer and business personas and more than 7.5 trillion data points collected monthly to help customers make more informed decisions in a range of areas. For example, a finance professional could use Adaptive Intelligence to analyze historical business trends and risk data to optimize cash flow or create better supplier terms.
Accelerated Transactions with Blockchain Technology
Oracle, having been late to the Cloud party, was not making the same mistake with blockchain technology and announced the roll out of its Blockchain Cloud Service at OpenWorld. A blockchain, the technology behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, is a shared distributed ledger that stores complete transaction histories, helping enterprises securely extend business processes beyond corporate boundaries and accelerate B2B transactions.
Also, after two years of research and numerous customer engagements, Oracle officially joined the Hyperledger project—an open source collaborative effort created to advance blockchain technologies—this past August.
EBS Perseveres with Staying Power
Oracle announced that a future major release of EBS, 12.X, would be supported until at least 2030 to allay customers’ concerns and assist their long-term planning. The company recently released Version 12.2.7 and while no release date has yet been announced for 12.X, the company is committed to support it until at least 2030.
Oracle is heavily focused on moving EBS customers to its IaaS model to increase Oracle Cloud uptake, and customers are starting to use this model for development and testing environments before they consider any future move of their production system to the internet model. The company is also ensuring that EBS customers can take advantage of Oracle SaaS investments by integrating, where practical, with SaaS applications that complement their EBS applications, seamlessly appearing as if adding a new module to EBS.
Additional Cloud Enticements
Oracle served up a range of enticing offerings to cook up customer enthusiasm for the Cloud, such as:
- “Bring your own license” — Customers can now use their existing software licenses for Oracle PaaS offerings, including Analytics, Oracle Database, and Middleware. This is similar to Oracle offering customers the ability to use on-premise licenses for IaaS.
- “Universal credits” — Credits for Cloud consumption let customers have one contract that informs Oracle how much they expect to spend (monthly or yearly basis). Customers can then use that money on any Cloud service: IaaS, PaaS on Oracle Cloud, and Cloud at Customer. They can swap or drop services without notifying Oracle.
As we described in our blog from OpenWorld 2016, Oracle’s main focus is the Cloud, and the 2017 event revealed a great deal about its ongoing strategy to build momentum for Cloud offerings. Kudos to Oracle for being the Cloud partner with the Bloodhound Project. This project is driving education to inspire millions of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects worldwide through designing a car that will break a new land speed record of 1,000 mph. Oracle Cloud will collect, analyze, and broadcast live data from more than 500 real-time sensors to classrooms around the world, allowing students to feel they are right there alongside as the project chases its 1,000-mph goal.