Oracle Corporation made headlines recently with the announcement
of SupplyChain.Oracle.com, the online incarnation of its collaborative
supply chain suite. SupplyChain.Oracle.com intends to help companies collaborate
on demand and supply across an extended, multi-enterprise supply chain
in order to deliver reduced inventory, more accurate forecasting, better
demand and supply matching, and improved delivery performance.
expects users to reap benefits almost instantaneously from the new web-hosted
offering, citing savings in IT infrastructure investment and support labor.
"Oracle is redefining the supply chain software landscape by delivering
proven supply chain collaboration software as an online service," said
Don Klaiss, senior vice president Manufacturing and Supply Chain Application
Development at Oracle. "Companies can no longer afford expensive, open
ended implementation projects. Rapid ROI is what the market demands and
SupplyChain.Oracle.com meets that need head on."
speed with which Oracle releases new supply chain products is nothing
short of astonishing. Just over one year ago, Oracle crashed the supply
chain party with the release of Oracle APS (Advanced Planning and
Scheduling), a limited selection of applications for demand planning,
manufacturing scheduling, and available to promise (ATP). Barely six months
later, the company announced Oracle Supply Chain Exchange, an open
standards-based architecture for helping suppliers and customers share
information on important planning decisions. Now SupplyChain.Oracle.com
enters the picture to provide users the benefits of Oracle supply chain
applications without the accompanying problems of an in-house implementation.
as startling, the purported time-to-benefit is shrinking as rapidly as
is the lapse between new product announcements. SupplyChain.Oracle.com
promises to have clients up and running in a mere 20 days. While web-deployed
applications do eliminate new hardware installations, many other tasks
remain such as updating business processes, developing data interfaces
and schedules, and training key personnel. It is doubtful that Oracle
really expects installs to happen in 20 days start to finish, but its
failure to delineate where timelines for other project components end
and that for its SupplyChain.Oracle.com begins is misleading.
Users should beware of fantastic claims promising maximum return with
minimum risk. Collaboration initiatives that target better inventory control
and reduced sales cycles requires an organization to undergo fundamental
changes in processes and infrastructure that cannot take place in a matter
of days. Before swallowing Oracle's hook, users should talk with their
consulting partner or one of those supporting SupplyChain.Oracle.com,
KPMG Consulting, Cap Gemini Ernst &
Young, who understand the difficulties they will likely encounter.
Certainly if one of the Big Five are involved, you can bet that there
is enough work involved to make it worthwhile for them to participate.
Large consulting firms rarely take on short projects because they simply
are not cost-efficient. Experience has proven time and again that true
benefit comes only through capital investment, sweat equity, and time.