Oracle Puts More Smarts into Already Savvy Cloud Services, Apps

Smarty-pants bots, artificial intelligence engines and machine-learning servers are taking over. They are photographing and logging checks, researching credit scores, balancing books, monitoring and grading application performance and texting your mother to tell her that you’ve stayed up too late the past few nights. Well, maybe not that last one.


SAN FRANCISCO—Oracle, as is the case with most high-end enterprise software developers, is turning over more and more of its applications’ decision-making capabilities to scary-smart machines to ostensibly get things done quicker and more efficiently. This all looks awfully good for businesses, but off the top, it sure appears as though human beings are being left behind in a virtual dust cloud.

Smarty-pants bots, artificial intelligence engines and machine-learning servers are taking over. They are photographing and logging checks, researching credit scores, balancing books, monitoring and grading application performance and texting your mother to tell her that you’ve stayed up too late the past few nights.

Well, that last one—maybe not. But everything else? Oh yes, that’s all happening.

AI, Automation in Every Corner of Oracle Cloud Offerings

Along these lines, Oracle on Oct. 22 (Day 1 of its annual OpenWorld conference here), revealed some new artificial intelligence updates to Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) Cloud. This latest layer of machine learning-based improvements is not a great deal different from those in the past: They are all designed to extract data-driven insights from enterprise data stores, so companies can determine their most important trends in order to capitalize on new market opportunities and increase profitability.

The quicker an enterprise gets its arms around this sometimes-hard-to-acquire information, the better it stands to perform in its market and beat competitors to where the business is located.

“The main news we’re announcing is happening in three main categories,” Oracle EVP of Applications Product Development Steve Miranda told eWEEK. “First, and what people probably want to know more than anything else, is that we using AI and ML pervasively throughout our suite of products—machine learning is going across the board. You’ll see more bots in our interfaces, for one thing. This will allow you to become more conversational and interactive with the apps. ML enables the apps to learn and remember from transactions and policies, so routine work goes easier and quicker all the time. The apps now will advise you about pending approvals, for example, and even suggest what you should do in certain situations.”

That used to be a humans-only thing to do. Not anymore.

Pre-Packaged Automation Capabilities Across the Board

Secondly and more traditionally, Miranda said, Oracle is adding new products to its portfolios. “In finance and ERP, for example, we have a new subscription management application, because more companies have gone from product companies to service companies, or they are moving from selling products to selling subscriptions to their product,” Miranda said. “Subscription management has gone from an industry-specialized application to a cross-industry application.”

Oracle Subscription Management integrates front and back office business processes on one platform, enabling organizations to build predictable, recurring revenue models that manage billing and revenue recognition and also inform customer-facing personnel with a complete view of purchasing behavior.

Thirdly, Oracle is pre-packaging automation capabilities so that the influx of new customers moving more and more functionality to the cloud can do it in a relatively smooth fashion. As we all know, data integration is most often a messy, time-consuming and tedious task, and Oracle is greasing the skids on this task as much as possible, Miranda said.

These smarter apps also make the user interface and overall functionality of the apps easier for line-of-business employees, so they can write fewer and more accurate queries and get to the core of good information sooner. Information is money, and quick information means even more money.

So this is the aim of Oracle ERP Cloud: helping enterprises of all sizes take advantage of the company’s latest offerings in artificial intelligence, digital assistants and natural language processing to improve controls.

Here is a list of the new Oracle ERP Cloud features announced this week, according to Miranda:

  • Intelligent Process Automation: Seamless integrations across Oracle Cloud Applications of intelligent rules-based processing enable the automation of labor-intensive tasks and allow organizations to redeploy employees to more strategic and rewarding work.
  • Expense Reporting Assistant: A new chatbot assistant improves controls and audit compliance by processing expenses with greater efficiency and accuracy, while also simplifying expense reporting for end users.
  • Intelligent Payments: New artificial intelligence capabilities enable organizations to reduce costs and build stronger relationships with top suppliers by taking advantage of in-the-moment supplier profile and risk data to generate vendor-specific offers in exchange for early payment of outstanding payables.
  • Supplier Recommendations: Smart, multi-factor categorization and ranking of suppliers help optimize the procure-to-pay process. By combining ERP applications data about suppliers, purchase orders, invoices, payables, and other details with external sources of data, businesses can gain unparalleled insight into their company's supplier ecosystem.
  • Intelligent Performance Management: Embedded artificial intelligence capabilities in Oracle Enterprise Performance Management Cloud can uncover hard-to-spot data patterns to deliver actionable and contextual insights at the right time, helping improve the quality and business impact of financial and operational decisions.
  • Advanced Access Controls: Advanced AccessControls embed artificial intelligence to constantly examine all users, roles, and privileges against a library of active security rules. This include more than 100 best practices (configurable rules) across general ledger, payables, receivables, and fixed assets to help protect business data from insider threats, fraud, misuse and human error.

CX Unity: Bots That Manage Customer Data

Oracle on Oct. 22 also unveiled Oracle CX Unity, a new approach to managing customer data that will compete directly with platforms from Salesforce, Adobe and others trying to become the UX kings in enterprise IT.

CX Unity aims to deliver a user experience that is “timely, relevant, and consistent across known and unknown interactions,” the company said. Existing approaches are built around the idea of a linear “customer journey” and simply focus on integrating sales, marketing and customer service applications. Oracle claims that CX Unity provides brands with actionable insights in context, in motion and in real time across the entire customer experience—no matter what device the potential customer is using.

Oracle CX Unity brings together online, offline, and third-party customer data sources to create a single and changeable view of the customer. This unique data fabric provides a fast way to bring together customer data from across the entire organization and applies built-in machine learning to prescribe the optimal experience within existing business processes.

Oracle CX Unity is pre-integrated with Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud to enable intelligence to be applied across every customer touchpoint. Oracle CX Cloud is an integrated set of applications which empower organizations to take a smarter approach to customer experience management and business transformation initiatives.

For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...