Oracle bets on IoT to digitize supply chain and transport
Oracle is one of only a handful of applications players with the potential to get a prominent seat at the IoT table.
The software giant has the opportunity to leverage its scale, the breadth of its portfolio (including its rising cloud business), and its wide partnership network, to push its Oracle IoT Cloud Platform forward.
PAC recently caught up with the Oracle leadership responsible for driving the IoT business and discussed the progress it is making in this area. The company claims that with IoT, it is aiming to improve its customers’ visibility into their operational efficiency through a range of SaaS-based apps available on a platform designed to simplify the process of developing IoT solutions. They can then be integrated into a wide range of enterprise applications such as ERP, SCM, MES, HCM and CRM.
Oracle positions its IoT platform right between the assets and enterprise applications, and groups its capabilities around one of the three offerings: Connect, Analyze and Integrate. Connect provides tools to securely connect, manage and virtualize various types of endpoints that can also securely communicate. These endpoints do not necessarily have to be equipped with Oracle client software, but instead can be third party devices like telematics dongles that can be connected via protocol adapters. Analyze allows stream processing, and provides analytics features such as machine learning, pattern recognition, trend detection, as well as digital twin applications. Integrate offers pre-built integration adapters for integration with business apps with minimal effort.
Current IoT areas of focus for Oracle include solutions for digitizing manufacturing and transport environments, that come in the form of ready to use SaaS applications, either standalone or in combination with Oracle business apps. Furthermore, the platform also comes with a marketplace of pre-built integration adapters for applications from its own portfolio such as Oracle Sales Cloud or NetSuite, but also from third parties such as SAP (including Ariba and Concur) and Salesforce.
The latest addition to its IoT offerings include off-the-shelf cloud based applications such as IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud, IoT Connected Worker Cloud, IoT Production Monitoring Cloud and IoT Fleet Monitoring Cloud, which can provide visibility into end-to-end operations of an entire enterprise, from shop floor to the supply chain. For example, with IoT Production Monitoring and IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud companies can optimize shop floor operations with tools such as predictive maintenance and digital twin which can be integrated into SCM solutions.
With the IoT Connected Worker application that can be integrated into HCM solutions, apart from health and safety improvement companies can also achieve better regulatory compliance. The IoT Fleet Monitoring Cloud also provides integration capabilities into the SCM solutions, enables real-time visibility into fleet operations and better predictions of ETA (estimated time of arrival). With these applications Oracle aims to accelerate IoT deployments for its customers and provide the return on investment in short time frame as in order to come up with IoT solutions companies do not have to look elsewhere.
Oracle aims to go beyond enabling just operational efficiency improvement to also support the creation of new business models through after sales services. It already has some innovative use cases to show, such as the creation of Mobility as a Service solution for SoftBank as well as an IoT implementation for Italian public transport provider Cortal to optimize the operations of its 1,600 vehicles and improve customer experience.
When it comes to building the ecosystem around its platform, Oracle made some progress by signing the likes of Accenture, Cognizant, TCS, Wipro and LTI, which have developed vertical solutions based on Oracle IoT Cloud Platform. In addition to the big SIs, Oracle has teamed up with HERE a mapping service provider, with the aim of driving greater localisation of its solutions, especially in logistics and transport.
PAC sees Oracle as a serious contender in the IoT space, as its IoT Cloud Platform represents a solid foundation for development of solutions and its offering spans across connectivity, analytics and integration capabilities. Still, Oracle’s IoT developments are a work in progress and it needs to beef up its efforts, either organically or inorganically, to the level of some of its competitors. The likes of Microsoft, SAP and GE Digital have been busy acquiring IoT specialists over the past year and are now integrating their offering into its own offerings, which is something Oracle needs to keep in mind.
Also, even though it made solid progress in partnering, Oracle will need to work more on teaming up with both global and local players, especially in Europe - which represents a large but very fragmented market. The halo effect from its core enterprise applications partnerships should help drive demand for IoT and should be a great starting point. Oracle needs to invest in consulting capabilities to boost both direct and channel sales by being able to present a business case, which is especially important in IoT as we often see that the relevant decision makers are coming more from line of business rather than from the IT departments with which Oracle had traditionally been close.