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C-Bit: SAP Updates its S/4HANA Cloud – Focus on Manufacturing and Globalization

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C-Bit: SAP Updates its S/4HANA Cloud – Focus on Manufacturing and Globalization


On August 7, SAP announced availability of its latest S/4HANA Cloud, dubbed 1708 Release. 1708 is the third SAP/4HANA Cloud release this year. While financials and procurement areas were enhanced, of particular interest to us is the manufacturing enhancements to S/4HANA Cloud. Up until now S/4HANA Cloud for Manufacturing has been a slim offering. SAP is steadily expanding its capabilities. [Note: S/4HANA for Manufacturing has been available on premise but only partially on cloud]. 

In this round, SAP “delivered major innovations in demand driven replenishment and advanced variant configuration, as well as updates in other areas.” 

  • The demand driven replenishment enhancement is based on a “new demand-driven MRP based on buffer levels resulting in optimal replenishment order” avoiding the “bull-whip effect.”

  • Variant configuration helps customers “model the configurable product with a configurable BOM, so your business process can handle highly individualized products in sales and manufacturing. This means you can extend make-to-stock and make-to-order production with variant configuration.”

Despite the enhancements to S/4HANA Cloud Manufacturing, the cloud version continues to trail the more full-featured on-premise offering. We should expect SAP to continue to enhance the cloud version several times per year (4 times seems likely) until it catches up with the on-premise version. The next planned update is in November. 

SAP also cited expansion to globalization capabilities of S/4HANA Cloud, adding subsidiary support for financial reporting, inventory management and production. It also added Sweden and Ireland in terms of regulatory support, 5 new languages taking the count to 25 countries and 15 languages. It also announced a new SAP Cloud data center in Japan.

  • C-Bit: Oracle Announces New Supply Chain and Other Cloud Capabilities

On August 8th, Oracle introduced new capabilities for Oracle Supply Chain Management Cloud. According to Oracle, new capabilities and enhancements are available across Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud, Oracle Customer Experience (CX) Cloud Suite, and Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Cloud. 
From a supply chain perspective, Oracle stated that “Oracle SCM Cloud delivers a next-generation supply chain platform that enables organizations to embrace outside-in demand driven processes and capabilities without the complexities and constraints of traditional supply chain architectures.” While indicating new capabilities across several supply chain solutions, Oracle highlighted the following enhancements:

  • Information-Driven Navigation: All user functions are now accessible through role-specific dashboards and landing pages composed of analytic “infolets” that highlight issues and direct users to relevant actions

  • Inventory: Ability to source all requisitions from internal warehouses

  • Manufacturing: Full support of outside processing

  • Mobility: A new mobile application to collect and vote on product innovation ideas

  • Order Management: Integration with Oracle Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ) Cloud and the ability to use the SCM Configurator within CPQ

  • User Experience: Completely redesigned self-service procurement constructed around the familiar shopping cart experience

Key takeaway: This announcement underscores Oracle’s focus on cloud. If Oracle can continue to integrate their cloud offerings and upgrade internationalization capabilities, they will increase their competitiveness. Note that Oracle is aware of their weakness in localizations weakness as evidenced by recent announcement about the expansion of country localizations for India and Brazil.

Microsoft and Oracle each recently shared plans regarding blockchain technology. 

Microsoft announced its Coco Framework for enterprise blockchain networks. Coco is open-source technology that helps blockchain networks meet many enterprise requirements by designing specifically for "confidential consortiums" where nodes and actors are explicitly declared and controlled. Microsoft believes Coco presents an alternative approach to ledger construction, giving enterprises the scalability, distributed governance and enhanced confidentiality they need without sacrificing the security they expect.

In a related announcement, MSFT blockchain partner Intel explained how Microsoft's blockchain framework integrates Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) to deliver improved transaction speed, scale and data confidentiality to enterprises. This "accelerates the enterprise readiness of blockchain technology, allowing developers to create flexible and more secure enterprise blockchain applications that can be easily managed by businesses." 

Oracle, which joined the Hyperledger Consortiumoutlined its blockchain strategy objectives, including: 

  • Addressing mission-critical enterprise needs such as scalability, security, integration, and performance to remove barriers to adoption and support blockchain applications in production.

  • Making it easy for customers to deploy, manage and monitor blockchain and reduce the cost for deploying blockchain by offering it as a PaaS Cloud solution.

  • Accelerate the development and integration of blockchain applications with Oracle Cloud App Dev platform.

  • Help Oracle SaaS cloud customers enable their enterprise processes to securely share data and conduct distributed transactions with 3rd party applications and external distributed ledger technologies using blockchain cloud platform.

At this stage, Microsoft’s blockchain investments seem ahead of Oracle: Microsoft already offers tools for development and is actively pursuing alliances. Oracle has said little about the status of the development of its initial offering or when it might be available.
Have some competitive insight that would benefit others in Sales? Kindly email the info to Evan Quinn at eiq@qad.com or Alex Killian at ak9@qad.com.


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Vertical: Life Sciences
Project: Goes Live on QAD 2016 & AS
Location: Abingdon, UK
Customer since
: 2016
Oxitec is a UK headquartered Life Sciences company at the forefront of the battle against the Zika virus and other mosquito borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.

Oxitec use advanced genetics to insert a self-limiting gene into its mosquitoes. The gene is passed on to the insect's offspring, so when male Oxitec engineered mosquitoes are released into the wild and mate with wild females, their offspring inherit the self-limiting trait. The resulting offspring will die before reaching adulthood, and the local mosquito population will decline.

As detailed in previous Ring The Bells this was a competitive new business deal via a third part selection consultancy, Lumenia. Now we needed to deliver! Oxitec Brazil went live as Phase 1 of the project in only 12 weeks.

Phase 2 consisted of the implementation at Oxitec's UK HQ of QAD 2016 EE in the Cloud as well as the first phase of Oxitec's AS deployment to enhance their internal processes.

After a lot of hard work by the local UK services team ably assisted by the QAD AS team Oxitec UK have successfully gone live on QAD 2016 and AS.

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