Oracle held a webinar tonight, unveiling their newest offering – Oracle Soar – with the strapline “the last upgrade you’ll ever do”.
The webinar started with Larry outlining the premise that if you’re an eBusiness Suite Financials customer you can ‘upgrade’ to ERP Cloud (here the term ‘upgrade’ was used in the context of moving from EBS to ERP Cloud). Then – thanks to the continuous delivery model giving you incremental improvements – you’ll never need another upgrade project ever again.
Larry looking comfortable in jeans and trainers
So Oracle Soar is the term for moving to the Cloud and ridding yourself of upgrades? No, not really.
In the next part of the webinar Larry covered ‘how’ the upgrades happen. Oracle will deliver automated upgrades from EBS to ERP Cloud (or Fusion, as Larry repeatedly called it). This part sounded very smart as the evaluator tool looks at integrations and customisations, plus there’s a configuration analyser which looks at config and memory etc. It then automatically configures your Fusion instance in the Cloud. The data is then automatically extracted, transformed and loaded. Larry claimed that it’s all completely automated, however I would think semi-automated is really the best that you can hope for here, given the complexity of some on-premises implementations (and Oracle have nodded to this by also offering consulting services alongside the automation).
Oracle are leading with EBS Financials (12.x and above), however other modules and Apps Unlimited systems (including PeopleSoft) will follow at some unspecified point in the future.
So, Oracle Soar is the automation that upgrades you from Apps Unlimited/on-premises to the Cloud? No, not really.
Next Larry brought Steve Miranda on-stage for a product demo of a very impressive extension of the base HCM Cloud offering that Oracle had built for Verizon. Steve asked Amazon Echo / Alexa for any outstanding approvals just using voice interface. Alexa read out an absence request. Steve asked for the employee’s remaining vacation balance, which Alexa gave him. Then Steve then approved the the absence request.
It was a very slick demo, and a wonderful glimpse of the future, but I was scratching my head to understand what this had to do with Oracle Soar. Maybe they just wanted a fun interlude?
In the next segment it was announced that there’s a consulting offering alongside the technical tool – Oracle Consulting Service will provide up to 30 integrations and custom reports.
There was also mention that Fusion comes with a large library of over 100 pluggable integrations (potentially reducing the amount of integration rework when moving from EBS) and – given the broader functionality in Fusion – the opportunity to retire some customisations.
Larry then returned to the Fusion sales-pitch, discussing the level of automation in ERP Cloud (automated consolidations enable continuous daily closes, invoices and expense reports are scanned with near 100% accuracy, automated fraud detection, extensibility with Visual Builder etc).
All very interesting and exciting, but it seemed that we’d meandered away from Soar again.
Beth Boettcher (SVP North America Applications Consulting) came on stage next and talked through some mock-ups of a dashboard that Oracle will use to help walk clients through the process.
It looked very slick as a templated project delivery and there will be some clients who can work within the bounds of the template that’ll find it useful. Beth also did well to fit all of the offerings (including Oracle University, Customer Success Manager etc) into an aviation theme.
I’m sure when the marketing material arrives the service will be a lot clearer, but the initial announcement was a strangely structured 40 minute session, with Larry unveiling the technical wizardry, a couple of interludes where the product was highlighted and the services offering bolted on the end.
So what is Oracle Soar?
Oracle Soar is the umbrella term for a set of services that migrate on-premises customers to the Cloud by:
- helping with the difficult parts of implementation by automating them (requirements gathering, integration, migration), and
- providing a templated project structure and consulting services to accelerate the move to the Cloud
There will be an on-demand replay posted here if you wish to see the announcement for yourself.