Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP and its suitemates in HR, supply chain management and enterprise performance management, are gaining a slew of new AI, digital assistant and robotic process automation features.
The updates mark the latest salvo in a concerted industry effort to develop “autonomous” ERP systems that anticipate and take over much of the tedium of daily work, such as moving documents and matching numbers on invoices.
Process automation in small doses
Financials were the biggest focus of the ERP updates and included the following new capabilities:
- RPA — Oracle calls it IPA, for “intelligent” — that uses configurable rules to automate manual tasks in account reconciliation, a time-consuming hassle during the monthly financial close;
- machine learning that tries to match invoices to purchase orders and purportedly gets better at it over time;
- automated tagging of regulatory reports required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, using a company’s XBRL taxonomy — another monotonous task in financial reporting; and
- a digital assistant that takes over some of the tedium of time and expense entry for project professionals.
- The vendor also unveiled a new digital assistant that can access logistics information in Oracle Cloud SCM without requiring opening the Oracle transportation management system where that information is managed. And Oracle Cloud HCM now has personalized employee “journeys” that handle common HR tasks that normally require people to navigate their way through the system.
Machine learning also plays a role in updates to Oracle Unity, the vendor’s customer data platform (CDP). Oracle said Unity brings together the disparate data sources about a customer and applies machine learning to behavioral data to personalize the customer experience.
Technology so embedded it disappears
For several years, Oracle has worked diligently to sow the seeds of machine learning, RPA and digital assistants to every corner of its portfolio of SaaS applications. But rather than brand its AI with a cute name like IBM’s Watson, Infor’s Coleman, Salesforce’s Einstein or SAP’s Leonardo, Oracle has opted to put out narrowly focused and quite practical applications that take advantage of AI’s ability to crank through the repetitive tasks that lead to human fatigue and sloppiness.