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February 12, 2020

Oracle Sees AI Advancing Finance, Supply Chains

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Corporate finance and IT departments along with supply chain managers are the largest benefactors of AI technology, according to an emerging technologies study released this week by Oracle.

Separately, Oracle (NYSE: ORCL) new cloud-based database infrastructure along with an expanded interoperability partnership with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

The AI research released Wednesday (Feb. 12) during a company event in London finds that emerging technologies like digital assistants are helping some companies grow at rates as fast as 80 percent. The survey of 700 finance executives and IT managers concludes that AI-driven technologies such as blockchain and the Internet of Things have “passed the adoption tipping point” and in some cases exceeded corporate expectations.

Among the early results are reductions in errors within finance departments and greater use of digital assistants to increase productivity and accelerated financial analysis. In one example, 83 percent of respondents said they expect to fully automate the process of closing paperwork-heavy financial transactions within the next five years.

Along with finance and IT operations, AI technologies are also helping to streamline supply chain management. The study found that companies integrating AI tools into their distribution channels were able to reduce order fulfillment to an average of 6.7 business days. Meanwhile, fulfillment errors were reduced by an average of 26 percent.

Elsewhere, the integration of blockchain technologies into supply chain has boosted the ability to verify distribution monitoring. That capability is expected to reduce supply chain fraud by as much as 50 percent over the next five years, 78 percent of survey respondents said.

Sixty-eight percent said improved business intelligence represents a key strategic advantage for supply chain operators.

“This study makes it clear that emerging technologies have passed the trial phase and are moving toward a state of widespread adoption,” said John McKnight, executive vice president of research and analyst services at Enterprise Strategy Group.

“The research shows that emerging technologies complement and amplify the benefits of one another, which underscores the importance of taking a holistic approach,” McKnight added.

Oracle and other enterprise software vendors note that customers are more likely to purchase pre-built AI platforms rather than building their own—although Oracle concedes the percentage varies by technology. Of those, fully 91 percent said they considered software-as-a-service applications to be the best way to deploy AI-based platforms.

As it seeks to shift from traditional database to cloud applications, Oracle has joined a growing list of cloud providers emphasizing software services applications based on machine learning and other AI technologies.

The AI study was conducted by the Enterprise Strategy Group between Sept. 19 and Oct. 16, 2019. A summary is available here.

Oracle’s cloud data science platform also announced this week is geared to data science teams working on machine learning model development. The platform allows the sharing of individual projects, model catalogs and security policies. Among the features is automatic selection of the appropriate training data sets for a given project using an AutoML algorithm tool.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Oracle are extending their cloud partnership with a linked location in Amsterdam, allowing customers to share data across applications running on Azure and the Oracle cloud. The partners also host interconnected cloud regions in Ashburn, Va., London and Toronto.

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