Ocado shakes hands with Oracle on cloud ERP system to help it ply online grocer tech in overseas markets

Sounds a bit like what Salesforce denies it worked on

Online supermarket Ocado Group has chosen Oracle Fusion Cloud as its main ERP system to help it grow into international markets.

According to a pre-canned announcement, the British firm reckons Big Red's enterprise wares will let it get to grips with changing customer demands through a "scalable and flexible business platform".

The £1.8bn-revenue retailer, famed for pushing cannabidoil-infused water on the UK's unsuspecting middle classes, is also technology supplier for retail organisations. It said Oracle Cloud ERP will help it meet both consumer and business demands.

"As we help our clients, some of the world's most forward-thinking retailers, rethink their online strategy, we also need to consider how we can use better solutions within our own business to adapt to the changing economic environment and support our future growth," said Duncan Tatton-Brown, chief financial officer in a prepared statement.

"Oracle Cloud ERP gives us a secure and scalable cloud-based solution that can support our business as it transforms and rapidly grows and will enable our finance team to increase productivity and improve controls."

The plan is to bring existing systems together, automate manual processes, and get "real-time visibility into key business metrics".

Ocado is no stranger to Oracle. In 2019 it subscribed to Oracle's Planning and Budgeting Cloud to provide a "single version of truth" (it really said that) - replacing the existing Excel-based financial reporting tool and consolidating between the planning applications and Ocado's ERP system, according to SI Qubix.

That ERP system is a bit of a mystery. Salesforce denies working with Ocado, but in a case study (since deleted but cached) it talked about helping the business build a "Customer 360 Platform", which would be used by both suppliers and Ocado's in-house team.

The case study described an "Ocado Smart Platform" (OSP), which was intended to be the "the fusion of its end-to-end e-commerce, fulfillment, and logistics solution rewritten to run in the cloud".

It said: "The company plans to use OSP not only to replatform its own UK businesses but also to provide large brick-and-mortar retailers around the world a shortcut to moving online. The ecosystem of internal apps that Ocado is building on the Customer 360 Platform mirrors this external platform strategy and offers Ocado the opportunity of making these internal apps available to its OSP customers."

Which sounds like there is some crossover with the Oracle project.

The retailer posted losses of £500,000 for 2017, down from a £12m profit the previous year – largely due to its expensive "transformation" into a technology provider flogging robot-operated warehouses. It spent £42.8m on technology, up from £34.3m the year before, including costs of £35.7m to develop its own proprietary software.

In 2019 fellow Brit retailer Marks & Spencer bought a 50 per cent share of Ocado's retail business for £750m.

CTO Paul Clarke claimed the buy-out left "Ocado as the technology business we have always been under the bonnet". ®

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