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Oracle offers AI to tell you if those lead times are hogwash

It'll also give staff career advice

Keeping up with the must-have trend of 2023, Oracle has sprinkled a smattering of "AI" across its human capital and supply chain management applications.

New features to the Oracle Fusion Applications Suite include AI-powered lead time estimates in Oracle Supply Chain Planning, designed to help improve the accuracy of lead time assumptions by using machine learning to highlight variances based on actual performance.

Speaking to The Register, Rajan Krishnan, Oracle group vice president for product development, said: "Using AI, what we are now able to predict more accurately is not only if there is a variance from a supplier in terms of the dates they promised in the lead times, but also at a site level [forecast] for each of those suppliers."

The Oracle system uses a corpus of historical data from relevant internal applications to build these predictive models, he said. "It could be one system, five systems, maybe 10 systems."

AI also features in the update to Oracle's HCM tool. According to Big Red, its Unified Growth Experience uses an AI model to drive "development opportunities that workers need to adapt to changes in their role, discover new growth options, and achieve their career aspirations." The model is built by "unifying people data from across Oracle Cloud HCM," the vendor said.

Krishnan said the system develops an "understanding" of individual employee career goals and suggests ways of achieving those goals, taking an existing inventory of skills and knowledge.

He promised that both HCM and SCM machine learning additions were not black boxes but based on Bayesian modeling data scientists could examine.

Both sets of enhancements are only available on the Fusion products, not on the on-prem Oracle E-Business Suite that predates Fusion.

Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research, said it made sense to build predictive models on top of its HCM tool since it has the most extensive in-house suite. "That means all data is in one place and that makes many things easier," he said.

AI showed "huge promise" in helping users with their career progression, Mueller said.

He added that Oracle's decision not to offer these features on-prem might be explained by the fact that "AI needs the cheap compute in the cloud [and] EBS users will not beef up their on-premises instances to run AI."

In related news, GitLab, makers of the DevOps software package, has done a deal to offer its AI and ML functionalities on the Oracle Cloud platform. Maybe it will help resurrect the company's fortunes following Q4 figures that disappointed the market. ®

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