During the 2023 Oracle CloudWorld Conference in Las Vegas, a spotlight was on Oracle Fusion Cloud Student for the estimated 300 higher education institutions that attended.
The conference provided insights into Oracle’s product strategy across its infrastructure, applications, and data and analytics products and its progress on Oracle Student. It was also an opportunity to hear directly from higher education institutions about their experiences implementing products on the Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) platform.
Unsurprisingly, Oracle emphasized generative and traditional artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), advancements in its OCI platform, and enhancements to its mature finance and human capital management (HCM) application suites.
Oracle demonstrated how its continued innovation and investments are making a complete technology ecosystem that can simplify higher education institutions’ technology footprint. This rapid innovation is partly due to Oracle’s use of its Apex product to generate all new Java code. Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison reported that Oracle does not code directly in Java but in Apex, as Apex generates secure code faster than developers ever could. Oracle Student fits into this ecosystem as it’s built in the same environment as Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP and Cloud HCM. In addition, data management solutions are progressing quickly on the advancing Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) capabilities, making them an option for an institutional data lakehouse and analytics solution.
Oracle is progressing towards a mature solution, with the initial cohort of institutions beginning their Oracle Student implementation planning. These institutions are aligning their activities with Oracle’s product roadmap, and Oracle is focused on delivering the overall product and the key functionality these early adopters require. The company continues to highlight the configurability of the Oracle Student solution with its purpose-built, rule-based frameworks.
Oracle announced a new partnership with Cohere, which will provide the primary large language models (LLMs) for Oracle applications. When training LLMs, Oracle’s approach allows customers to refine the model locally, and customer data is never used to train LLMs. The company also continues to make progress with ML predictive models across many applications.
As part of its “Oracle B2B” offerings, Oracle announced adding HSBC and Mastercard card purchasing and payment processes directly into the Oracle Fusion Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) product. These partnerships allow joint customers to use the innovative native process and transaction integration.
Other highlights include:
Oracle announced new generative AI capabilities for its HCM product, including auto-generated job descriptions, which pull data from the responsibilities to produce a narrative description.
The company also announced auto-generated performance reviews and affirmations, which received mixed customer reactions. Although humans can review the generated performance reviews and affirmations, it will likely lead to less meaningful and personalized assessments.
Institutions attended the conference seeking a clear path to modernization as they considered moving to SaaS solutions. There’s an immense need in higher education for better reporting, analytics, security, and performance, and Oracle demonstrated its focus on advancing solutions to this end. The conference also allowed early adopter institutions to share insights and their experience with implementations.
Overall, institutions reported that early adopter implementations across the Oracle Fusion suite are going smoothly. It is clear that the progress Oracle has made in the last two years would have been a benefit to some earlier implementations as the products and the ecosystem have matured. As institutions move into Oracle Student implementations, they are cautiously optimistic, noting the cultural sensitivity and importance surrounding migrating to a new student system. Smaller institutions, most of whom are aligned to the HESS Consortium Collective Program in partnership with Drivestream and Mythics, are making significant progress, with several institutions live on Oracle Fusion Cloud ERP and HCM with Student implementations beginning.
Oracle has vast depth and breadth of technological experience and innovation across various industries. It is now applying its investment in these technologies to its cloud higher education systems, which could greatly benefit institutions looking to leap forward into the modern ERP world. We will keep an eye on how Oracle progresses with Student and hope to see continued innovation to create a combined transactional and analytical data management ecosystem (centered on students) based on the expanding capabilities of the Fusion Data Intelligence Platform using the Oracle Autonomous Database on OCI.
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