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Oracle's Ellison Demonstrates AI Infusion In Fusion Suite

Despite a rivalry with AWS, Oracle's Executive Chairman spent some time on stage talking to Amazon's Alexa digital assistant to showcase a new voice-enabled bot.

Oracle CTO Larry Ellison demonstrated on Wednesday how artificial intelligence is adding time-saving and error-reducing new capabilities to the software giant's business application suite, including through a new voice-enabled digital assistant.

Delivering Oracle's numerous business apps through the cloud has enabled the software giant to infuse artificial intelligence across the Fusion and NetSuite portfolios—streamlining and safeguarding complex business processes, Ellison told attendees of the OpenWorld conference in San Francisco.

The technology is easing the "tedious, horrible processes" that are a fact of life for many employees, "like submitting your expense reports," Ellison said.

[Related: Oracle's Ellison On AWS, The Fundamental Problem With Cloud Security, And Deploying The ‘Star Wars Cyber Defense’]

Machine learning makes it possible to automate closing the books or comparing actual results against planned results. And by taking the labor out of those tasks, the technology eliminates human error.

The smart apps "get you information in a more-timely fashion," Ellison said. "Higher-quality information, at the lowest possible cost because the computer is doing it, not a lot of human beings."

The application suites inherently enjoy the advantages of AI deployed at the layers below it, Ellison said.

In an earlier talk at OpenWorld, he described how Oracle deployed machine learning to protect against cyberthreats and deliver a completely autonomous database. Fusion applications also "fully exploit" those innovations of Oracle's Gen2 OCI infrastructure, Ellison said.

"The interesting thing is the technology that underlies the infrastructure business by definition also underlies our applications business," Ellison said.

Oracle is the industry's largest provider of ERP systems by a wide margin, Ellison told attendees.

Fusion, the integrated cloud-based business suite, has more than 6,000 customers, with 4,000 live on the system. NetSuite, a mid-market solution, has another 15,000 customers, Ellison said.

Machine learning offers an important differentiator for motivating enterprises to migrate from SAP to Fusion; or even Oracle E-Business Suite to Fusion.

The technology delivers a faster, cheaper, more-reliable and productive system than possible with the previous generation of applications, Ellison said.

A series of demos followed, in which Ellison put aside his rivalry with Amazon Web Services to engage with an Amazon Alexa-powered device.

Ellison demonstrated the new voice-enabled chatbot with a few tasks, including filing an expense report—a lunch for two that had a receipt north of $400. Of course, the system flagged the high-cost of that transaction and forced him to write an explanation.

His one-line memo simply said he owns Nobu restaurant in Palo Alto.

And the only time Alexa failed to understand his request, Ellison even joked that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was probably watching the demo.

Ellison also introduced Oracle's new Fusion Analytics Data Warehouse, which can be used to introduce custom analytic capabilities to Fusion applications. The offering automates the process of designing, tuning and modeling databases.

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