As part of its ongoing strategy to expand its roster of public cloud regions and catch up with larger cloud service providers such as AWS, Microsoft and Google, Oracle has launched a new cloud region in Chicago to cater to enterprises operating out of the US Midwest.

The Chicago region, which will be Oracle’s fourth public cloud region in the US and 41st globally, will primarily cater to manufacturing and financial services firms among other industries operating in that part of the country, said Leo Leung, vice president of products and strategy at Oracle.  

The Midwest region, according to Oracle, is home to more than 60% of all US manufacturing firms and houses the world’s largest financial derivatives exchange.

“This is just going to give them (enterprise customers in the region) the capability of running their workloads closer to their headquarters versus other parts of the country,” Leung said, adding that the demand in the region is fueling the company’s growing bookings for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI).

CEO Safra Catz, during an earnings call for its quarter ended November, had said that the company had triple-digit bookings growth across its infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) services for the past two quarters and basis this growth, the company planned to invest $2.4 billion approximately every quarter for the next few quarters.

The new region in Chicago will offer over 100 OCI services and applications, including Oracle Autonomous Database, MySQL Heatwave, OCI Data Science, Oracle Container Engine for Kubernetes, and Oracle Analytics, the company said.  

Oracle has three other regions in the US, situated in Ashburn, Virginia; San Jose, California; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Globally, the company has a total of 55 cloud regions including national security regions.

Nine new regions are currently being built, Catz had said during the earnings call, according to a transcript from Motley Fool.

For the quarter ended November, the company’s total revenue grew 25% in constant currency, buoyed by revenue growth from its infrastructure and applications cloud businesses, which grew 59% and 45% respectively, in constant currency.

Cloud Computing, Finance and Accounting Systems, Manufacturing Industry, Technology Industry

To help meet the needs of enterprises that are looking to navigate uncertain economic conditions while complying with new data regulations, ServiceNow has released the next iteration of its Now workflow automation platform, dubbed Tokyo, with new features that focus on easing supply chain complexities and optimizing asset and human resource (HR) management.

Tokyo’s release comes just months after the company released the previous version of the Now platform, named San Diego, that focused on personalization and automation of work experiences.

The new release, according to the company, is geared more toward chief financial officers and chief operating officers who are looking for a return on their IT investment.

Simplifying the supply base

The release comes with a new feature, dubbed Supplier Lifecycle Management (SLM), that can read names and other data of suppliers from emails and spreadsheets and move them into a new window inside the Now platform.

Automatically moving these supplier contacts and information, according to ServiceNow, helps enterprises reduce operating cost and allows the supply chain team to focus on creating a more resilient supplier base.

The SLM also offers a supplier-facing interface that can be used to launch queries for the enterprise.

For users in the enterprise itself, Tokyo includes a new tool, dubbed Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), designed to automatically track and help manage the full lifecycle of physical business assets, from planning to retirement, for industries such as healthcare, financial services, retail, manufacturing, and the public sector.

The EAM tool can enhance companies’ strategic planning capabilies as it allows easy visibility into the enterprise asset estate, the company said, adding that EAM can alo help to optimize inventory levels in order to generate maximum efficiency from existing assets.

Automating HR issue resolution

ServiceNow’s Tokyo release also offers features that focus on simplifying human resource management.

One new feature, Issue Auto Resolution for Human Resources (ITSM), is designed to help HR teams manage issues brought up by company staff by applying natural language understanding to analyze employee requests and deliver content through the same channels used by employee. These channels can be Microsoft Teams, SMS or email, the company said, adding that ITSM understands and routes any request to a specific HR representatives in case of pressing matters.

Another feature, dubbed Manager Hub, is focused on employee retention. The feature, which can be accessed via the Employee Center (desktop or mobile), provides a single window for managers within an enterprise to map employee milestones and review them.

The Manager Hub can be used by an enterprise to deliver personalized training to all managers within an enterprise, Service Now said.

Security and Sustainability

The Tokyo iteration of Now also comes with added sustainability-planning and security features.

The new release offers a feature named Vault, designed to secure business-critical ServiceNow applications by using controls such as flexible key management and data anonymization. It also allows enterprises to export their ServiceNow system and application logs at scale and in near real-time, the company said.

Another tool in Tokyo’s arsenal is the Admin Center, which allows system administrators to discover, install and configure ServiceNow tools or features through a self-service interface. Admin Center, according to the company, can take advantage of new Adoption Blueprint features, which in turn can recommend applications to administrators based on criteria such as instance maturity and application entitlements.

In order to help enterprises plan and manage their sustainability goals, the Now platform’s Tokyo release comes with an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) management tool.

The tool, according to the company, can track performance towards goals, collect and validate data for audits and create reports that aligns with major ESG reporting frameworks.

Human Resources, Supply Chain Management Software

A pro-Beijing online propaganda campaign has used phony websites and social-media postings to try to discredit a prominent German anthropologist who has investigated China’s crackdown on Muslims, according to cybersecurity researchers.