This year’s OpenWorld expect 70000 attendees, 10 tips to maximize your conference experience

on Sunday, 07 September 2014. Posted in Oracle OpenWorld

This year’s OpenWorld expect 70000 attendees, 10 tips to maximize your conference experience

21 days to Oracle OpenWorld, the conference will officially kick off on Sunday, September 28th. This year, it is expected 70000 attendees will be in San Francisco.

Below are some tips after a decade of regular attendance as a speaker and attendee of Oracle OpenWorld.

1)  Book and plan sessions as soon as possible, here is the link to the current Content Catalog list the best ones are "sold out" swiftly. Currently 2500+ sessions are available, plan what you want to learn this year and keep that in mind when registering for the session. Use the target audience information.

oowlogin

This year’s OpenWorld major themes will focus

  •       On enterprise public cloud solutions and deployment strategies.
  •        On the fusion applications strategy, we should expect the re-enforcement message of the co-existence model with Siebel, EBS, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Primavera.
  •        On a comprehensive enterprise big data solution with, Big Data Appliances, 12c database, NoSQL Database and Big Data SQL. Data as we all know is the lifeblood of most organizations.
  •         IoT – Internet of things this year , lots of new sessions in this area, here are a few:

2)      2) Don’t miss Larry’s keynote, this year he may shock us, usually he provides the big announcements and summarizes well the strategy and themes of this year’s OpenWorld.

3        3) Bring comfortable shoes. You can expect lots of walking and uncomfortable shoes can put a damper on energy very quickly.

4)       4) Visit application demo's ground a great venue because its sole focus is to demo and test new applications. Despite the fact that you will be one of many participants, from my experiences you are given great attention.

6)       5) Bring business cards for the many drawings that are often offered in the exhibit areas.

7)       6) Use Twitter at OpenWorld, tweets specific to thewill be using the following hashtag #OOW14, instant updates, specials, giveaways and comments/feedback from others at the conference.

8)        7) Take advantages of networking opportunities when you can. There is much to be learned from others from other programs and places. Join in panel discussions, ride the shuttle buses.

9)        8) Always carry your pass even at night time, many specials (discounts at restaurants and stores ~expect around 15%)

10)     9) Download the Apple or Samsung Openworld mobile application to remove the need of printing your schedule. Below link to the apple store for Iphone or Ipad:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/oracle-openworld-san-francisco/id703787222?mt=8

oow schedule

Oracle OpenWorld is a must-attend business andTechnology conference event each year, this year with record 70000 attendees – planning and preparing will be key.

I’ll be there, and you can follow me at @AlexAntonatos. Also you can click on Contact (on the bottom right of the webpage and select schedule a meeting request a 1-1 with me or other Oracle experts in San Francisco.

On my side I am also looking forward to the following Oracle ACE activities during OpenWorld 2014:

  •           Sunday, Sep 28: Annual Oracle ACE Dinner 7pm-10pm
  •           Monday, Sep 29: OTN /Partners Meetup, 7-9pm
  •            Wednesday, Oct 1: Bloggers meetup

Have I missed any helpful tips? Leave a comment!

 

See you in San Francisco,

Sharing OBI Best Practices - July 2014 SIG (Special interest group) sessions

on Thursday, 31 July 2014. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture

Sharing OBI Best Practices - July 2014 SIG (Special interest group) sessions

Last three weeks have been working/sharing with different EMEA and US clients, this included other Oracle Aces on the topic of Oracle Business Intelligence. Below is a quick recap of 3 best practices, every customer should follow unfortunately it seems still today not everyone is following:

1)On the metadata – presentation layer,  seemed a rampant issue within the the sessions, lots of companies still use too many columns in their tables. Follow the Rule of 9; Tables should be organized to show nine or less columns per level.

2) To make the dashboards more effective – Use visualization a picture is worth 1000 words, don't forget the human brain processes pictures better than words.

3) Be highly selective in determining which metrics make it on your dashboard. Ask yourself how your metrics dashboard, connect to the bottom line. Does everyone understand the metrics that matter? An example within these sessions we had employees working for the same company that had different definitions on the same metric.

On the Oracle Knowledge Management site, search for 1455806.1, a must read presentation for any client invested on the Oracle Business Intelligence products.

 

 

 

Get rid of the lengthy COTS Feasibility Study, Interesting facts & data to make you think twice

on Thursday, 29 May 2014. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

Get rid of the lengthy COTS Feasibility Study, Interesting facts & data to make you think twice

 

 

 

 

                                                       Feasibility studies permit planners to outline their ideas on paper before implementing them. This can reveal errors in project design before their implementation negatively affects the project. Applying the lessons gained from a feasibility study can significantly lower the project risks. In my view feasibility studies should never be longer than 4 months, no matter how big your project is let me explain:

The Feasibility study is not a sales pitch, way too often we focus on the COTS (Commercial off the shelf ) product, In my view, this is a fundamental mistake all these products work and are already integrated (PeopleSoft, Oracle EBS, Fusion,JDE, SAP, Siebel) it does not make sense any longer with the vast information out they’re to be completing Feasibility studies with full system analysis like Oracle or SAP that last longer than 4 months.

Why? I have yet to hear in my career that Oracle or SAP cannot perform a certain business function if not vanilla or with a RICE(Report-Interface-Conversion-Extension). Especially know that everyone has adopted a SOA more Open based Architecture.

Below is an email I received by an individual that gave me approval to print this email onto this article, he shares his experience about their feasibility study:

From: **************************************
Sent: ************************
To: Alex Antonatos [mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ]
Subject: RE: Oracle Fusion vs PSFT

 

Hi Alex,

Great read on your Fusion article, just to let you know we just performed a 10 Month feasibility study on PeopleSoft or Fusion and we came up with the similar conclusions as per your article.

The only thing that bothers me, we could of donated that money to a worthy cause. I think we spent almost a million dollars if you tally up the employees like myself hourly rate and some consultants that were with us.

I have been in the IT field for 25 years, and the end game is always the same ;consultant come in make the money and leave after 3-6 months to the next project and the employees get the s**t for why we spent so much money, and the employees are stuck to show the value add of the 10 month feasibility project.

On a side note, I really enjoy your blog and thank you for the whitepapers.

 

Best Regards,

***************************

***************************

***************************

***************************

***************************

***************************

***************************

 

In the case above, we all sense some passion&frustration, I dont blame him they spent over 1 million dollars to go ahead to say that PeopleSoft 9 or Fusion can integrate to the current landscape of systems. Same answer as day 1. They’re study presented risks and returns associated with the project so the prospective managers can evaluate them. Again in their case they also believed their Finance and HRMS systems where so different compared to the norm and fell into a sales pitch of functionalities.

Here are some more examples of long feasibility studies that went the wrong direction:

1) ERP implementation , business functions inability of Hershey to ship candys for Halloween (The Feasibility study was 10 months)

2) ERP Implementation Nike Losing major shoe orders (The Feasibility study was 9 months)

3) Foxmeyers failure to process financial information and orders (The Feasibility study was 11 months)

4) BSkyB (BSY) got a 318 Million pound settlement in 2010 for a COTS system that did not work (The Feasibility study was 13 months)

5) UK Government scraps a 12 Billion National Program to provide integrated electronic records (15 Month Feasibility)

6) State of California spent 300 Million dollars in implementing a COTS software (12 Month feasibility study)

Here are some practical tips and guidelines:

  1. Use social media, an example when i wrote the article about Fusion and asked people to share their go live experiences i received 87 emails in 72 hours. These answers helped me understand quickly the different strengths and weaknesses of the product.
  2. In my view, The acceptable level for any business feasibility of a COTS package should not be more than 4 months, but the appropriate risk rate will vary for each individual depending on their personal work situation. Less experience teams usually require more time to complete a COTS Feasibility study.
  3. No SALES Pitch, focus on the integration, economic viability and operational zing of the project
  4. Don’t expect perfection in a feasibility study this is the main reason it should be short and done quickly.
  5. Bottom lines there are dozens of reasons why a feasibility study can't be done in a shorter timeframe, but perhaps only one why it can. It’s up to you to decide whether you are going to search for a way to do it, or regularly settle for a handy excuse. Some companies fall into the trap and use the feasibility study more like a sales pitch . Don’t do it!.

I am a big fan of the feasibility study but it should be a quick study and low cost exercise to determine if your COTS project (Commercial Off the Shelf Product) makes sense to adopt it within your organization.

 

 

 

Interpersonal communication - 10 tips

on Monday, 14 April 2014. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

Interpersonal communication - 10 tips

 

 

 

                                                                       One of the hardest things to do for all of us is to explore communication with an open mind - the key to influencing is to first understand the person you are influencing. Ask lots of open, neutral questions and listen actively to the answers. Different views, well managed, increase creativity and innovation. Avoid compromise try to aim for true collaboration.

 

On a lighter note, there must be other's who are managing with us because of our different point of view. Having different point of view is not bad, it's the most natural thing. No two persons are the same so definitely there will be difference of opinion. With my experience I have observed, if one is confidant & have strong conviction about the subject, then it's not that difficult to convince other's. One has to be patient & respectful for other's opinion then only one can win other's mind and persuade also with facts and data. By the way having discussion with different perspective always brings out something new & helps most of the time.

We can always agree to disagree but in the end at least you will have a great debate and learn something new, what ever that might be.

Quick recap

1. Allow them to have it
2. Be curious about it
3. Learn something about yourself from it
4. Be open minded enough to consider changing your view
5. Think about how they could add benefit because of their view
6. Relax (Do not lose your cool...sometimes not that easy)
7. Look for shared ground
8. Find the shared ground
9. Use the shared ground to build rapport and trust
10. Consider "leading" rather than "managing

 

Like usual share your thoughts on this topic

Tips on the Oracle EBS R12 Upgrade Dilemma

on Thursday, 03 April 2014. Posted in Enterprise Software , Business Analysis, Blog

Tips on the Oracle EBS R12 Upgrade Dilemma

If taking away choices is a bad thing, then giving more choices must be good, right? Not necessarily for all Oracle clients. Too many choices can overwhelm a company. I think Oracle`s strategy is a fair one provide customers with a wide selection of products of a certain type to increase customer satisfaction and meet their unique requirements. After all, we all do it at the supermarket, when they provide us 20 different brands of toast, we are more likely to find a brand that suits our taste and meets our families’ requirements.

Any EBS upgrade is a nerve-racking situation for any entity. Let`s go directly into the subject. Before you begin your upgrade follow these 5 steps:

1. Ask what you are looking to really achieve with the upgrade if you keep your options as open as possible.

By doing this, you can see that the time and stress invested to keep a wide range of choice isn’t likely to outweigh the benefit of possibly just saving a few dollars upgrade or re-implement R12. Do a full analysis conventional upgrade or re-Implementation of R12.

2. Once you’ve made your decision, stick with it.

Don’t allow yourself a “safety net” of being able to take it back or swap just because you’ve changed your mind. Know that this is the right choice for your organization, right now. Stick with your decision all 3 Oracle versions are valid – The decision has No wrong answer. Stop talking and execute Oracle will support you with any of the 3 versions you select.

3. Forget about the other “EBS versions”.

They’re will always be someone that will question or doubt that decision, don’t dwell on how wonderful the things may have been if you selected the other version. Move ahead, many companies i see spend lots of time and money on this point Don’t.

4. Ask: do you really need it anyway?

If you already own several pairs of boots, how will another pair affect your happiness? Focus on what value the upgraded EBS version provides to your company, rather than just upgrading because of Oracle`s roadmap.

5. Trust yourself.

You know what you really need, and what is right for you. Be happy with your choice when you’ve made it, and know that your company will not cease to exist if, by the slightest chance, this was the wrong choice.

When looking to upgrade your EBS release below is the timeframe with the support policies for 11.5 and 12.1

 timeline

For people that are not familiar with Oracle support policies, Each new version of EBS when launched the first 5 years is called premier and support costs are defined when software is purchased, the next 3 years are named Extended and an extra support cost is usually added.

For example EBS 12.2 that was released GA (General availability) in 2013, premier support ends in 2018.

Decision process for the R12 EBS Upgrade

Lets go to the heart of the question upgrade to which version, Here are my thoughts on the topic:

Upgrading to Release 12.1.3 : This EBS version is currently used by thousands of customers and will provide you the least surprises. The upgrade path is well known and provides the least risk, also if your only requirement is to upgrade for the cheapest short term cost and no new functionality is required for your organization 12.1.3 is your best bet. Currently the majority of EBS customers are on this version and you should be good for the next 4 years.

Upgrading to Release 12.2.2 : Requires to upgrade to 12.2 and then install the 12.2.2 release pack , this version includes lots of new features Online patching which allows the E-Business Suite to be updated while the system is still running and users entering transactions, but lots of new feature here is the link to all new business and technical features : E-Business Suite 12.2 Release Content Document (Note 1302189.1)

Upgrading to Release 12.2.3 : Requires to upgrade to EBS 12.2 and then to install the 12.2.3 release pack, one of the many features of 12.2.3 is to be able to change the new-look and feel of the user interface by changing the below profile :

Screenshot of the profile option that you need to change

 look and feel profile

One of the multiple look and feels available within R12.2.3

screenshot of new UI

For a full complete list of 12.2.3 features, it can be found at the following hyperlink Oracle E-Business Suite Product Specific Release Notes, Release 12.2.3 (Doc ID 1605928.1)

To conclude, my opinion upgrading to the latest version minus 1 is always the safest upgrade. If you think about it most bugs get resolved in the next version following the one the bug was identified.

Like usual share your thoughts & the approach that is or was followed at your company.

 

Sharing tips in developing team work plans

on Thursday, 20 March 2014. Posted in Project Management, Blog

Sharing tips in developing team work plans

 The project manager determines whether any project management activities should be included in the team workplan. Be specific when defining the skills, background, and experience required for each task. This allows you to make more accurate work assignments (role) to team members and minimizes problems caused by assigning a team member to inappropriate responsibilities.

·          Do not create artificial contract deadlines that are actually target dates. Dates that are deadlines should be specified in the contract. Dates that are not in the contract are typically target dates, which are objectives or goals that may move.

Critical Path Versus Critical Chain Approach

·          Workplan development follows either a Critical Chain or a Critical Path method.

-       Critical Chain Approach—Focuses on the final deliverable due date for the project rather than on interim due dates. Activity durations are estimated with no safety factor or time buffer included. Instead, Project Management incorporates safety into the Workplan to protect the final due date.

-       Critical Path Approach—Project duration is driven by the interim activities that must be completed, the availability of resources, and safety factors built in to each task or activity.

·          The Critical Chain approach is concerned with the latest date that a task or activity may be started to meet the final due date of the project. 

·          In the Critical Path approach, a project start date must be determined. If a start activity is not obvious, create an activity entitled "project start" or "initiate project" to indicate that the project does have a real start time. 

·          In a Critical Path approach, resource availability affects the duration of tasks, milestones, and the overall project completion date. The more resources available, the shorter the durations. In the Critical Chain approach, the required completion date determines the resources required. If resource availability is limited, the scope of work must be re-evaluated and possibly reduced to meet the completion date. In either case, the resource model is updated to reflect actual resource assignments.

·          In the Critical Path approach, identify activities that can begin immediately (that is, they have no predecessors), and make the start activity their predecessor.

·          Using the activity list and dependency information, sequence the remaining activities. A simple activity-sequencing example is shown below.

Activity Sequencing 1

Activity ID

Activity

Immediately Preceding Activity

1         

Project A

 

2         

    Initiate project

-

3         

    Assign project manager

2

4         

    Establish constraints

2

5         

    Develop project schedule

3, 4

6         

    Prepare estimate expenses

4, 5

7         

    Assign resources

5, 6

8         

    Distribute project documents

7

 ·          The same information is presented in the Microsoft Project example, as shown below; however, Microsoft Project automatically draws the precedence diagram.

Activity Sequencing 2

projectplan

·          Identify the finish activity for the project. For example, include a milestone called "project end." Every activity in the project needs to be completed before this milestone is reached.

Workplan Standards and Guidelines

·          Review any guidelines, practices, or procedures for preparing a Workplan. Verify that the WBS is in line with the Project Charter, and update sections of the Project Charter as necessary.

·          The baseline Workplan and framework documents for the standard methodology can be used as a starting point. Also refer to any lessons learned documents and other, similar workplans. Expert advice or opinion is also valuable when performing this step.

Workplan Review

·          Workplan development is an iterative process because the resulting schedule needs to be compared with the scope and other constraints to verify its feasibility.

·          The Workplan should be reviewed frequently. The best project managers continually try to assess what can go wrong and perform up-front analysis on the schedule. Clearly, project constraints and objectives can change; therefore, schedule analysis should be an ongoing activity.

·          Obtain Workplan buy-in from all key team members. In many ways, this is more important than formal approval, because team members who are committed to the Workplan are more likely to put forth the effort required to adhere to it than those who are not.

·          Review of deliverables includes reviewing action items and verifying actions to improve performance, revisiting and refining the Workplan, and acknowledging that the plan meets the expectations of the management team.

·          Reviewers should typically include the project sponsor and the organization. They may also include other organization authorities who have direct influence or need-to-know responsibilities. Reviewers can vary from project to project but should be determined early in the project life cycle.

·          To avoid delays in the overall project schedule, the time allotted for reviewing the Workplan should be formally communicated to the project sponsors before submission for approval.

Please share your thoughts and tips on workplans 

 

  

 

Extract from the Oracle January 2014 Newsletter

on Monday, 03 February 2014. Posted in Blog

Extract from the Oracle January 2014 Newsletter

 

 

Here is an excerpt of the Oracle January 2014 Newsletter, different global experts share their knowledge and enthusiam on Oracle functional and technical topics and a list of new Oracle books currently available:

Tag Cloud

This post written by ACE Director Lucas Jellema explores Data Visualization with an HTML 5 Canvas based Tag Cloud powered by JSON.

Configure OHS mod_wl_ohs.conf

Oracle HTTP Server (OHS) is the Web server component for Oracle Fusion Middleware. It provides a HTTP listener for Oracle WebLogic Server and the framework for hosting static pages, dynamic pages, and applications over the Web. In his blog, Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa describes how to configure Oracle WebTier for Redirecting Purpose.

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos shares his hands on tips for best practices when designing your Oracle financial footprint information using R12, Hyperion and OBI.

Adding Targets and Keeping it Clean

Here is a post describing ACE Director Kellyn Pot'Vin's client's environment that shows just how important it is to ensure your server environment is kept pristine.

"Which Way Do I Go?"

ACE Director Debra Lilley guest posts on the Oracle AppAdvantage Blog and talks about how people are transforming their businesses using Oracle Technology.

Twelve new DBA commands for Oracle 12c

ACE Director Julian Dontcheff share 12 new commands in Oracle 12c that will help DBA's with database administration, consolidation, security and availability features.

ACE Director Markus Eisele's latest posts from his German Heise Blog

- NetBeans and WildFly grow together
- JavaLand Highlights
- Influence Java EE 8 (Survey Part 2)

Seconds_behind_master vs. Absolute slave lag

Read this post by Oracle ACE Shlomi Noach to learn about getting the definite metrics your application can trust.

SOA Governance FAQ

What is SOA Governance? Why do I need it? What are the benefits of implementing SOA Governance and SOA the most common pitfalls? This and many other questions are answered in the SOA Governance FAQ by Oracle ACE Luis Weir.

Luis also describes the different components that build up the Oracle Foundation Pack (former AIA Foundation Pack) and also provide some useful architectural diagrams describing its key components.

Practical Example for ADF Active Data Service

ACE Director Andrejus Baranovskis describes in his post the practical approach to implement Active Data Service push update mechanism in ADF applications, leveraging Oracle DB offered notifications functionality over JDBC.

Oracle PL/SQL Code Execution from TimesTen

This post written by Oracle ACE Gennady Sigalaev describes the example of execution of Oracle PL/SQL code from TimesTen.

If you're not using Hugepages, you're doing it Wrong!

Read this brief discussion of hugepages and why they're important for Oracle database configuration provided by Oracle ACE Mark Bobak.

How to Check Broken Job for Oracle Scheduler (DBMS_SCHEDULER)?

Oracle ACE Surachart Opun blogs an example with Oracle Scheduler and how DBAs can check broken job for Oracle Job (dbms_job) at *_JOBS.BROKEN column. DBAs have changed the use from DBMS_JOB to DBMS_SCHEDULER.

Oracle 11g New Optimizer Hint: APPEND_VALUES for Improving Insert Performance

One of the most common ways to improve the performance of an INSERT operation is to use the optimizer hint called APPEND. Find out why in Oracle ACE Ami Aharonovich's latest guest post.

Look who's tweeting now - Sending OEM Notifications via Twitter

Oracle ACE Leighton Nelson shares detailed steps for sending Tweets from Oracle Enterprise Manager in his latest post.

NEW BOOKS

Oracle PL/SQL Programming, 6th Edition by ACE Director Steven Feuerstein. Order a signed copy directly from Steven! It supports a good cause! (available now)

Practical Oracle Database Appliance by Oracle ACE Bobby Curtis, ACE Director Yury Velikanov, et al. (available now)

Oracle SOA Governance 11g Implementation by Oracle ACE Luis Weir and Andrew Bell. (available now)

ebook: Securing Oracle Database 12c: A Technical Primer by ACE Director Michelle Malcher,Paul Needham, Scott Rotondo, and James Spooner (available now)

Oracle Database 12c PL/SQL Programming by Oracle ACE Michael McLaughlin (available now)

JRuby Rails Web Application Development (SpringerBriefs in Computer Science) authored by Oracle ACE Deepak Vohra (available now)

Like usual share your thoughts 

5 Tips to engage more efficient meetings

on Tuesday, 21 January 2014. Posted in Blog

5 Tips to engage more efficient meetings

 

 

 

Most of us believe we are very efficient in our meetings, the main issue meetings are not effective we waste valuable time figuring out what we are trying to accomplish in them.

Here some data, in an informal poll conducted by Forbes several years ago, they asked 1000 professionals how they would rate their overall experiences as meeting attendees throughout their careers. Here’s how they responded:

79% rated meetings as “run terribly”

14% rated meetings as “run fairly well”

7% rated meetings as “run extremely well”

Some more statistics:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastianbailey/2013/08/08/just-say-no-how-your-meeting-habit-is-harming-you/

http://business.salary.com/why%2Dhow%2Dyour%2Demployees%2Dare%2Dwasting%2Dtime%2Dat%2Dwork/slide/9/

Don’t fall into the bad statistic categories! Here are some tips that I try to follow:

1) A change of scenery and a bit of fun does wonders for getting people thinking differently and loosening up! (Coffee, power walk meeting, restaurant meeting instead of a conference room meeting with PowerPoint)

2) The meeting notes need to be laser focused in answering 3 questions

What do we see as the next steps?

Who should take responsibility for them?

And what should the timeframe be?

Record the answers and send out an email so that everyone is on the same page. This helps with accountability also no one can say they're not sure what really happened.

3) Don't skip writing minutes just because everyone attended the meeting and knows what happened. Meeting notes serve as a record of the meeting long after people forget what happened.

4) Ban the words "cant" "unable" "not possible" from the room and establish a clear donation to local charity by anyone that utters those words

4) Always provide an escape valve, some meetings tend to be intense, following a meeting, it is vital that your team know that your door is always open if they are struggling with the outcome

5) Do use positive language. Rather than describing the discussion as heated or angry, use passionate, lively, or energetic--all of which are just as true as the negative words. 

Wish everyone a 2014 filled with productive meetings captured efficiently in crisp, clear meeting notes!Never forget Ideas are cheap;come with solutions in your meetings

Like usual share your thoughts and advice on the topic.

 

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

on Wednesday, 04 December 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Best practices in solution architecture for Oracle EBS, OBI, Hyperion Planning

A perfect design is an enemy of a good design. Often, we strive for a perfect design by customizing our systems, with what we currently know and forget quickly that the out of the box design may not provide the best solution to a given problem but it would probably have the best chance of meeting the schedule , regulatory compliance and cost constraints with acceptable quality.

I just completed US financial services solution architecture and noticing a trend with enterprise customers towards simplicity and making sure the business is provided tools to adapt to the new out of the box functionality reality. 2014 focus seems to be on essentials, mobile and providing a responsive design to the end user.

Having been lucky enough to have implemented multiple times EBS R12, Hyperion Products, OBI and CRM projects, I share some best practices on what in my view should not be modified and other areas that should be slightly improved from a business architecture standpoint:

 

Architecture OBI Hyperion  EBS

 

One question that comes often what is each product main purpose: here is a quick 1 liner on the products.

Hyperion Financial management is Oracle’s consolidation tool and statutory reporting

Hyperion Planning is the Strategic Planning, Budgeting and forecasting tool

Hyperion Financial Data Management is a tool to map different chart of accounts between source systems (EBS and non EBS applications) and HFM

Oracle EBS R12 is the ERP that store the Financial, Project, Procurement, Supply chain transactions

OBI Oracle Business Intelligence is the BI platform that stores the OLAP analytics, provides enterprise reporting, mobile BI and different scorecards.

When implementing your enterprise software keep in mind the following best practices:

1)  Times are changing; your approach to BI must change, Mobile Users Deserve the Same Quality of Browsing Experience as on your computer, one financial services company in the US is making sure most ERP, CRM transactions can be performed by mobile or tablet. Put in place mobile responsive design architecture when designing your solution. Your competitors are probably doing it or thinking about it. Technology has become the differentiator, not the business process.

2)  Capture integration requirements, then challenge all requirements that don’t respect the out of the box functionality, always make use of the product API’s to customize your solution if required. Focus on essential requirements only.

3) All enterprise software now integratre with Microsoft Excel, Microsoft’s classic spreadsheet program, is a favorite of sales and finance teams everywhere, use it to minimize change management

4)  One that I see often, not matching the growth strategy for the company to the capabilities of the system being implemented. Make sure everyone understands your functionality/ project scope and ROI to avoid the smoking mirror syndrome were the expectations and money spent do not correlate to the required outcome. Communicate with facts and data only!

Like usual please provide your thoughts and comments on solution architecture best practices.

 

 

7 Tips to Improve your Project Solution Architecture Outcome

on Wednesday, 23 October 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

7 Tips to Improve your Project Solution Architecture Outcome

The goal of architecture is to identify the requirements that affect the structure of the application and design a business solution.

 A well thought-out architecture should always consider these important principles:

   Build to change instead of build to last

   Understand the end user needs and the domain before designing components

   Identify sub-systems in your product and consider layers and components to abstract them and identify the key interfaces

   Use an incremental and iterative approach to designing the architecture

   Learn from company history, document your decisions and identify and mitigate key risks

But as we all know: every organization has its share of political drama: personalities clash, diverging agendas. Having worked at many companies here are some thoughts and tips to avoid architecture delays or having your project stopped:

 *** Communicate like you are a Teacher, not a Preacher

 A general assumption, architects are supposed to share their knowledge and experience. Failing to share that information is pretty much against the job description. But how you communicate that experience is the most important part of the job.  Think of your best teachers in school—did they ever go in front of the classroom and tell you how smart they were?  I don’t think so.  They found subtle ways to express their knowledge that encouraged learning and asking questions.

 Tip #1 that I often use , I start my sentences with ‘I think’ this will open discussion items and questions and encourage a two-way discussion.

 Tip #2 Architects are usually quite smart and have a breadth of knowledge but the tone, quality and delivery of the Information is more important than the content, try to always communicate like a teacher .

 

*** Standards apply to Architects, Developers and COE (Center of Excellence)– Don’t take the easy path take the smart path

 Enterprise architects put together standards documents that lay out , architecture patterns, coding conventions, infrastructure, source code nomenclature, and build structures.  But to publish those standardsand fail to hold yourself to them is the highest form of hypocrisy.  If you can’t follow a standard, why would you expect anyoneelse to follow it too?

An example, a company wanted to perform a point (system)to point (system) development, in this case standards existed to use web services with these systems, the development team took a quick decision and coded the point to point development and satisfied the business requirement. The director of the COE (Center of Excellence) did not realize an impact existed onto a surrounding system , the issue caused a security and reconciliation issue. In this case the cost to fix the data & interface was 4 times the initial budget.

 Tip #3 : By applying the standards to your work, you’re respecting the standards of the organization; you also see what will be painful for other groups. Respect your standards and reduce the power politics within your organization.

Tip #4 : Always try to eliminate 'it’s not my job” attitudes at your workplace, especially when you have the role of the architect.

 

***Command from the dugouts, not from the Ivory Tower

Not once, in any company I’ve ever worked with or for, did this idea bear positive fruit for the development teams involved.  Instead, these segregated groups architecture and development teams have generated one or more of the following:

 *        Contempt for the architecture because the developers had no say in

the architecture

*        Rejection of the framework because it was impractical to apply to

the project at hand

*        Blatant disregard for the standards set by architects because the architects did not have to respect company deadlines as a result of the delays introduced by their work

 Tip # 5: Architects should be a member of the project team, never as a visiting diplomat to the team.  Teams respect the opinion of someone who lives their daily reality side-by-side with them, not someone who hands them the Ten Commandments.

  *** Architecture teams that believe their involvement is limited to the design phase don’t really understand what it means to be an architect

 An example, when a building is being built, the architect is on site during the majority of the project, overseeing the effort at a high level, ensuring that little changes are not impacting the big picture.  All the while, the architect assists in solving problems that arise from his or her design from a practical standpoint, same as any enterprise software deployment

 In short, the architect’s involvement is continuous, not disconnected.

 Tip #6 : Make sure the architect is involved in the design, build and deployment phase.

 

***Documentation

Tip #7 : Always begin your intervention with a contextual diagram and perform a walk through with the team, don’t write too much text it may cause confusion at the beginning. Developers and implementers interact better with diagrams.

 For architecture projects to succeed there must be a partnership of developers,implementers and architects. Successful partnerships require two way communication and trust, none of which happens when someone acts like God’s gift to mankind, insists on his way or the highway and doesn’t actively get his hands dirty.

Feel free to share your tips , comments and thoughts.

 

 

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7? Summarized Pros and Cons with key points to guide your decision making

on Tuesday, 01 October 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , fusion, Blog

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7? Summarized Pros and Cons with key points to guide your decision making

EBS customers often ask this question but do not get answers to their satisfaction, the answer seems to be consistently ‘it depends’ and most companies begin an assessment effort to understand the business and technological needs of the organization and analyze how those needs can be met by each solution.

 

Let’s begin and get to the points,

Business/Functional Processes and functionality – Oracle Fusion applications is ready for prime time, when it comes to functionality no major difference exists between Fusion Applications and EBS 12.2. A plus on Fusion you get embedded analytics and analytical power that EBS does not have - The GL is underpinned by Essbase and for accountants you can replace the screens with excels spreadsheets .The one delta - downside for government customers within the financial suite of Fusion, encumbrance accounting not available in release 7. What is encumbrance accounting? Encumbrance accounting is mostly used in public sector municipal, government, and schools. It is a reservation of the fund prior to accrual of the expenses. An encumbrance is a transaction that occurs when someone needs to put money away (to hold it) for a specific purpose. In government accounting, an encumbrance is created when a Purchase Order is issued to buy goods or services. The money has not yet been spent, but is selected for that purchase and no one else can use it.

In our everyday life, it`s like you put money into an envelope to hold it to pay a bill, you have encumbered that money. Similar in putting an envelope in your office drawer marked “Phone bill”, the money you put in the envelope for the next bill is your encumbrance. How much should be encumbered? How much do you think your bill is going to be? That’s encumbrance.


User Experience:
Fusion applications makes R12 look bad when you compare the user experience; I have seen customers express a WOW effect when demoing Fusion. Oracle has really taken their time to get Fusion applications right, they have concentrated heavily on the user interface and user experience and they got it right. In my opinion, this is the biggest advantage of Fusion, end users love the look and feel and the functionality empowerment towards the end user in my opinion is a notch above release 12.

 oraclefusion201310

Development: If you are looking at Fusion Applications you need to have a hard look at your existing EBS RICE(Reports-Interface-Conversions-Extension) and determine if they are really needed and whether there is a strong enough business case to carry them forward. Do not ask yourself should I replicate my 50 extensions in Fusion apps; use it as an opportunity to make processes fit as per application. The customizations towards external 3rd party systems using Oracle Fusion Middleware works well in release 7.

Cost/Internal Staff/Long term support - Fusion Applications is built on cutting edge technology and consequently, the hardware required to support it needs to be that much bigger. Internal staff will require re-training and if you look at some facts on the Oracle Fusion customers already in production, they opted for a cloud deployment –current stats 8/10 deployments in production with Fusion apps have been deployed in the cloud. I think clients are taking this approach mostly because expertise does not exist internally and to build the support knowledge this will create challenges to your business case and your project timeline.

Applications Unlimited Program - Customers that have significant investments in EBS, have no other choice than to utilize the co-existence deployment model. Oracle made long-term commitments to older products like EBS or PeopleSoft through its Applications Unlimited Program; I think this has caused a less attractive proposition to go with Fusion applications, I suspect Oracle will begin in 2014 some client incentives to get their clients onto Fusion apps. Customers should not feel it's a one-size-fits-all scenario, from my independent Oracle client discussions some clients have begun their co-existence strategy in implementing HCM, others CRM, others small steps with Fusion Accounting Hub linking to their current ERP financial transactions, others with Fusion GL,AP,etc.

Stability - One of the most common comments I receive, Fusion is not mature, in my opinion that is an incorrect statement, Fusion is a lot more mature than people are realizing out there, especially around HCM and Financials including Fusion accounting Hub, with Fusion you can envision a global instance for your global organization, harder to do than with R12 .

Licensing – As per my knowledge the cost of licensing between Fusion and R12 are similar, but the internal infrastructure cost grows more for Fusion. I think this is the main reason clients are selecting a SaaS deployment approach. The cost savings will come from customers moving to SaaS with Fusion.

Upgrading Starting point – If you plan to upgrade to EBS 12.2, a direct path is included with the releases 11.5.10.2, 12.0 and 12.1

Link to the complete documentation EBS 12.2 Product Information Center (Note 1581299.1)

If you plan to move to Fusion Applications, begin by reading (DOC.id 250.2) here is the link Life Cycle Manager 

Then reference back to Fusion applications- Product Information Center (Doc ID 100.2 ) Link

My view on the current Oracle client mindset is that they are mostly following an approach that is better to continue with the older more mature products with current technologies till the organization is convinced about the benefits from the upgraded system before deciding in favor of a move to Fusion apps, the time will come soon I think, were Oracle will start pushing incentives towards Fusion!

Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic!

 

4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing

on Friday, 06 September 2013. Posted in Blog, Enterprise Architecture

4 things you need to do in your next software selection project & 4 things you need to stop doing

 

 

                                                         Software selection is a tricky and strategic process for any corporation. Here are 4 tips, on how to tackle a system selection process:  

1- The system selection process should follow a fact based approach. Gather Application or functional requirements via interviews and workshops from various groups like Operations, Finance, Marketing, and IT. These requirements should provide the basis for the selection. 

2- Employees in various functional areas, including Business Verticals, CRM, BI,ERP or any other type of system of engagement should participate to determine which value add features should be included in the selection criteria process. Through primary and secondary research (e.g. analyst reviews, vendor calls, subject matter expert reviews, independent consultants, vendor websites, etc.), select three to four vendors to issue the selection and invite them to demonstrate their offering.

3- Have a consistent approach for vendor selection analysis, a scoring schedule with weightings should be developed and validated internally. Further, scoring criteria should be established to evaluate the vendor’s software response.

4- Based on the scoring results and qualitative assessment of the vendors’ response and product demonstrations, short list two vendors and perform a total cost of ownership and a internal high level implementation plan. An important rule never select a software that has no product roadmap.

 

Below are some of the most common slipups, If you see your organization doing any of the following, take action quickly!

1- Not knowing up front the full Total Cost of Ownership . A previous client called me last week and was shocked to learn that their perfect $80K open source solution would cost $700K to make useful in their environment and another $250K annually to support. Make sure you perform a TCO.

2- Believing that newer technology will fix business problems is a trap that organizations repeatedly fall into

3- A software selection process that assumes the consent of other stakeholders without their involvement can easily get derailed. I know of several projects that experienced considerable delays after purchase or the software was put on the shelf do to internal reasons.

4- One that is often forgotten, not paying particular attention to integration points, the software selected must fit within your company’s spiderweb architecture.

Feel free to share any useful tips you've experienced.

 

Business architecture always adapt to your audience - 4 tips

on Thursday, 22 August 2013. Posted in Business Analysis, Solution & Business Architecture, Blog

Business architecture always adapt to your audience - 4 tips

 

Always make a point to understand your audience, audience analysis involves identifying the audience and adapting a speech to their interests, level of understanding, attitudes, and beliefs. Taking an audience-centered approach is important because your material effectiveness will be improved if the deliverable is created and delivered in an appropriate manner.

I have seen many times technical people speaking to the business and not talking at the right level and emphasizing technical information like security, protocols and interfaces. An example application A will push the actuals to application B (good) instead of saying Application A attributes are connecting to table AR_Actuals and the trigger releases the information into Application B table GL_Open_balances. 

Depending on your audience adapt your architecture diagrams accordingly.

In my view, here is a sample architecture of a business architecture diagram that will connect with business savvy people to initiate architecture discussions. here are my tips:

  1. A Business Architecture must be process centric
  2. Be able to apply enterprise-wide architecture and process-level models and techniques that are aligned to your roadmap
  3. Develop a measurable architecture for planning, budgeting, organization design, compliance, human change management, and the introduction of breakthrough technologies
  4. Be able to use an architecture model to accelerate capability change projects and model development

 architecture

 Do you have any favorite tips or would like to share your experience on this topic?

The Biggest Problem in Corporations - Data Proliferation, 3 tips to tackle this issue

on Friday, 14 June 2013. Posted in Solution & Business Architecture

The Biggest Problem in Corporations - Data Proliferation, 3 tips to tackle this issue
 
 
Data is impacted by numerous processes, most of which affect its quality to a certain degree. As data proliferation in the enterprise continues its exponential expansion and the size, complexity, and heterogeneous nature of IT systems environments scales to keep up, data quality and trust become increasingly important. Trusted data initiatives will remain strategic.

The business drivers that are pushing (Master Data Management) MDM:

•   Runaway costs that include bad data

•   Missed opportunities mostly from lack of transparency from the business pipeline

•   With the potential jail time to corporate officer’s regulatory compliance, security and sensitive data will continue the push towards a standardized view of critical data.

•   Integrating new businesses as M&A continues, consolidating corporate data from multiple acquisitions.

2014-16 will be great years for MDM, I think standards and the trustworthy view of critical data will be propagated and included in the processes of most businesses. I think we will soon reach a meeting point between MDM and Big Data, as we know big data comes in many forms: some is structured, some unstructured; some is generated internally, some externally. The current MDM solutions are know being built with internal and some external integration points.

When selecting an MDM technology I would recommend use the Gartner or Forrester reports, and in my opinion I would only spend time looking the top right quadrant.

Some companies are naïve when it comes to choosing MDM technologies, wrongly assuming that the market is mature and that everything works fine these days. In my view, this is wrong it will take another 3-5 years for this area to mature.

Below is the year over year Gartner Magic quadrant on MDM

MDM 2012-2013 Gartner Comparison

Three tips

  1. Shortlist your suppliers and make sure they have a track record with your type of data
  2. MDM projects are always tricky, follow a think big start small approach. The approach should consider all data domains, but take a gradual, step-wise approach to implementation, delivering incremental business value
  3. In 2014,I think companies will be moving toward an Enterprise App Store similar to Google and Apple store and this will oblige companies to accelerate their efforts on MDM.(look into creating an enterprise app store)

One of the big accomplishments of these technologies, analysis of data has become a key differentiator within many industries.

Like usual please share your thoughts on MDM, Big data and the Enterprise App Stores trends

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise Project

on Monday, 03 June 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise  Project

 

The cutover and go-live of an enterprise system must be well thought out;

An awareness campaign to the users should be launched 6 weeks in advance to prepare them for Go Live.

It includes awareness messages, the tasks to be carried out during system unavailability and other related information.

The implementation of Enterprise Software is almost always a massive operation that brings a lot of changes in the organization. Virtually every person in the organization is involved, whether they are part of the Functional or technical or the actual end users of the enterprise software.

Below I share tips and tricks on the critical last 6 weeks before going live in the areas of testing, data conversion, training and cutover validation.

Enterprise Cutover

Like always share your thoughts and feedback

More tips for production cutover to new system

http://appsconsultant.com/item/tips-for-enterprise-production-cutover-projects

Test drove Oracle Fusion Solution for Mobile Devices with Fusion CRM, my synopsis with 6 pros and 1 con

on Thursday, 25 April 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Featured

Test drove Oracle Fusion Solution for Mobile Devices with Fusion CRM, my synopsis with 6 pros and 1 con

 

 

With Oracle Fusion CRM you are able to access the data in real time from your mobile device. I used my Blackberry device.

Here is the screenshot from the device once you log in.

 

Pros

 1-Response time was excellent i was in Montreal and Fusion servers in San Francisco, the response time was superb (1-3 seconds)

2- Setting up events on the go with the fusion calendar was responsive and easy to perform.

3- In opportunities you are able to drill down into related contacts and notes and you can easily shoot off an email, process is intuitive nicely done.

4- Natively the mobile applications integrates with your phones email, maps and calendar. No special setups required just allow the application to access your phone settings.

5- Fusion CRM data now validates your data  at point-of-entry ,validation occurs on name duplications, address and company information

6- My favorite feature was the Oracle Voice aka as Fusion Tap, (similar to Siri) and translates your voice into text and uses a worklflow to aggregate your information, finds the opportunity and records your information. Voice recognition was great did not get any glitches during testing.

 oracle voice

 

Here is a screenshot of the Oracle Fusion CRM application we used Vision data

Oracle fusion CRM

Fusion CRM strengths

1) Easy to navigate

2) My view the best new functionality are the predictive analytics it know identifies you more easily and helps you in finding the information to cross-sell and up-sell opportunities by accessing your entire sales team data

Con

Overall the only disadvantage for the Fusion Applications its more of a general comment the adoption of Fusion applications has been slower than Oracle expected. it may take time before corporations adopt and deploy these functionalities, some of these functionalities I believe may cause a large cultural change for some organizations.

 

Overall I think this is a great starting point in making your salesforce become a more mobile workforce. 

As Cloud Computing continues its good adoption rate, I think the prospects of Fusion mobile CRM will be very promising.

 

Architecture for the cloud; Tips to build and deploy your cloud based applications

on Friday, 12 April 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Featured, Solution & Business Architecture, Enterprise Architecture

Architecture for the cloud; Tips to build and deploy your cloud based applications

The cloud and cloud-based solutions are here to stay. This will continue to drive business solutions for a long time. Why? Clear and measurable benefits below i believe are the top 4 reasons :

1- Almost zero upfront infrastructure investment

2- Just-in-time Infrastructure

3- More efficient resource utilization

4- The possibility of usage-based costing on your back office applications

Cloud is a disruptive force. However, the cloud’s “Achilles heel” is a lack of integration with the rest of the enterprise. Realizing its full potential relies, for the foreseeable future, on integrating data in the cloud with on-premise applications and databases.

Today’s enterprise cloud initiatives require decoupled data systems working together , without the need for personnel and other resources to set up and maintain them , making integration key to a successful deployment.

Most companies cannot and will not abandon their previous IT investments to make the leap to the cloud all at once. Instead, there is more likely to be a gradual shift in business processes to the cloud over time, similar by nature to a perpetual proof of concept.

As the cloud delivers on its promise, more processes will be shifted to this computing model. Complexity and diminished ROI will be the consequence when long-term strategy and goals are not implemented in advance. Put simply: integration needs to be a forefront, not on the afterthought of your project strategy.

Always design for failure, be a pessimist when designing architectures in the cloud; assume things will fail. In other words, always design, implement and deploy for automated recovery from failure.

In particular, assume that your hardware will fail. Assume that outages will occur. Assume that some disaster will strike your application. Assume that you will be slammed with more than the expected number of requests per second some day. Assume that with time your application software will fail too. By being a pessimist, you end up thinking about recovery strategies during design time, which helps in designing an overall system better.

If you realize that things fail over time and incorporate that thinking into your architecture, build mechanisms to handle that failure before disaster strikes to deal with a scalable infrastructure, you will end up creating a fault-tolerant architecture that is optimized for the cloud.

Questions that you need to ask: What happens if a node in your system fails? How do you recognize that failure? How do I replace that node? What kind of scenarios do I have to plan for? What are my single points of failure? If a load balancer is sitting in front of an array of application servers, what if that load balancer fails? If there are master and slaves in your architecture, what if the master node fails? How does the failover occur and how is a new slave instantiated and brought into sync with the master?

Just like designing for hardware failure, you have to also design for software failure.

Below is a baseline to help you consider all the moving parts required to build and deploy your cloud based applications.

 appsconsultantcloudapps

Lastly build process threads that resume on reboot and good cloud architecture should not be impacted to reboots and re-launches.

Like it or not, the cloud is a disruptive force, that i think will require us to move towards a more data centric business model.

Like usual, please share your thoughts and experiences

Stay Optimistic

on Saturday, 05 January 2013. Posted in Blog

 

 

I was reading this weekend, the most watched TV programs were MSNBC and CNN Money.

 

Also looking at NY Times, Financial Post and the Economist reported 35% increase in their paper sales - All with pessimistic news as front page. Let’s take a step back this concludes that fear sells do not be a pessimist. No depression is coming unemployment is 7% and not 40 %, in those times no government programs existed and governments made crucial mistakes by staying on the side lines in the 30's.

 

 

Here are some quick tips on how to start seeing the glass half-full:

 

  • Find the good. Even in less-than-great situations, there’s a way to find something positive. It may be hard to see at first, but try looking closer!

 

  • Write it down. First thing in the morning, make a list of everything you’re grateful for and start the day with a positive attitude. Or end the day with a smile and write down a few good things that happened, like finishing a big report at work or getting an e-mail from an old friend. The habit makes it easier to appreciate the positive parts of life.
  • Stay Balanced. Life isn’t all good, all the time, so don’t worry if those positive thoughts don’t flow freely. Staying realistic is also important to help manage anxiety and boost productivity.

 

 

Our leaders have studied the depression case of the 1930's, it will not be repeated.

 

The problem is not a recession but the credit issue and lack of faith in our governments, recessions happen and they are healthy for the economy, they remove excess(if any).

 

In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists. Other studies have linked a pessimistic explanatory style with higher rates of infectious disease, poor health, and earlier mortality.

 

Enjoy your first weekend of 2013!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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