Enterprise Software

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

on Monday, 17 November 2014. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

In my view, the top 10 reasons most companies move towards a centralized CRM (customer relationship management) system

  1. Move to get a more complete view of customers
  2. Automate previously manual and repetitive processes
  3. Make business processes consistent across the company
  4. Improve the quality and velocity of data.  Enter once.  Use many times.
  5. Replace of various systems/databases by one system
  6. Improve sales force efficiency, forecasting
  7. Deploying CRM enables corporations to become more customer-centric with their business processes
  8. Better user access to data and instant mobile analytical tools
  9. Improve communication among groups within sales and marketing organizations
  10. Leverages best practices throughout the organization 

A CRM system provides a one face to the customer and a 360 degree view of sales and opportunities, by establishing the reflex of having a common customer ID across data dimensions, you can provide visibility to all of the customer-related activity across the enterprise.

Tip #1 Dont focus on functional requirements

When focusing on functional requirements take into account all Tier 1 CRM, share the same functionalities, provide a better scoring to the vendor that is already deployed internally, for example if your company is more Oracle centric select Oracle if its SAP centric select SAP, this will help reduce the risks related to integration. 

Tip #2 Biggest risk will always be the data migration

crmdatamigration

          In a CRM project, put a focus on the data migration, bad data is the number 1 reason for project failures and overruns: 

     Main Pitfalls of Converting Bad Data

       Inaccurate report metrics

       Bad information wastes users time and effort

       Marketing wastes money and effort pursuing bad prospects

       Understanding your “customer” is impossible

       IT wastes time sifting through information and trying to make sense of it

       Operations has difficulty reconciling data against financial and other backend information

       User get frustrated, you lose valuable buy-in and adoption

Follow a structured approach and limit your initial scope of your data migration to converting:

 Accounts, Contacts, Addresses, Opportunity, Products, Notes, Attachments and Territories.

   Tip # 4 Data Cleansed then Loaded into CRM

   Define key systems where data will be cleansed and then convert to CRM

   Do the same with the transactional data, that will be loaded into CRM and which loaded into the BI for analytics

Tip#5 Setup CRM Center of Excellence 

      Provide one level 3 support group for all user queries, incidents, and changes requested.   Across all business unit lines.
     With established partnership for software break & fix, establish business-oriented service level agreements for availability, time to respond, and bandwidth/capacity for changes.

      I would say that the Achilles heel to all IT systems especially in CRM systems is user-friendliness. If in doubt, use the KISS method'Keep It Simple Stupid'. Do you have 2 ways you could do something? Always work with the simpler of the two. It's much easier to add a bit of detail rather than trying to take away from an overly complicated process.

 

 

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.

 

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!

 

Cloud-based CRM Services Will Continue to Gain Traction, Focus on Master Customer Data Governance – 3 Tips

on Wednesday, 24 July 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Cloud-based CRM Services Will Continue to Gain Traction, Focus on Master Customer Data Governance – 3 Tips

 

Customers want personalized service and value, but all too often, efforts to give them this are hampered by inaccurate data. The problem is the data, if left unchecked, will rapidly erode at a rate of 20 percent annually, according to Gartner. That becomes an issue, since you won’t be able to focus on the right customers!

First step you need to focus on what is your customer data and then establish agreement on customer data ownership, always base your governance on target areas:

Below is an example if you’re a B2B , I would focus on the following master data:

*Customer ID/name & parent company (if any)

*Credit Ratings

*Geographic Locations

*(Contacts (sales, billing, shipping)

*Addresses (Bill to, Ship To, mailing)

*Project/order

CRM Master Data

1) In my view your CRM should be attached to your ERP and ecommerce systems if you expect to get more integrated and efficient business processes, at a bare minimum understand where your master and slave data reside.

2) Always expect with a cloud base CRM, a change to your lead-to-cash process cycle – Start early and maintain as much as possible the vendor out of the box functionality.

 leadtocashcycle

3) Once you have established starting point, conduct a data inventory to understand where the data is currently created, modified, and stored. This will give everyone involved a common insight into the scale of the problem. You can do this at a high level by identifying data subject areas as the diagram above or by developing a simple footprint matrix showing systems against subject areas.

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and tips,

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

Oracle Fusion Applications Workflow for Project Implementation & answers to questions received by e-mail on Fusion

on Tuesday, 26 February 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Featured, fusion

Oracle Fusion Applications Workflow for Project Implementation & answers to questions received by e-mail on Fusion

 

 

We are now at release 6 of Oracle fusion applications (11.1.6), many questions have been raised on the implementation approach. Fusion don't forget is a combination of multiple Enterprise systems that Oracle acquired and yes Oracle took some of each to create Fusion.

Below is a visual diagram I created on the steps required to implement an instance of fusion applications:

 Oracle fusion apps implementaiton workflow

 

In general , it took me about 3 days to configure HCM and Financials, the functional configuration enables your Offerings and Functional Areas for implementation, and you select the Feature Choices, which typically enable you to integrate Offerings. Below is a screenshot

 

fusion apps setup

Question – What are some of the differences between EBS and Fusion Applications?

This questions comes often and people still believe no major changes exist,    below are 4 of them in the areas of Authentication, Authorization, Security and Segregation of duties.

 

E-Business

Fusion Application

Authentication

FND_USER

FMW(Fusion MiddleWare) OAM/LDAP

Authorization

AOL security model

FMW OPSS Oracle Platform Security Services

Security platform

Proprietary

FMW OPSS

Segregation Of Duties (SOD)

No functionality

Predefined SOD policies
Application Access Controls
Governor (AACG)

Question – In Fusion Applications Vision data does not exist anymore?

This is a common myth; here is a screenshot with some vision data

 fusion vision

Question 3 – Oracle Fusion Applications Documentation not available online?

Below is the link to Oracle Fusion Applications release 11.1.6

 fusion apps doc 11.1.6

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E37583_01/index.htm

Oracle Fusion documentation is improving rapidly, it know include lots of detail with examples to help us take the right decisions.

 

 

Solid articles from the best minds within the Oracle Space

on Tuesday, 05 February 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software

Solid articles from the best minds within the Oracle Space

 

Below is an excerpt of the Oracle January 2013 newsletter. It comprises of solid information with tips and tricks from Oracle ACE's. 

 

- The AMIS White paper on Oracle OpenWorld 2012 - a 48 page summary (written in Dutch)
- ODTUG Technical Journal: Putting Your Mind at REST

- Oracle Cloud Bloud: The APEX of Business Value… or: the Business Value of APEX? Cloud takes Oracle APEX to new heights!

Other interesting posts by Lucas:

- ADF interaction with business service – an ongoing discussion
- ADF DVT: Visualizing valid periods using Project and Scheduling Gantt Charts
-
 Advanced SQL to find valid periods – juggling with outer joins, running totals and analytical functions

New Article: How to migrate ocr and voting disk to new storage array (in Spanish)

In this article, Oracle ACE Enrique Orbegozo provides steps to move contents of disk group containing ocr, voting disk and spfile to new storage array with no downtime.

Blog Post : Oracle Database Parallel Execution

Read these interesting posts written by ACE Director Randolf Geist

- DBMS_XPLAN.DISPLAY_CURSOR and Parallel Execution
- Details about the HASH JOIN BUFFERED operation that is specific to Parallel Execution
- Cost-Based Optimizer cardinality estimates when using the HAVING clause

Blog Post: Can Stateful Applications Scale?

Watch this screencast recording by ACE Director Adam Bien about load behavior Oracle's GlassFish Server.

Blog Post: Oracle BPM Process Accelerators (in Spanish)

A userful post written by Oracle ACE Rolando Carraso about Oracle BPM Process Accelerators and how Oracle has not only provided packed processes, but also a methodology, a set of best practices for deploying Oracle BPM processes.

Blog Post: Middleware on the Oracle Database Appliance?

Hot off the press here's a write up by ACE Director Simon Haslam about the new virtualization platform on the Oracle Database Appliance, including some thoughts as to how it may be used for Fusion Middleware infrastructures.

Blog Post: What is Oracle Direct NFS? How To Enable It?

This post written by Oracle ACE Talip Hakan Ozturk describes how to enable Oracle Direct NFS and provide faster and more scalable access to NFS storage located on NAS storage devices.

Blog Post: Integration Broker basics for the PeopleSoft developer

Read this tutorial written by Oracle ACE Hakan Biroglu complete with sample codes and how-to's on PeopleSoft Integration Broker for the PeopleSoft Developer.

Blog Post: Setting Oracle DB to Oracle DB Golden Gate replication

An example of Oracle to Oracle replication by using Golden Gatewritten by Oracle ACE Gennady Sigalaev.

Blog Post: Data Vault vs. The World

ACE Director Kent Graziano (DW/BI) has started a 3-part blog seriesto compare Data Vault modeling to other approaches to data warehousing.

Blog Post: SQL Injection In Oracle

SQL injection is considered to be a top ten database threat, therefore understanding these threats is very important for any company trying to secure their data. Read this post written by Oracle ACE Osama Mustafa Hussein on protecting your vulnerability and getting access to sensitive data using standard SQL statement.

Blog Post: Oracle Exadata X3 and Oracle EM 12c

In his post, Test drove Oracle Exadata X3 with the Oracle General Ledger Financial, Oracle ACE Alex Antonatos weighs in on the pros and cons and ways to embrace Exadata in your blueprint. He also provides his thoughts on the complete look on the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c.

Blog Post: Heros of Java Series Continues with...

Coleen Phillimore, is a Hotspot veteran and hers and the work of many others build the cornerstones of every single line of Java ever written. This is ACE Director Markus Eisele's 21st guest of the Heroes of Java series.

Other posts by Markus:

- Testdriving Mojarra 2.2.0-m08 on GlassFish 3.1.2.2
- Selecting Your Java EE 6 Application Server

Blog Post: More on EM12c

Oracle ACE Rob Zoeteweij shares his knowledge about Facts and Concepts as well as Configuation Management on EM12c.

Blog Post: Big Year, Big Data, Big Databases

ACE Director Julian Dontcheff suggests that databases are not always in good shape. And why so, one might ask? Read his latestpost to understand why.

Blog Post: Bug: ORA-00979: not a GROUP BY expression

Tips and tricks on getting past through post database upgrade bug issues provided by Oracle ACE Asif Momen.

 

Test drove Oracle Exadata with Oracle GL Financial Analytics, the pros/cons, and vision to embrace it within your blueprint

on Wednesday, 16 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

 

Oracle’s vision is clear with Exadata , it integrates by design with other Oracle products like Enterprise manager 12c and a game changer in performance.

Exadata came from the Sun Microsystems acquisition; this has proven to be a strategic acquisition. Sun technology enabled Oracle to become one of the leaders in the highly profitable engineered system segment of the hardware business. I believe that products like Exadata and the SPARC SuperCluster will not only continue to drive growth for their hardware business but force the titans to innovate instead of executing.


The vision for the 4 titans SAP, Oracle , IBM and Microsoft is to offer their clients, an option to be in command of all layers of their clients technology stacks, “One Throat to Choke” principle. This is an expression used in business to describe the advantage of purchasing goods or integrated services from a single vendor. That way, when something goes wrong, there is only “one throat to choke.”

Also I believe in the future (next 24 months)the licensing agreements will begin a new phase of bundling hardware and software together.

 I had the opportunity with some folks in California to test drive Exadata. I was impressed the Exadata X3 (X3 stands for third Generation) is a real game-changer, as far as data is concerned, the combination of the huge on-board flash memory with the benefits of Hybrid Columnar Compression, meaning that you could store at least 200TB of data in memory on a full rack of Exadata X3. In other words you should never have to hit spinning disks for your data again.

We installed Oracle financial analytics with GL (General Ledger) and used the 5 interactive dashboards of GL to test Exadata. The financial dashboards were:

1-Profit and Loss

2-Expense

3-Balance sheet

4-Cash Cycles

5-Liquidity

Below is the look and feel of the GL financial dashboards:

 

oracle financial gl interactive dashboards

 

Pros

 1)We pushed the Exadata machine to 100 000 transactions per seconds with no wait as you see below the dark blue color is the user I/O, no latency. Flash Log and machine performance was exceptional.

 

Exadata Output

2)Exadata has a Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) is a feature introduced in Oracle Database 11g Release 2 which Oracle allows to be used on Exadata storage, in our testing we had an uncompressed database of 75 Gigabytes, and by using the compression advisor functionality it was reduces 20 times to 3.8 Gigabytes. This feature impressed me the most; it is less talked about , should produce a significant savings on storage.

3)Seamless Integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager, it comes with 3 views Hardware, Software/System and a configuration view that summarizes all components with patch recommendation. (Here is a white paper link that explains the integration in detail.) http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/exa-mgmt/exadata-mgmt-twp-1662642.pdf

4)The adoption of Exadata will necessitate a revamp of the IT support roles to make this single group responsible for the entire frame from storage to the database.

The Exadata machine administrator will need to be versatile and knowledgeable in different areas: Here are my thoughts on the breakdown of the role:

55% Database Administration
25% Cell Administration
10% Linux or Solaris Administration
10% Miscellaneous (Infiniband,other...)

 

Cons

1)Oracle Exadata x3 being a new product has a small footprint and the competition especially from the other titans is ferocious, business case must be thorough, I think best approved using an enterprise consolidation project of many environments, the business case must identify the extent of the existing Information System problems and show a roadmap moving towards a private cloud.

2)The Oracle Exadata, SAP Hana and IBM Neteeza all have similar architectures no ‘wow’ differentiator between them To learn more on this product line, here are some links to help you get started:

Oracle Exadata – Home Page

http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/exadata/overview/index.html

Overview of the Oracle Exadata - Online Documentation

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28271_01/doc.1111/e24473/em_exadata_dbmachine.htm

My next entry will provide you tips and tricks in using Oracle's Unified methodology (OUM) for your project and make my first video on this topic.

I received many inquiries asking me about the technical details of this website: Here are the specifications: The website is built with Joomla 3.0 (open source), database is MySQL, The server is a virtual private server, Operating system is CentOS6(based on Linux) with 2GB RAM and 60GB of Disk Space.

 

 

Here is your complete look at Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c pros and cons, and the vision

on Tuesday, 08 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

Oracle has an early head start with the future of Enterprise Management, and its latest iteration of Enterprise Manager 12c is the best yet. 

While the technology isn't perfect yet, I have been test driving for the past 2 weeks and when testing received some network errors and other hiccups, but pretty stable and flexible and the clunky interface from version 11 has been completely revamped.

 Here is the new look of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. It’s a beauty.

 

 

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is Oracle's envisioned product line to manage the complete lifecycle of the cloud. I think as cloud adoption becomes more mainstream, companies will be obliged to follow and add this product into their suite of products. Why?

 

Pros

 

  1. Oracle has integrated management services, monitoring, and plug-ins that communicate with My Oracle Support.
  2. New web 2.0 User Interface easy to configure and information is placed in a user friendly and logical fashion
  3. The Agent architecture comes with all the plug-ins you require
  4. Technology uses latest ADF technology, easy to install (solid documentation), also was impressed with the operating system Solaris 11.

Cons

  1. I had some hiccups when test driving the application where i needed to shutdown services and databases to get it started. (I probably had some patches that i did not install – Make sure you have all recommended patches)
  2. I found that the licensing agreement is quite complex probably because of its enterprise wide reach, Below is the link to the licensing agreement http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/license.121/e24474.pdf
  3. EM12c R2 is certified with BI Publisher 11.1.1.6.0 only. Therefore in case you are using EM 12c R1 which is integrated with BI Publisher 11.1.1.5.0, you must upgrade the BI Publisher to 11.1.1.6.0

As Cloud Computing sees a better adoption rate, I think the prospects of Enterprise manager 12c will bevery promising.

Below is how a Private Cloud Lifecycle (also known as the Enterprise Cloud) project would be executed from initiation to deployment.

 

For individuals that are not aware or familiar with this product line and would like to learn more, here are some links to help you get started:

Overview of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12 C - Online Documentation
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/doc.121/e25353/overview.htm#BABIFBJE

Oracle Enterprise manager 12c videos
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF45DBCDF595F1D1D

Thank you all for the feedback on the website, really appreciate it, helped me quickly to get a handle on the issues/bugs. I will configure video sometime in February.

I am currently test driving Oracle Exadata with some folks in Palo Alto, will share my thoughts/pros and cons and strategies to adopt Exadata on my next article.



Oracle R12 upgrade preparations highlights

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

In preparation for an Oracle R12 upgrade, work is focused in three areas: testing, code remediation, and transition preparation. The testing effort willbe performed, over the coming months, exercise every key function of the system multiple times, involving many testers from various departments. 

 

Code remediation is the process by which system enhancements and customizations that work under Oracle actual version and modified to work with Oracle upgraded version. Usually thousands of code objects must be evaluated, modified, and tested prior to being delivered for integrated testing. Transition preparation includes many of the steps necessary for a successful and smooth upgrade, such as installing upgraded server hardware, training preparation, and communicating with the end user community.

 

What kind of changes and disruptions can you expect? Upgrades of complex systems are not without risks and impacts, but mitigating those risks and planning for the impacts is at the core of any upgrade project.

 

The overall user experience should not change much.

 

The primary impact of the transition to a newer Oracle R12 version is most likely be the need for a system outage, sometimes referred to as a “dark period.” This is a time during which Oracle and some other applications will be unavailable for either data entry or viewing. The implementation team must work to minimize the duration and impact of the outage, but with my experience the ballpark figure for very large global systems is five days—a weekend plus three working days.It is important to be up-front about this disruption with your client, for smaller clients it can be done over a long weekend.

 

I will finish up by saying a successful upgrade has 3 milestones.

 

  • Repeatability, and lots of testing
  • Upfront with the client
  • Senior consultants and personnel who are well aware of the intricacies of the Oracle applications.

Project Conversions - Key Points

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Oracle Project Suite

Projects Conversions: Key points to note in respect to other integrated modules: 

Complete Financial and HR configuration Prerequisites:

Step 1 (GL): Review your chart of account values.

Step 2 (AR): Create customers, customer sites and customer contacts. All the Progressive Billing project has to be associated with a customer, bill-to site, ship-to site and a billing contact.

Step 3 (HR): Define your project organizations. DRU 203 and DRU 204

Step 4 (HR): Create your employees and employee assignments for the Project Manager role for each of the converted Project.Complete Projects Configuration Prerequisites:

Step 5 (PA): Review and update project structures: project types, project templates, revenue categories, event types, lookup sets…This has to be Unique for the Conversion related Projects.-List here the details all that will be created new.

Step 6 (PA): Create your projects and tasks.

Step7 (PA): Assign projects to correct customers, sites and contacts. All three are needed to generate revenue and invoices.

Step 8 (PA): Create customer agreements and funding allocations.

Step 9(PA): Baseline Approved Revenue Budget

Step 10(PA): PA Periods and GL periods-Require details if this will be just 1 Period

Convert Legacy Revenue Balances:Step 11 (PA): Disable revenue transfer to General Ledger.Step 12 (PA): Create legacy revenue balances as Revenue Events (Revenue Amount is populated). Step 13 (PA): Generate revenue for legacy revenue events. Step 14 (PA): Run the Interface Revenue to General Ledger. Step 15 (PA): Turn back on the Transfer Revenue to General Ledger implementation option. Navigate to the Implementation Options screen and enable the Transfer Revenue to GL flag.

Convert Legacy Invoice Balances

 

Convert Legacy Invoice Balances

Distinguish between billed (that were already printed and sent to the clients) and Unbilled legacy invoices (those that were generated in the legacy system, but were not printed and sent out). –These will be billing events and invoices in Oracle Projects. In order to prevent the balances from becoming open AR balances in Receivables, we will need to delete them in Oracle Receivables.

Step 16 (PA): Create legacy invoice balances as Billing Events (Bill Amount is populated).

Step 17 (PA): Generate draft invoices for legacy invoice balances.

Step 18 (PA): Approve and release draft invoices.

Step 19 (PA): Interface legacy project invoices to Oracle Receivables. Run the PRC: Submit Streamline Interface process with the XI: Interface Interfaces to Receivables option.

Step 20 (AR): Delete the legacy project invoices in Oracle Receivables. As Receivables Manager, navigate to the Transactions form. Find, incomplete and delete the legacy project invoices.

Unpaid Legacy AR InvoicesWhat we converted above was a summary of billed customer invoices for each project. Some of them have might already been paid, some have not in Receivables. You will need to convert any unpaid AR invoices as open AR transactions in Oracle Receivables.Unbilled Billable ItemsVerify and reconcile Projects converted Balances with GL, AR, OM –Where required.

Tips for your Oracle R12 Upgrade - Client Scenarios

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Some real case customer scenarios looking to upgrade towards Oracle R12, Happy new year!


 

From: XXXXX
Sent: Friday, December 3, 2011 2:24 PM
To: Alex Antonatos
Cc:
Subject: Advice on R11 upgrade to R12

Hello Alex,

 I am a reader of your blog, enjoy the content. We have embarked in upgrading our R11 instance 

We face issues on patching, can we arrange a call to discuss, would like to hear your expert advice on our situation,

We operate in 27 countries mostly EMEA, Asia and few sites in North America.

Kind regards, 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

As we all learned upgrades are always time-consuming and complex, so anything that makes the task easier and reduces the downtime needed is worth investigating.

 

Upgrading From EBS R11i to R12 Using a Staged System

 ugstagedsys 

 

The way this works a staged Applications system represents an exact physical copy of a production system, including all APPL_TOPs and the production database.

You can apply patches to a staged system while the production system remains in operation. After that, you connect the staged system to the production system,

update the database, and synchronise the APPL_TOPs. This means that the downtime for the production system only needs to begin after all patches have been successfully applied to the staged system.

After the patches have been applied to the staged system, and the production system updated, you must export applied patches information from the staged system and import it into the production system.

This ensures that the production patch history database is up-to-date.The principles of using the staged approach for upgrading are simple: after meeting the applicable AutoConfig and Rapid Clone patch prerequisites,

you create the R11i staged system.

You then upgrade the staged system to R12.1.3 by updating the production APPL_TOP and database. Finally, you synchronise the patch histories of the production and staged systems.

Feedback received for above mentioned client shaved up to 10 hours from cutover plan.

Metalink note for more information:Using a Staged Applications System to Reduce Patching Downtime in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 (Doc ID 734025.1) 

 

   


From: XXXXX
Sent: Thursday, November 10, 2011 5:21 PM
To: Alex Antonatos
Cc:
Subject: SAP, EBS R11 and R12 ERP instances

Hello Alex, 

 

We bought a company and we need to replace SAP with Oracle EBS:The following Oracle Modules will replace SAP.

Financials: GL,AP, AR, FA, PA

HRMS

Discrete manufacturing INV, BOM, MRP, WIP

Order Management and Procurement

Where do we begin with the migration of data?

We are a conservative global company, what plan/approach/timeline do you recommend for the upgrade?

Thank you,

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Data

In my experiences with SAP this type of migration of data is better served using a third party tool, you should look into more4apps.com excel based suite of software, ideal in this situation to empower the users in deciding on what to take across from SAP into Oracle.

Plan/Timeline

Once support exists for the R12 Upgrade and the Business is on board, since this will take a lot of their time. 

Here is my rule of thumb that i would use as a baseline using this clients footprint , they have 22 EBS modules in production:

R11 instance will little or no interfaces, extensions and reports, project plan of 4 months

R11 instance with some interfaces, extensions and reports(12-24 objects), project plan of 6 months

R11 instance with many interfaces, extensions and reports (25+ objects) project plan of 9 months

Approach

In this case what was recommended was as follows:The areas of technical below were outsourced to a specialized partner:

1) Understand installed components, system sizing information, NLS considerations
2) Prepare for upgrade using Upgrade Manual Script.
3) Upgrading to R12. This includes upgrading the database and applying the required patches through AutoPatch.
4) Post-Upgrade process. Complete the upgrade process by applying the latest patches to keep the system most current.
All the functional upgrade tasks, testing including uat, setups were all done internally.

Architecture

In this client scenario, what was recommended was to upgrade the R11 instance into a new instance of R12, then merge the instances using a consolidation project methodology. (below are the high level steps)

Consolidation Methodology

·         Proof of concept phase

·         Consolidation of AOL, general ledger modules

·         Consolidation phases

·         Standardization of globalsetups

·         Analysis of custom data model

·         Two practice runs to perfect consolidation process

·         Unit/System testing usingcompanies test cases

·         Functional testing using client specific test cases 

·         Documentation and execute the Multiple instance consolidations at the same time during second cycle

 ·         Data integrity scripts

·         Generalized custom scripts tovalidate the data integrityafter consolidate

·         Go Live

·         Project ends after firstmonth-end process

 

Once both instances are in one R12 EBS instance bring the SAP data into R12.

 Other factors to consider as part of the upgrade to R12 

Factors to Consider 11.5.10 to 12.1.3
Technology Stack Significant impact on the technology stack.
Database Upgrade Necessary in every case.
Additional Applications / Enriched Functionality Provide significant enhancements in features, in R12, also provides additional applications [e.g., Oracle R12. E-Business Tax, Sub-Ledger Accounting].
Opportunities for Process Improvements, Legacy Retirements Significant impact (e.g., ‘MOAC’ model in R12 enables a shared services platform; E-Business Tax – eliminates most of the localization patches).

Retrofits/Custom Components

Don't under estimate the LOE

Usually longer, and in some cases, need to be designed from scratch due to significant data model changes.

 

 

 

More Tips on Upgrading from EBS R11 to R12

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

An upgrade requires detailed focus activities, the upgrade in most cases impact all core areas of your business, below are 5 additional tips to consider when planning and your upgrade

1) A previous post on tips for R12 Oracle upgrades

http://appsconsultant.com/item/tips-for-your-oracle-r12-upgrade-client-scenarios

2) The PDF file below includes 35 tips from Oracle Consulting - good reference

Upgrade to Release 12  

3) The EBS data model comparison report (from feedback from customers and other Oracle ACE’s at the conference this tool is not well understood and forgotten- It will save you lots of headaches incorporate it into your project) it provides the static database object definition changes between two EBS releases to help users to preview the database object definition changes before upgrading their instances from one release to another and understand the impact of the database object changes that may affect the customization or business flows. (See below tip 5)

4) Oracle support has a wealth of information here are some of my favorite document ID’s: [ID 432.1] [ID 806593.1] [ID 1290886.1]

5) You must understand and master the following 4 areas, these tools are provided specifically for your Oracle upgrade

Oracle Pre-Install Patch Report

This report serves as a single point of reference for upgrade-related patches that can only be applied prior to running the main upgrade driver for Release 12.1.

Upgrade Advisor

The Upgrade Advisor is designed to provide information from various sources using best practices and, where applicable, step-by-step instructions.

Maintenance Wizard

Guides you through the upgrade of Oracle Applications technology stack and products from Release 11i versions to Release 12.

EBS Comparison Reports

Assists with the planning of an upgrade and allows to compare the changes between two releases in order to understand the impact on your business flows.

  EBS Data Model Comparison Report

   Provides the database object definition changes between two E-Business releases and helps with understanding the impact of changes that may affect customization or business flows.

   ATG Seed Data Model Comparison Report

   Shows a delta view between different E-Business releases by documenting the seed data changes.

   EBS File Comparison

   Provides a comprehensive comparison of file system artifacts between different Oracle E-Business Suite releases for important file types.

If you have any questions or want to deep dive in a specific topic email me or call me.

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