Richard Byrom

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A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant
Updated: 6 hours 8 min ago

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 Keynotes and Presentations

Wed, 2017-10-11 13:00

If you missed out on Oracle OpenWorld 2017 or simply want to catch up on the plethora of keynotes and sessions that were available then the session catalog is a good place to start as you can download presentations there. You can search by keyword or apply any of the following filters to view pertinent content: -

  • Day
  • Emerging Technologies for Business
  • IT Infrastructure
  • Intelligent Cloud Applications
  • Integrated Cloud Platform
  • SMB (Small to Medium Business)
  • Session Type

Oracle OpenWorld Session Catalog Presentations

Furthermore, there’s a pretty good library of on-demand keynotes where you can watch highlights or full length replays.

Oracle OpenWorld Keynote Larry Ellison 2017

Personally, I’m going to start making my way through this content with a view to highlighting some of the best picks here.

Learn Oracle Fusion through the Help

Sun, 2017-10-08 14:42

One of the challenges with learning Oracle Fusion is having access to an environment. I used to have Oracle E-Business Suite installed on a very powerful laptop. However, with cloud based solutions the likelihood of you be able to run such a system on your own hardware is very low. Regardless, the Oracle Fusion Help which is accessible online is very good starting point for persons just getting to know the system.

You’ll find help for each of the following modules

  • Financials
  • HCM
  • Procurement
  • Projects
  • Risk Management
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Supply Chain

Within each module you can see the help sorted by task and product. Furthermore there is role specific help and numerous videos

Oracle Fusion Help

Happy Learning…….

Oracle Enterprise Repository for Fusion Applications

Sun, 2017-10-08 11:35

A very useful resource I’ve been making good use of for Fusion implementations is the Oracle Enterprise Repository for Fusion Applications. Examples of content provided include: -

  • File-Based Data Import Templates
  • Report Listings
  • Roles
  • SOAP Web Services
  • Tables and Views
  • Business Process Models
  • Technology Audit
  • Flexfields
  • Lookups
  • Profile Options
  • Schedules Processes

All of this content is available across the following product areas: -

  • Sales
  • Global Human Resources
  • Financials
  • Procurement
  • Project Portfolio Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Oracle Enterprise Repository Fusion Applications

Furthermore the content provided spans various releases, namely Release 11, Release 12 and Release 13 (update 17b).

I hope you find this a useful resource for your Fusion projects.

Oracle Fusion Business Process Models

Sat, 2017-10-07 17:20

At the inception of any enterprise software implementation one of the activities should be to determine what the new business processes will be. On a recent Oracle Fusion implementation I got the chance to become familiar with the process models that should be adopted. Fortunately, at the outset, Oracle provides standard business process models for the following areas

  • Enterprise Planning and Performance Management
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Order Fulfilment
  • Supply Chain Planning
  • Product Management
  • Production
  • Procurement
  • Materials Management and Logistics
  • Project Management
  • Financial Control and Reporting
  • Cash and Treasury Management
  • Asset Lifecycle Management
  • Enterprise Information Management
  • Workforce Deployment
  • Workforce Development
  • Compensation Management

Starting with a collection of standard business process models allows you to compare with existing processes and then determine what gaps there may be.

According to the Oracle Fusion Help

Business process modelling is one of the driving forces in the design of Oracle Fusion Applications. This modelling carries through to almost every aspect of Oracle Fusion Financials. The Business Process Models (BPMs) manage the deployment, upgrade, integration, and configuration of the product. Oracle Fusion documentation follows the process models very closely. Roles Based Access security is also tied closed to the BPM Model, so that tasks and activities are assigned appropriately. Messaging and online help are arranged along BPM lines. Field support uses the BPM models to organize their efforts to examine and resolve issues.

The Business Process Model has five levels:

  • Level zero (L0): A specific industry organized around raising capital, executing a business model, and reporting the resultant income to shareholders. For example, Automotive, Communications, Education, Healthcare, and Utilities, to name a few of the approximately thirty identified industries.
  • Level one (L1): A specific business process area.
  • Level two (L2): A specific business process
  • Level three (L3): A specific activity.
  • Level four (L4): Specific tasks involved in an activity.

Having business processes with varying levels means you can start with high level processes and then drill down to lower levels of detail as you require. Furthermore each level will relate back to the hierarchical employee levels in an organisation. An example of how the process levels might look is outlined in Figure 1.

Oracle Fusion Business Process Model Levels Example

Figure 1: An example of Oracle Fusion Business Process Model Levels

The process flows that Oracle provide can be downloaded at Oracle Support Doc ID 1542019.1. The diagrams are pitched at L3 and are typical swim lane Visio documents as illustrated in Figure 2.

Oracle Fusion Close Ledgers L3 Process

Figure 2: An example of an L3 Process Flow Diagram for Ledger Close

I’ve also prepared a process flow listing which you can also download.

Oracle Unified Method (OUM) for Cloud Application Services

Sat, 2017-10-07 05:27

Having used many of Oracle’s project management methodologies over the past two decades of implementing it I’m always interested to see what their latest offerings have in store. More recently I’ve been implementing their Fusion applications so have taken a natural interest in Release 6.4 of Oracle Unified Method which has evolved to include an approach for their Cloud Application Services (CAS).

Suzanne Armstrong highlights the key features on the OUM blog as follows

OUM release 6.4 provides support for Application Implementation, Cloud Application Services Implementation, and Software Upgrade projects as well as the complete range of technology projects including Business Intelligence (BI), Enterprise Security, WebCenter, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Application Integration Architecture (AIA), Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Integration, and Custom Software. Detailed techniques and tool guidance are provided, including a supplemental guide related to Oracle Tutor and UPK.

This release features:

  • Cloud Home Page – Added to Highlight Cloud Support in OUM
  • CAS OUM (Cloud Application Services OUM) [previously OUM Cloud Application Services Implementation Approach] – Updated Task and Activity/Task Group Identifiers, Updated Terminology
  • Operate Focus Area – Added to Provide Visibility into Services Offered by Oracle Managed Cloud Services (OMCS)
  • Establish Governance Activity [previously Complete Project Management Plan] – Renamed and reframed to place greater emphasis on its main objective, which is to establish project governance by engaging in a dialogue to collaboratively define the processes which will be used to govern and control the project from start to finish. This approach recognizes that the delivery of documentation, while necessary and important, should be the by-product of rather than the driver for conversation.
  • Project Management Plan (PMP) template [previously Project Management Framework] – Developed to streamline the process for documenting project governance. The BT.070 task was renamed to Create Project Management Plan and the guidance was updated. All related tasks that contribute to the PMP were revised to refer to the new PMP template eliminating the prior individual templates. The PMP should be used to document the processes that govern the project.  Once defined, the PMP will remain relatively fixed and only require updates if there are material changes to the governance.
  • Acceptance Certificate [SM.040] Updated and Delivery Note [SM.040] Added - Clarified that acceptance, agreement, and acknowledgment should be secured using one of these templates.  Removed signature boxes / sign-off pages and project manager countersignature from all templates.
  • Risk Management Process, Tasks, and Templates – Streamlined Flow and Clarified Content

Bruce Dehner also has a really good overview presentation which talks about the Cloud Application Services Implementation Approach. It contains a pictorial view of the key activities at each implementation phase which also outlines who is responsible for doing what.

Oracle  OUM Cloud Application Services Approach

The Oracle OUM Partner Knowledge Zone has an abundance of further information and resources. Here you can download OUM collateral, obtain training and certification and view webcasts. Certainly I’m looking forward to making use of the templates and deliverables in my existing and forthcoming implementations.

SURVEY - Reporting from Oracle E-Business Suite

Tue, 2009-05-12 11:17

Reporting from Oracle EBS is an important and current issue, so it would be great if you can share your views on what’s good and bad and any tips via the survey that Simon Tomey has set up.

Simon’s going to the UKOUG EBS Financials SIG in May to help with a workshop on this, so it would be tremendous to get your views, so we can have a discussion with some bite. Moreover I think we will all find the results of interest. If you’re not currently working with an organisation, please complete the survey from the perspective of the organisation that you last worked for.   

Take part in the Oracle E-Business Suite Reporting Survey   

Results

Reporting Survey Results for May 2009 UKOUG SIG

Batch Invoice Uploads into Oracle Payables

Sat, 2008-08-23 20:09

MS Excel to load invoice batches to Oracle Payables! Even Oracle ADI doesn’t do that, in fact few 3rd-party products do. What to do? Do as Kevin Ellis has done, develop your own in-house invoice batch interface. And if that isn’t enough to pique your interest, how about an interface for keeping your chart of accounts current between production legacy and Oracle systems? He has done that too and he has shared all in this comprehensive ORAtips cover story, discussing custom concurrent program and UNIX shell script development, Oracle Applications set-up and end-user considerations.

Download White Paper on Invoice Uploads into Oracle Payables

This article was originally published by Klee Associates, Inc., publishers of JDEtips and SAPtips. For training, consulting, and articles on JD Edwards or SAP, please visit their websites: www.JDEtips.com and www.SAPtips.com.

Introduction to Oracle User Productivity Kit (UPK)

Fri, 2008-08-15 19:46

Oracle’s User Productivity Kit is perhaps one of the less well known of the Software Products on the price list, however just a brief consideration of its name indicates that it may be of considerable value to organisations. We invest significant money and resources in the purchase and implementation of software applications but do we realise, in practice, the levels of productivity that we would like to have and that will bring the full return on our investment?

Information from the industry analysts tells us that most of the problems relating to application implementations are, in fact, user related. Butler Group recently reported that 70 percent of CRM implementations fail, and a Gartner study also found that approximately 55 percent of all CRM projects fail to meet software customers’ expectations.

In his article on why CRM projects fail, Rajiv Chaudhry, a leading analyst, quotes: “You can design the best process in the world, and back it with the latest and greatest technology, but if your people don’t buy into the project, it won’t work.”

User acceptance isn’t the only problem affecting project success; there is also the very basic problem of user competence to use and get the best out of the system. According to Meta Group, 76% of Users have a failing or substandard understanding of new systems software.

Well here is UPK, something that claims to be a productivity kit for our users. Does it do what it says on the tin? Will it help us address these user productivity issues? If so, it is something that we should give attention to? Let’s open the kit and see what is inside and how it can help us.

UPK is a software tool that can capture all the steps in a system process. It records every keystroke, every click of the mouse, each menu option chosen and each button pressed. All this is done in the UPK Recorder by going through the transaction and pressing “printscreen” after every user action. From this, without any further effort from the developer, UPK builds a number of valuable outputs.

The most significant of these is the UPK Player Package. This is an HTML based simulation of the application process that operates in 4 modes.

UPK See It Mode See-It Mode is an automated simulation of the process that can act as a demonstration of the system. It is valuable in the change and communication activity, to demonstrate the system. Usually the final system is not available and access to it is not practical at roadshows and other events. The See-It mode simulation can be played from a USB stick on any laptop with Internet Explorer running. It can therefore be easily taken on the road to demonstrate the system in its most favourable light.

Oracle UPK See It Mode

Because UPK uses a discrete recorder, it only captures the intended and necessary user actions and therefore can play back the transaction with absolute precision and no user errors, mouse jitters or other extraneous elements that can detract from the demonstration. Presenting the application in a clear and uncomplicated way, in a demonstration that can be repeated with absolute certainty every time, is important to the users first view of the new system. You do not get a second chance to make a first impression.

UPK Try It Mode Try-It Mode is also a simulation of the application, but this time the user must interact with the simulation, completing all the actions required rather than watching it run unattended. This mode is most valuable in training; in the classroom or in a self-service learning context. Try-It Mode guides the users through the process, telling them what action to take and highlighting the area on screen where the action is to be performed, at every step through the transaction.

Using Try-It Mode is of great benefit for training, as the same exercise can be trained over and over without the risk of altering the data in the system and causing subsequent operations to fail. It can make the classroom training much more efficient, as when the users are doing the exercises the system is helping them with guidance, freeing the instructor and making the whole exercise more efficient. In addition, it is not necessary to cover every transaction that the user will need during the classroom course, as once users have become familiar with the concept of using UPK for learning, they will be happy to learn further transactions on their own.

One of the difficulties with large training rollouts is that there may be a time gap between the classroom training session and the users’ first time to use the processes after go-live. When UPK is readily available on the system, this ceases to be a problem because they can refresh their knowledge using Try-It mode in UPK.

UPK Know it Mode But how do we know if our users are really learning the system? This is where the third mode of the UPK Player Package comes in. Know-It mode allows the user to go through the process without the on screen guidance. Instead, the system tracks their actions, warning when they stray off course (the system is smart enough to allow alternative ways of navigating the system, such as using the mouse to negotiate the menus or the keyboard shortcut). If the user makes further incorrect attempts, Know-It mode will give more remediation, eventually completing the step for the user. The rub for the user is that at every incorrect action their score is reduced, potentially causing them to fail the test.

The system has usage tracking as standard so it is possible to see which users are making use of the system, in which modes and, if they are using Know-it mode, what their scores were.

UPK Do it Mode The fourth mode of the UPK Player Package is Do-It Mode. This is for Performance Support rather than training. In this mode the user is working on the live application and UPK is hovering in the lower right of their screen, providing visual instruction, in the form of a small video simulation, and written instructions guiding them step by step as they perform their work on the live system.

Oracle UPK Do it Mode

This Do-It mode performance support is instantly accessible from the application help menu or a Smart-Help button on the browser. It is context sensitive and, by recognising the screen that the user is on, will offer only the appropriate help for that step of the process.

When users are shown Do-it Mode as part of a Change and Communication event, or in the classroom, it significantly increases confidence in their ability to use the system and, as a consequence, they are much more positive about the introduction of the new system.

It is, of course, important to provide users with more information than just how to follow the steps of the transaction. UPK provides many facilities to include a wealth of other information in the simulations. Information and explanations can be included at every step of the process. This can be achieved by incorporating additional material or by linking to pre-existing material. For example, on an i-Expenses screen it may be useful to link to the organisation’s travel policy or to some relevant section of it.

Incorporating this information is the work of a UPK development team. UPK content development is a skilled job where, in addition to recording the process flow, the best and most relevant support information is linked in at every step.

From the above you can see how the UPK Player Package can improve user productivity and reduce project risk significantly, if used in an experienced and intelligent way. However, UPK does more than it says on the tin. As well as improving user productivity, it can significantly improve project team productivity. This is because all the information recorded and linked in is extremely valuable across the project lifecycle when output in other appropriate forms.

UPK works within a Single Authoring Session

UPK can directly output Business Process Documents, which are a specification of the transaction. These can, in many cases, be a requirement for compliance and a critical part of the system specification that is often overlooked in a busy project implementation, or created retrospectively as an after thought.

UPK can also output Test Scripts, either to support UAT or the System testing activity. It can generate scripts ready to be input directly to HP Quality Centre.

Finally, UPK can output Instructor manuals, student guides and quick reference cards directly from the same single recording exercise. The efficiency that can be gained across the project is obvious in terms of a single recording and development exercise supporting so many project activities. UPK could be financially justified on the generation of test scripts alone for a medium to large implementation.

I have sought to show that UPK not only does what is promised, but in fact brings many more benefits if used early in the project, and across the project lifecycle. It addresses the most critical and often neglected areas of user acceptance and user competence.

Project Lifecycle

Like all powerful software tools, it is best used by experienced developers who know how to set up and manage a content development project and how to create good quality UPK content.

About Larmer Brown Consulting

Thanks to Larmer Brown Consulting for allowing this article to be posted on the Blog. Larmer Brown’s primary business objective is to help organisations realise the desired business benefit from their enterprise applications, through successful User Adoption Programmes. They facilitate the Change and Communication, User Acceptance Testing, Training and Support activities. Our approach is based on Global Knowledge’s OnDemand Personal Navigator (ODPN) platform, which is also marketed under the name User Productivity Kit (UPK), by Oracle, and Computer Associates Proficiency Accelerator (CAPA), by Computer Associates.

About the Author

Peter McClintock is Director of Services for Larmer Brown Consulting, UPK Training and Project Specialists. He has worked in the Projects, Consulting and Training business for over 20 years. He can be contacted on services@larmerbrown.com

Integrating Financial Management with Project Management using EcoSys Financial Manager

Thu, 2008-04-17 15:11

Recently I been working with a company called Ecosys Management to learn and implement one of their products, EcoSys Financial Manager. According to their site: -

EcoSys Financial Manager Architecture EcoSys Financial Manager (FM) is a web based enterprise project financial management system. Project financial management involves all aspects of managing and monitoring the flow of funds from the organization into discrete initiatives, programs, projects, and ongoing operations. These discrete efforts execute and should align to strategic objectives and priorities. The project financial management cycle encompasses long range planning, fiscal period budgeting, forecasting, spending requests, allocations, performance measurement, controls, closeouts, and adjustments.

Large organizations need to be agile and responsive - financial processes and workflows need to flow top down and bottom up. Finance and Accounting needs to reconcile information flowing in both directions: down from executives responsible for strategic planning and up from the people in the field who are close to the work required.

EcoSys FM successfully bridges corporate strategic planning and project financial management for our customers in a varied range of industries. Particularly if you are looking to integrate project management with financial management, EcoSys FM is a proven solution in organizations using Primavera and other enterprise project management systems.

If you’re interested in learning a bit more then download this EcoSys Financial Manager Presentation. If you’re potentially interested in implementing this product in your organisation then contact EcoSys

 

Oracle Reports using BI Publisher

Mon, 2008-04-14 18:32

I’m currently working as an associate consultant with an organisation called BeLife Ltd. We are interested in showing organisations how they can transform their Oracle Reports using BI Publisher (formerly XML Publisher) and would like to offer a free 1 hour demonstration of this product to anyone that’s interested.

BI Publisher is standard Oracle Financials integrated functionality, but it is only used by a few organisations. Recent feedback suggested that this is because organisations just don’t know how to start with using BI Publisher even though users are eager to experience the benefits. We’d like to show you in an hour how you can get started.

We can show you how to use BI Publisher to generate:

  • Remittance Advices
  • Dunning Letters and Customer Statements
  • General Ledger Reports for downloading direct to Excel, including grouping and formulae (sums, average, maximum, minimums)
  • Management information reports with tables, graphs and conditional formatting.

Whether you’re a super user, end user or implementor if you’re interested in potentially using this reporting tool or know of anyone that may be interested in a demonstration please contact me.

LinkedIn Oracle Contractors Group

Thu, 2008-04-03 17:46

Join Contractors on the Oracle LinkedIn and Community Groups I recently created an Oracle Contractors Group on LinkedIn. The purpose of this group is to create a network for contractors to talk to each other as well as discuss and refer work opportunities. If you’re interested in joining sign up to the LinkedIn group and I’ll approve your membership. 

Oracle Financials Technical Interview Questions and Score Sheet

Thu, 2008-03-13 11:22

Over the last few years I’ve been involved in interviewing a number of Oracle Financials Consultants and have also in the past been sitting on the other side of the desk as an interviewee. The last time I conducted an interview it was more technical in nature and I decided to came up with a list of questions to ask the interviewee. These questions were focused along the lines of people, process and technology and I thought I would write a blog entry with the questions as I’m sure it will be useful for interviewers and interviewee’s alike. In addition to the questions I also developed a score sheet utilising the Kepner Tregoe decision making methodology, an approach I learnt when doing my Masters in Business Leadership (MBL). This score sheet allows the interviewer to develop an objective means of evaluating the answers to interview questions rather than a subjective one and can be modified to suit a number of different scenarios. I haven’t included any answers to the questions as in many cases there is no right answer, I prefer to see if someone understands the concepts and can explain them well. Having said that, if any one wants to come up with a suggested answer sheet I will gladly append it to the questions listing. Hopefully this question listing and score sheet will provide readers with a baseline/guideline that can be used in any type of interview.

Technology Questions General Ledger
  • Explain the organisational concepts of business group, set of books, legal entity, operating unit and inventory organization and the hierarchical structure relating to these.
  • What are the three C’s in relation to a set of books? 
  • Explain the difference between a key flexfield and descriptive flexfield
  • What is the difference between a cross validation rule and a security rule? 
  • What is a value set and what are the different types of value sets that you will find within Oracle?
Accounts Payable
  • Describe the Key Configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the Accounts Payable module.
  • Briefly describe the Supplier Invoice to Payment process within Oracle.
Accounts Receivable
  • Describe the Key Configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the Accounts Receivable module.
  • Briefly describe/draw the Customer Invoice to Cash process within Oracle
  • Describe the Key difference in setting up accounting for Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
  • What happens when you have a receipt in Oracle that can’t be applied to an invoice?
Fixed Assets
  • Describe the key configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the fixed assets module.
  • Briefly describe/draw the asset additions process within Oracle.
Cash Management
  • Describe the key configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the cash management module.
  • Outline the Statement to Reconciliation process within Oracle with particular reference to the different options you might want to consider when reconciling.
All Modules

Describe/draw the sequence of events you would undertake in closing the various financials modules.

People Questions
  • Draw a typical structure relating to project implementation and describe the role each person would play within a project.
  • Describe how to implement an effective training strategy within an implementation – include the timing of training relative to the project lifecycle.
  • Within an implementation describe a Change Management strategy that you would put in place.
Process Questions
  • Describe/draw the main phases of an implementation lifecycle and the key milestones and deliverables within each of these phases.
  • Describe the key differences between a process and work instruction
  • Within a project describe the different test phases that you might go through and what level of testing would be undertaken.
  • Describe a typical process you would implement for managing Change Requests and Bug requests within your organization.

Oracle Mix - bringing Web 2.0 to the Enterprise

Fri, 2008-02-22 11:42

Last year I attended the UKOUG 2007 which was a good opportunity to catch up on what’s happening in the Oracle World. At the Applications Keynote presentation given by Jesper Andersen I first heard about Oracle Mix, one of the initiatives Oracle has undertaken to bring Enterprises into the Web 2.0 space, a concept now dubbed Enterprise 2.0

Oracle Mix was built by Oracle AppsLab in collaboration with ThoughtWorks. I see it as one of Oracle’s first attempts at a FaceBook or MySpace equivalent for its customers, partners, developers and employees. The Oracle Mix strapline is Our Business is all about you, our Customers. Its purpose is stated as giving everyone a voice to help shape the future of Oracle together. Here’s what Oracle says you can do with Mix: -

Share Ideas.
Let us know how we can improve our products or how we do business. See an idea you like, vote on it or add your comments.
Join Groups.
Get together with others around products, industries, or more. Can’t find a group you like? Start one!
Network.
Connect with other customers and get to know Oracle experts in your product area or industry.
Get Answers.
Got a tough question, ask it. Feeling bright? Help someone and answer a question.
Share and Learn.
Learn about best practices for your product and check out new ideas being discussed by the community. Share your experiences with others through posting ideas or answering questions.

I have to say I like the way Oracle is starting to embrace Web 2.0. When I first started blogging several years ago, there were very few Oracle Bloggers around and the community was fairly fragmented and disorganised. Now it seems that with all of the collaboration and social networking tools around I’m able to interact more effectively with my Oracle peers. Apart from Oracle building effective web applications for the Oracle Community they’re also demonstrating Enterprise 2.0 leadership by building services into their applications that have Web 2.0 features and characteristics. I look forward to seeing how the community and applications grow and metamorphasise in the future.

UK Oracle Apps Contractors, Consultants and Blogger Meetup in London

Wed, 2008-02-06 21:44

Next week we’re having a UK Oracle Apps Contractors, Consultants and Blogger Meetup at the Tapas Brindisa in London. If you fit into any of those categories and would be interested in coming along and meeting myself and other Oracle Apps Fans for a drink and chat then please join us at 7pm on the 13th February 2008. 

The event was initiated by Simon Tomey of BeLife and I’ll be joining in along with some of his colleagues and friends. Although its a social I’ll be there with my laptop and internet connection so we can always do some techy stuff.

If you need any further information don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ve also created an event in Yahoo’s upcoming calendar tool so that you can automatically add the details to whatever calendar software or application you are using or let us know whether you plan to attend.