A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Oracle Business Accelerators (OBA) for E-Business Suite

Towards the end of last year I blogged about the Oracle Accelerate programme. The first step required to participate in the programme is to complete the Oracle Business Accelerators for Oracle E-Business Suite Accelerators Overview Course available on i-learning. The purpose of this course is to:

  • Provide an overview of the Oracle Business Accelerators
  • Familiarize you with the Accelerators Online Portal 
  • Mandatory for all users of Oracle Business Accelerators
  • Gain Access to online portal after successful completion

According to the course, the goal of Oracle Business Accelerators (OBA) is to use industry targeted leading practice business flows to rapidly get to transaction testing and go live.

How do the Accelerators work?

  1. Using the Accelerators Online Portal capture information from Customers and generate configuration instructions
  2. Within E-Business Suite - download configuration instructions and load setups to instance

Essentially, Accelerators allow you to generate your systems configuration instructions based on a series of questions presented to the Customer that pertain to their industry. Once the configuration instructions are generated they can be loaded onto an Oracle instance to create the setups. In essence,  the setup of an Oracle instance is faster as there is now more automation involved. There are varying access levels for the accelerator online portal and these are outlined below. For each level courses have to be taken to gain access.

Level 1 Browse

This gives you access to the following:

  • Datasheets
  • Solution Footprint
  • Process Models
  • Sales Pitch
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Functionality Overview
  • Industry Business Case
  • Videos and FAQ
  • Project Implementation Guide
  • Setup Guide and Video
  • Setup Tool Save Mode Off

To attain level 1 status the following courses have to be undertaken:

  • Overview - 30 minutes
  • How to Position - 30 minutes (optional) 
  • Industry Business Case - 30 minutes (optional)

Level 2 Browse

This gives you access to the following:

  • Includes Level 1
  • Implementation Guidelines
  • Setup Questions
  • Key Assumptions
  • Testing Sequence
  • Setup Tool Save Mode Off

To attain level 2 status the following courses have to be undertaken:

  • Implementation Overview - 30 minutes

Level 3 “Project Workspace” (per industry)

This gives you access to the following:

  • Includes Level 2
  • Test Scripts
  • Setup Tool Save Mode On

To attain level 3 status the following courses have to be undertaken:

  • Implementation Details - 60 minutes
  • Common Setups - 60 minutes
  • Industry Implementation - 40 minutes (per Industry)

Setup Loader Utility for DBA’s

  • No other levels included
  • Setup Loader Utility is Mandatory for Setup Tool Downloads

To attain the loader utilities, the following course has to be undertaken:

  • Installation Training for DBA’s - 60 minutes

Following successful completion of the Oracle Business Accelerators for Oracle E-Business Suite Accelerators Overview Course an assessment exam can be taken which gives you access to the Accelerators Online Portal. The exam is a 20 question exam for which the pass rate is 95%  i.e. 19 questions right. There doesn’t seem to be any time limit on the exam but it should really only you take you 20 minutes i.e. 1 minute per question. I managed to pass on the second attempt and my advice to anyone taking it is take notes on the overview course and have them as a reference point when writing the exam.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oracle Accelerate for Small and Medium Businesses (SMB)

In October 2006 Oracle launched their Oracle Accelerate Program, according to their Accelerate page

Oracle Accelerate delivers a complete set of applications, rapid implementation tools, and an industry-leading partner ecosystem, allowing companies to maximize their limited budgets and achieve unlimited possibilities.

Oracle Accelerate provides:

  • Product: Pre-packaged and affordably priced bundles tailored to meet the needs of your business within your industry.
  • Delivery: Oracle Business Accelerators help reduce the time, cost, and complexity of implementation by building in industry best practices, business flows, and configurations.
  • Partners: Work with partners who are knowledgeable about your industry and region.

Industry specific accelerate solutions are available for over 20 industries on the R11 platform whilst 12 industry specific solutions are available for R12. Industry solutions available for R11 are as follows:

  • Aerospace and Defense
  • Automotive - Supplier
  • Business Services
  • Communications
  • Chemicals - Commodity and Specialty
  • Consumer Products - Consumables: Health and Beauty, Homecare
  • Consumer Products - Food and Beverage
  • Engineering and Construction
  • General Business
  • Healthcare - Provider
  • High Technology - Complex Electronic Equipment
  • High Technology - Consumer Electronics
  • High Technology - Electronics Contract Manufacturing
  • Industrial Manufacturing - Engineer to Order
  • Life Sciences - Medical Devices
  • Life Sciences - Pharmaceuticals, Biotech
  • Local Government
  • National Government - US Federal Government
  • Process Industries - United Kingdom
  • Professional Services - Consulting/Management Services

Oracle Business Accelerators are only available via certified approved partners and can only be utilised on new implementations. I’d be interested in hearing comments from readers as to whether similar products and solutions are available for competing ERP systems. Since I work for an Oracle Partner we’ll certainly be looking at utilising Accelerate for new customers and I’ll be writing on my experiences with learning and implementing this program.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Better Learning Environment (ABLE) at Harvard University

This post discusses the Harvard University systems support site and the use of Oracle 11i and Peoplesoft at this institution.

A Better Learning Environment (ABLE) is a support site for users of Harvard Universities systems. More specifically, the site provides support for Financial Applications (Oracle), HR Applications (Peoplesoft), Reporting Applications (Financial and HR) and for Harvard’s Central Administration Staff.

The resources available at the site include: -

  • Forms
  • Policies
  • Rates & Schedules
  • Work Instructions & Processes

Of particular interest is the section on Chart of Accounts (CoA) which outlines the account structure they implemented at Harvard.

For Financial Applications Harvard runs Oracle eBS and you can read about their upgrade to 11i from 11.0.3 in January 2003 here. According to the newsletter the upgrade introduced a new look and feel, new login techniques, and a new method of navigation for Web Voucher, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Budget Tool, AWS2, HUDINI, and Applications Administration.

In November 2004 the University upgraded from 11.5.5 to 11.5.9 which you can read about here.

The Universities Administrative Systems e-news is an interesting insight into how ERP systems are run and maintained. According to the site:

The Office of Human Resources publishes a semimonthly electronic newsletter for users of University financial, HR, and reporting systems, policies, and procedures. It contains:

  • Updates on projects underway to build or improve University administrative systems
  • Information about new University financial, HR, and reporting policies, procedures, and forms
  • Reminders about upcoming deadlines and cutover dates
  • Tips and tricks for working more easily or productively

On the e-news site you will also find back issues of the publication as well as a useful index by topic.

Friday, August 27, 2004

University of Florida ERP Implementation - Bridges

This post contains a review of the University of Florida Bridges site which contains some useful documentation and training material on the implementation of Enterprise Systems.

The University of Florida has a really good site called "Bridges" which provides documentation and training material relating to the implementation of systems in their organisation.

According to their site: -

UF Bridges is a multi-year project to replace the University’s current computer systems with new Web-based, integrated systems that provide real-time information and improve university business processes. This is known as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. The University purchased ERP software from PeopleSoft for its financial, human resources, payroll and student administration functions, and enterprise data warehouse and reporting functions from Cognos (a PeopleSoft partner).

Although the solutions being implemented at this University are not Oracle Applications related I thought the site would be helpful for the following reasons: -

  1. It provides some good examples of the type of documentation and training material that should be prepared when implementing Enterprise Systems.
  2. The documentation and training material will provide readers with a good understanding of the business processes for each of the functional areas within an organisation (e.g. Finance, HRMS)
  3. There are various presentations available that give an idea of the issues that one needs to think about when implementing ERP systems.
  4. The site provides a good example of how to effectively manage the knowledge gained in an organisation as a result of such an implementation.

The training section is probably the most useful area of this site. It provides instructions guides, classroom training presentations and handouts, classes on video and web tutorials which cover the following functional areas: -

  • Enterprise Reporting
  • Finance
    • Overviews
    • Core User
    • Customer Relations
    • General Ledger/Budgets
    • Purchasing and Payables
      • Requisitions
      • Change Requests
      • Receiving
      • Vouchers
      • Procurement Card (PCard)
    • Sponsored Programs
    • Travel and Expense
  • Human Resource Management Systems
    • Hiring
      • Staff, OPS and Student Positions
      • Faculty Positions
    • Position and Job Actions
    • Distributions and Pay
    • Reporting Time
    • Using Leave
    • Approving Time and Leave
    • Workflow

Within the training section there are also some really good Project Presentations. Highlights are as follows: -

Saturday, August 21, 2004

The Strategic Enterprise Planning Solution (STEPS) at the University of Alabama

This post contains a review of the the Strategic Enterprise Planning Solution (STEPS) site which documents an Oracle ERP implementation undertaken at the University of Alabama.

I was rather pleased to stumble across the Strategic Planning and Enterprise Solutions (STEPS) site at the University of Alabama (UAB) the other day. It has loads of documentation and information pertaining to an implementation they are undergoing in the areas of Oracle Financials and Human Resource Management System (HRMS).

According to their site: -

UAB’s vision for a new administrative computing system at UAB has reached a major milestone with the implementation of Oracle Human Resources (HR) applications on January 20, 2004. The Finance implementation has been delayed to October 2004. By exploring these pages, you will gain knowledge about the STEPS Project and the new Oracle system.

Oracle HR

According to this section of the site: -

A suite of Oracle HR modules are being implemented for the management of all UAB personnel. The advantage of the new system is the creation of an integrated information environment, and improvement in the quality of human resources data, thereby providing better HR services to individuals.

Data currently viewed in the Human Resource System (HURS) will be found using the ACT form (screen) in Oracle. Several paper processes will be replaced with new electronic processes, such as new hire appointments, salary reclassifications, and effort reporting.

Specific features of the new system include a web-based self-service environment for all employees and an electronic administrative processing environment for staff to conduct day-to-day business. Also, seven-digit employee numbers will replace social security numbers as a means of identifying UAB employees.

HR modules to be implemented as part of the STEPS project are:

  • Core Human Resources Management
  • Advanced Benefits
  • Payroll and Time and Labor
  • Labor Distribution and Effort Reporting

This area of the site also discusses self service and you can download a copy of the new HR Organizational Hierarchy codes.

Oracle Finance

According to this section of the site: -

UAB is preparing to replace its existing financial accounting system (EFS) with the Oracle Financials suite of applications to create an integrated information environment that is web based and flexible to handle future growth. With the implementation of the Oracle system, UAB will have a new Oracle General Ledger accounting structure and a new Oracle Grants accounting structure.

Data currently viewed in FAS will be found in Oracle and transactions currently processed using EFS will be processed using Oracle. What are currently called “account numbers” in FAS will be referred to as “account strings” in Oracle and the format of these account strings differs from the current account numbers. Prior to implementation, a “cross-walk table” will be provided matching FAS account numbers to Oracle account strings where possible. Also, the object codes will change from a four-digit to a seven-digit number. The new Oracle object codes can be viewed from this site.

Finance modules to implemented as part of the STEPS project are:

  • General Ledger
  • Purchasing
  • Accounts Payable
  • Grants/Plant Accounting
  • Accounts Receivable (for Sponsored Projects only)

This section of the site has a variety of documents and presentations you can download that relate to the new Oracle General Ledger accounting structure and Oracle Grants accounting structure. Briefly stated, the new chart of accounts will contain six segments as follows: -

  • Account - Identifies primary activity for which money is being spent (7 digits) 
  • SubAccount - An account can be broken down to track one or more activities, tasks, time periods, or allocations (3 digits)
  • Balancing - Indicates the level at which UAB chooses to carry a balance sheet, whether for internal or external purposes (9 digits)
  • Organization - Identifies the organizational unit with which has primary fiscal responsibility for the Account String (9 digits)
  • Future - Reserved to meet future requirements (4 digits)
  • Object Code - Categorizes the nature of the dollars as a specific type of revenue, expense, asset, etc. (7 digits)

The new Grants Accounting segment structure is as follows: -

  • Project – The work performed (6 digits)
  • Task – Further breakdown of work performed under project (5 digits)
  • Award – Funding source (7 digits)
  • Organization – Type of string, and University vs Hospital (2 digits)
  • Expenditure Type – Similar to GL Object Code (7 numeric digits plus description - 30 maximum segment length)

Oracle Training

Under this section of the site you will find course descriptions, online course manuals and online simulation courses (training videos). Online course manuals are available for the following modules: -

  • Finance
  • Navigation
  • ACT (Appoint, Change and Terminate)
  • TEL(Time, Entry and Labour)
  • Self Service

The online simulations are quite good for those who are just starting to earn Oracle Applications. The following simulations are available: -

  • Oracle Navigation
  • Human Resources
    • Appoint, Change, Terminate (ACT)
    • Workflow Approvals
    • View HR Data
  • TEL (Time, Entry and Labour)
  • Self Service

End User Readiness

Here you will find the specifications for a Desktop PC which needs to run Oracle Applications. There is also a Go-Live Checklist which is designed to ensure that users are prepared for utilising Oracle Applications.

Oracle Access

Here you will find a listing of End User responsibilities for Oracle HRMS at the University. For each responsibility a summary of access areas is documented. If a user does not have access to the system the appropriate forms are made available to apply for access.

Oracle Workflow

Here you will find a workflow presentation given at a STEPS workflow officer meeting.

Lastly, you should also consider visiting the Universities IT department.

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