A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Tools and Utilities

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oracle e-Business Suite Release 12: New Features for Sys Admins

Fear not System Administrators: There are exciting new system administration features in the pipeline for managing e-Business Suite environments.

Well, I’ve made it back home to Charlotte and I’m getting caught up with my notes from Open World.  One of the sessions I attended last week was by Oracle Senior Project Manager Biju Mohan.  His session covered some of the improvements and new features system administrators can look forward to in the upcoming release of the e-Business Suite plug in for Oracle Enterprise Manager (OEM).

One seemingly never ending task that takes up a considerable amount of time for System Administrators is cloning.  It wasn’t long ago that cloning was done manually (maybe I’m dating myself), using home grown scripts and following documented (or not so documented) procedures.  I’m sure there are still a few of us out there who still follow manual processes, and although Oracle Applications Manager and the adclone utilities and scripts have helped sysadmins reduce the time and effort for cloning, there are still a few areas where things we being done manually behind the scenes.  I’m happy to report the product teams at Oracle have been hard at work, and will be releasing a number of new or improved features for e-Business Suite management in the future.  Here are a few of the improvements I learned about regarding cloning.

Cloning support through OAM will be decommissioned, and in the future cloning will be accomplished through the cloning dashboard in OEM - with the e-Business Suite add on (the “apps pack”) installed.  The process will be automated through a provisioning framework, where OEM will walk an administrator through an interview process to determine cloning parameters.  Sys admins will be able to create images, so the possible cloning combinations will be:

  • Source to Target (e.g. PROD to DEV);
  • Source to Image (e.g. PROD to an image to put on the shelf and use for future clones to DEV, UAT, etc.); and
  • Image to Target (e.g. refresh DEV from an earlier image of PROD or another imaged environment).

One feature I’m sure many have been waiting for is the ability to scramble or purge sensitive data.  I’ve been told this feature will work with 11i10 and Release 12.  This is great news for cloning production environments down to development and test instances where the apps password isn’t always policed as it is in production.  Although the instance might not be production, the data still originated in a production environment, and the ability to scramble or purge sensitive HR, payroll or other personal data (e.g. to meet HIPAA requirements) has been needed for a long time.  It was not made clear as to how extensive the process was, or what data elements for each of the modules would be covered, but it was my understanding that the scrambling will be implemented as an engine where additional input parameters can be input to the process.  Data obfuscation will occur during the cloning of either a Source -> Target or Source -> Image clone, and will not be reversible.

I’ll keep my ears posted on when we can expect the release of the apps pack for OEM.  Post a comment if you hear any news on the next release.  More details on additional Release 12 system management features to come in a future post.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Manage your Oracle E-Business Suite Setup with ConfigSnapshot

ConfigSnapshot is a product we’ve recently bought and purchased in our organisation and I thought it would be useful to give it a mention on the blog. According to their site:

Effective management of set up data within the Oracle E-Business Suite is an essential requirement for all organizations. In reality, however, doing this can be a monumental task. At all stages of the Oracle E-Business Suite lifecycle (Implement - Support - Upgrade) it can prove to be a major headache.  The process is notoriously prone to human error and carries a significant overhead cost.

ConfigSnapshot, an easy-to-install, easy-to-use product enables organisations to simplify the entire process reducing the effort and cost, increasing accuracy at all stages, solve problems quicker and reduce human configuration error.

What you can do with the product?

  • Automatically generate set up documentation
  • Generate set up documentation for a single application environment
  • Compare operating unit / set of books / inventory organisation / business group set up within an environment
  • Compare set up between two application environments
  • Compare different versions of the applications
  • Identify set up changes that have occurred since a specific date
  • Identify changes made by a specific user
  • Review difficult to manage set up items in an easy to use format

What are the benefits of ConfigSnapshot?

ConfigSnapshot can help organisations at all stages of the E-Business Suite cycle by enabling you to take control of your application set up:

  • Dramatically reduce timeframes
  • Facilitate problem resolution
  • Increase accuracy
  • Reduce risk
  • Increase understanding
  • Simplify important housekeeping tasks
  • Enable time to be focussed on ensuring the set up is optimised for the business needs
  • Ensure both Oracle and internal standards have been followed correctly

We’ve found this product most useful at Thales and of course if you would like to see it in action then drop me a mail or speak to the team at ConfigSnapshot via their website.

Monday, May 08, 2006

ApplTop Solutions Offers 11i Productivity and Compliance Solutions Free of Charge

In a recent announcement, productivity and compliance software developer ApplTop Solutions Limited stated they are making their entire product suite, as well as a majority of the source code, available under their new ApplTop Free & Open Software License:

Under the new AFOS License, any organisation that is an “end user” of Oracle E-Business Suite (AFOS excludes competitors, service companies…etc) can download ApplTop Applications from the ApplTop website ( and install and use all of our products without charge. Furthermore, 99% of our source code is also available so you can help expand and improve our products (or maybe learn from them) by being part of the ApplTop Community Enhancement (ACE) program.

All products offered to e-Business Suite 11i end users by ApplTop Solutions are now available as a single installation, and are collectively referred to as ApplTop Applications. The products within the suite have been designed specifically for the Oracle 11i e-Business Suite, which ensures seamless integration and the same look and feel of the end user interface. Products available within ApplTop Applications include:

Development Products for Oracle 11i 

ASL*Form – enables the rapid creation of application extensions.
ASL*Rapport – provides the ability to create fully-integrated, interactive reports.

Security and Compliance Products for Oracle 11i 

ASL*Secure – allows you to define security policies to ensure critical and sensitive data is fully secured.
ASL*Audit – allows you to define auditing rules to ensure critical and sensitive data is fully audited, maintaining accountability and integrity within the e-Business Suite.
ASL*Comply – enables you to quickly and easily define your Segregation of Duties (SOD) conflict matrix, at both the responsibility and function level, and then implement that matrix to automatically prevent, monitor and report on any SOD conflicts within the system.

Productivity Products for Oracle 11i 

ASL*Enquire – provides the user with a fully integrated and simple interface for executing SQL queries against the database.
ASL*Accelerate – allows you to enhance, personalize, and streamline the e-Business Suite screens without risk.

If you currently use or plan to use any of ApplTop’s current product offering, please share your experiences by posting a comment or opening a topic on the forum.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More4Apps Extensions and add-ons for Oracle Applications

I came across the More4Apps site the other day which has developed a number of front end data loaders for Oracle Applications.

More4Apps is a software development company, focused on developing extensions and add-ons to Oracle Applications. These applications provide richer functionality and improved processing ability to Oracle Applications users. All of our products have been designed and developed with advice and input from current users of Oracle Applications.

The products page of their site lists the different loaders they have available right now (shown below) whilst the news page shows work in progress and planned new developments.

Tools for Oracle Projects
Load Projects with Project Wizard
Load Project Budgets with Budget Wizard
Load Project Transactions with Transaction Wizard
Load Revenue and Billing Events with Event Wizard
Tools for Oracle Payables
Load Payables Invoices with AP Invoice Wizard
Tools for Oracle Receivables
Load Receivables Invoices with AR Invoice Wizard
Tools for Oracle Purchasing
Create Requisitions with Requisition Wizard
Create and Maintain Requisition Templates with Req Template Wizard
Tools for Oracle Human Resources
Load HR Elements with HR Element Wizard
More More4Apps Tools
Distribute Reports by email with Mail-It
Convert text to PDF on the fly with OraPDF
Load Value Sets with Account Wizard
Load Directly into Database Tables with Upload Wizard

I’d be interested to here from anyone who has used these products and what your thoughts are one them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

GL Wand - Oracle General Ledger reporting using Excel Add-In

Today I came across the Excel4Apps site which is selling a product called GL Wand. It’s an Excel Add-In which allows you to produce reports off your General Ledger Data.

On the site you’ll find the following reporting examples and tutorials:

  • 60 Second GL Wand Overview
  • GL Wand Overview
  • Oracle Financials Ad hoc Account Query
  • Statutory Reporting From Oracle Financials
  • Oracle Financials Cost Allocations
  • GL Wand Tutorial

According to the site:

GL Wand uniquely manages the information flow between Oracle Financials and Excel in a secure, single version of the truth and highly productive manner.

  • Installs in minutes
  • HTTP internet architecture
  • Online Vision “Test” account

Most Oracle Financials users already have and know how to use Microsoft Excel. GL Wand simply makes the Excel interface highly productive by eliminating manual refreshes and placing your Set of Books information at your fingertips.

This results in shorter reporting cycles, quicker month end closes and an enhanced experience when using Oracle Financials.

Looks like an interesting product, certainly looks a lot easier to use and maintain than FSG’s!!. There’s also a GL wand blog which is described as a place where existing GL Wand users can share their real life experiences of using our GL Wand product on Oracle Financials and hear directly from the founders what the future product plans are.

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