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Friday, September 10, 2004

Oracle Applications Auditing and Security Best Practices

This post points you to a site that has some really good presentations and white papers related to auditing and securing Oracle E-Business Suite and provides some related links.

Having been an Auditor/Accountant in a former life, I always try to make certain that when implementing an ERP system I take into account security issues and also ensure that the system can be audited by both internal and external parties. Oracle has many built in auditing and security features, but in my experience, people do not make appropriate use of them because they are not aware they exist or they do not have the time or budget to implement them. Personally, I believe awareness of the capabilities of Oracle E-Business Suite is the starting point towards ensuring system security and auditability. Hence, it’s always nice to come across some information which can give you new ideas as to what approach you should take when implementing such a system.

A really good site that I have come across which has some superb white papers and related information on Oracle Applications auditing and security is Integrigy. According to their site: -

Integrigy Corporation is a leader in application security for large enterprise, mission critical applications. Our application vulnerability assessment tool, AppSentry, assists companies in securing their largest and most important applications. Integrigy Consulting offers security assessment services for leading ERP and CRM applications.

Key Oracle Applications papers and presentations on auditing and security that you can download are as follows: -

The resources section of the site is also quite good since it not only includes white papers but also security alerts, advisories and notes, analysis and tools and scripts . There is also a quarterly newsletter published which keeps you up to date with Security Issues around Oracle Applications.

Other Resources

  • Best Practices for Securing Oracle E-Business Suite – Metalink Note ID 189367.1
  • Best Practices For Securing Oracle E-Business Suite 11i For Internet Access – Metalink Note ID 229335.1
  • 11i: A Guide to Understanding and Implementing SSL for Oracle Applications – Metalink Note ID 123718.1
  • Oracle Applications 11i System Administrator’s Guide
  • Oracle Security Alertshttp://technet.oracle.com

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.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Oracle ERP implementation - the Douglas Omaha Enterprise Resource System (DOERS)

This post contains a review of the Douglas Omaha Enterprise Resource System (DOERS) site and highlights useful documentation which can be downloaded. 

Last week I came across a really good site documenting an Oracle ERP implementation at the City of Omaha which has been named the Douglas Omaha Enterprise Resource Systems (DOERS). According to their site and related documentation: -

The City of Omaha, Douglas County, and the Omaha Douglas Public Building Commission are participants in a joint implementation of Oracle HRMS application suite, a project called DOERS (Douglas Omaha Enterprise Resource System). The DOERS project is a phased implementation and Oracle HRMS is Phase 3 of the total project.Phase 2, which includes Inventory, Grants Management, Projects and Public Sector Budgeting, began in early 2002. Phase 1, involving the Oracle Core Financials, began in early 2001 and includes General Ledger, Receivables, Payables, Fixed Assets, Cash Management, Purchasing and iProcurement.

Following is a summary and analysis of key areas of the site: -

HRMS

According to this section of the site: -

The City/County DOERS project continues building an Oracle Solution to integrate HR, Payroll, and Benefit functions with the new Oracle Financial modules. This initiative falls under the DOERS project umbrella specifically called Phase 3. This Phase of the Oracle implementation also named HRMS for Oracle’s Human Resource Management System has been made significant progress. Douglas County and the Omaha Building Commission went live on version 11.5.5 in January of 2004. Due to the complexity of this phase and limited resource availability the Go Live date for the City has been pushed back.

Here you will find two very good documents to download, namely the RD.020 documents for Human Resources and Benefits. The RD.020 Current Business Requirements is an Oracle AIM (Applications Implementation Methodology) document which is designed to identify and document current business processes and requirements. This document often incorporates a questionairre and is completed during the Definition phase of a project.

Inquiry and Reports

Contains business forms, chart of accounts and end user documentation and training material for Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable and General Ledger.

Chart of Accounts

Here you can download the latest Chart of Accounts which is structured according to the following segments: -

  • Funds
  • Orgs
  • Activities
  • Assets
  • Liabilities
  • Fund Balance
  • Expense
  • Revenues

Current Practices

Here you will find the RD.020 documents for the various modules implemented in each phase of the project.

Future Processes

Contains the RD.030 documents for the following future processes: -

  • Payables
  • Purchasing
  • General Ledger
  • Fixed Assets
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Grants and Projects

The RD.030 document is an Oracle AIM document which is used to establish a process and mapping summary for your organisation. It is normally completed within the Operations Analysis phase of the project lifecycle. In this task, you create the repository for key project findings and decisions that occur during the process and functional requirements gathering activities.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Oracle Partner Feature - Red Rock Consulting Group

This post contains a review of the Red Rock Consulting Group web site and highlights some useful downloads they have.

Recently I came across the Red Rock Consulting Group web site. Red Rock is an Oracle Certified Advantage Partner and according to their site: -

Red Rock Consulting is an innovative, dynamic and energetic consultancy formed to support clients who have chosen Oracle business solutions. Red Rock is the largest independent Oracle consulting firm in Australia and New Zealand, with a highly skilled and experienced pool of Oracle consultants across the Asia-Pacific region including offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Auckland.

They have some really good white papers, articles and presentations which have been delivered at numerous Oracle Conferences and User Groups or featured in reputable Oracle Publications and Magazines. In particular, there’s quite a bit of information available on upgrades. Highlights are as follows: -

Whitepapers

Articles

Presentations

As an when I get the chance to take a detailed look at each of these articles, white papers and presentations I will prepare a write up for this site. In the mean time, happy downloading and reading. You should also consider subscribing to the Red Rock Newsletter entitled HotRocks.

If you are reading this post and you know of any really good partner sites where you can get useful information and downloads, then please add your comments.

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