OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Export data directly to Excel by configuring the MIME Type Profile Option

This post outlines how to export your Oracle Applications data directly to Excel by configuring a profile option.

Typically when choosing to export the results of a query or search in Oracle you will choose the File > Export option on the Oracle Applications menu. The data you desire to be exported will by default be exported as a tsv (tab separated values) file which can easily be read using notepad or wordpad. Should you wish to, this file can also easily be imported into Excel by opening the file from within Microsoft Excel and simply clicking Finish when the text import wizard appears.

On a couple of Oracle Applications systems that I worked on I noticed that choosing the File > Export was exporting the results directly to an Excel spreadsheet embedded within a browser. This can often be a better route to take than exporting into a tsv file and then importing into Excel. Subsequent investigation as to why various systems I worked on behaved differently when executing file export revealed that this behaviour is largely controlled by the MIME Type profile option and the parameters that are specified herein.

At this point I believe it’s appropriate to define what MIME is so that readers can understand exactly what they are doing when configuring this profile option. According to Webopedia.com the definition of MIME is as follows: -

Short for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, a specification for formatting non-ASCII messages so that they can be sent over the Internet. Many e-mail clients now support MIME, which enables them to send and receive graphics, audio, and video files via the Internet mail system. In addition, MIME supports messages in character sets other than ASCII. In addition to e-mail applications, Web browsers also support various MIME types. This enables the browser to display or output files that are not in HTML format.

Essentially MIME ensures that there is an association between a non-ASCII file and the application that is needed to read it. In our particular instance, within the MIME Type profile option we need to specify a parameter that will tell our default browser to open the file in Excel, Word or another application you would like to see the results in. By default the MIME type profile option has the following parameter: text/tab-separated-values. Changing this value to application/excel or application/winword will result in any export of query results in Oracle being sent directly to Excel or Word respectively. The value of the second portion of this parameter (in this instance excel or winword) depends on what command you need to execute in Windows to run either of these applications. You can determine this by looking at what command you run to open an XLS (Excel) file or DOC (Word) file in Windows. In Windows Explorer, on the file menu, choose Tools > Folder Options > File Types Tab, select the DOC or XLS extension and then click on Advanced. Following on from this, click on the Open Action and then select Edit…The name of the command to run the application associated with this file type will be specified in the Application: box.

As a final test as to whether you have determined the correct command that needs to be used to run Excel or Word, from the Windows Start button choose Run and then type in the command (in this intance excel or winword) and click OK. Your Word or Excel application should run.

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

OracleAppsBlog Site Maintenance - Upgrading to ExpressionEngine v1.1

This post contains details of scheduled downtime on OracleAppsBlog to perform an upgrade to ExpressionEngine v1.1.

I will be taking this site down for scheduled maintenance and an upgrade to ExpressionEngine v1.1 (presently I’m using the first release v1.0) on Sunday 22nd August at 2pm GMT. The site should be down for a maximum of 1 hour since I understand the upgrade is fairly easy to perform. I’m excited about this update as there are over 70 new features and enhancements in the new release and I hope this will provide readers with a richer blogging experience. You can see a list of the new features introduced in ExpressionEngine v1.1 here on the pMachine web site.

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 User Group Feature - the New Zealand Oracle User Group (NZOUG)

This post contains a review of the New Zealand Oracle User Group Website and also highlights key presentations and white papers from their 2004 conference which are available for download.

According to their site,

The New Zealand Oracle Users Group was founded in 1989. In our early years we were part of the Australia New Zealand Oracle User Group (ANZORA). But in 1997 we decided to sever the ties with Australia and we are now a separate group.

This group is for all Oracle users and is a forum to share ideas and interests. We are always open to new ideas about how we can improve the NZOUG so please email through your ideas to a member of the committee.

The most recent User Group conference ran from 25-27 May 2004 and papers were presented according to the streams of Executive, Applications, Technology and Training. I’ve taken a brief look at some of the papers that are available for download and the quality seems to be quite good. As and when I get a chance to take a detailed look, I will write up a detailed review on this site. Highlights from the applications section are as follows: -

Thanks to Gilbert Leblanc (who has an Oracle ERP Blog in French) for pointing me in the direction of this site.

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