A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Thursday, March 31, 2005

UKOUG 2005 Conference - call for papers now open

I got an e-mail from Marios Chrysanthou (Events Organiser for the UKOUG) a couple of weeks back informing me that the call for papers at the UKOUG conference is now open. I was hoping to write a post on the conference then but have only just got around to it now. This blog contains details of the conference and paper submission information.

This year the conference theme is Navigate your way with Oracle and the conference will be running from the 31st of October to 2nd of November 2005 at the Birmingham International Convention Centre (ICC). According to the conference website: -

The UKOUG aims to provide it’s members and the Oracle community with the highest quality conference. Over 2,000 delegates attended 200 presentations, panels and workshops at last year’s event, and with your assistance and contribution, we aim to make UKOUG 2005 an even greater success.

The conference organisers have also opened their arms to participants from J.D. Edwards and Peoplesoft - hopefully this means we will see some presentations which indicate what technologies and procedures will be used to merge these products into the Oracle eBS.

Important Deadlines

For those submitting planning to submit papers these are the most important dates to remember: -

  • Abstracts to be submitted by: 22nd April 2005
  • Accepted Presenters notified: mid June 2005
  • Full presentations submitted: 14th October 2005

Oracle Conference Paper Abstract Examples

I thought it would be useful to readers if I gave some examples of conference paper abstracts. I know that when I first started making submissions to conferences about 4 years back I tried to get a hold of as many examples as I could so that I could get an idea of the terminology used in paper abstracts. Below I’ve documented the submissions I made for the UKOUG Conference in 2004 of which two were accepted, namely The Beauty of Oracle’s Web Enabled Applications and Audit Considerations for your 11i implementation. You can also download these abstracts as a word document from this link on

If I’m submitting papers to a fairly large conference like the United Kingdom Oracle User Group (UKOUG), I normally make at least 10 different submissions - I work on the principle that the more times you try, the luckier you get. Obviously, your chances of getting accepted to speak are not very high if you only submit one or two papers. When I first starting submitting papers for such events I used to submit one or two and would be quite disappointed when I wasn’t accepted. However, I soon discovered that one of the secrets to being accepted (especially if you are an unknown) was having a large number of varied abstracts i.e. don’t just cover one particular area or module of Oracle. If you only know one module or area then try and write abstracts that look at the different areas of that module or product.

For the UKOUG Conference you will typically be required to submit an abstract which is about 200 words in length. I’ve found the best way to get your abstract this length is compose it in word and then on the file menu choose properties and select the statistics tab - this tab will tell you the exact number of words you have used for your submission. By the way, if you would like me to present on any of these topics to your organisation then contact me and we can set up a meeting time. Here’s the abstracts: -

Enhance your implementation process with Oracle Applications Implementation Methodology

Demands for faster and better implementations are continuously increasing. This presentation will show how Oracle Applications Implementation Methodology (AIM) meets the demand for quicker, more efficient business system implementations. While traditional implementations make it difficult to realise business benefits quickly, the use of AIM’s core and optional tasks automatically define the fastest route by focusing on those tasks that are most relevant to the implementation. By eliminating any unnecessary tasks from your project, you reduce the implementation time frame.

Ensuring the implementation process is appropriately documented is also important – AIM provides generic project management document templates as well as templates specific to Oracle Applications implementations. The presenter will illustrate this by highlighting key deliverables and documentation templates the AIM software provides as well as giving practical advice based on implementation experiences.

It’s month end, now comes the reconciliation crunch!

This presentation emphasises the importance of performing reconciliations for your financial and operational systems on a regular basis. Setup issues that impact an organisations ability to reconcile as well as pertinent reports and tools that can be used in the reconciliation process will also be demonstrated.

A three-step approach will be taken. Firstly we will look at what should be reconciled, why we should reconcile and how effective reconciliations can be performed. Secondly, we will look at how setup issues within the General Ledger and Sub Ledgers can have an impact on the reconciliation process and factors to consider when setting up that could impact your ability to reconcile. Lastly, relevant reports will be highlighted to users based on the presenter’s experience in systems reconciliations.

In conclusion, the importance of performing month end closing procedures for your system will be emphasised and suggested approaches for doing this will be outlined.

Get more out of 11i with Oracle Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI)

Oracle Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI) is a fantastic tool with a wide variety of features usable by many 11i modules. This presentation discusses the account hierarchy editor, security model, and Web ADI components of the product. Although the account hierarchy editor is not widely used, the speaker will demonstrate the account hierarchy editor’s potential for graphically creating, maintaining, and reviewing account structure hierarchies.

With ADI’s increased proliferation across the organisation, security should be a concern. Hence the session also addresses how your organisation should use and set up functional and profile security.

Lastly, the presenter will examine how Web ADI broadens the software’s functionality by leveraging the Internet Computing Architecture (ICA). With this being the main focus of the presentation, the speaker will highlight how Oracle is improving ADI’s functionality by web enabling various components of the product.

Maximise your Return on Implementation Investment with Oracle Tutor

The corporate functions of any business consist of Commerce, Knowledge Management and Business Operations. This presentation will identify how implementing Oracle Tutor adds value to each of the functions mentioned, hence increasing the Return on Investment for your implementation.

Firstly, the standard Tutor procedure documents and business forms will be analysed and discussed. Secondly, the ability to customise procedure documentation and to create personalised training material will be shown. Lastly, the use of the Authoring tool to create customised help will be discussed and demonstrated. At each stage of the analysis the presenter will highlight new functionality that has been introduced to the product as well as provide advice based on implementation experiences.

Successful methodologies for effective data take on

Without a structured approach to data take on the implementation is likely to run aground. This presentation will outline a three-step approach to taking on data. Firstly, the take on should be appropriately planned. This entails understanding the take on tools to be used, the data types involved and the timing of the take on exercise.

Secondly the infrastructure of the modules should be designed and implemented to cater for the data take on (main area of focus). Here, various setup options which affect the taking on of master and transactional data will be considered.

Lastly the actual data should be taken on using an Extract, Translate/Clean and Load process – here the presenter will look at non-technical data take on methods including the use of Oracle Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI) and DataLoader.

The beauty of Oracle’s web enabled applications

Demand for web services is growing and Oracle has adapted to and even pre-empted this requirement by web enabling their entire range of software. This presentation highlights what web offerings are available for Oracle Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI), Oracle Financial Analyzer (OFA) and Oracle Discoverer. It will also explore how these products interact with each other to provide sophisticated query, analysis and reporting functionality on organisational information.

The architecture of these web solutions will be discussed followed by the steps involved in setting up and configuring the web interface for each of these products.

Lastly, the single sign on functionality will be examined.

Keys to building effective Property Management solutions in 11i

This presentation demonstrates how Oracle Property Manager provides a comprehensive real estate management solution which automates and enhances properties definition, space utilisation management and lease administration. It will highlight how Property Manager effectively supports lease execution from both the owner and leaseholder perspectives as well as how it integrates with Payables and Receivables.

Also discussed will be key implementation considerations and the latest features introduced into the module.

Audit considerations for your 11i implementation

In any ERP implementation, review and audit is an inevitable part of the implementation process. This is particularly true today with the enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and other worldwide initiatives to enhance corporate governance. This presentation identifies how to implement 11i in a manner that meets the control requirements of your auditors, both internal and external. Initially I will examine the reasons for auditing such systems and will then look at common problems encountered during audit and review exercises. In answer to the problems experienced the high level Oracle solution will be outlined and we will then take a look at specific auditing and review features embedded in the 11i E-Business Suite.

Take the pain out of Public Sector Budgeting Implementation Setups

Oracle Public Sector Budgeting is a proactive management application designed to support the unique requirements of public sector entities. This presentation will highlight the key setup steps in a PSB implementation for both Position and Non Position Budgeting. Procedures for configuring the Excel spreadsheet interface will also be outlined. Practical solutions and workarounds will be provided based on implementation experiences.

Enhance your organisations budgeting process with Oracle Financial Analyzer

This session will teach how OFA supports the budgeting process within an organisation. Specific consideration will be to the OFA web interface and Excel Spreadsheet Add-in. The GL write back functionality will also be looked at for instances where OFA is implemented on top of Oracle Applications.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Oracle AIM Pricing

I received an e-mail the other day asking how much it would cost to purchase Oracle AIM. This post contains information on the pricing of this product.

Oracle’s Application Implementation Methodology (AIM) is their methodology for the implementation of it’s e-Business Suite (eBS). According to Oracle: -

AIM Advantage is a time-tested implementation approach and toolkit for planning, executing and controlling the implementation of your Oracle E-Business Suite. It is the only implementation method specifically built for Oracle Applications, and has been used in thousands of successful implementations by Oracle Consulting, Oracle’s select implementation partners, and customers.

I’ve used this methodology on all of the Oracle Applications implementations I have been involved in and have found it to be a very useful tool. The methodology helps you plan and document an implementation at all stages of the lifecycle. Information on the pricing can be found by performing a search for "AIM" at the Oracle Store. Here you will find two options: -

  1. AIM Advantage without Supplement Option - Packaged Method Named User (US$2,200)
  2. AIM Advantage with Supplement Option - Packaged Method Named User (US$2,530)

Both of these options provide you with the aim CD-ROM and documentation whilst according to the Store, with the supplement option:

Oracle will provide access to AIM Advantage 3.0 supplements made generally available to commercial customers for a period of twelve months from the effective date of purchase. Supplements may include new deliverable templates and point releases of AIM Advantage (e.g. version 3.0 to version 3.1), but will not include new major releases (e.g. version 3.0 to version 4.0); major releases are licensed separately.

As the pricing is based on a named user, an organisations implementation cost would be directly related to the number of users that would make use of the software. To continue receiving annual updates via the supplementary option the cost would be 15% of the current list price of AIM.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

ERP Implementations and Contract Negotiations - Top 12 Tips

I came across an interesting discussion on the ITtoolbox forums the other day which contained some useful tips on negotiating SAP implementation contracts as well as general implementation advice. Despite the discussion being SAP orientated the advice given could quite easily apply to an Oracle eBS implementation or any other ERP deployment.

ITtoolbox has several good forums which one can read. Personally, I subscribe to the ERP-SELECT and ORACLE-APPS-L forums and can highly recommend them to anyone implementing ERP systems. A post the other day entitled about ERP(SAP) consultancy contracts caught my attention and in particular some comments by Bob Woitaszewski (a former SAP Implementer) caught my attention. I asked Bob whether I could post his comments on this Oracle Applications Blog and he agreed so here’s an excerpt of what he had to say:

Remember any consultancy wants to do a good job, however, they usually want to make sure that the contract will favour them in the end, not YOU. Having done 7 SAP implementations, 4 as a PM for a consulting firm using the ASAP methodology, let me pass this on: -

  1. Make sure that you work with SAP and their current methodology, what ever that is.
  2. Make sure you call out every deliverable for each phase.
  3. Make sure that you include DATES that each deliverable is due.
  4. Make sure that you specify what you are responsible for and what the consultancy is responsible for, for EACH deliverable.
  5. The consultancy is required to deliver a fully configured, PRODUCTION system, not a "prototype!"
  6. Specify that you have a customer acceptance clause.
  7. Make sure that you develop a matrix that ties each requirement to a test for each requirement.
  8. Make sure that you include a "Not to exceed" clause where you figure what the maximum is and they agree to it. It’s essentially a fixed price contract; but forces consultancy’s to bill you by hour.
  9. Always make sure that you include in the contract that the consultant PM must report hours weekly. That way you make sure that you aren’t getting "double Billed" by some rookie at the consultancy’s back office.
  10. Make sure that the consultants are on site at least Tu-W-Th. It may cost a little more but with all the local talent that exists, the travel expenses will be minimal compared to a botched implementation.
  11. Make sure that the implementation team is given sufficient time to "play" with SAP and learn the ropes. Co-locate them into a separate office section so they can make real time decisions. Bring in out-of-town key team members. Relieve them from all but the most critical job functions. 
  12. Make sure that your team is "empowered" to make change happen, and BTW, implementing is ALL About CHANGE MANAGEMENT and COMMUNICATION.

One last word of wisdom. I have found that thing will be a lot easier for your company if you reengineer your processes to match SAP processes whenever possible. Use the "default" process for 6 months and then if you must modify them I had to offer that even though as a consultant, not ONE of my clients ever heeded that pearl. And when I went back after 6 months or so, almost everyone wished they had followed that one piece of advice.

Having been involved in IT and ERP implementations for the past 9 years I can certainly agree with all of the points on Bob’s checklist and hope that posting them here will provide useful advice and ideas to readers currently implementing or planning to deploy enterprise software solutions.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Project Fusion - merging the Oracle, J.D. Edwards and Peoplesoft Software

In a press release in January 2005, John Wookey unveiled the combined Oracle and PeopleSoft product roadmap and support plans. This post contains the details of Project Fusion, the new effort to merge the JDE, Peoplesoft and Oracle Software.

According to the press release, Project Fusion is "revolutionary technology that will follow an evolutionary path."

Wookey stated: -

The new “Project Fusion” is a new information age architecture based on industry standards that will be modularized for flexible deployment, optimal performance and easy maintenance. New information-driven applications will incorporate key strengths of all product lines and focus on business process automation, industry-specific capabilities, superior usability, real-time information access and reporting, and a shared data model to provide customers with a single source of truth. The “Project Fusion” architecture will leverage the latest Oracle technology for scalability, availability, security and performance. The new architecture and the results companies will achieve will be truly revolutionary, but the path to the new successor product line will be evolutionary.

What was most interesting to see that there is already a timeline for the rollout of the upcoming releases of the software under discussion as well as an estimated release date for Project Fusion which is as follows: -

  • PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.9 (2005)
  • Oracle E-Business Suite 12 (2006)
  • PeopleSoft Enterprise 9 (2006)
  • JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 8.12 (2006)
  • Ongoing JD Edwards World enhancements planned to be delivered continuously
  • First Project Fusion components, specifically data hubs and transaction bases, (beginning in 2006)
  • Initial "Project Fusion" applications (2007)
  • "Project Fusion" applications (2008)

The press release also contains support milestones and other useful links. There’s also an interesting page on the Oracle site entitled Strategic Direction and Vision that has more information on Project Fusion. It states that Oracle will continue to support Peoplesoft until 2013 and has the following to say about Project Fusion:

Project Fusion: The Successor Product
In addition to continuing development of the three existing lines, we plan to develop a successor suite of products—which is called ‘Project Fusion’—where we hope to merge the features and functions of the J.D. Edwards products and the PeopleSoft products and the Oracle products together. We’ll build, if you will, a super-set application suite using modern technology.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Oracle eBS 11.5.10 Upgrade Assistant and Maintenance Wizard

Oracle Metalink has recently announced the release of the new upgrade assistant otherwise referred to as the Maintenance Wizard. This post contains the details.

According to Metalink: -

Oracle Support provides a self-service tool (formerly known as E-Business 11i Upgrade Assistant) that guides customers in a methodical and repeatable way through the upgrade process. The Upgrade Assistant and Maintenance Pack Assistant are now part of a tool called Maintenance Wizard.

Upgrade Assistant 11.5.10 was released on February 4, 2005 and is intended to help implementers upgrade Oracle Applications from 10.7 or 11.0.3 to 11.5.10. In March 2005 Oracle intends to release the Database Upgrade Assistant 9i for upgrading Applications databases from 8i to 9i.

View Oracle Support’s Free Upgrade Assistance Data Sheet (Metalink User Name and Password required) or read the Maintenance Wizard FAQ. To download the latest version of the Maintenance Wizard visit Metalink Note 215527.1 entitled Master issue list for the Maintenance Wizard - this note provides you with a listing of all the releases from version 1.01 through to the current release, version 1.07. The diagram below also gives you some idea of what the Maintenance Wizard looks like.

An illustration of the Oracle 11i Upgrade Assistant or Maintenance Wizard

You can also find the following demonstrations on Metalink which will give you some idea of how to use and implement it: -

Lastly, for those readers who don’t have access to Metalink you can obtain more information at the official Oracle Upgrade Assistant Web Page.

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