OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Oracle Apps Forum RSS feed

The forum now has an RSS feed which you can subcribe to here. You’ll also see a graphic at the bottom of the forums page which when clicked on will take you to the feed. Autodiscovery code has also been added to the forum so that browsers with RSS support (like Firefox) will automatically detect the feed. Let me know if you have any issues.

Subscribing to the RSS feed is an effective way to stay up to date with what’s been added to the forum, alternatively you can choose the option View New Posts on the forum home page to see what’s been added since your last visit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Oracle Applications Forum Launches

I’ve now installed the EE discussion forum and have set up the Oracle Applications Forum which can be accessed on the top menu bar of the home page.

To start off with I’ve created three categories each of which have their own sub-categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Apps Forum - members only
  • Apps Community - public but moderated
  • Other Enterprise Systems - public but moderated

If you feel their is a need for more/less categories, please let me know. One of the nice things about this discussion forum module is that it is feature rich. It has features in it that I have not seen in many other forum packages and I hope that members will make the most of these. Two quite useful features that come to mind are the ability to conduct polls and the facility to upload attachments (such as CV’s, presentations, white papers or sample documentation). The discussion forum module also has really good support for private messaging between members participating in the forum. At this point in time the forum does not have an RSS feed but this will be added shortly.

Any feedback and suggestions you may have for the forum would be much appreciated and I have created a sub category for this in the Apps Forum. I’ve also decided that any job postings will in future go on the forum as opposed to the blog. Please spread the word about the forum as it will only be useful it we have many participants. Lastly, if you are interested in being a moderator please let me know.

Monday, July 18, 2005

ExpressionEngine v1.3 Upgrade

Over the weekend I upgraded to ExpressionEngine v1.3. The upgrade went very smoothly and I have to say I’m very impressed with the improvements that have been made - definitely the best blogging software around right now for running a community orientated blog like this. I’ve also bought, downloaded and installed the forums module which has been released with EE v1.3 so I will be bringing the OracleAppsForum online today. If you are a member of the blog please go and update your membership details with your picture and a signature (for use in the forums)

The mail I received from pMachine (the designer’s of ExpressionEngine) outlines the new features:

pMachine is pleased to announce that ExpressionEngine 1.3 and our new Discussion Forum Module have been released.

ExpressionEngine Version 1.3 delivers great new features, a significantly enhanced membership system, a completely redesigned control panel, and support for our brand new Discussion Forum Module.

EE 1.3 now features spell checking, a new user-friendly control panel, and major member management enhancements including private messaging, member signatures, avatars, and member photos. In addition, version 1.3 adds some great new features like a tab manager, and our new “updated sites” module enabling other sites to “ping” your site when they have updated their content.

EE 1.3 now fully supports the Metaweblog API allowing easy integration with desktop applications like MarsEdit and Ecto, and web-based services like Yahoo’s Flickr and Digg.com. For a complete list of 1.3. updates please read the change log.

The new Discussion Forum Module integrates perfectly with ExpressionEngine creating a single, no hassle login for web-based communities. The forum is full-featured, supporting advanced features, like moderators, polling, announcements, private messaging, sticky topics, image uploading, signatures, member tracking, spell checking, and much more.

Now that EE supports the MetaWeblog API, I’m hoping to give Blogjet a try which should make the whole posting and editing process a lot easier.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand (OOD): Real Life Experiences

I was a consulting team member on Oracle’s first successful outsourcing [Applications Service Provider (ASP)] implementation which went live in 1999. Back then Oracle outsourcing services were called Business On Line (BOL). Today these services are called Oracle On Demand (OOD). I recently was the Project Manager on a successful migration to the OOD outsourcing services (their first 11.5.10 customer.) This article is a summary of my real life experiences with the migration and post-migration efforts, and provides some opinions and lessons learned.

Oracle On Demand Defined:

Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand (OOD) is Oracle Corporation’s ASP outsourcing services that hosts and maintains all of the Oracle E-Business Suite Applications. OOD customers have access to their applications via a browser. A virtual private network (VPN) is provided by Oracle to maintain connection and security between the customer sites and the OOD data center. Currently, there are approximately 600 live OOD customers. OOD manages and maintains a state-of-the-art data center in Austin, Texas USA.

All of us in the IT field certainly realize that there are always good things and not-so-good things associated with every hardware, software or service-oriented product available in today’s market. And, in my opinion, the same realization holds true with OOD.

Good Things Regarding Oracle On Demand:

  • Three instances are provided (Development, Test and Production.)
  • Maintenance and security patches are routinely analyzed and applied.
  • Can lead to a reduction in IT staff (if you can consider this to be a good thing.)
  • No on-site hardware is needed (except for a Virtual Private Network [VPN] devise.)
  • Database health checks and database system administration are monitored and administered by Oracle.
  • Oracle assigns a migration and/or an implementation team to each client (usually consisting of a Service Delivery Manager, Service Delivery Engineer, Affinity Engineer, and sometimes a Database Administrator.)
  • Uptime and performance of the applications is very good.

 

Not-So-Good Things Regarding Oracle On Demand:
  • Loss of the Apps password for the Production instance.
  • Loss of the System Administrator and Applications Developer responsibilities in all instances (replaced by a responsibility called Applications Administrator which contains only a few forms.)
  • OOD customers cannot bounce the server on any instance (customers must log a TAR and then update the TAR with a Change Request Template (CRT) to give OOD a time frame when to perform these tasks, and then wait for OOD to perform these tasks.) This can slow down implementation of CRM modules because the Apache Server must be bounced and the JSP cache cleared for many changes to take effect.
  • Internal communications at OOD is sometimes slow and lacking knowledge (especially functional knowledge of the Oracle E-Business Suite.)
  • Customizations are sometimes difficult to get properly set up into the OOD Production instance (since the customer only has read-only access to Linux OOD personnel must install customizations, and obviously, they are not familiar with customer specific customizations or their business requirements.)
  • More TARs are required, and, of course, this takes a considerable amount of time and communication following up in Metalink.

In conclusion, I believe OOD is actively working to improve their services which are only going to get better in the future, but obviously they have some work to do. I would highly recommend OOD to any small and medium sized company that do not have senior level Oracle technical professionals, but not to any large company. In my opinion, any company that does employ senior level Oracle technical professionals would be better off hosting and maintaining their own applications and instances.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

ERP Software Comparison - Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft, Microsoft and Siebel

An article entitled ERP Packages Feature Comparison by Elisabeth Rainier of the ITtoolbox blog New Trends & Techniques in Managing CRM & SAP Projects, provides a useful comparison of the following ERP systems: -

  • Microsoft Great Plains version 7.5 and previews of Microsoft Great Plains version 8.0
  • Oracle E-Business Suite 11.5.9
  • PeopleSoft Enterprise 8.8 and 8.9 and EnterpriseOne 8.11
  • SAP mySAP Business Suite R/3 4.6 and SAP R/3 Enterprise 4.7
  • Siebel 7.5 and Siebel 7.7

For the players and software versions mentioned above, you’ll find a study which provides a comparative, multi-vendor assessment across the three major phases of the application lifecycle: implementation, application usage, and ongoing support and maintenance.

I haven’t come across many ERP software comparisons on the web so if anyone else knows of other comparisons available online please add your comments and links to this post.

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