A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Friday, July 08, 2005

Oracle’s Holistic Planning (One Integrated Plan Coordinates the Entire Supply Chain)

A sophisticated planning model Oracle calls Holistic Planning is now available (in the Advanced Supply Chain Planning product) to coordinate an enterprise’s entire supply chain with a single plan. A properly set up and maintained plan can lead to an enterprise drastically reducing the time spent on analyzing and reacting to multiple plans.

With the creation and release of Oracle’s Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) product the ability to plan across the extended and entire supply chain with a single plan while incorporating customer preferences and supplier capacity is now possible. Holistic planning is a term created and ‘coined’ by Oracle to explain the processes and capabilities of a single plan that can accommodate all the planning needs of the multiple and time consuming plans required by the more traditional MRP planning technique.

Utilizing a single plan holistic planning can plan the entire supply chain (both material and capacity requirements) encompass all manufacturing methods and all time periods for one or all Oracle inventory organizations. Obviously, with a well set up and coordinated holistic plan an organization can save time and money on planning analysis and maintenance and potentially increase manufacturing flexibility, velocity and competitiveness.

Oracle’s holistic planning offers resolutions to three dimensions of the planning problem that confronts all manufacturing

  • Multiple Manufacturing Methods: A single plan can coordinate all manufacturing methods (Project [Contract], Flow, Process, Repetitive or Discrete.)
  • Include the entire supply chain: A single plan can coordinate an enterprise’s end-to-end supply chain from the customers through the manufacturing and distribution organizations within the enterprise, and include the suppliers as well.
  • Comprise the entire planning horizon: A single plan can coordinate the appropriate level of detail at each point in the horizon. A planning set up for the immediate future could be planned in days, the near future could be planned in weeks, and the long-term could be planned in monthly periods.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

ProfitLogic - another acquisition by Oracle

Fresh off the back of some rather superb financial results, Oracle has announced yet another acquisition. The company being taken over is ProfitLogic a leading provider of Retail Profit Optimization solutions.

According to the Oracle Press Statement:

ProfitLogic’s software analyzes customer demand patterns to help retailers make inventory, pricing and merchandising decisions. ProfitLogic’s current customers include retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, The Children’s Place Retail Stores, Famous Footwear, JC Penney, Marshall Field’s, Nordstrom, Reitmans, ShopKo Stores, and Toys R Us, among others.

“ProfitLogic’s software provides analysis that helps retailers put the right product, in the right store, for the right customer, at the right time,” said Duncan Angove, general manager, Oracle’s Retek Global Business Unit. “Our acquisition of ProfitLogic will create the most comprehensive software solution for the retail industry. With ProfitLogic’s Retail Profit Optimization software, Retek’s end-to-end retail products, and Oracle’s infrastructure software and ERP applications, we will be able to offer an integrated solution for retailers of any size and in any industry.”

For further information check out the Oracle ProfitLogic page.

I’m sure this is not the only acquisition we will see in the coming months. In an article entitled Oracle Pushes aside the doubters, Street Patrol’s Robert Walberg mentions that other potential takeover targets may be Hyperion, Siebel, BEA systems or Business Objects. I’ll be posting more discussion on these potential takeover targets in the near future. In the mean time I’d be interested to here your thoughts on Oracle’s acquisition strategy.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Open Source ERP - implementation and selection

There’s an interesting discussion going on at the ITtoolbox ERP-Select forum on Open Source ERP software selection and implementation. Check out the discussion thread entitled Open Source ERP Needed (trilingual a plus). One of the posts lists the pros and cons of implementing Open Source ERP as follows: -


  • No license cost which brings the initial cost of purchase down to a minimum. Add the open source O/S and database and the cost is immediately down to nothing but the hardware.
  • Ownership of the source code, which allows the company to twist it to unimaginable lengths. In niche markets and industries this is particularly advantageous since the company can customize the core processes that give them a niche in their market. This also means that their competitive advantage which can be drawn from unique functionality is proprietary and not shared with other companies in the same industry.
  • A pool of virtually infinite programmers that will develop the core ERP in the future. The only risk here is the lack of good project management by a project leader. To my knowledge, Compiere and GNUe have robust project leading teams at the moment.


  • One has to find the support and implementation services that will take full advantage of the ERP (open source or not). The difference is that in open source no vendor assumes responsibility for legal and other conformity issues.
  • Maintenance: nobody can guarantee that the open source ERP implemented today will be around in - say - 5 years. I think it is safe to argue that we all understand that ERP is a long-term investment where the biggest expense is change management, training and human capital.
  • Customization: yes, you can customize as much as you want. However, you then need a team to maintain the customization and keep it updated with all the new versions of core functionality. Therefore, you need an organization large enough to take full advantage of the open source features.

Based on the discussions I’ve compiled a listing of Open Source ERP software systems on the link blog. If there’s any more you think should be added to the list please let me know.

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