A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant


Sunday, August 14, 2005

A Better Learning Environment (ABLE) at Harvard University

This post discusses the Harvard University systems support site and the use of Oracle 11i and Peoplesoft at this institution.

A Better Learning Environment (ABLE) is a support site for users of Harvard Universities systems. More specifically, the site provides support for Financial Applications (Oracle), HR Applications (Peoplesoft), Reporting Applications (Financial and HR) and for Harvard’s Central Administration Staff.

The resources available at the site include: -

  • Forms
  • Policies
  • Rates & Schedules
  • Work Instructions & Processes

Of particular interest is the section on Chart of Accounts (CoA) which outlines the account structure they implemented at Harvard.

For Financial Applications Harvard runs Oracle eBS and you can read about their upgrade to 11i from 11.0.3 in January 2003 here. According to the newsletter the upgrade introduced a new look and feel, new login techniques, and a new method of navigation for Web Voucher, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Budget Tool, AWS2, HUDINI, and Applications Administration.

In November 2004 the University upgraded from 11.5.5 to 11.5.9 which you can read about here.

The Universities Administrative Systems e-news is an interesting insight into how ERP systems are run and maintained. According to the site:

The Office of Human Resources publishes a semimonthly electronic newsletter for users of University financial, HR, and reporting systems, policies, and procedures. It contains:

  • Updates on projects underway to build or improve University administrative systems
  • Information about new University financial, HR, and reporting policies, procedures, and forms
  • Reminders about upcoming deadlines and cutover dates
  • Tips and tricks for working more easily or productively

On the e-news site you will also find back issues of the publication as well as a useful index by topic.

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.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Oracle Financial Information Systems (FIS) Project at University College London (UCT)

This post contains a link to the Oracle Financial Information Systems (FIS) website at University College London (UCT) and also mentions the key features of the site.

The Financials Systems Project site at the University College London (UCT) provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to implement an Oracle Applications System. The site gives readers a holistic view of all the aspects of Enterprise Systems Implementations. UCT initially implemented the following modules of Oracle Application 11.0.3 and later upgraded to 11i : -

  • General Ledger
  • Accounts Payable
  • Purchase Ordering
  • Accounts Receivable
  • Grants ( including Project Costing and Project Billing)
  • Fixed Assets
  • Inventory

Following is a review of the key areas of the site:

FIS Project

This section of the site provides an overview of what the FIS project and has related information categorised as follows: -

  • Information on the use of the site
  • What is the FIS Project?
  • FIS Team Members
  • Useful Contact Information
  • Migration Plan
  • FIS Service Times
  • FIS Users Group
  • 11.0.3 Enhancement Stage Plan
  • FIS Technical and Business Consultancy 2003
  • Upgrade to Version 11i
  • FIS Newsletters
  • FIS Training Dates

Procedures, User Guides and General Reference

This particular section of the site is probably one of the most useful areas as it contains project documentation which has been categorised in to the following areas: -

  • General Reference and Procedural Notes
  • User Guides for the following modules: -
    • Accounts Payable
    • Accounts Receivable
    • Fixed Assets
    • General Ledger
    • Grants
    • Inventory
    • Purchase Ordering
  • Other User Guides
  • Technical Guidance
  • How To…?

Friday, July 23, 2004

Oracle Financials R11.5.9 at Stanford University

Recently I came across the Oracle Financials site at Stanford University. This post contains a review of the various sections of the site.

The Oracle Financials Site at Stanford University is an excellent resource for anyone interested in learning and reading about Oracle Financials implementations. Being a University, the site gives you a good idea of how Oracle E-Business Suite can be implemented in a Higher Education Institute. It’s also interesting to note that Stanford has recently upgraded to the latest version of Oracle E-Business Suite, namely R11.5.9. You can read about Stanfords Upgrade from 11.5.8 to 11.5.9 here. The Oracle Financials System site is categorised in to the following sections: -

  • Learning Centre
  • Chart of Accounts
  • According to this page: -
    The Chart of Accounts is the underlying structure for organizing financial information at Stanford. Stanford adopted a new Chart of Accounts along with the new Oracle Financials system in 2003. News and general information about the Chart of Accounts and associated issues may be found here.
    In the news item "What is the Chart of Accounts" the University explains: -
    The Chart of Accounts is the set of codes used to classify and record financial transactions in meaningful ways. These codes enable Stanford to: -
    • identify specific “pots” of money; 
    • specify what that money may be used for; and 
    • record the transactions related to that money

    By fulfilling the above functions, the Chart of Accounts also: -

    • facilitates financial reporting;
    • provides a framework for understanding the financial results of Stanford’s operations; and
    • controls how financial transactions and balances are collected and stored in the Oracle system

    Under this news item you will also find the Universities Chart of Accounts Segment Structure as well as mapping tables and spreadsheets which outline how the legacy Chart of Accounts translates to the new structure.


  • Authority
  • Reporting
  • iJournals
  • Purchasing
  • Reimbursements
  • Labor Distribution
  • PCards
  • Sunflower

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