A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Tools and Utilities

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Manage your Oracle E-Business Suite Setup with ConfigSnapshot

ConfigSnapshot is a product we’ve recently bought and purchased in our organisation and I thought it would be useful to give it a mention on the blog. According to their site:

Effective management of set up data within the Oracle E-Business Suite is an essential requirement for all organizations. In reality, however, doing this can be a monumental task. At all stages of the Oracle E-Business Suite lifecycle (Implement - Support - Upgrade) it can prove to be a major headache.  The process is notoriously prone to human error and carries a significant overhead cost.

ConfigSnapshot, an easy-to-install, easy-to-use product enables organisations to simplify the entire process reducing the effort and cost, increasing accuracy at all stages, solve problems quicker and reduce human configuration error.

What you can do with the product?

  • Automatically generate set up documentation
  • Generate set up documentation for a single application environment
  • Compare operating unit / set of books / inventory organisation / business group set up within an environment
  • Compare set up between two application environments
  • Compare different versions of the applications
  • Identify set up changes that have occurred since a specific date
  • Identify changes made by a specific user
  • Review difficult to manage set up items in an easy to use format

What are the benefits of ConfigSnapshot?

ConfigSnapshot can help organisations at all stages of the E-Business Suite cycle by enabling you to take control of your application set up:

  • Dramatically reduce timeframes
  • Facilitate problem resolution
  • Increase accuracy
  • Reduce risk
  • Increase understanding
  • Simplify important housekeeping tasks
  • Enable time to be focussed on ensuring the set up is optimised for the business needs
  • Ensure both Oracle and internal standards have been followed correctly

We’ve found this product most useful at Thales and of course if you would like to see it in action then drop me a mail or speak to the team at ConfigSnapshot via their website.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More4Apps Extensions and add-ons for Oracle Applications

I came across the More4Apps site the other day which has developed a number of front end data loaders for Oracle Applications.

More4Apps is a software development company, focused on developing extensions and add-ons to Oracle Applications. These applications provide richer functionality and improved processing ability to Oracle Applications users. All of our products have been designed and developed with advice and input from current users of Oracle Applications.

The products page of their site lists the different loaders they have available right now (shown below) whilst the news page shows work in progress and planned new developments.

Tools for Oracle Projects
Load Projects with Project Wizard
Load Project Budgets with Budget Wizard
Load Project Transactions with Transaction Wizard
Load Revenue and Billing Events with Event Wizard
Tools for Oracle Payables
Load Payables Invoices with AP Invoice Wizard
Tools for Oracle Receivables
Load Receivables Invoices with AR Invoice Wizard
Tools for Oracle Purchasing
Create Requisitions with Requisition Wizard
Create and Maintain Requisition Templates with Req Template Wizard
Tools for Oracle Human Resources
Load HR Elements with HR Element Wizard
More More4Apps Tools
Distribute Reports by email with Mail-It
Convert text to PDF on the fly with OraPDF
Load Value Sets with Account Wizard
Load Directly into Database Tables with Upload Wizard

I’d be interested to here from anyone who has used these products and what your thoughts are one them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

GL Wand - Oracle General Ledger reporting using Excel Add-In

Today I came across the Excel4Apps site which is selling a product called GL Wand. It’s an Excel Add-In which allows you to produce reports off your General Ledger Data.

On the site you’ll find the following reporting examples and tutorials:

  • 60 Second GL Wand Overview
  • GL Wand Overview
  • Oracle Financials Ad hoc Account Query
  • Statutory Reporting From Oracle Financials
  • Oracle Financials Cost Allocations
  • GL Wand Tutorial

According to the site:

GL Wand uniquely manages the information flow between Oracle Financials and Excel in a secure, single version of the truth and highly productive manner.

  • Installs in minutes
  • HTTP internet architecture
  • Online Vision “Test” account

Most Oracle Financials users already have and know how to use Microsoft Excel. GL Wand simply makes the Excel interface highly productive by eliminating manual refreshes and placing your Set of Books information at your fingertips.

This results in shorter reporting cycles, quicker month end closes and an enhanced experience when using Oracle Financials.

Looks like an interesting product, certainly looks a lot easier to use and maintain than FSG’s!!. There’s also a GL wand blog which is described as a place where existing GL Wand users can share their real life experiences of using our GL Wand product on Oracle Financials and hear directly from the founders what the future product plans are.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Headstart Oracle Designer for Oracle Apps 11i

I recently stumbled across the Headstart web pages on the Oracle site and since I’d never heard about it, thought I would do a post on it so that I could educate myself as well as other readers as to what it really is.

According to the Headstart Oracle Designer site:

Headstart Oracle Designer is an add-on to Oracle Designer, based on Oracle Consulting best practices. It consists of two components:

  1. Headstart Template Package, a sophisticated set of templates and reusable components that allow you to 100% generate a truly professional Graphical User Interface (GUI) which can be deployed on the Web.
  2. Headstart Utilities, a productivity suite that checks and enforces the world wide Oracle Custom Development standards and significantly accelerates your development cycle through automation of time-consuming tasks in Oracle. Headstart fully support CDM RuleFrame with powerful utilities that transform business rules to business rule design definitions, create deployment packages for your business logic layer and let you create an access layer to your business logic in only a few moments. For more information on CDM RuleFrame take a look at the related white papers.

You’ll find fact sheets, demonstrations, white papers and related offerings on the site.

Headstart for Oracle Apps 11i apparently provides you with the following benefits:

  • Fast delivery because of the highly productive tool set
  • Fully integrated analysis and design information in a single repository
  • GUI that is fully compliant with forms-based Oracle Applications
  • Easy to maintain systems that are fully documented, fully generated, and completely managed from a central repository
  • Headstart for Oracle Apps unites the power of both Oracle Designer and the Application Object Library. Headstart for Oracle Apps lets the powerful application generators of Oracle Designer use the objects from AOL. Headstart for Oracle Apps, in conjunction with the Application Object Library, allows the generators to generate application modules that have the same look and feel as the forms used in Oracle Applications. Menus, messaging, navigation, user interface components and special Oracle Applications features are fully generated by Oracle Designer.
  • It is also possible to build applications that interface with the Oracle application server model. You can load these models in Oracle Designer.You can then reference these server model objects, such as views, into your new modules, which allows you to fully generate that module.
  • In addition Headstart for Oracle Apps provides you with a number of utilities that fully support CDM RuleFrame and boost productivity by automating time consuming and error prone tasks.

Would appreciate comments and feedback from anyone who has used Headstart.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Quest Software announces End User Performance Management solution

Last week I got an e-mail from Quest Software informing me of the release of a new new end-user performance management solution which optimises the application-user experience.

According to the Quest Press Release: -

The new solution empowers application owners and IT administrators with the ability to improve the end user experience of their critical applications and assure optimal service levels by providing deep visibility into the application. The Quest End User Performance Management solution alerts users of performance issues and enables accountability by pinpointing the source of those issues, significantly reducing time to resolution.

The mail in question stated that this news was important because:

  • It is the end-users of applications that determine the true value of the business applications, based on how effectively they are able to use them. End-users can include consumers browsing web sites, customers accessing external facing applications and employees accessing information internally.
  • A negative experience can directly impact bottom line revenue generation or cost-cutting initiatives because it can result in lost sales or decreased employee productivity. By effectively measuring and managing the end user experience, organisations are able to better manage business objectives and ensure operational efficiency.
  • End users can experience performance and availability issues despite the IT infrastructure running at optimum levels. Quest End User Performance Management solution allows IT administrators to pinpoint the issues and assist in resolution, allowing for total application performance management.
  • The solution monitors transactions on both custom/J2EE and packaged applications such as SAP, Oracle E-Business, PeopleSoft and Siebel, providing a shift from the traditional monitoring markets (e.g. database and infrastructure). Monitoring from an end-user perspective allows organisations to focus on the issues that truly affect business performance.

My understanding is that this solution will make use of Quest Foglight Transaction Recorder (for active monitoring using synthetic user activity) and Quest User Experience Monitor (for continuous passive monitoring of all real user activity) to ensure application availability and optimal performance around the clock.

The only software I’ve ever used by Quest is TOAD. I think the idea of being able to monitor end user application performance is an excellent one since they are the first ones to know when anything goes wrong with the application and they are the ones most likely to be impacted by performance issues.

If any one has made use of the tools being mentioned, please add your comments.

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