OracleAppsBlog
A day in the life of an Oracle Applications Consultant

Thursday, April 03, 2008

LinkedIn Oracle Contractors Group

Join Contractors on the Oracle LinkedIn and Community Groups I recently created an Oracle Contractors Group on LinkedIn. The purpose of this group is to create a network for contractors to talk to each other as well as discuss and refer work opportunities. If you’re interested in joining sign up to the LinkedIn group and I’ll approve your membership. 

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Oracle Financials Technical Interview Questions and Score Sheet

Over the last few years I’ve been involved in interviewing a number of Oracle Financials Consultants and have also in the past been sitting on the other side of the desk as an interviewee. The last time I conducted an interview it was more technical in nature and I decided to came up with a list of questions to ask the interviewee. These questions were focused along the lines of people, process and technology and I thought I would write a blog entry with the questions as I’m sure it will be useful for interviewers and interviewee’s alike. In addition to the questions I also developed a score sheet utilising the Kepner Tregoe decision making methodology, an approach I learnt when doing my Masters in Business Leadership (MBL). This score sheet allows the interviewer to develop an objective means of evaluating the answers to interview questions rather than a subjective one and can be modified to suit a number of different scenarios. I haven’t included any answers to the questions as in many cases there is no right answer, I prefer to see if someone understands the concepts and can explain them well. Having said that, if any one wants to come up with a suggested answer sheet I will gladly append it to the questions listing. Hopefully this question listing and score sheet will provide readers with a baseline/guideline that can be used in any type of interview.

Technology Questions

General Ledger

  • Explain the organisational concepts of business group, set of books, legal entity, operating unit and inventory organization and the hierarchical structure relating to these.
  • What are the three C’s in relation to a set of books? 
  • Explain the difference between a key flexfield and descriptive flexfield
  • What is the difference between a cross validation rule and a security rule? 
  • What is a value set and what are the different types of value sets that you will find within Oracle?

Accounts Payable

  • Describe the Key Configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the Accounts Payable module.
  • Briefly describe the Supplier Invoice to Payment process within Oracle.

Accounts Receivable

  • Describe the Key Configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the Accounts Receivable module.
  • Briefly describe/draw the Customer Invoice to Cash process within Oracle
  • Describe the Key difference in setting up accounting for Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable
  • What happens when you have a receipt in Oracle that can’t be applied to an invoice?

Fixed Assets

  • Describe the key configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the fixed assets module.
  • Briefly describe/draw the asset additions process within Oracle.

Cash Management

  • Describe the key configuration decisions you would need to undertake when implementing the cash management module.
  • Outline the Statement to Reconciliation process within Oracle with particular reference to the different options you might want to consider when reconciling.

All Modules

Describe/draw the sequence of events you would undertake in closing the various financials modules.

People Questions

  • Draw a typical structure relating to project implementation and describe the role each person would play within a project.
  • Describe how to implement an effective training strategy within an implementation – include the timing of training relative to the project lifecycle.
  • Within an implementation describe a Change Management strategy that you would put in place.

Process Questions

  • Describe/draw the main phases of an implementation lifecycle and the key milestones and deliverables within each of these phases.
  • Describe the key differences between a process and work instruction
  • Within a project describe the different test phases that you might go through and what level of testing would be undertaken.
  • Describe a typical process you would implement for managing Change Requests and Bug requests within your organization.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Oracle Mix - bringing Web 2.0 to the Enterprise

Last year I attended the UKOUG 2007 which was a good opportunity to catch up on what’s happening in the Oracle World. At the Applications Keynote presentation given by Jesper Andersen I first heard about Oracle Mix, one of the initiatives Oracle has undertaken to bring Enterprises into the Web 2.0 space, a concept now dubbed Enterprise 2.0

Oracle Mix was built by Oracle AppsLab in collaboration with ThoughtWorks. I see it as one of Oracle’s first attempts at a FaceBook or MySpace equivalent for its customers, partners, developers and employees. The Oracle Mix strapline is Our Business is all about you, our Customers. Its purpose is stated as giving everyone a voice to help shape the future of Oracle together. Here’s what Oracle says you can do with Mix: -

Share Ideas.
Let us know how we can improve our products or how we do business. See an idea you like, vote on it or add your comments.
Join Groups.
Get together with others around products, industries, or more. Can’t find a group you like? Start one!
Network.
Connect with other customers and get to know Oracle experts in your product area or industry.
Get Answers.
Got a tough question, ask it. Feeling bright? Help someone and answer a question.
Share and Learn.
Learn about best practices for your product and check out new ideas being discussed by the community. Share your experiences with others through posting ideas or answering questions.

I have to say I like the way Oracle is starting to embrace Web 2.0. When I first started blogging several years ago, there were very few Oracle Bloggers around and the community was fairly fragmented and disorganised. Now it seems that with all of the collaboration and social networking tools around I’m able to interact more effectively with my Oracle peers. Apart from Oracle building effective web applications for the Oracle Community they’re also demonstrating Enterprise 2.0 leadership by building services into their applications that have Web 2.0 features and characteristics. I look forward to seeing how the community and applications grow and metamorphasise in the future.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

UK Oracle Apps Contractors, Consultants and Blogger Meetup in London

Next week we’re having a UK Oracle Apps Contractors, Consultants and Blogger Meetup at the Tapas Brindisa in London. If you fit into any of those categories and would be interested in coming along and meeting myself and other Oracle Apps Fans for a drink and chat then please join us at 7pm on the 13th February 2008. 

The event was initiated by Simon Tomey of BeLife and I’ll be joining in along with some of his colleagues and friends. Although its a social I’ll be there with my laptop and internet connection so we can always do some techy stuff.

If you need any further information don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ve also created an event in Yahoo’s upcoming calendar tool so that you can automatically add the details to whatever calendar software or application you are using or let us know whether you plan to attend. 

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Oracle Applications EBS on a Laptop, Desktop or Server for 11i or R12

A couple of years back I used to have my own Oracle E-Business Suite setup on a laptop, now I’m looking at doing this again but this time I want to bypass the installation and setup effort. Certainly the online 11i and R12 Vision instances that Solution Beacon provide you with are useful but having your own Oracle Applications instance allows you to play with other Oracle software like Workflow, Discoverer and Applications Desktop Integrator (ADI). It also helps in situations where you don’t have internet access. With that in mind I’ve done some investigation and discovered two independent providers of this type of service/product in the UK.  

The first provider is James Ball Consulting who provides what are called small architectures. According to his site:

Every administrator knows that the most effective way to get to grips with new technology is to sit down with the software to practice, experiment and explore. Building and experimenting with new Oracle software is something we have been doing for a long time and this series of small architectures is built from that acquired knowledge and designed to allow administrators to familiarise themselves a new system on hardware which mirrors a large production system without the associated costs.

To make the learning experience as realistic and useful as possible we keep the systems as ‘real’ as we can without introducing excessive cost and taking up valuable desk space. This is achieved by using low-cost mini-ITX hardware and commodity networking equipment to model much larger Oracle system within a small footprint. All systems run Oracle Enterprise Linux so that, for administrators running any type of Unix, tasks such as scripting, maintenance and management are kept as close to the product environment as possible. The end result is that the administrator has a system which is: small, fast, reliable and realistic at an affordable price.

Essentially James will build you a mini Server on which you can have your Oracle Apps Instance. He provides the following types of architectures and can also build according to your unique requirements:

Single Node Database Server 10g Architecture.

This system allows a DBA or Developer to have a dedicated Oracle 10g database environment on the desktop for evaluation and testing of new Oracle software. The system consists of one node built with Oracle Enterprise Linux and networking kit to attach a desktop PC or laptop.

Single Node e-Business Suite Release 12 Architecture

This system allows the Apps DBA, Developer or Functional Consultant to learn and explore new features and setup without effecting production or test environments. The system consists of single node server with fast network links for connecting a laptop or desktop.

Two Node e-Business Suite Release 12 Architecture

An extension of the single node system, this architecture allows the administrator to explore a realistic two-node installation of the Release 12 e-Business Suite and all of the associated setup. The system consists of an application server node and a database server node with networking equipment to connect the nodes and a desktop or laptop PC as illustrated below.

Two Node e-Business Suite Release 12 Architecture Two Node e-Business Suite Release 12 Server and Laptop

The second provider is Richard Fieldhouse of AppsDBA who has the following products on offer:

11i Laptop / R12 Laptop

Oracle 11i E-Business Suite Laptop The all new product from AppsDBA.co.uk. This product has been designed for use by the business/home user who wishes to get up to speed with the Oracle 11i or R12 e-Business Suite. This product is especially useful to new users to the Oracle e-Business Suite, and give a good platform to learn or expand your current knowledge.

11i Desktop

Oracle Applications EBS 11i Desktop

The beauty of the “11i Desktop” is that you can sit it at home (on the network supplied) and run the Oracle e-Business Suite from any PC or Laptop, however connected to your network (wireless etc.).

Richard also offers a Release 12 Server, R12 DIY Optionand R12 Virtual Machine (VM). He can also build Oracle EBS laptops according to your unique requirements.

Both James and Richard are providing these products/services for under £1,000 which is quite reasonable in my opinion. Having mentioned providers in the United Kingdom I’m interested to hear from readers if there are any other worldwide providers that I should give a mention. I’m sure US providers might be able to provide a cheaper product/service given the cost of hardware and labour in their country is lower than here in the UK. Please add a comment or send me an e-mail if you know of other providers that reader might be interested in knowing about.

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