Articles tagged with: enterprise software

3 step process in modifying BI dynamic reports, dashboards or KPI's

on Thursday, 20 August 2015. Posted in Enterprise Software

3 step process in modifying BI dynamic reports, dashboards or KPI's

This blog entry is dedicated to a question, received on august 16th from a reader in Sweden.

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This process/methodology can be used for all large enterprise vendors (Oracle, SAP, Microsoft, and IBM)

Every business has its own reporting requirements, new requirements come up constantly with the ever changing corporate vision to adapt to the constant technological evolution and meet the ongoing client experience requirements.

By modifying, we mean changing the out-of-the-box (OOTB) data warehouse structure, ETL logic or BI repository and front-end to cover the customer specific needs that aren’t covered by the out-of-the-box solution.

All the OOTB large vendors BI Apps offer a good framework to build custom reporting – Make sure to use it -  first rule of thumb : Customization is additive so we never lose the out-of-the-box objects when we customize BI Apps, the OOTB object will always be available. Don`t be fearful in modifying reportsAll OOTB large vendor solutions come pre-populated with a specific field mapping as shown below. (you can download the specs. from the vendors support website)

 Field mapping

Below is an example of a supplier spend dynamic report – Note again that all vendors provide the OOTB definitions as a starting point on the vendor support website, here is an example of a supplier spend report:

supplier spend

This above mentioned definition provides the specific field mapping as compared to the front cover.

To recap, in your BI work area, create a custom folder where you need to paste the copied report. Right-click on the report and select Rename to give the report a different name (all vendors have incorporated this functionality to improve user experience).

You now have an exact duplicate of the original report which you can use to make the required changes as per your business need.

Final tip, always treat your BI projects as business projects and always put solid governance in place. In the context of BI, there are two key aspects to governance: data governance and BI deployment

 

A Powerful Testing strategy - 5 tips

on Thursday, 23 July 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips

A Powerful Testing strategy - 5 tips

What is a Test Strategy ?

A strategy for defining a testing approach, what you want to accomplish and how you are going to achieve it, the details how the testing objectives would be met effectively. 

This document removes all uncertainty or vague requirement statements with a clear plan of approach for achieving the test objectives for your project. Test strategy is one of the most important documents for the QA team. 

You should look at any defined test processes (e.g. entry/ suspension/ resumption/ exit criteria for test, process to execute test cases and process to report a defect) to examine their feasibility in your situation. Identify the required test processes that will be re-used, modified or create them from scratch.
 
1. Encourage clarity in reporting bugs, always propose a standardized test template for the users.
2. Identify the data that will be recorded, measured, analyzed and reported to show the progress of testing.
3. Challenge all assumptions while you design your test strategy. Provide safeguards if any of your prior assumptions prove incorrect later.
4. Remember that a powerful strategy is never static. Monitor the results obtained from the test strategy and do not hesitate in making the desired modifications towards completing your test strategy.

5. Last tip, a great testing strategy should include all areas included in this table of content.

test strategy

 

The Secret to Enterprise Projects: Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit

on Wednesday, 25 February 2015. Posted in General - Misc. Tips, Blog

The Secret to Enterprise Projects: Don’t Care Who Gets the Credit

For a lot of people, having to work alongside others to complete any given project is their least favorite part of the job. Teamwork can be difficult, especially if all members involved have very different personalities that sometimes clash. In fact, 97% of employees and executive surveyed believe that lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a project (source).

But usually one of the biggest sources of content when working on a project comes from members becoming more interested in proving their worth by getting credit for their own work, rather than wanting credit for team completion of a project. And really, the truth is that when you stop caring and who gets the credit, you’ll find that working on a project gets much less stressful. Though it might seem counterintuitive, forgetting about who gets the credit for a project will only benefit you as a leader in the long run. Here are 5 reasons why:

Your teammates will enjoy working with you

No one enjoys working with someone who is power hungry or someone who micromanages. Unfortunately for many, teamwork is a necessary evil that dominates the white-collar professional world. According to a recent survey by BusinessWeek, 82% of those surveyed said they depended on partnering with others throughout the day to get their work done. By being the type of team member who is more concerned about the group as a whole, they’ll know that you give them enough room to breathe and develop. Since they don’t feel smothered, it will be much easier for them to follow your advice and requests during the course of a project.

Team efficiency will be boosted

When it comes to team projects, time management is key. And the stress of deadlines is amplified even more when team members don’t agree, can’t get along, or just simply don’t work well together. By focusing on the greater good and helping the cohesion of your group, you’ll find that time coordination will be amplified and your team will finish more work in a given time frame.

Team moral will soar

When people like who they’re working with, team projects can really be an enjoyable experience. On the other hand, team projects can be extremely disappointing if there isn’t cohesion within a group. When surveyed, 86% of employees and executives sited lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures (source). Making an effort to be more of a team player and less concerned about individual will help you boost team moral. All members involved will be energized and ready to face any obstacles, ultimately resulting in a positive experience and a successful project outcome.

Their skills will develop more

Because your team members know that they can shine with their individual skills, they’ll do their best in developing them. They won’t stifle their creativity or productivity due to reservations they have about potential reactions from their team.

They’ll stick more to your team

In the business world, a team that works well together on project is as good as gold. Being the type of team member people like to work with means that you’ll have team members who last longer and actually want to stick around to work with you. In the end, you’ll have even more success as a group as you continue to develop the synergy you helped start in the first place.

As Henry Ford stated, “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” And this entire process is dependent on that team sharing a common goal, using their individual talents to work toward that goal, and using those talents and skills in unison. Worrying less about who is getting the credit and more about the success of the entire group is the first step to achieving that.

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Here are some other recent posts, I've wriiten on Linkedin:

How Today's Workforce has Changed the Rules and Lens of Engagement

Optimism Why It’s Important

3 Lessons We Can Learn From the Homeless This Holiday Season

Corporations are Transforming into Professional Sports Teams-Data is the Game Changer

Let's Fix It: Deliver Your Business Project, or You're Just Another Person With an Opinion

Avoid a Public Speaking Meltdown with These 10 Tips

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

on Tuesday, 18 November 2014. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Why implement a centralized CRM package - Main Pitfall & 5 tips

In my view, the top 10 reasons most companies move towards a centralized CRM (customer relationship management) system

  1. Move to get a more complete view of customers
  2. Automate previously manual and repetitive processes
  3. Make business processes consistent across the company
  4. Improve the quality and velocity of data.  Enter once.  Use many times.
  5. Replace of various systems/databases by one system
  6. Improve sales force efficiency, forecasting
  7. Deploying CRM enables corporations to become more customer-centric with their business processes
  8. Better user access to data and instant mobile analytical tools
  9. Improve communication among groups within sales and marketing organizations
  10. Leverages best practices throughout the organization 

A CRM system provides a one face to the customer and a 360 degree view of sales and opportunities, by establishing the reflex of having a common customer ID across data dimensions, you can provide visibility to all of the customer-related activity across the enterprise.

Tip #1 Dont focus on functional requirements

When focusing on functional requirements take into account all Tier 1 CRM, share the same functionalities, provide a better scoring to the vendor that is already deployed internally, for example if your company is more Oracle centric select Oracle if its SAP centric select SAP, this will help reduce the risks related to integration. 

Tip #2 Biggest risk will always be the data migration

crmdatamigration

          In a CRM project, put a focus on the data migration, bad data is the number 1 reason for project failures and overruns: 

     Main Pitfalls of Converting Bad Data

       Inaccurate report metrics

       Bad information wastes users time and effort

       Marketing wastes money and effort pursuing bad prospects

       Understanding your “customer” is impossible

       IT wastes time sifting through information and trying to make sense of it

       Operations has difficulty reconciling data against financial and other backend information

       User get frustrated, you lose valuable buy-in and adoption

Follow a structured approach and limit your initial scope of your data migration to converting:

 Accounts, Contacts, Addresses, Opportunity, Products, Notes, Attachments and Territories.

   Tip # 4 Data Cleansed then Loaded into CRM

   Define key systems where data will be cleansed and then convert to CRM

   Do the same with the transactional data, that will be loaded into CRM and which loaded into the BI for analytics

Tip#5 Setup CRM Center of Excellence 

      Provide one level 3 support group for all user queries, incidents, and changes requested.   Across all business unit lines.
     With established partnership for software break & fix, establish business-oriented service level agreements for availability, time to respond, and bandwidth/capacity for changes.

      I would say that the Achilles heel to all IT systems especially in CRM systems is user-friendliness. If in doubt, use the KISS method'Keep It Simple Stupid'. Do you have 2 ways you could do something? Always work with the simpler of the two. It's much easier to add a bit of detail rather than trying to take away from an overly complicated process.

 

 

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7? Summarized Pros and Cons with key points to guide your decision making

on Tuesday, 01 October 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , fusion, Blog

Do I upgrade to Oracle R12.2 or Fusion Application release 7? Summarized Pros and Cons with key points to guide your decision making

EBS customers often ask this question but do not get answers to their satisfaction, the answer seems to be consistently ‘it depends’ and most companies begin an assessment effort to understand the business and technological needs of the organization and analyze how those needs can be met by each solution.

 

Let’s begin and get to the points,

Business/Functional Processes and functionality – Oracle Fusion applications is ready for prime time, when it comes to functionality no major difference exists between Fusion Applications and EBS 12.2. A plus on Fusion you get embedded analytics and analytical power that EBS does not have - The GL is underpinned by Essbase and for accountants you can replace the screens with excels spreadsheets .The one delta - downside for government customers within the financial suite of Fusion, encumbrance accounting not available in release 7. What is encumbrance accounting? Encumbrance accounting is mostly used in public sector municipal, government, and schools. It is a reservation of the fund prior to accrual of the expenses. An encumbrance is a transaction that occurs when someone needs to put money away (to hold it) for a specific purpose. In government accounting, an encumbrance is created when a Purchase Order is issued to buy goods or services. The money has not yet been spent, but is selected for that purchase and no one else can use it.

In our everyday life, it`s like you put money into an envelope to hold it to pay a bill, you have encumbered that money. Similar in putting an envelope in your office drawer marked “Phone bill”, the money you put in the envelope for the next bill is your encumbrance. How much should be encumbered? How much do you think your bill is going to be? That’s encumbrance.


User Experience:
Fusion applications makes R12 look bad when you compare the user experience; I have seen customers express a WOW effect when demoing Fusion. Oracle has really taken their time to get Fusion applications right, they have concentrated heavily on the user interface and user experience and they got it right. In my opinion, this is the biggest advantage of Fusion, end users love the look and feel and the functionality empowerment towards the end user in my opinion is a notch above release 12.

 oraclefusion201310

Development: If you are looking at Fusion Applications you need to have a hard look at your existing EBS RICE(Reports-Interface-Conversions-Extension) and determine if they are really needed and whether there is a strong enough business case to carry them forward. Do not ask yourself should I replicate my 50 extensions in Fusion apps; use it as an opportunity to make processes fit as per application. The customizations towards external 3rd party systems using Oracle Fusion Middleware works well in release 7.

Cost/Internal Staff/Long term support - Fusion Applications is built on cutting edge technology and consequently, the hardware required to support it needs to be that much bigger. Internal staff will require re-training and if you look at some facts on the Oracle Fusion customers already in production, they opted for a cloud deployment –current stats 8/10 deployments in production with Fusion apps have been deployed in the cloud. I think clients are taking this approach mostly because expertise does not exist internally and to build the support knowledge this will create challenges to your business case and your project timeline.

Applications Unlimited Program - Customers that have significant investments in EBS, have no other choice than to utilize the co-existence deployment model. Oracle made long-term commitments to older products like EBS or PeopleSoft through its Applications Unlimited Program; I think this has caused a less attractive proposition to go with Fusion applications, I suspect Oracle will begin in 2014 some client incentives to get their clients onto Fusion apps. Customers should not feel it's a one-size-fits-all scenario, from my independent Oracle client discussions some clients have begun their co-existence strategy in implementing HCM, others CRM, others small steps with Fusion Accounting Hub linking to their current ERP financial transactions, others with Fusion GL,AP,etc.

Stability - One of the most common comments I receive, Fusion is not mature, in my opinion that is an incorrect statement, Fusion is a lot more mature than people are realizing out there, especially around HCM and Financials including Fusion accounting Hub, with Fusion you can envision a global instance for your global organization, harder to do than with R12 .

Licensing – As per my knowledge the cost of licensing between Fusion and R12 are similar, but the internal infrastructure cost grows more for Fusion. I think this is the main reason clients are selecting a SaaS deployment approach. The cost savings will come from customers moving to SaaS with Fusion.

Upgrading Starting point – If you plan to upgrade to EBS 12.2, a direct path is included with the releases 11.5.10.2, 12.0 and 12.1

Link to the complete documentation EBS 12.2 Product Information Center (Note 1581299.1)

If you plan to move to Fusion Applications, begin by reading (DOC.id 250.2) here is the link Life Cycle Manager 

Then reference back to Fusion applications- Product Information Center (Doc ID 100.2 ) Link

My view on the current Oracle client mindset is that they are mostly following an approach that is better to continue with the older more mature products with current technologies till the organization is convinced about the benefits from the upgraded system before deciding in favor of a move to Fusion apps, the time will come soon I think, were Oracle will start pushing incentives towards Fusion!

Feel free to share your thoughts on the topic!

 

Cloud-based CRM Services Will Continue to Gain Traction, Focus on Master Customer Data Governance – 3 Tips

on Thursday, 25 July 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Cloud-based CRM Services Will Continue to Gain Traction, Focus on Master Customer Data Governance – 3 Tips

 

Customers want personalized service and value, but all too often, efforts to give them this are hampered by inaccurate data. The problem is the data, if left unchecked, will rapidly erode at a rate of 20 percent annually, according to Gartner. That becomes an issue, since you won’t be able to focus on the right customers!

First step you need to focus on what is your customer data and then establish agreement on customer data ownership, always base your governance on target areas:

Below is an example if you’re a B2B , I would focus on the following master data:

*Customer ID/name & parent company (if any)

*Credit Ratings

*Geographic Locations

*(Contacts (sales, billing, shipping)

*Addresses (Bill to, Ship To, mailing)

*Project/order

CRM Master Data

1) In my view your CRM should be attached to your ERP and ecommerce systems if you expect to get more integrated and efficient business processes, at a bare minimum understand where your master and slave data reside.

2) Always expect with a cloud base CRM, a change to your lead-to-cash process cycle – Start early and maintain as much as possible the vendor out of the box functionality.

 leadtocashcycle

3) Once you have established starting point, conduct a data inventory to understand where the data is currently created, modified, and stored. This will give everyone involved a common insight into the scale of the problem. You can do this at a high level by identifying data subject areas as the diagram above or by developing a simple footprint matrix showing systems against subject areas.

Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and tips,

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise Project

on Tuesday, 04 June 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

Practical Cutover Tips for Your Enterprise  Project

 

The cutover and go-live of an enterprise system must be well thought out;

An awareness campaign to the users should be launched 6 weeks in advance to prepare them for Go Live.

It includes awareness messages, the tasks to be carried out during system unavailability and other related information.

The implementation of Enterprise Software is almost always a massive operation that brings a lot of changes in the organization. Virtually every person in the organization is involved, whether they are part of the Functional or technical or the actual end users of the enterprise software.

Below I share tips and tricks on the critical last 6 weeks before going live in the areas of testing, data conversion, training and cutover validation.

Enterprise Cutover

Like always share your thoughts and feedback

More tips for production cutover to new system

http://appsconsultant.com/item/tips-for-enterprise-production-cutover-projects

Test drove Oracle Exadata with Oracle GL Financial Analytics, the pros/cons, and vision to embrace it within your blueprint

on Thursday, 17 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

 

Oracle’s vision is clear with Exadata , it integrates by design with other Oracle products like Enterprise manager 12c and a game changer in performance.

Exadata came from the Sun Microsystems acquisition; this has proven to be a strategic acquisition. Sun technology enabled Oracle to become one of the leaders in the highly profitable engineered system segment of the hardware business. I believe that products like Exadata and the SPARC SuperCluster will not only continue to drive growth for their hardware business but force the titans to innovate instead of executing.


The vision for the 4 titans SAP, Oracle , IBM and Microsoft is to offer their clients, an option to be in command of all layers of their clients technology stacks, “One Throat to Choke” principle. This is an expression used in business to describe the advantage of purchasing goods or integrated services from a single vendor. That way, when something goes wrong, there is only “one throat to choke.”

Also I believe in the future (next 24 months)the licensing agreements will begin a new phase of bundling hardware and software together.

 I had the opportunity with some folks in California to test drive Exadata. I was impressed the Exadata X3 (X3 stands for third Generation) is a real game-changer, as far as data is concerned, the combination of the huge on-board flash memory with the benefits of Hybrid Columnar Compression, meaning that you could store at least 200TB of data in memory on a full rack of Exadata X3. In other words you should never have to hit spinning disks for your data again.

We installed Oracle financial analytics with GL (General Ledger) and used the 5 interactive dashboards of GL to test Exadata. The financial dashboards were:

1-Profit and Loss

2-Expense

3-Balance sheet

4-Cash Cycles

5-Liquidity

Below is the look and feel of the GL financial dashboards:

 

oracle financial gl interactive dashboards

 

Pros

 1)We pushed the Exadata machine to 100 000 transactions per seconds with no wait as you see below the dark blue color is the user I/O, no latency. Flash Log and machine performance was exceptional.

 

Exadata Output

2)Exadata has a Hybrid Columnar Compression (HCC) is a feature introduced in Oracle Database 11g Release 2 which Oracle allows to be used on Exadata storage, in our testing we had an uncompressed database of 75 Gigabytes, and by using the compression advisor functionality it was reduces 20 times to 3.8 Gigabytes. This feature impressed me the most; it is less talked about , should produce a significant savings on storage.

3)Seamless Integration with Oracle Enterprise Manager, it comes with 3 views Hardware, Software/System and a configuration view that summarizes all components with patch recommendation. (Here is a white paper link that explains the integration in detail.) http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/oem/exa-mgmt/exadata-mgmt-twp-1662642.pdf

4)The adoption of Exadata will necessitate a revamp of the IT support roles to make this single group responsible for the entire frame from storage to the database.

The Exadata machine administrator will need to be versatile and knowledgeable in different areas: Here are my thoughts on the breakdown of the role:

55% Database Administration
25% Cell Administration
10% Linux or Solaris Administration
10% Miscellaneous (Infiniband,other...)

 

Cons

1)Oracle Exadata x3 being a new product has a small footprint and the competition especially from the other titans is ferocious, business case must be thorough, I think best approved using an enterprise consolidation project of many environments, the business case must identify the extent of the existing Information System problems and show a roadmap moving towards a private cloud.

2)The Oracle Exadata, SAP Hana and IBM Neteeza all have similar architectures no ‘wow’ differentiator between them To learn more on this product line, here are some links to help you get started:

Oracle Exadata – Home Page

http://www.oracle.com/us/products/database/exadata/overview/index.html

Overview of the Oracle Exadata - Online Documentation

http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E28271_01/doc.1111/e24473/em_exadata_dbmachine.htm

My next entry will provide you tips and tricks in using Oracle's Unified methodology (OUM) for your project and make my first video on this topic.

I received many inquiries asking me about the technical details of this website: Here are the specifications: The website is built with Joomla 3.0 (open source), database is MySQL, The server is a virtual private server, Operating system is CentOS6(based on Linux) with 2GB RAM and 60GB of Disk Space.

 

 

Here is your complete look at Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c pros and cons, and the vision

on Wednesday, 09 January 2013. Posted in Enterprise Software , Blog

 

Oracle has an early head start with the future of Enterprise Management, and its latest iteration of Enterprise Manager 12c is the best yet. 

While the technology isn't perfect yet, I have been test driving for the past 2 weeks and when testing received some network errors and other hiccups, but pretty stable and flexible and the clunky interface from version 11 has been completely revamped.

 Here is the new look of Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c. It’s a beauty.

 

 

Oracle Enterprise Manager 12c is Oracle's envisioned product line to manage the complete lifecycle of the cloud. I think as cloud adoption becomes more mainstream, companies will be obliged to follow and add this product into their suite of products. Why?

 

Pros

 

  1. Oracle has integrated management services, monitoring, and plug-ins that communicate with My Oracle Support.
  2. New web 2.0 User Interface easy to configure and information is placed in a user friendly and logical fashion
  3. The Agent architecture comes with all the plug-ins you require
  4. Technology uses latest ADF technology, easy to install (solid documentation), also was impressed with the operating system Solaris 11.

Cons

  1. I had some hiccups when test driving the application where i needed to shutdown services and databases to get it started. (I probably had some patches that i did not install – Make sure you have all recommended patches)
  2. I found that the licensing agreement is quite complex probably because of its enterprise wide reach, Below is the link to the licensing agreement http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/license.121/e24474.pdf
  3. EM12c R2 is certified with BI Publisher 11.1.1.6.0 only. Therefore in case you are using EM 12c R1 which is integrated with BI Publisher 11.1.1.5.0, you must upgrade the BI Publisher to 11.1.1.6.0

As Cloud Computing sees a better adoption rate, I think the prospects of Enterprise manager 12c will bevery promising.

Below is how a Private Cloud Lifecycle (also known as the Enterprise Cloud) project would be executed from initiation to deployment.

 

For individuals that are not aware or familiar with this product line and would like to learn more, here are some links to help you get started:

Overview of the Oracle Enterprise Manager 12 C - Online Documentation
http://docs.oracle.com/cd/E24628_01/doc.121/e25353/overview.htm#BABIFBJE

Oracle Enterprise manager 12c videos
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLF45DBCDF595F1D1D

Thank you all for the feedback on the website, really appreciate it, helped me quickly to get a handle on the issues/bugs. I will configure video sometime in February.

I am currently test driving Oracle Exadata with some folks in Palo Alto, will share my thoughts/pros and cons and strategies to adopt Exadata on my next article.



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