Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.

September 30, 2015

Enterprise DevOps and Oracle

Various organizations dread the traditional development execution cycles because applications take longer time to deploy, become more turbulent, and continually get worse. IT operations are mired in firefighting mode all the time. DevOps is the perfect blend of the software development and IT operations.

Organizational Stakeholders have different needs on their minds. Management demands faster time to market and quicker turnaround, Operations team ought to have ease of operations and flexible environments, Developers and Testers are constantly striving for efficiency and visibility.

DevOps is the most appropriate answer to satisfy these stakeholders with a Continuous Delivery Approach.

Continue reading " Enterprise DevOps and Oracle " »

September 3, 2015

Evolving Oracle's leadership in PPM solution

With the ever changing dynamics of industries and a need to maintain a cohesive project management processes in Project based enterprises, PPM solution has been become very critical for companies to maintain control and visibility on the projects. Oracle is competing with number of companies to maintain its leadership and to keep hold of its customers who are either using standalone applications for Project management or using ERP for Financials or new customers who are still on legacy systems. In the last few years, Oracle has acquired Primavera, then Skire and then acquired company called Instantis and also has built Fusion applications that too have the capability to be on Cloud. Gartner in its latest report has already recognized Oracle PPM solutions as the leader in the 'Major Quadrant for Cloud based IT PPM'. The idea of bringing all these latest applications under the unified solution of Oracle is to bridge the gap between Projects managers and the wider operational business in which projects are executed.

Skire's Unifier is cloud based and on premise comprehensive solution for Capital Project management, Real Estate and contract management and is best complemented in conjunction with Primavera.  Unifier and Primavera solution is best suited for large construction projects, high capital invested or asset intensive projects allowing customers to have integrated flow of information from Capital planning to operations & maintenance.

Instantis's Enterprise track is both cloud based and on premise application based on SAAS platform. Enterprise track allows PMO to manage projects and portfolios using top down approach in a simpler and flexible manner. Instantis customer's base are companies with relatively projects of smaller project sizes and simpler project management but with more focus on resource constrained environments, portfolio & strategy management and ease of use and implement. Integrating Instantis with Oracle Primavera provides customers with enhanced productivity and analysis across projects and portfolios, better reporting and resource management (RMMM- Resource Management Maturity Model) for smaller to large projects in enterprises irrespective of the complexity of the industry. Integration of the Instantis with Oracle Primavera and henceforth the ERP (Oracle Fusion Financials) complements the resource management, product & process initiatives of Enterprise track of Instantis with robust project scheduling capabilities in scheduled constraint environment and therefore eliminating the gap between effective project management to smooth execution of the project.

August 11, 2015

Product Data Security with Oracle Product Information Management (PIM)

In today's Collaborative Market, Lots of data need to be shared across supply chain stakeholder. New edge technologies are giving platform to share product data across supply chain. Quality data and Security feature always play vital role in success of Supply Chain Management. However when we share data with external or internal stake holder in Organization then there is always Data Security issue.

In PLM world there are some security feature. However in Oracle ERP-Inventory module we lost this security feature. I worked in Process Manufacturing/ Chemical Manufacturing due to Specialty Chemical we don't want to share our Product information with other facilities to avoid business risk/Data Security issues. It's always challenging to restrict access of user who creates Master Product Data in ERP side. Hence we have to use some custom approach or to use different item codes which add more complexity in our ERP solution.  

Oracle has Product Information Management Module is mostly used as MDM tool. However in one of our implementation we used it as add on Oracle EBusiness Module. PIM has lots of functionality but we will talk only about security feature in this blog.  

PIM provides Data security feature at various level

1.   Organization level - We can restrict data access of Group/ Users based Organization. 

2.   Item Catalog category level - Item catalog category (ICC) is one level of Grouping of Items. We can have different ICC in Business like in Computer business, we can have ICC like Desktop or Laptop or Hard disk, Key board, Mouse. Under this ICC we can assign different items which are relevant to ICC. One item can have only one ICC assigned. PIM use this ICC feature as controller in Most of other Functionality. We can restrict user access based on ICC. Hence we can restrict user access under one organization based on ICC.

3.   Item Level - We can restrict access at Item level.

We can achieve Role based Data Security based by using below feature.

1.   Role & Privilege - Privileges determines data access to user like Create/Edit/ View. A role is collection of Privileges. Business roles can be defined in PIM like Product Engineer, Design Engineer and Application Engineer etc. We can provide Privileges based on Role like Product Engineer will have Item creation Privilege, Design Engineer will have Item Update privileges and Application Engineer will have only Item View Privileges. Hence this way we can restrict Product access based on Role.

2.   Group -We can group multiple Employee/ Person under PIM group. Role and Privileges can be assigned to Group. Group can be defined like Business departments e.g. Planning, Sales, Engineering.  This is optional setup feature and we can assign Role to Person also.

This security feature can be effective to external stakeholders like Supplier and customer. Combination of Role and Group or Person, we can restrict access of User to certain functionality like Item creation access only, View Access only. Like shown below example.

 View image

In our Example we have Chemical Mfg Company and it has two product Group 1. Paint Based products 2. Oil based Products. Company Manufacturing in Three plants so if we have to restrict access of user based on Product type and Location/Plant then we can do it as mentioned below.

View image

Leveraging PIM Role based Data Security, we can overcome Supply chain Data security concern.  Role and Group configuration can be used for other processes or workflow like Change order and Change management.  


PIM is one of best in class Mater Data Management tool. We can integrate various system and publish product data to various system with various best features. Therefore Existing customer or Future customer can implement PIM as additional Module or MDM tool in Ebusiness suit to use its various functionality. I think Process Manufacturing industry should consider PIM for their Data Management Requirements also.  We will discuss about other virtuous feature of PIM in next blog.

July 17, 2015

Critical Success Factors for a Hyperion EPM implementation program


Critical Success Factors for a Hyperion EPM implementation program

It is a very common but nonetheless very vital question from clients embarking on a Hyperion EPM Implementation program as to what factors will have the maximum impact on the outcome. In other words, what areas should be addressed diligently throughout the program to ensure a successful outcome? While no two programs are same and the influencing factors could vary widely depending on the client needs and its current state however there are some common areas which tend to play significant role in the success of a Hyperion EPM program. So let us take a closer look at these areas.

Executive Commitment: Executive commitment is very crucial for successful execution and delivery of a Hyperion EPM program.  There should be strong commitment from Finance as well as IT leadership. They should ensure availability of right resources from business and IT teams for the project. Business SMEs committed to the project must have a very good understanding of the current processes and future business requirements. Executives should have high degree of involvement with progress of the project and should extend full support in case of internal or external roadblocks. A PMO office and steering committee with representation from various teams is highly recommended to ensure regular tracking of progress and timely intervention in case of persisting issues.

Organization Change Management, User Training: Hyperion Implementation projects can vary from a major business transformation project to a pure technical change project (e.g. version upgrade) or anything in between. Depending on the type and the magnitude of the change, a well thought user engagement and training strategy is required to bring users on board with the change.  User's readiness to adopt the change plays a major role in how the system is received when it is rolled out.

The training plan should span across functional and technical areas and should have provision for on-demand continuous training e.g. online material, recorded sessions etc. In case of major changes, it is recommended that the execution approach allows for continuous user involvement throughout the project cycle via planned conference room pilots, demonstrations etc.

An OCM team should be setup to drive overall user communication and training activities as the implementation progresses.

Hyperion Infrastructure Stability:  Hyperion EPM infrastructure tends to be one of the most complex pieces in the overall solution because of involvement of variety of technical components across products suite. It requires availability of skilled resources to install, configure and support EPM infrastructure in an optimized manner.  It is very common to encounter issues related to product features or environment configuration during the implementation. It is recommended to maintain proper staffing levels for Infrastructure consultants throughout the project and also have well defined service structure with Oracle for timely resolution of issues.

There are also other options available now for Oracle EPM i.e. "Oracle EPM in Cloud" and "Hyperion on demand" which alleviate many of these issues with On Premise EPM infrastructure. They should be given a serious thought        and evaluation in the light of business requirements. They can turn out to be a cost effective alternative for the given business needs.

Out of box vs. Customization:  Hyperion EPM product suite offers rich out of box features to configure specific financial functionalities e.g. eliminations, currency translations, process management, top down planning, drill through etc.  There are enough out of box features within each product to configure a plain vanilla solution that can address the core business requirements without heavy customization.

However it also provides various options to extend or build new functionalities through custom programs using APIs, scripts etc.  In order to build a light maintenance, scalable and simple solution, focus should be on maximum usage of out of box features and minimal customizations. Every customization should be carefully evaluated for its potential business benefit vs. long term impact on maintenance and upgrade.  This is also important as each new EPM version introduces changes deprecating and de-supporting some old features. Any customization based on these features may lead to significant rework in future.  In general an overly customized solution tends to grow in complexity over time with regular changes and becomes very difficult and expensive to maintain.

Master Data Management Strategy: This used to be an afterthought till few years ago however with the kind of business value it has delivered over the last few years, master data management is now generally at the center of an implementation program and rightly so, as the master data is the lifeline of an EPM solution. EPM solutions drive their business functionality based on the application master data i.e. hierarchies, properties etc. and master data management plays a crucial role in ensuring how various EPM applications will function together and how the business changes will be uniformly applied across applications. The scope of master data management driven solutions is increasing even beyond EPM as organization are realizing the greater business benefits.  It will require another article to cover what and how of master data management for an EPM system however it is suffice to say that each and every program, whatever is the scale, should have a strategy on how application master data will be designed, integrated, maintained and managed in order to build a scalable and agile solution.

Data Integration Strategy: Data integration is very important component of overall Hyperion EPM solution. It drives the overall data quality and data timeliness of the solution.  A complex and heavily custom integration layer may result into a maintenance intensive solution.  It is important to use the right set of products and right architecture for integration layer of an EPM solution. Considering there are multiple options available to achieve Hyperion Integration e.g. FDMEE, ODI, Native Methods etc., a careful evaluation should be done based on the requirements and current client context.

As stated earlier, each EPM program is different and these factors will have varying influence on its outcome. However if these aspects are carefully evaluated and managed right from the beginning, the chances of a successful outcome increase multifold.

July 8, 2015

Data flows between Hyperion applications using FDMEE


Continue reading " Data flows between Hyperion applications using FDMEE " »

April 23, 2015

Accounting and Finance Shared Services- Oracle Fusion Capabilities for Record-to-Report and Analytics


Accounting and Finance Shared Services have typically been formed in large multinational organizations with the objectives of cost efficiency, standardization and operational effectiveness towards the customers within the organization. Some of the business processes handled by F&A SS are:

-          Procure to Pay

-          Order to Cash

-          Record to Report

-          Financial Planning, Consolidation, Budgeting and Forecasting

-          Treasury and Cash Management

-          Audit and Control

-          Analytics on the financial data

-          Financial closing and Financial statement preparation

Over the periods; instead of merely being a cost center, shared services are emerging as strategic business partners- offering innovation and value addition to various business functions. The extended objectives of the F&A Shared services include extensive analytics and reporting.

My previous blog had stated the Oracle Fusion capability for Procure-to-Pay cycle. It can be accessed here.

The General Accounting- Record to Report Cycle, Consolidation, Reporting and Analytics- requirements of a Multinational, Multi-GAAP organization; using best-of-breed or legacy applications for sub-ledger transactions; can be catered by Oracle Fusion Accounting Hub (FAH) and Fusion General Ledger from Fusion Financials suite. The Financial Reporting Center of FAH involves embedded multi-dimensional Essbase cubes and offers state-of-the-art reporting and analytics which enables multi-dimensional analysis of various transactional and accounting data.

FAH can integrate and utilize the capabilities of number of reporting tools like Oracle BI Publisher, Oracle Hyperion Financial Reporting Studio, Fusion Edition and Oracle Business Transactional Business Intelligence. Drill down up to journal and transaction level is possible from any of the reports generated out of FAH which enables strong audit trail and control.

To record the transactions from Oracle/Non-Oracle applications and convert it into accounting entries, FAH offers a highly configurable rule transformation engine that generates the accounting entries, validates and transforms it into accounting journals. The rules can be configured based on the attributes of the transaction. For example Tax Accounts could be determined based on the country of transaction.

Different rules can be configured for different divisions complying with the local accounting regulations. FAH also captures additional attributes of the transaction for reference and reporting purposes.

FAH_Fin and Acc SS1.JPG

Some of the salient features of Fusion reporting are:

-          Fixed format reports and local statutory reports can be created using Oracle BI Publisher and Financial Reporting Studio/Workspace.

-          Interactive financial reporting and drill down can be achieved either by Oracle BI Publisher, Oracle transactional Business Intelligence, Account Monitor and Account inspector

-          Seeded BI reports are delivered in OTBI

-          Live and interactive reporting with multiple output options like HTML, Excel, PDF; available in Smart View

-          Drill down of the report information upto detailed journal and sub-ledger transaction level using Account Inspector

-          Bursting option available with BI Publisher to split the report and email or print them as per output option selected

-          Functionality to embed charts and graphs in the report

-          Drag and Drop report grid and dimensions

FAH also offers features for Budgeting and Budget Reporting, Consolidation and Inter-company processing. The advantage of FAH for an Account and Finance Shared Service specifically lies in its fitness to be integrated with diverse sub-ledger applications and providing robust accounting platform along with impressive reporting and analytics solution.

Continue reading " Accounting and Finance Shared Services- Oracle Fusion Capabilities for Record-to-Report and Analytics " »

April 1, 2015

Need and Ways for Performance Optimization in OBIEE


In all my years of working with OBIEE, I have seen a special interest in performance testing and tuning in the recent years. I have been involved in recent past with one of the active engagements for an OBIA system for performance optimization. This lead to a lot of interesting reading and some on the job application, thought should share it with you all.

While Optimizing Performance the most challenging task is to know where to begin. Most of the time Performance issues are raised or known only when we are actually in the performance test phase of the project. Post Analysis we should take the right approach for optimizing the performance and not some shortcut ways. If the analysis suggests that the rpd metadata / dashboard design/ built is the suspect or the underlying data model is not modelled properly optimization techniques are not going to work and redevelopment should be considered as it is rightly said

If a system that has a fundamental design flaw cannot be optimized - it has to be redesigned.

By default whenever OBIEE reports take a long time to return results, end users tend to say "OBIEE does not perform well". There might be different reasons for it other than OBIEE some of them might be the underlying database, network or infrastructure. We will discuss more about what we can do within OBIEE for performance optimization considering we have all other levers correctly placed.

OBIEE Reports creates a SQL query with the help of BI server and that is purely driven by how the data modelling is done is executed directly against the underlying database. A quick look at the SQL query getting generated can give us an idea whether best practices of OBIEE design are followed or not. By following the best practices in OBIEE design the SQL query generated can be made free of unnecessary clauses and nesting statements.

OBIEE itself has many out of box functionality for performance optimization such as usage of aggregate tables, using cache, changing the log levels and so on but are not enough to handle the performance issues.

The components involved in Performance Tuning are

·         Weblogic Server

·         BI Server

·         Presentation Server

·         Data Warehouse

With the help of monitoring tools like Enterprise Manager Metric Palette, Performance monitor, Server related statistics are collected and should be acted accordingly.

Would list some of the performance optimization techniques less known yet effective

·         Try Tuning the Connection backlog buffering and Statement Cache on Oracle Weblogic server.  Try adjusting the accept backlog value which might be set too low  due to which connections are dropped or refused at the client.

·         Oracle BI Server performance can be improved by prohibiting RPD updates. By doing this Oracle BI server is not needed to handle lock control.

·         Various configuration options can be used to limit the maximum number of rows that can be downloaded, included in mail or processed.

·         Limit the maximum number of rows that can be processed to render a table. This significantly improves performance as it reduces the system resources that will be consumed by user session.

·         Providing Permission to objects by groups/roles.

·         Union requests, consumes more memory as they generate more temp file , hence should be avoided.

·         Load to BI resources can be reduced by avoiding usage of guided navigation

·         Session variables use should be minimized.

·         Dimensional Hierarchy should be modelled accurately so that Oracle BI optimizer can select the most economical source

·         Content tab of logical table sources should be used to limit the number of rows returned from the database

·         Exploiting aggregate tables, pre-calculated measures aggregated over a set of  dimensional attributes are stored in aggregated tables

·         Make NULL and NOT Null column in sync with RPD and Database to avoid full outer join with NVL

·         Bitmap Index for all Foreign Key columns (for Summary reports) and Bitmap Join Index (lowest granularity based query for detailed data)

·         Usage tracking should be switched off if not needed as it will avoid extra DB Operations that run against each query.

·         Remove Snow flaking and Create Foreign keys for each dimension into Fact

I would like to emphasize that no single solution or configuration can take care of all performance issues.  Other than listed above there are many more settings / ways that helps in performance optimization, my aim was to list some of them covering highlights. Performance optimization might target Database, Environment parameters, Data model, Repository Design or Report Design having the same objective. While performance cannot be optimized by applying certain set rules and standards, having faced different challenging environment and experience helps..

It's all about working around and coming up with the best solutions for the project understanding the project flows and business scenario's. To have an optimized performance application we need to follow the best practices and design standards.

March 31, 2015

Unlocking the Organizational Change Conundrum

Managing Change - Lessons from the Ground

Being an avid supporter of one of the biggest football club in the world, I was reading an article by a former club captain the other day. The article dealt with the trials and tribulations of the club post the retirement of the manager, someone who had become the spirit of the club in his more than two decades of service. The article went on to describe the past glories and how the leaving of key figures had led to lost ground in the battle for footballing supremacy.

Drawing parallels to the corporate world the current situation of the gives us a great opportunity to look at how change in leadership can be managed best after a prolonged period of magnanimous success. It starts with all stakeholders having to let go of the past and accept the situation and plan for the future. The basis to the philosophy being discussed were four key words Form, Storm, Norm, Perform.

Continue reading " Unlocking the Organizational Change Conundrum " »

March 24, 2015

Fusion BI Apps and Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence

Introduction to Fusion BI Apps and Fusion Reporting

Fusion Business Intelligence Applications is an Out-Of-The-Box reporting solution that comes packaged with Fusion Applications having pre-built data models, Extract-Transform-Load processes, Key Performance Indicator's, Metrics, Reports and Dashboards. They cover varied business functions viz.

  • Oracle Procurement & Spend
  • Oracle CRM
  • Oracle SCM
  • Oracle Financials
  • Oracle HCM
  • Oracle Project Portfolio Management

Closely integrating the reporting solution for Oracle Fusion with the transactional systems it provides seamless interaction of reports in Fusion transactional screens. This provides a common platform and also allows the triggering of business workflows from the reporting application.

Continue reading " Fusion BI Apps and Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence " »

March 5, 2015

Manage Projects by Exception Using Fusion Project Portfolio Management

For an organization to remain competitive it is essential that the right portfolio of projects is selected which would ensure current and future profitability. Projects are selected based on the fitment with the strategic goals of the enterprise. During the initial stages of the project, the project manager's key responsibility is to prepare and present the business case to showcase the projects fitment against the long term strategy of the organization. Only after approval from the key stakeholders the project is selected for execution in the organization.

However, during execution of the project often the project team decides to monitor progress using a new set of parameters like margin percentage, revenue, and Schedule Variance, Cost Variance and quality standards.  The link is lost with the organization strategic objectives the very reason project was selected. The best practices in project management suggest a uniform set of parameters during the entire project life cycle from Project Initiation to Project Closure.

Fusion Project Portfolio Management bridges this gap and provides the corporate, portfolio and project manager with a dashboard to monitor the portfolio progress on a real time basis based on uniform set of parameters across the organization - Key Performance Indicators (KPI's). The dashboard provides a snapshot of projects which are On Track, At Risk and Critical. The portfolio managers can immediately focus their attention on projects which are at Risk and Critical thus enabling them to manage projects by exception.

For example, a KPI can be defined that non-billable costs should be less than 10 percent of the overall project cost. The user will be able to immediately identify the projects in the dashboard which do meet the criteria and for a detailed analysis can drill down to the project transactions to analyze the reason. The applications come with embedded analytics that would help the user to identify the potential reasons. In this scenario it might be possible that the field users on the projects have not submitted the timecards for last week and once the timecards are submitted the project will be back on track. The project manager's observations can be captured as a note which can be viewed by all the stakeholders.

Projects are no longer managed and executed in silos. To ensure profitability and sustainability of organization, portfolios needs to be managed dynamically and PMO should be able to derive reports and trend indicators with a click on button in the modern application. Fusion PPM also helps the portfolio managers to suggest corrective action to bring the non-conforming projects back on track and make a rationale decision to terminate projects based on current and historical KPI's.

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