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

February 23, 2017

Leap in faith - EPM cloud is here to stay !

I recall, my first scuffle to cloud technologies in EPM space to sometime back in 2008. That time, any latent exposure to sensitive financial and strategic information on cloud would nip even the thought of moving away from on premise services. Besides, analysts remained in unison and maintained a view that it was really difficult to do real EPM in cloud, because one would probably be going to take feeds from lots of different databases and aggregate data to turn it into one version of the truth, and a SaaS system is not a candidate for that.

Fast forward to the present times - scales have tilted. Concerns on data security are waning and Organizations are appreciating benefits of adopting cloud technologies. It has opened flood gates for platform consolidations and this factor alone is turning to be a significant driver for graduating to cloud technologies.

However as noose is tightening on security concerns - technology and process challenges are coming to forefront. More diverse the existing EPM and ERP landscape, greater is the challenges towards transition to a complete cloud model. Thus amidst a visible Tsunami one aspect is evident that as cloud ecosystem penetrates the co-existence with on-premise is there to prevail. No wonder the initial thrust in EPM Cloud which was dominated by SaaS models is leading into  IaaS.

Furthermore, consumers of cloud adopters remain mixed and range from those making a big bang transition to those players who are experimenting cloud in distinct pockets. While the common factors driving this decision is realizations of quick wins, flexibility of usage and economic advantage; none-the-less the solution approach differs widely.

Key ingredients that players need to be on top in their EPM cloud journey are :

1. Process re-engineering - crafting FP&A or any other EPM process into cloud invariably brings a change in the manner things are dealt.  Quite often there is an urge to intertwine process improvements to such initiatives.  Often this ambitious desire turns counter-productive.  The mantra of success is to keep it simple and avoid mixing objectives.

2. Lift and shift is going to prevail especially during the transitionary phase. Thus it is imperative to make a judicious decision to carve key processes lest it injects process inefficiencies. Data migration is an equally important factor to be considered.

3. Master data harmonization - Metadata holds the key in defining any EPM application. This is more relevant in a hybrid ecosystem. Gaining a good hold on this element sets the path for a smooth migration to integrated information delivery.  Some of the other things to be considered include fulfilment of cross functional requirements.

4. Data integration strategy - in hybrid ecosystem transaction systems often remain in different platforms. Transition to cloud makes the pursuit of EPM integration a moving target. Data source definitions and sound integration strategy carry the biggest weight.

5. Past few years have witnessed giant leap in faith; to complement this brewing revolution last mile reporting capabilities need to augment further. This concerns bringing synergies across internal and external reporting aspects.

There is no silver lining or a panacea for success in the cloud world. All in all, there is a ground to be covered, learning's to be institutionalised across the board before we witness a mature and seamless cloud ecosystem.

Continue reading " Leap in faith - EPM cloud is here to stay ! " »

February 22, 2017

Its Growing Together with PBCS/EPBCS..."Houston, we've had a problem!"

Almost there but not yet, to, Yes : To-Go!!  What is takes to make that final conclusive step, the differentiator and compounder of benefits with a journey filled with gliding warm handshakes with Oracle to nurture the capabilities inclusive of automation and Data Seeding via FDMEE for a PBCS/EPBCS Working Solution.


PBCS , it was and now the buzz word is EPBCS for the world of Planning and Budgeting in Cloud. With all the 4 modules well intergratable and abundance of OOTB, it was a challenging cake walk for Implementation partners like us to get to their product delivery with all the decision making during the tenure : " Should I customize it now- wait for the next patch and then enable the configuration - will the eta be aligned. Not almost like going riding at Sunshine Ranch, but like the choice a girl makes to jump into an arranged marriage or get to know the to-be spouse before tying the knot! Ah Ah...funny as the analogy sounds , shades are so similar with the how much you know about him, how much that you know will come in the package, how much will sustain, how much will be useful and how much will always get flagged as "product limitation" or "husband material". :)


Problems, hurdles, hiccups,show stoppers..nothing should be a reason as to why it is not happening in Cloud. Ask, you will get it and this is the success Mantra...Wherever you are stuck, be it not functioning as expected, need as additional functionality/feature/command or even a Menu, just Ask, just Report your problem to the land base . Trust me Oracle Gives, Generously. You just have to Ask! (off the record, nicely first, desperately next, Crying on a dying situation as last :) ) I see your smiles and exclamatory eyebrows as to on what authority or on what basis or on why should they? The Cloud EPBCS is customer oriented, totally committed to customer needs and if the ask is simple it takes an average of of 2 weeks and you get it. For any medium/major asks, it flows into the road map ahead. Cloud EPM is destined to grow as customer needs grow and they are aware of it. With the blend of OOTB, it will easily succumb to- 'Oh- Non -configurable, couldn't tweak to MY needs' ..Wouldn't it be a useless meal for me, if it ain't giving what nutrient i want, however rich it can be in ingredients, cooking methods and presentations!! Oracle understands this pretty well and the safe game with "safe harbors statements" but still impressing with what they have in the future!!


And now, i need to give supporting details to buy your confidence and i stand obliged for that.

Here you go...The major quick-win aspect of Cloud migration was the direct conversion of calculation scripts from On-premise to Business Rules on EPBCS. One famous vendor ( should i also name them???) had written a much viewed article on which of the commands that are not supported and funny that they even could find a reason as to why you aren't getting it in the EPBCS world. Then the story line takes a interesting turn when my team at Infosys just teaches Oracle SME's that serve the Oracle SR counter asking for why not get this to EPBCS. At first the starter served was an alternative set of commands that would also get the same results. But then why settle? Again it goes like. Why not that same command, I am not going to browse thru all the line of codes in my on premise and execute a replace with another bunch of commands and the same command i am referring here is the SUMRANGE function! MY favorite smarty and he made my world so easy and i couldn't resist getting him back!!


Check out our new approach to even daringly quote that EPM Automate is not going to get a End to end automation if it is not looking at serving me a command to even shuttle files among local and Cloud file systems.(You Got it!! Over exaggerated statement indeed! Am i going to get fired for this??) Fair enough was the over the counter response too, as to why is it needed, EPM Automate still does have commands to load straight from Local. But then, Oh sweetie, any one that has worked a little intensively on on-premise FDM would have seen the difference of the load speed from blink of the eye if its inbox vs the totally multitasking prone file import from any local machine. Totally non-compromisable me vs la-la land prone SME, and guess who won? in the next week patch upgrade to PBCS Cloud comes in the new commands for EPM Automate!!


Alas, Houston! We made It! ( Make it?) Indeed!

See you Soon!


February 21, 2017

Oracle Engagement Cloud - Is this the next big step from Oracle


Oracle Engagement Cloud - Is it a glorified Sales Cloud or an Amalgamated Cloud housing Sales and Service Cloud features meant to provide true 360 degree view and simplify overall architecture?


One of my Enterprise customer with global footprint enquired last week whether it is wise to transform its CRM functions from Siebel onto Oracle's Engagement Cloud or his organization would be better off by having Oracle Sales Cloud and Oracle Service Cloud as a combination offerings to sunset Siebel. This is where I explained that it is not a zero sum decision but involves close consideration of the business objectives.


To drive home the discussion, I asked him to pen down Key business objectives of CX / CRM transformation his leadership has for this On-Premise (Siebel CRM) to On-Cloud (Oracle CX stack). It wasn't a surprising list as his 7 pointer had all those aspects covered which most enterprise organizations are discussing for the last 5 odd years.





Engagement Cloud has all (yes - 100%) features of Oracle Sales Cloud but basic features of Oracle Service Cloud. Objective 1, 2, 3 are met by adopting either of the two approaches (Engagement Cloud Vs Oracle Sales Cloud +Oracle Service Cloud). Decision points boils down to

1.      What is the independent roadmap of the three Clouds à would one cloud (e.g. OSC or OSvC) cease to exist after 3-4 years resulting in another migration / transformation project?

2.      Are end customers of the organization truly urging to have state of the art features like co-browsing, self-service etc. in near term

3.      Performance: Is application performance truly a worrisome factor in current platform resulting in low user adoption of CRM platform

4.      Total Cost of Ownership: What is the license cost for the two options (EC at one end and OSC+OSvC at the other end)

5.      Is Sales sub-organization and Service sub-organization culturally working as single unit to gain 360 view of both the functions

 My 2 cents for this enterprise customer which is a high volume call center managing service function for non-banking financial company (NBFC) à Go for Oracle Sales Cloud + Oracle Service Cloud combination offering as

  • While the roadmap of all three clouds is promising, Engagement Cloud is not rich in core Service features in its current avatar. Today's customers expect chat, co-browsing and CTI enabled offerings where Oracle Service Cloud has an edge 

  • Performance of EC would be relatively slower as higher degree of customization would be involved to achieve some nice OSvC features like Queue management for Incidents

  • Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) would be more or less in the same ballpark considering

    • License cost would be tad high by having two clouds (OSC + OSvC) than one (EC)  --- Plus for EC

    • 15-18 months down the line migration of Service Cloud and Sales Cloud data into Engagement Cloud -- Plus for EC

    • Cost of agents managing service requests would go down as OSvC rich service functions (self-service, co-browse, knowledge management) -- Plus for OSC + OSvC

    • More delighted customers would potentially result in future cross-sell and up-sell opportunities -- Plus for OSC + OSvC

  • Achieve 360 view through BICS (BI Cloud Services)

 What would have you advised to a customer in this situation?

February 17, 2017

A Guide for PAAS Solutions on Oracle Sales Cloud



Technology innovation is driving competition in almost every industry today. Due to this it has become essential to provide clients customized solution which help in simplifying their business processes. Moreover to keep pace with the changing times the shift has been towards cloud computing which provides access to a large number of applications through the internet, hence being available anywhere & anytime. Oracle Sales Cloud is one such application which helps in simplifying your sales and customer experience process to bring in more agility to the business processes.

Oracle Sales Cloud's Customization tool (Application Composer and Page Composer) enables us to customize the CRM offering for specific client. With the help of these tools, we can customize UI elements, modify dashboard and springboard, customize data model, and create interfaces to be connected to other systems in enterprise.

Usually the best practice to be followed here is to use Oracle Sales Cloud extensibility framework to achieve any given Business Use Case, however there may be cases where they tend to be suboptimal in addressing the business case. This is where PAAS comes into picture, which adds to the existing benefits of Service infrastructure and brings about the required innovation in cloud services.

PAAS Architecture:



Oracle Platform as service is composed of several platforms which can work together and enable us to form cloud solution for different use cases. Listing down the few such cloud PAAS offerings:

  • Java Cloud Services:The Platform as a Service solutions begin with Java Cloud Service (JC) which is a Web logic Server hosted on cloud. Through this service ADF application can be deployed. Oracle also offers some web based tools to monitor performance and logs for debugging. We don't have access to command line shell.
  • Database Cloud:Oracle Database Cloud is same familiar oracle database now in cloud. All the features of Oracle Database on premise will be available on cloud as well. Java Cloud Services and DB Cloud, enable us to start building apps faster. Performance, statistics and customization on Oracle DB can be done using Oracle Application Express. It is very user friendly tools for database customization as per customization.
  • Oracle Developer Cloud:Oracle Developer Cloud provides development tool for building application on cloud. It provides Version Control and deployment of application on Oracle Java Cloud Service.

However it's important to note here that not all offerings are required to build PAAS solution. With the help of Java Cloud Services alone, ADF application can be built to post or retrieve data from Oracle Sales Cloud.

PAAS Patterns:

Let us look at the different PAAS patterns that can be utilized.


  • Custom Application using ADF\OSC Objects: Leveraging the Oracle Sales Cloud extensibility Framework Application Composers (UI extensibility, Custom fields/objects, groovy scripts and custom subject area), Page Composer to customize Oracle Sales Cloud. Oracle sales Cloud functionality can be enhanced by building custom Java application using PaaS platform (JCS/DBCS). Custom UI using ADF, data binding using Oracle Sales Cloud web services (Soap\Rest) and custom objects using Oracle Cloud Services can be done as part of custom PAAS application.

  • Custom Mobile Application can be built using DB Cloud and Rest Services as well as JCS Bridge.

  • Integration with third Party (On Premise\Cloud) Application: Oracle Sales Cloud can consume Soap based Web Service and the same can be invoked from UI. If there is case where target system supports Rest based services then we can build custom Java Application on PAAS as a bridge.

  • Oracle BI Cloud to build custom Reports using Data from multiple applications (CRM\ERP): Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service (BICS) is Oracle Cloud offering with advanced Analytical Capability. It supports both desktop and mobile capabilities. Oracle BI Cloud Service is built around OBIEE 11g.  Oracle provides thin client repository editor which enables us to quickly built application around data collated from multiple sources.

  • Oracle Doc Cloud to sync content from various sources (CRM\CPQ, Mobile and Custom Java Application): Document on the go is the business requirement of today. Oracle Doc cloud empower with sharing and collaboration capability. With sharing we need robust security as well which oracle cloud provides. It provides support for cloud as well as on-premises Doc integration. Oracle Doc Cloud provide API support for Rest\Soap to enable external application to integrate with Oracle Doc Cloud.

Custom Application using ADF\OSC Objects

To understand the PAAS usage in OSC better let's look at a detailed USE Case.

Use Case: In a partner driven organization there is a requirement to have an interface for Partner Registration to enable a partner to register. To achieve this we need to follow a set of guidelines.

  • User Interface for custom application
  • Identify Data Elements for custom application
  • Identify Services to render data from Oracle Sales Cloud in Custom Application
  • Identify Services to push data to Oracle Sales Cloud.
  • Technology used: ADF, Rest\Soap API   


Solution Approach:

For this Use case there is a requirement to display list of countries which are enabled in Oracle Sales Cloud (OSC) however we don't want to create duplicate data for geography as it would lead to maintenance problem. In order to achieve this we followed below solution after discussion with oracle.

  • Extract Data from Oracle Sales Cloud
  • OOTB no Web Service is available in Oracle Sales Cloud which will expose geography data.
  • Maintain Data in Oracle Sales Cloud for Geography by using custom Object. This Custom Object will maintain hierarchy of Country\State.
  • Custom object data can be extracted using Soap Web Services. Use the same to display data
  • Data Picker in PAAS Page.

Next, dynamic constrained data picker in PAAS Page needs to be created, wherein the Data in picker is going to come from OSC. We want to restrict the list of Distributors to only show those based on state selected for Partner. State is maintained as related object in Oracle Sales Cloud. Oracle Sales Cloud Soap Web Service provides the feature to query on Parent object using nested query. Refer to Oracle Sales Cloud documentation for nested query criteria to filter entities based on address.

Finally Partner Registration Approval Process needs to be enabled. OSC has Partner Approval BPM however as soon as Partner is created from PAAS, page approval should not be triggered. When Partner is created Email should go to the Partner asking him for confirmation that he wants to go ahead with approval process. Once Partner confirms then only approval process should be triggered. To achieve this we need to:

  • Use Oracle Rest Service to Register Partner with approval trigger flag marked as N.
  • As soon as Email is confirmed call Oracle Rest Partner Service with approval trigger Flag marked as Y. As soon as this request is received then Partner BPM approval process will be triggered.


Oracle PAAS provides us more power, agility, and advanced features to customize CRM as per client needs. In order to utilize feature of Oracle PAAS we need additional time, additional expenses and more technical expertise. We should look at benefit it will bring to business before exploring the option of PAAS Solution for OSC extensibility.

February 16, 2017

Oracle Service Cloud - One Product for Multiple Service Needs in Multiple Industries

'The world is becoming smaller' is the catch phrase which I get to hear nowadays pretty often. What does it mean? Of course, the world has not shrunk but the communication channels have expanded in their mode and reach thereby bringing people together and closer to give them a feel that no matter where you are, smart channels of communication will keep you connected to your family, work and needed SERVICES. In line with this boom in communication channels the expectations from the Customer Service industry has increased manifolds with the connected customer demanding service ANYWHERE and on ANY CHANNEL.

Continue reading " Oracle Service Cloud - One Product for Multiple Service Needs in Multiple Industries " »

February 10, 2017




Centralized Vs Decentralized VCP Architecture


One of the critical decisions that businesses considering VCP implementation have to make is to choose between the centralized and decentralized architecture of VCP. This decision is very crucial not just from the operational perspective once they have implemented, but also due to the fact that the cost of the overall project is dependent on this. For a decentralized environment, business have to invest in new infrastructure and hardware required for the new VCP instance. For smaller businesses, these costs could be higher than the overall implementation cost itself.  Through this article, I would like to discuss the pros and cons of each of those approaches and throw light on the aspects which businesses need to consider for making an informed decision.

A centralized architecture is where both the EBS and the VCP reside on the same server. In a decentralized architecture EBS and VCP reside in two different servers connected through the database links for exchange of data.

Before talking about the pros and cons of these architectures, let us understand the need for a decentralized architecture when by default we have the centralized architecture enabled.

Unlike most of the transactional systems, where the transactions are done at database level, the planning in the VCP modules happen in the application server memory. The planning engine processes are highly memory intensive and the plans require great amount of memory while the planning engines are running.

One of the most common issues encountered in ASCP (one of the important module of VCP), are the plan failures related to the application memory where the plans fail after exhausting all the dedicated/available memory.  These errors could be caused by an inappropriate setup in EBS or even by manual errors as simple as creating an internal requisition with inappropriate source. These transactional errors takes a lot of process maturity and user knowledge\training to control but still very difficult to avoid. What this means is that in case the application sizing wasn't done scientifically or in the case of above errors, the planning engine run impacts the performance of all the applications that reside on that server.

Most of the businesses going with centralized architecture face challenges during the month end\period closure activities where the finance processes (which process a huge volume of data) overlap with the planning processes

Also the amount of memory consumed depends on multiple factors such as volume of finished goods, depth of BOM, volume of transactional data , type of plans being run, amount of constraints and the list continues. In our experience we have seen businesses where the plans have a peak application memory consumption of over 64 GB. What this means is that an unscientific application sizing would not just impact planning but the activities in transactional modules in a centralized environment.

For businesses which have operations spread geographically across globe and have multiple plans catering to different geographies, it is imperative that they run those plans at different times in a day meaning the server resources need to be made available at all points in time such that the plans complete smoothly.

Having said that below are the pros and cons of the available architectures:




·     Lesser investment in infrastructure and its maintenance.

·     Simple architecture.



·     Issues related to planning engine will have least impact on the transactional systems.

·    Supports different versions of EBS and VCP. EBS can be at the same or lower version than VCP.

·     VCP can be easily upgraded without any changes to EBS. VCP can be patched with a minimal impact on the EBS.

·     Ideal for implementation of multiple VCP modules.

·     Ideal for businesses with multiple plans running at different times.

·     Scaling up solution (such as adding new organizations, businesses) to the existing VCP instance is easy.

·     Ideal for businesses with multiple EBS instances which can be connected to a single VCP instance.

·     Can maintain multiple but not so powerful servers.




·    Risk of facing issues related to memory.

·    Does not support different versions for planning and EBS.

·    Difficult to patch and upgrade. Upgrading VCP would be possible only when the entire instance is upgraded.

·     Limitation in terms of scalability of the solution.

·     Not ideal when multiple VCP modules have to be implemented.

·     Need to maintain huge and powerful servers.




·     Higher investment in infrastructure and maintenance.



To conclude, a decentralized architecture is the most preferred and recommended architecture. Small organizations which could not afford multiple servers and the businesses with very limited and minimal planning requirements can choose OR start with a centralized implementation and move over to de-centralized architecture slowly.


For any inputs, clarifications and feedback, please feel free to write to me at Our specialist team of VCP consultants will assist you in taking the right decisions at the right time.

January 30, 2017

Customer Experience cloud options for Telcos


The Telecom industry is experiencing a major shift from traditional on-premise to cloud based solutions. This shift is more pronounced in the Customer Experience (CX) and Billing areas as these BSS solutions provide the front end customer experience and are typically the first to be targeted for transformation and modernization. The cloud based solutions provide a richer digital customer experience, along with the other SaaS related benefits.

Continue reading " Customer Experience cloud options for Telcos " »

January 16, 2017

Why Hyperion Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud Service (FCCS) may have tough road to success

Anyone who has attended Oracle's sales session on planning and budgeting cloud service (PBCS) in last two years would have heard the statement, "PBCS is selling like hot cakes" from the sales representative. Well... yes, it was and has continued to have a successful journey. Its higher adoption has sown the seeds for new hyperion cloud offerings in 2016, one of which is financial close and consolidation service (FCCS).


FCCS is not HFM on cloud

Initially, many people thought that the offering was hyperion financial management (HFM) on cloud. Let's put a setting stone and clear the air that FCCS is not HFM on cloud. It is an Oracle cloud offering to support financial consolidation and close process with a completely different database strategy as compared to HFM. Yes, you guessed it right, FCCS is not on relational database but on the same database platform as PBCS. It has 11 preconfigured dimensions and two custom dimensions. It provides a cloud-based offering for consolidation and close reporting with highly standardized out-of-the-box features built on years of experience and best practices that Oracle has learnt with its premier tool, HFM. Above all, it requires less or minimal administration and is very cost-effective as compared to on premise HFM, but still it may have to be prepared for a bumpy ride and user adoption as compared to PBCS. Let's see why!!


Constraints to adopt FCCS: Look and feel is different

In interactions with few of our clients who already use HFM and are planning to upgrade or use other Hyperion modules but exploring a specialized consolidation tool, we observed hesitancy to adopt FCCS. One of the key reasons was that CFO office was still reluctant to move actuals to cloud. Some of the clients who were inclined to FCCS moved away when they spoke to or sought opinion from Hyperion managers / directors of other clients. The fact that the look and feel is different as compared to HFM and database is not relational, Essbase could be another factor though to be fair to Oracle, they are trying to have same database strategy for both FCCS and PBCS offerings. But, we all know that usually the close and consolidation group and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) group have a different point of view.


Less flexibility with chart of accounts also may be a deterrent. Users need to be aware that having standard hierarchies or high level account members in key dimensions like entities and accounts allow for standardized reporting, calculations, and inbuilt financial intelligence which ultimately help in faster implementations. Oracle understands that PBCS was a different ball game when compared to FCCS as it was primarily for plan data. Clients can try PBCS for different lines of business or design in a way not to have actuals data in PBCS and hence, they are ready to play the waiting game.


Leverage Infosys Hyperion competency

Infosys fully supports Oracle Cloud strategy and Oracle Hyperion cloud and on premise offerings. So, if your firm has any questions related to Oracle Hyperion suite or enterprise performance management (EPM) strategy, please contact us at

Part 2: The Taleo- LinkedIn partnership


In the previous post, we established the importance of Taleo as a strong player in the applicant tracking system (ATS) space, while also narrating a few glitches from the user perspective. This post explores the story of LinkedIn, and how the partnership has the potential of ushering in a stronger Taleo while benefitting LinkedIn as well.

An announcement by LinkedIn at the Taleo World Conference that evinced much happiness amongst the fans was the integration which allowed employees to apply for jobs on Taleo ATS system using LinkedIn profile. Some of these are being described below:

  1. Access to candidate's LinkedIn profile from within the Taleo system: Recruiters may source suitable candidates based on the LinkedIn profiles by directly drawing that information by accessing the profiles while within the Taleo systems.  This means that they have access to a plethora of information from the candidate's interest and publications to recommendations and updated contacts and skills. A very useful feature, it allows the recruiter to save a lot of time in double checking and toggling between the LinkedIn profile and the candidate selection page.


  2. LinkedIn profile upload: This feature is a life saver for candidates and saves them a lot of exasperation they otherwise face while filling out forms which are lengthy , as it allows one to directly upload data into the Taleo form using just information from your LinkedIn profile. candidates will be able to fill forms on Taleo by importing data from linkedin on a click of a button. This also helps in improving accuracy as far as the contact information is concerned. These auto filled data can then be edited by the candidate at will, thus saving loads of time, while maintaining accuracy in data.

3. Referral service: LinkedIn announced a new feature called Referrals during their TalentConnect 2015. It allows recruiters to solicit referrals from company employees.The tool intelligentlycaptures connections from employees network and allows them to forward jobs within their network seemlessly. This feature allows all recruiters like Taleo, Kenexa, Workday, and Lumesse to turn on this feature and use it from their respective job sites.

Although it is a feature that might not be requested for by the client upfront, This certainly looks like a place where some empathy can be shown to the recruiter's tough jobs, and employ design thinking and suggest these features and deliver them as required.





Continue reading " Part 2: The Taleo- LinkedIn partnership " »

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