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

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February 20, 2015

Latest & Greatest FDMEE 11.1.2.4

Recently Oracle launched the much talked EPM 11.1.2.4. As the part of this suite FDMEE 11.1.2.4 was also released. A lot of features that were missing in the previous version have been added. We will walk through briefly with the major new additions which enhances the usability of this product.

Below are the features that have been much awaited and finally have been revealed.

1.                 1. Data Synchronization

This is big addition to the FDMEE tool as this enhances the capabilities to integrate inter EPM applications. Even with a different dimensionality with in applications, FDMEE will enable to extract and load data using this new feature.

We will be able to select the source and target EPM applications while defining an import format. So this process will also follow the standard FDMEE workflow.

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2. New Target Applications

FDMEE will now allow integrating with Oracle Hyperion Profitability and Cost Management (HPCM). In addition to this, there is new Tax Provision application for HFM target applications.

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3. Write Back

This version of FDMEE provides writ back to source ERP system from all the EPM applications except Accounts Reconciliation Manager (ARM) as compared to the previous release which was not capable of write back from HFM and ASO applications. 

4. POV Locking

FDMEE 11.1.2.4 introduces POV locking at location level. In the previous version the POV locking was available only at application level. This was a pain point which Oracle has addressed with this new release.

5. Excel Interface

A new great feature has been added to support excel downloads and uploads. This feature can be accessed from Integration Setup tab. This supports most of the FDMEE artifacts to be exported to excel and vice versa.

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6. Graphical Import format Builder

A graphical version of import format builder has been introduced which allows to map source and target dimension members on a UI screen.

7. Concatenate Source Segments

With the changes in the import format, now we will be able to concatenate unlimited number of source ERP segments while importing data in FDMEE and can be mapped accordingly.

8. Fix Mappings

If there are any mapping issues during the validate step of the workflow, same can no be fixed from the data load workbench.

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9. Target application options

     Now the target application options can be set per data load rule. This will help to set the protection    value for HFM based on the location. This is good enhancement over the previous version as it resolves the protection value usage limitation which was an application level property earlier.

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    10. Flat File options in Data Load Rule

          New options are available for flat file loads in the drop down list for file type. Support for excel based oads have been added which was missing in previous version for multi load.

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        11. Override All Data option 

        While exporting data to planning/essbase applications, "Override All Data" option was present as one of the export modes. The only way to get rid of it was to remove it from the backend FDMEE tables in previous version. This version provides an option to choose this option as data export option by the target application.

 

     Stay tuned as we take a deeper dive in the technical details of these new functionalities. We will also discuss the major fixes and the functionalities still missing in this version as compared to the classic FDM in our upcoming posts.


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February 16, 2015

Oracle CRM on Demand: Future, Roadmap and Strategy

 

Oracle CRM on Demand which was previously known as 'Siebel on Demand' has evolved long way from its acquisition by Oracle in 2006.  Oracle CRM on Demand is a hosted SaaS (software as a service) application which provides deep Sales Force Automation functionalities with strong analytics along with Customer Service, Marketing and Contact Management functionalities.  Oracle CRM on Demand is continuously evolved from Release 10 in 2006 to Release 27 in 2014. Initially after acquisition there was no major innovation pack for around 2 year however from Release 16 onwards Oracle has delivered Oracle CRM on Demand release in every 4 months [1]. Oracle CRM on Demand is now much more refined product and provides latest usability, mobility and extensibility solution.

Some of the key features of Oracle CRM on Demand available with latest release are:

Usability: Easy and Simple tablet inspired Interface to drive user adoptability. Modern Calendar, Maps and Proximity Search helps in follow up with customers and plan activities more accurately.

Mobility: CRM On Demand Connected Mobile Sales for Android, iOS, Blackberry devices and Oracle CRM on Demand Disconnected Mobile Sales for iPad users which helps in sales procedural compliance and also used for call submission on the go.

Extensibility: RESTful API's along with SOAP API's provides good integration options for rapid user interface customization and development of mobile application.

Integration: Can be easily integrated with Microsoft Outlook, Lotus Notes. Also, integration with Oracle Marketing Cloud for marketing automation, CPQ cloud for quote generation and complex pricing, and integration with JD Edwards and Oracle EBS for order management.

Social: Integration with Oracle's Social Relationship Management Suite for automatic lead creation through social campaigns, service request generation from social post, identification of negative influences on social media.

Oracle CRM on Demand is continuously improving and getting better and better with every release. However, with stiff competition in the CRM space we need to look at the Future, Roadmap and Strategy of product.

Future: Oracle CRM on Demand used to be lead CRM Cloud application for Oracle till 2011 and it was featured as 'Leader' in Gartner's Magic Quadrant till 2011[2]. With launch of Oracle Fusion Sales (re-named as Oracle Sales Cloud in 2013) Oracle CRM on Demand seems to be moved off the radar of many Technology Research Firms and also Oracle is promoting Oracle Sales Cloud as its lead CRM product. However, since Oracle CRM on Demand is part of Oracle's Applications Unlimited Lifetime Support Policy [3]  and looking at the past releases, Oracle CRM on Demand customers are now assured that there will be continuous improvement and innovation in the product by Oracle.

Although Oracle Sales Cloud is now the lead cloud based CRM application of Oracle, customers who are looking for the trusted solution, ease of deployment, limited customization and value product can still consider Oracle CRM on Demand. Existing Customers will continue to get benefits from latest releases where major issues will be addressed by Oracle. Oracle CRM on Demand offers industry solutions [4] for Life Sciences, High Technology, Insurance, Automotive and Wealth Management Industries with industry specific updates planned in coming releases.

Roadmap and Strategy: Oracle has defined CRM on Demand roadmap [5] for the next 6 releases till 2016 focusing on enriching user experience along with integration and extensibility. There are many feature's which are now available and planned for Oracle Sales Cloud will eventually be made available in Oracle CRM on Demand . For example, latest user interface icons and tablet based format is inspired from Oracle Sales Cloud's Simplified User Interface , also features like Gmail integration, Business Card scanning will eventually be made available in Oracle CRM on Demand in coming releases.

Oracle has not yet defined clear strategy for Oracle CRM on Demand, whether it will get merged with Oracle Sales Cloud or there is a migration plan for existing CRM on Demand customers to Oracle Sales Cloud . Looking at the existing roadmap of Oracle CRM on Demand it seems that both product will co-exist independently till Oracle unfolds its next CRM strategy.

February 3, 2015

Disappearing Sales Process & Emergence of Marketing Automation

According to research conducted by CEB marketing leadership council in partnership with google, around 57% of the sales process or due diligence process is over before a prospect ever talks to sales person.  The classic sales process of engaging a customer, qualifying the customer, creating opportunity, making a proposal, closing sale and following up, is fast changing. The customers are changing the ground rules. With advent of social media, smartphones, apps, mobility etc., there is a demographic of customers who are swaying away from the traditional sales process.

In the past, a customer looking for a product or a service would call the agent and that would set the tone for the sales process. But not anymore, customer are now looking for same information on the company website, facebook pages, reading blogs, customer feedback and reviews, posting questions on forums etc.  So the challenge for any marketer is to deliver relevant content earlier in the process and understand the behaviors of the prospects and follow the actions they are taking by nurturing them.

So with this shift in the sales process, it is essential to understand the digital body language of the prospects and apply all that information in the targeting efforts both from the email perspective and web perspective. Web has too much information which can be overwhelming for the customers. The marketing efforts should be able to break through the information clutter and deliver the relevant content at the right time.  

This brings in fundamental shift in the way organization have been allocating budget towards sales and marketing. As the prospects change their buying behavior there is a need for the organizations to tilt the balance of budget allocation towards marketing.  There is also strong need to enhance the digital and internet presence so that prospects can easily get information about your product and services. The idea is to be always digitally accessible with all the content because there will be no opportunity for you to go back to the customer who abandoned your product or service because of lack of digital content. Too much information can also be overwhelming and prospect may abandon you amid information clutter. Hence it is essential to identify your prospects, what kind of information are they seeking and then personalize their digital experiences. This entire process is called digital marketing.

The entire process of digital marketing can be broken into three phases.

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The observation phase is about the understanding the digital body language. What actions prospective customers are taking? What type information they are clicking on. What kind of content they are downloading. How many times they are visiting your website. What keywords they are clicking on. What kind of information they are seeking. Answers to these questions will help you build your customer's digital body language.

Using the digital body language, you respond with most relevant content at the appropriate time. Personalize the content by delivering right content which could be in terms of nurturing content, campaigns, offers etc.  And over the time you develop intelligence around what's performing the best, and then optimize that process.

All of these actions are critical to components in ensuring that marketers are getting through the prospect earlier in the sales process. More information you capture about your prospects, better targeted content can be delivered.  

Oracle's Eloqua (Oracle marketing cloud) is one such platform which transforms the way we approach digital marketing and marketing automation. Oracle's Eloqua not only helps in automating how marketing messages are delivered but also builds understanding of targeting and market segments; understanding of each prospect's buying journey that can guide conversations and help in delivering personalized content, compelling offers and captivating visuals. This is what differentiates the best from the rest, marketers who can understand the pulse of its prospects and Eloqua is one of the means to achieve that.  

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