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

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August 31, 2016

Look before you leap supply chains from on-premises to cloud

 

Today, many businesses in the world are moving towards cloud applications and supply chain managers / chief operations officers (CIOs) are feeling the itch to go with the tide. However, the inability to measure the actual worth and effort involved puts them on the back foot. Here are some apprehensions that these leaders need addressed before taking the leap of faith towards cloud:

  1. Inability to measure the effort required to move applications from on-premises to cloud

  2. Concern that data security and sensitivity could be compromised

  3. Apps on the cloud mandate zero business downtime, which means internet connectivity should be made available at remote locations

  4. Existing cloud applications in the supply chain space still have a long way to evolve, and so cannot act as benchmarks

  5. Lack of comprehensive understanding of end-customer requirements, which is essential to customize applications

Having said that, I also believe that the cloud offers immense opportunities in scaling up the supply chain business to meet new digital demands. These include the following:

  1. Flexibility: Cloud apps help your organization gain flexibility while integrating with on-premises / other applications

  2. Faster time-to-market: They significantly reduce time-to-market, as these apps are mostly pre-configured for specific industry needs

  3. Scalability: If you are looking at quickly scaling up your business in a specific area, cloud is the best option. You don't need to size it accurately upfront.

  4. Accessibility: Cloud apps are accessible anywhere. So, if you have a global footprint, it helps you reach out to all time-zones effectively

There is immense potential in certain key areas to migrate to the cloud and realize early benefits. These areas include:

  1. Transportation management: This is an area that is gaining momentum, since it is not always part of the core enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution

  2. Communication with trading partners: This is again an area where there is huge potential to use best-of-breed cloud applications in order to communicate with your trading partners

  3. Trade compliance: Trade compliance checks are best carried out by third-party services that maintain the most current information with respect to restricted parties

  4. Business intelligence and analytics applications: There is a huge maintenance overhead to maintain a data warehouse as well as business intelligence (BI) reporting tools, especially for organizations that have limited IT staff

  5. Predictive analytics: This is an area where one could scale up much faster as well as gain competitive advantage in opting for cloud-based apps rather than build the whole platform in-house

There are many providers of cloud-based supply chain solutions today. However, the exclusiveness of Oracle's cloud offerings comes from the fact that it has solutions for every segment of supply chain management -- product lifecycle, supply chain, procurement, logistics, order, manufacturing and maintenance. Procurement Cloud and Logistics Cloud are Oracle's flagship products that have gained recognition, especially because these can be deployed as stand-alone applications and the offer immense value on cloud.

At the same time, there are some areas where cloud is making slight inroads, and has a long way to go:

  • Warehouse management applications: Due to the high speed required for carrying out handheld transactions, this is an area that will take some time to mature

  • Planning engine: This makes more sense when the whole ERP application is on cloud

As Oracle's strategic partner and with experience in handling over 500 large customer engagements, Infosys has partnered with Oracle across its product portfolio. One of the many engagements required us to deploy Global Trade Management (GTM) Cloud (which is a part of Oracle Logistics Cloud) through a fast-track mode for a global semi-conductor manufacturing major. This deployment helped the organization to achieve trade compliance and integration with its global Oracle ERP solution.

In summary, organizations should tailor a supply chain management (SCM) cloud strategy that fits their needs around scalability, time-to-market, flexibility, and accessibility. By analyzing these requirements correctly and implementing appropriate solutions, they can gain competitive advantage through valuable migration to cloud.

Do meet us at our booth at Oracle Open World (OOW) 2016 to discuss more on this. The event will be held between September 18-20 at San Francisco. Click here to know more.

                                                                          

August 30, 2016

CPQ: One solution, multiple advantages

Increasing competition makes it mandatory for product companies to offer unique yet valuable offers to customers to remain in business. Two factors -- exclusive product combinations and best prices -- govern how businesses offer irresistible prices to gain market differentiation.

However, shaping exclusive product combinations can be precarious as businesses must navigate the challenges of complex product launches and configurations. At the same time, finalizing cost-effective prices also involves finalizing prices for a large number of products, quote generation, and too many discounts that could impact revenues negatively. 

Fortunately, these issues are comprehensively answered by a configure-price-quote (CPQ) solution. Figure 1 provides an outline of a CPQ solution as follows:

Figure 1: High Level Features of CPQ

It's a given: A CPQ solution has to be mobile-friendly

Commerce processes and quote life cycle, are critical aspects of a lead to order journey. Sales teams play a pivotal role in ensuring that a lead converts into an order and eventually into revenues. Just imagine, if a sales representative is sitting with a client and needs to close the deal instantly. At that moment, he/she cannot afford to login into a computer, complete the product configuration, pricing, discounting, approvals, et al, and then present the quote to the customer. This may cause undesirable delays and lead to a high probability of losing business in 'cut-throat' competition. Hence, it is of utmost importance that salespeople should be able to access CPQ applications from anywhere on mobile devices, resulting in the need for mobile CPQ solutions.

Based on the above points, the mobile CPQ solution should have the following salient features as illustrated in Figure 2 to close the deal on-premises with customers.

Figure 2: Features of Mobile CPQ

 

The Infosys approach to CPQ solutions

Infosys has made significant investments in mobile CPQ solutions because we understand that the benefits of such solutions can impact enterprises positively. As Oracle's Platinum partner, our capabilities are centered on the Oracle CPQ Cloud solution, which features mobile CPQ application as an out-of-box functionality. Subsequently, we have observed that mobile CPQ solutions not only offers benefits to sales representatives, but also to approvers. The comprehensive list of benefits is provided in Figure 3. Please note that all three type of users can access the CPQ solution from anywhere.

Figure 3: Benefits of Mobile CPQ

August 26, 2016

Sell Right. Credit Right. Reward Right

An effective and well-oiled sales engine is a key driving force for a global enterprise to succeed in an increasingly commoditized market place; therefore, a motivated and high-performing sales team is a must-have in this regard. Given today's ever-demanding customers and stiff competition, businesses aim to have an agile and nimble sales team.

Having said that, the numbers point to a dismal story -- only 58 percent of sales representatives achieve their quotas, down from the highs of 63 percent in 2012. Companies that fail to optimize their sales planning leave anywhere between 4 - 11 percent of their revenues on the table. That amounts to a staggering US$2 - 5.5 million for an enterprise with annual revenues of US$50 million.*

Therefore the challenges before a Sales Director today, have never been bigger -

·         How do I alter the sales team's behavior to sell what I want them to?

·         Can I find out, on a real-time basis, the achievers and the laggards in my team, so as to either incentivize or course-correct accordingly?

·         Is there a way to further optimize the total cost of sales?

·         How can I maximize sales productivity?

·         How do I promote healthy competition among the sales teams to achieve more?

The solutions to these challenges have never been simple either. The common thread that is at the core of the above challenges is the performance of front-line sales representatives.

A proven solution to such challenges, as seen from our past implementation experiences, is Oracle Sales Cloud Incentive Compensation (OSC IC).  

It provides sales directors and teams all the necessary levers to constantly monitor, trend and accurately execute appropriate incentive plans, in order to catalyze behavioral changes in sales reps to sell the right products and to get credited and rewarded accurately.

What does OSC Incentive Compensation offer?

The solution covers every aspect of sales incentive compensation. It includes user-friendly, wizard-driven, configurable artifacts that complement core processes of transaction collection, classification, crediting, calculation, and commission payouts. Added differentiators include self-service dispute resolution and real-time analytics capabilities.


OSC IC.jpg

 

What are the outcomes of having OSC IC as a modern Sales Compensation System?

Business challenge

OSC IC solution

Outcomes

How do I alter the sales team's behavior to sell what I want them to?

 

·         Ability to tailor compensation plans and sales targets on an on-going basis in order to realign the focus on products, geographies, and customers in-line with organizational objectives

·         Quickly penetrate markets with newer products and thus reduce the overall time-to-market

·         Drive the sales force to sell the right products

Can I find out, on a real-time basis, the achievers and the laggards in my team, so as to either incentivize or course-correct accordingly?

 

·         Real-time reporting and embedded analytics provide insights on the performance of sales teams

·         Identify weak spots in sales teams to plan and execute training programs whilst revisiting quotas and incentives for high-performers

Is there a way to further optimize the total cost of sales?

 

·         The cloud solution that comes with minimal administrative, infrastructure and IT overheads.

·         A single solution across business units, geographies, and currencies

·         Op-ex vs. cap-ex

·         Reduces compensation errors by 90 percent

·         Enables close to 50 percent reduction in IT / admin staffing costs

·         Minimal administrative, infrastructure, and IT overheads

How can I maximize sales productivity?

 

·         Clearly-defined quotas and incentivizes 'right selling'

·         Compensation dashboards and a mobile-based solution that provide real-time attainment and earnings insights in relation to targets

·         Self-service dispute management tool for faster dispute resolution

·         A nimble and agile sales team with maximized productivity

 

How do I promote healthy competition among the sales teams so they achieve more?

 

·         In-built gamification solution provides the necessary drive for the sales teams and reps to compete among themselves, with increased vigor and zeal

·         Drives higher attainment

·         Enhances the motivation of the sales teams

 

In a nutshell, the need to implement a modern incentive compensation solution like OSC IC has never been greater, and the benefits never so tangible.

Sources

·          http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenkrogue/2015/01/27/2015-trends-report-sales-process-sales-strategy-social-media-trends-sales-techniques-and-forecasting/#4d5f5e46734c

·          Oracle

Optimizing Supply Chain Inventory Using Oracle Inventory Optimization

 

In an increasingly competitive and globalized world every organization has to attempt novel methods to stay ahead of the competitors. Enterprises constantly strive towards improving their revenue, profitability and operating margins. It is no more possible for the enterprises to record a positive Year or Year (YoY) growth just by increasing the sales volume and thereby increasing the revenue and profit.  Most of the successful enterprises today have started looking within rather than outward to achieve their growth targets. The focus is on reducing the inventory (safety stocks), carrying and operating costs to improve the profitability without having to impact the productivity. The key to success is to optimize the overall supply chain inventory which reduces the cost of inventory and carrying costs eventually reducing the overall operating costs and contributing to improved margins.

The biggest challenge that looms over the inventory managers in large enterprises is how much inventory we should carry such that we do not compromise on the customer service level. In a global enterprise spanning across multiple geographies with multi-level and multi-layer supply chains, it is not an easy job to decide upon the ideal stocking locations and stocking strategies. With increasing number of competitors retaining the loyalty of the customer is increasingly difficult which leads to high demand variability and forecast inaccuracies. The variability in the lead times committed by our suppliers, transportation contractors and our own production engineers due to the unforeseen events, adds fuel to the fire. Given the circumstances and complexities the use of an IT tool is inevitable. Oracle Inventory Optimization is one amongst the tools available which could assist the enterprise managers in formulating and executing their inventory stocking strategies.

Oracle Inventory Optimization is part of the comprehensive Value Chain Planning Suite of applications from Oracle. The module provides a seamless integration with oracle e-Business suite transaction modules to get a snapshot of the supply chain and master data setups. It also integrates other supply and demand planning modules in VCP for further planning. IO provides the businesses with time-phased safety stock figures under the complex supply chain network.

The key advantage of IO is that it does a multi echelon inventory planning there by optimizing the inventory in the entire supply chain network as a whole in contrast to the conventional inventory planning techniques/tools which does a local optimization of the inventory. Businesses can now plan their entire supply chain network in a single plan. Along with the flexibility in fulfilment lead times and in-transit lead times between various levels of the supply chain network, IO recommends ideal stocking location of the inventory through postponement. Based on the supply chain network, it attempts to pool the risk of variability at higher levels in supply chain to a level lower in the supply chain network which would considerably lower inventory levels and costs without affecting the service level targets.

IO takes into account not just the demand variability and the forecast inaccuracies but also accounts for the variability of your manufacturing, in-transit and supplier lead times. It provides an insight on the contribution of each of those variability towards the overall proposed safety inventory levels.

Illustration 1: Time-phased safety stock analysis in analysis workbench

IO allows the users to perform different inventory simulations with different business objectives such as target service levels, budgets for different category/class of items for different customers/geographies. Inventory planners can perform different what-if scenarios and compare the outcomes related to target safety stock levels, budgets, inventory costs etc in Analysis workbench. The workbench provides the comparisons in both tabular and graphical formats with different types of graphs which are easy to interpret. The users can perform budget, cost break down, profitability analyses along with the safety stock and postponement analysis using the analysis workbench.

Illustration 2: Bar chart comparing safety stock recommendations for different IO Plans

 

Illustration 3: Line chart comparing safety stock recommendations for different IO Plans

 

Once the planners have arrived at ideal safety stocks in line with business objective, this information can be input to Advanced Supply Chain Planning (ASCP) for supply planning.

To conclude, Oracle Inventory Optimization is a very handy tool to enterprise managers which acts both as a strategic tool to decide upon the inventory stocking locations and as a tactical/operational tool once the strategy is formed. Its seamless integration with other Oracle demand and supply planning tools make it easy to implement and use.


August 24, 2016

Enhancing Business Partnerships Using Partner Relationship Management

Every sales department must keep a close track of sales through both direct and indirect channels. An average of 70 percent of a company's sales are estimated to be generated via an indirect sales channel of business partners. Yet, in spite of the dependency on these partners, very few organizations have the ability to effectively manage partner relationships for mutual benefit. This is where Partner Relationship Management (PRM) comes in, which serves to connect organizations with their channel partners and optimize sales activities. A typical Partner Relationship Management Life-cycle can be illustrated as below:

Typical Lifecycle of Partner Relationship Management

PRM Lifecycle.JPG

Automating the Partner Relationship Management interface helps organizations optimize partner performance and accelerate indirect sales, which in turn, amplifies marketing reach and translates into better profits for both organizations. It is also a key approach to help channel managers navigate the following key challenges associated with multiple partners, products, and campaign programs:

 

1.       Lack of real-time communication

·         Companies that sell through partners often face the risk of not knowing their customers, whereas the partner knows the end user much better

·         When a partner is assigned to work directly with a prospect, the channel manager must also have visibility about the situation. Without real-time communication, the channel manager wouldn't know if the partner is struggling and if so why -- especially if a competing vendor is also scouring for a similar sales opportunity

·         The absence of closed loop feedback mechanism will prevent valuable information that a partner has from reaching channel managers.

2.       Ineffective motivation, on-boarding, and mentoring of partners

·         Another challenge faced by Organization is Partner On boarding when a new Partner is recruited. In the absence of a software based Partner Portal it can be a cumbersome task for a Channel Manager to educate Partners about the processes & help them in downstream selling during Partner On-boarding

·         For enhanced partner performance it becomes critical for a channel manager to retain his partners while keeping them motivated and mentoring them from time-to-time for downstream selling

·         To ensure that partners remain loyal, channel managers must keep them engaged on a regular basis and monitor their performance, which can be a herculean task in the absence of a software-based PRM program.

Barriers to PRM that give Channel Manager the blues

PRM Pain Points.jpg

1.       Poor lead lifecycle management

·         Legitimate leads developed by multiple sources sometimes are managed below par because partners fail to followup with a potential prospect

·         Channel managers are unable to analyze the partner's overall lead performance as updates are sent back to multiple stakeholders, but not to the correct one due to lack of a common database

2.       Lack of visibility into downstream investments

·         Many organizations fail to understand the buying patterns of the end consumer, which is key to decide on future investments. This information is also valuable in generating data-driven insights about program effectiveness across different geographies, partner types, industries, and product lines

·         Organizations traditionally tend to provide investments to their partners who distribute it via tiered levels to re-sellers in the form of sales and marketing support to add value to their programs. To ensure the money is being utilized effectively organizations need to have clear visibility of the effectiveness of their investments to justify them

 

Given the wide range of challenges that channel managers have to address, the Partner relationship Management component of Oracle Sales Cloud (OSC) provides a comprehensive solution to handle all of these aspects. The following diagram details the features of this solution:

Improving Partner Relationships with the Help of Oracle Sales Cloud

OSC-PRM.JPG

ü  Oracle Sales Cloud provides a conducive channel ecosystem complete with Branded Partner Portal (tablet version as well) where both parties have access to content, information and tools of the sales cycle. Furthermore Oracle Social Network provides a  platform to interact, discuss & collaborate real time basis

ü  Partner Registrations & On-boarding capabilities are customized by configuring the workflows to include process which are company/ industry specific. To avoid conflicts Deal registrations, and Deal Management smartphone app can be used by both partners and channel managers for Leads-Opportunities Life-cycle Management.

ü  For effective and flexible Partner Management, quotes can also be integrated with OSC to help Partners create special pricing for different customers to give them competitive advantage in the market.

ü  Market Development Fund or MDF functionality in OSC is used for Business Planning, managing partner funds & downstream investments functionality where Claims details, approvals, settlements, tracking all are done in a single portal.

ü  In order to retain, monitor & motivate Partners Infosys has developed Infosys Program Management app which enhances PRM functionality in Oracle Sales Cloud with Partner Competency Management. It leverages on Game theory to keep Partners engaged & motivated with Tier Based Specialization, Training & Certification and Products-Services management.

ü  Features like White Space Analysis, Reports are provided to track & analyze data to gather insights into customer behavior, market trends and effectiveness of various Partner Programs. Configurable reports and easy to use dashboards give a clear picture of Partner's performance and thus more visibility to Channel Manager.

 

Consequently, the bottom line is that automation of PRM using OSC is done to provide a positive experience to partners and drives the following key business benefits:

  • Ø  Partner engagement becomes more collaborative, and effective.
  • Ø       Improved speed-to-market increases revenues through partner channels.
  • Ø       Both parties enjoy financial benefits as marketing investments are more regulated, which create opportunities for effective joint-marketing campaigns.
  • Ø   Increased channel insights enable organizations to channelize joint efforts towards more profits.
  • Ø   Effective management of partner credentials helps identify improvement areas for maximizing return-on-investment.

August 19, 2016

Modernizing configure, price, and quote (CPQ) solutions

 

Lengthy sales cycles often cause customer churn resulting in the depletion of an enterprise's bottom line. In the absence of a CPQ solution, it takes longer to generate quotes as various departments need to collaboratively finalize details, which drastically slows the pace of creating winning quotes. Due to the inherent slowness of the entire process, clients can get frustrated and move to 'greener pastures.' Another problem is that product information resides in multiple systems and this leads to the absence of a single source of truth, which causes errors, rework, and ultimately delays.

 

Today, it is imperative for sales teams to provide consistent and accurate information on pricing, product mix, and availability to customers -- quickly, from anywhere, and across multiple channels. Oracle Configure, Price, and Quote Cloud (Oracle CPQ Cloud) enables sales teams to optimize complex selling processes quickly and accurately. Hence, it delivers an unprecedented customer experience and transforms sales processes by:

·           Shortening sales cycles through faster customer enquiry responses, reduced quotation time, and one-click quote to order conversion

·           Eliminating errors in quotation process

·           Providing price consistency across multiple product lines

·           Increasing order volumes through up-sell and cross-sell opportunities

The idea is to bring order management to the front office and enable sales teams to create orders instantly and in front of clients, leading to faster deal closures.

August 18, 2016

Oracle Service Cloud : Connecting disparate mediums for a seamless customer service

Today, the proliferation of communication channels and mobile phone-empowered customers has transformed the way businesses interact with customers. At the same time, the modern customer has evolved and has access to a rapidly increasing number of market channels and product choices. As a result, providing seamless and consistent customer service has become an essential for enterprises to develop profitable and long-term customer relationships. And, to be able to do so, businesses need to:

·         Engage with customers and make it easier for them to communicate through any digital channel

·         Enable employees to serve customers better and faster

This is where Oracle Service Cloud helps organizations. The solution builds strong customer relationships by creating a unified, cross-channel, service solution on cloud. Available across both assisted and self-service channels, it facilitates contact center functionalities across digital channels to deliver an unrivalled customer experience along with the below features:

·        Web customer service: A world-class, self-service platform that is accessible through e-mail, mobile phone devices, and web browsers

·        Cross channel contact center: Helps agents to provide consistent and integrated customer experience across disparate disconnected systems. Agents use a combination of guided resolution feature and information on customer interactions to provide effective service

·       Knowledge management: Enables agents to respond quickly and accurately to customers -- the first time

·       Policy automation: Ensures regulatory policy compliance, regardless of the channel

Thus, businesses can leverage Oracle Service Cloud to deliver customer value and increase competitive advantage through superior business agility. The bottom line is that it enables businesses to increase sales, and reduce IT and maintenance costs and efforts.


Journey to the modern cloud with Oracle and Infosys

 

The shift to cloud has been phenomenal over the past few years and organizations are beginning to see the cloud as more than just a cost-saving initiative. The desire for greater agility and the need to provide better customer experience are two key factors that are driving the latest wave of cloud adoption and refueling next-gen business strategies. Infosys, in partnership with Oracle, is at the forefront of helping businesses leverage cloud technologies; providing a comprehensive portfolio of cloud business solutions across diverse industry segments, at every layer of the cloud solution stack -- from software and platform, to the overall infrastructure.

Infosys is a leading systems integrator for Oracle in the cloud space. We combine our in-depth knowledge of industry-specific requirements and cloud initiatives, with world-class methodologies, tools, and templates to ensure faster rollouts, effective implementations, quality support services and, de-risked upgrades. Furthermore, a large pool of certified consultants and accelerated cloud offerings enable us to deliver maximum value to our customers in the form of:

         Improved agility and scalability

         Reduced total cost of ownership

         Improved ease of doing business

Infosys is a 'Cloud Premier' partner of Oracle. This recognition has been bestowed on us because of our multiple, successful business transformations using Oracle Cloud solutions, which were implemented by our dedicated Oracle Cloud center of excellence. The Infosys Oracle Innovation Center at Shanghai is a testimony to our capabilities and continues to be the epicenter of ideation and creation of new joint solutions across the industry spectrum.

August 17, 2016

Data transfers to / from Oracle Transportation Management

Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) manages all transport activity across the supply chain cycle. It provides features to enable users to manage master data like location, corporation, equipment, item, commodity, rates, etc., and also monitor transaction data like order release and shipment data. However, OTM cannot work as a standalone system, as most organizations maintain their master / transaction data in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Integration helps bring ERP systems and OTM consolidate data, which is critical for a comprehensive logistics system. 

OTM exchanges information in the form of XML (GLogXML), thus making it mandatory for the interacting system to process XML also. An ERP system, on the other hand, has its own methodology to store and communicate information. For example, Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) stores data in an Oracle Database, SAP stores it in the 'Pivot' format, and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) stores data in a predefined format. For these systems to interact with OTM and exchange messages, a middleware that can appropriately translate messages between them is required.

int1.PNG

Exchange information from ERP systems to OTM

int2.PNG

Exchange information from OTM to ERP systems

Although OTM is compatible with most middleware software's currently available in the market, Oracle Fusion Middleware is recommended for integrations. Additionally, Oracle also offers its Process Integration Pack (PIP), which seamlessly integrates EBS and OTM using Fusion Middleware.

The GLogXML schema is the back bone for integration and consists of the 'Transmission Element,' which is the primary document for inbound / outbound integration. The 'TransmissionAck' element represents acknowledgement from OTM for the sent / received transmission. Transmission Report presents the summary of errors encountered during the integration process.

Transferring Information from ERP systems to OTM

Messages can be posted to OTM in one of the following four ways:

  • ·         HttpPost

o   WMServlet: Default servlet to post transmission to OTM

    http://hostname/GC3/glog.integration.servlet.WMServlet

o   TransformerServlet:  Applies XSL transformation to XML data in order to generate a valid transmission XML and upload it to OTM.  The XSL file should be uploaded in OTM, which will be used for inbound transmission

     http://hostname/GC3/glog.integration.servlet.TransformerServlet

o   DirLoadServlet: Bypasses application server to upload data into OTM. This will be used when data is loaded into OTM and processed later

http://hostname/GC3/glog.integration.servlet.DirLoadServlet

  • ·       Web service: OTM supports Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) Web Services (IntXmlService) for inbound transmissions. The web service is deployed in the application server
  • ·         Oracle Advanced Queue (OAQ): OTM supports Oracle Advanced Queue (OAQ) for sending and receiving XML transmission to/from OTM. The advantage of using OAQ is that it guarantees message delivery.
  • ·         Manual upload: Upload the XML file from OTM's front end. This is predominantly used for testing

OTM authenticates the username and password specified in the transmission XML.

Username and password can be specified in the HTTP header, when GLogXML is posted via HTTP post to WMServlet.

When GLogXML is posted via web service, username and password can be specified in the web service security token.  

Transaction Code in GLogXML helps OTM identify the operation to be performed on the received transmission. Transaction Code I (Insert) creates a new record; II (Insert Ignore) creates a new record if the record does not exist; U (Update) updates the existing record; D (Delete) deletes the record; NP (No Persist) does not persist data in the database; and R (Replace) replaces the parent and child objects.

Transferring data from OTM to ERP systems

A message can be posted from OTM in any one of the following ways:

  •            Automatically as part of workflow notifications
  •            Manual Scheduling outbound transmissions

At the same time, an external system can be configured to post data from OTM to:

  •          FTP server
  •          HTTP/HTTPS
  •          Queue
  •          Web service

Out XML Profiles help exclude portions of XML while posting out of OTM. This also reduces the size of the XML file and improves performance.

Although OTM provides multiple options to send / receive information, a web service is the recommended approach to interact with OTM as it is highly scalable, can handle huge volumes of data, and supports multi-threading.

                                                                                                                Written by: Ravi Kiran Gurujala

Improve bottom-line with enhanced fleet management features

Most fleet managers face challenges in day-to-day operations to optimize load, improve driver productivity, reduce fuel expenditures, check wear and tear of assets, and more, which ultimately leads to revenue losses. At the same time, increased fuel costs, low customer satisfaction, and an excessive maintenance bill compounds their problems. As a result, companies spend nearly 10 - 15 percent of the total cost of the goods per annum (on an average) to ensure that their fleet management gains efficiency.

Oracle Transport Management (OTM) with Oracle Fleet Management -- bring together all stakeholders on one platform, optimize resources, reduce transportation costs through better consolidation of orders with regard to resources, and also provide visibility into fleet resources.

Six key features of Oracle Fleet Management that improves efficiencies

  •  Automatic trip assignment: Fleet drivers can play a crucial part in the overall improvement of fleet metrics. If the drivers are utilized properly, it has an overall impact on fleet operations. Oracle Fleet Management optimizes automatic trip assignment using resources available at a given time and location
  •  Comprehensive tracking of driver's performance: It is always difficult for the fleet manager to keep track of driver breaks, which could impact the time to deliver shipments. Oracle Fleet Management evaluates a driver's hours of service and calculates the breaks required for the given duration of the trip
  • Consolidation of fleet data: In an enterprise, there are multiple information systems which need to function harmoniously and efficiently. Oracle Fleet Management and Oracle Transportation Management brings all stakeholders on a single platform for better communication and visibility
  • Real-time visibility into resources and traffic: As fleet operations are geographically widespread, fleet managers find it difficult to establish communication with their drivers or locate them. Oracle Fleet Management provides real-time visibility of fleet resources via an on-board device (TOMTOM, Teletrac Navman, etc.). Through an enhanced user interface (UI), it also enables fleet managers to view the last location of the driver and current traffic conditions on a map to plan out activities in a better way
  • Compliance with rules and regulations: Rules and regulations are set by authorities to ensure driver safety primarily. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) fact file, in 2014, nearly 3,978 trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes. The second most common cause for crashes were fatigue, illness, etc. By setting an hours of service rule and managing availability as per events for each driver, Oracle Fleet Management contributes to optimal planning, driver safety, and avoids breaches of the rules and regulations set by the country's authority
  • Reduction in manual financial settlements: The transportation of goods always involves a lot of paperwork, and maintaining finances manually is a tedious task, not to mention time consuming. Oracle Fleet Management aids in the reduction of paperwork and automatically segregates payables to drivers and external carriers, making the process transparent and reliable

Implementing Oracle Fleet Management enables your business to have real-time visibility of fleet resources, reduced IT development and support costs, and improved cash-to-cash cycle time. The direct result of this is the decrease in transportation costs by 5 - 25 percent with better consolidation and resource optimization. Business productivity shows a marked increase of 5 - 30 percent as all stakeholders function via a single platform. This also helps in enabling better service time and improves customer satisfaction.

Written by: Pratik Udhishter Sharma

August 13, 2016

Oracle Transportation Mobile app: A review

Oracle has come out with Oracle Transportation Mobile app version 1.1 which is compatible with Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) 6.3.X version. This app provides a very natural mobile experience as the user can work with this application using the swiping, scrolling, and rotating mechanism. You can download this app from the App Store or Google Play. While reviewing this app, I will be analyzing it based on the following criteria:

1. Ease of use: Mobile app should be intuitive and easy to use

2. Functionality to review tendered shipments / accept tendered shipments

3. Ability to add events

4. Feature to add signature

5. Capability to add damaged item's condition / photo

6. Functionality to view contact details of consignee

7. Ability to work offline as connectivity can be missing in remote locations such as Alaska / Hawaii

8. Feature to review invoices

9. Ability to add multiple events across multiple shipments

Having reviewed the OTM mobile app, this application is easy to use and fun to work with. From an initial setup perspective, it is quite easy to get started. The transport carrier needs to login using an email ID and password. The admin needs to provide certain access control lists to the service provider, to provide permission to access the application and to be able to enter events. When connected to internet, you can begin with onboarding carriers on this app within a week by doing necessary setups and providing the login/password info to the carrier.

As soon as shipment is reviewed for execution and tendered to carrier, the carrier can view it immediately by refreshing his data on the App user interface. The carrier can review shipment information such as shipment stops, weight, order information, item information, equipment information, and consignee contact information. This helps create a complete paperless experience, thus aiding the cause of green transportation.

The application provides the ability to accept / reject the tender, and the response is immediately available to be seen by shipper. Thus, there is no translation (B2B) involved in between. Carriers can cut down on the cost of B2B implementation with this app.

Once the carrier is ready with the pickup, he can add events like pickup, in transit, delay events with date / location. The application provides the capability to add an event based on the shipment's stop location or current location. The application also provides the capability to add photo / signature for the event where the set-up is defined in OTM. Hence, it should be known to the carrier that he/she can add a status on certain events only.

This application comes with a local Structured Query Language (SQL) database which allows relevant data associated with the shipment to be stored on the mobile. However, in case connectivity is an issue, the carrier must be able to only view the shipments but will not be able to add events till the connectivity issue is resolved.

The application does not provide the capability to review invoices as an out-of-the-box feature. It could, however, be possible to add it via Representational State Transfer (REST) application programming interfaces (APIs), but I am yet to review REST APIs. Also, the application does not provide the capability to add multiple events in its current state, and only one event can be added to one shipment at any given time. Overall, this application helps in providing enterprises with quick onboarding capabilities to their carriers /drivers.

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Screenshots from the OTM Mobile App

OTM Mobile app Features

Rating ( 5/ 5)

Ease of Use

5

Review Tender / Accept Tender

5

Ability to add events

5

Add Signature

5

Add Photo

5

View Contact Details

5

Ability to work offline

2

Review Invoices

0

Ability to add multiple events

0

The app gets an overall rating of 3.5/5

Written by: Vipin Kumar Madan

Designing Next Generation Supply Chain and Logistics

In today's world, global economy can be erratic and businesses around the world need to adapt to ever changing scenarios. Moreover, growing competition and tectonic shifts in technology have forced businesses to re-think their supply chain and logistics strategies. Supply chain professionals around the globe are exploring possibilities and leveraging cutting-edge technology to gain competitive advantage. We discuss here top-two disruptive technological breakthroughs, which are crafting the next generation of supply chain and logistics. 

Device mesh: Hyper-integrated, Automated and Responsive supply chain

Let's face it!  In the last couple of years, an explosion of technologies is transforming the way supply chains will function in the coming years. Trending technologies include automatic identification and data capture (AIDC), Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth connectivity, electronic sensors, radio-frequency identification (RFID), cloud computing, mobility and many more! Together, these technologies create a digital mesh of devices, which transform the supply chain and logistics processes. This enhances the information flow and communication between various supply chain units and stakeholders.

Device mesh is gaining popularity because they are able to address the gaps between ground realities and planning estimation in a volatile business scenario. In addition, they enable decision makers to respond to situations in a fast and efficient manner and avoid delayed communication. Also, we can't discount the valuable feedback we get from customers via various means such as customer service contact, social media platform, online interaction etc. -  Just imagine the possibilities if we can have all of it almost real time!! Device Mesh unlocks such possibilities.

Especially logistics providers around the world are early adopters of cutting-edge technologies and have been able to improve logistics visibility, ensure on-time delivery, and enhance customer service through device meshes.

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Three pronged benefits of Device Mesh in Logistics space

Other areas such as enterprise wide visibility, warehouse and yard management, and fleet management have immediate benefits of adapting to such technologies. Businesses can have better control over their assets across inventory and transportation, reduce operational costs, or improve data accuracy.

Advanced Machine Learning and Analytics: Smart supply chain solutions

We live in an era of data explosion such that by the time you complete reading this line over 2.5 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook. With every second more data get created, but there are limitations to amount of data a human alone can analyze. Machine learning algorithms viz. supervised and unsupervised help us analyze such big data explosions and spot trends, behaviors, and possible bottlenecks in supply chain and logistics.

Machine learning remains a consistent technology trend, which is bound to stay valuable in the coming years. Though a recent entrant in the trend hype, it has quickly evolved to capture attention across businesses. In fact, machine learning replaced big data last year in Gartner Hype Cycle.

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Gartner Hype Cycle 2015

For comparison here is Gartner Hype Cycle for 2014

Whether we talk about IoT, digital mesh, automation agents, user experience or smart machines; machine learning has an important role to play. Organizations around the world are waking up to the possibilities and insights that machine learning has to offer and are using it to gain competitive advantage. Logistics providers are saving millions of dollars each year by learning from data they generate.

Machine learning goes hand-in-hand with analytics. Data science as depicted on Gartner Hype Cycle is classified under innovation triggers -- businesses now have tools at their disposal to generate intelligence from historical data and to take it to next level. The advent of predictive analytics and advanced business forecasting techniques are helping businesses to mitigate risks, trigger early warning systems in supply chain, manage manufacturing better and anticipate demand beforehand.

Speed, agility, responsiveness, smart, and efficient are adjectives which define next generation supply chains. Evidently over time it will change the way business is done but there are extra costs which are involved in incorporating these technologies to your existing supply chain. Before embracing such disruptive changes, it's recommended that pros and cons are weighed rationally to have more benefit out of such enterprise.

Written by: Deepshikhar Tyagi

 


August 12, 2016

The Global Impact of TPP and Oracle GTM's Adaptability

The Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a proposed trade agreement signed initially by the four Pacific Rim countries of Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, and later by Australia, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, the United States, and Vietnam.

The main objectives of the agreement are:

          -          Comprehensive market access
    -          Inclusive trade and development
    -          Regional integrations
    -          Addressing new trade challenges

The signing of the trade treaty is bound to usher in the following changes:

1)      More cumulative rules of origin

Countries that are a part of the same Trade agreement can share production/manufacturing of goods and can comply with the concerned laws of origin together if the Trade agreement allows for 'Cumulative Rules of Origin'. It simply means that a manufacturer in a country can use raw materials from another manufacturer in another country (that is a part of the trade agreement) without losing the actual status of the input.

How Oracle GTM will help: Using Oracle Global Trade Management (GTM), any import (to be used as an input in the manufacturing of an item) coming to a member country from another member country can be flagged, and the final item created can still bear the country of origin as the one where the plant is located.

For example, Oracle GTM is being implemented for a customer in Canada (member country) who is importing some parts from Malaysia (another member country) to create an item. This customer further exports to Israel and wants to enjoy the benefits of the agreement that Canada separately has with Israel.  Using Oracle GTM, the customer can change the origin of all incoming parts from member nations to 'Canada' and enjoy the desired benefits. At the same time, it can also ensure that the parts coming from non-member nations still show their actual country of origin.

This can be done by simply creating a compliance rule set-up that screens the origin locations of all the incoming parts and checks them against the list of member and non-member nations.

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2)      Non-discriminatory trade liberalization

Non-discriminatory trade liberalization will be a byproduct of the TPP. With this agreement, more modern, simpler, standardized and more transparent regulations will come into existence to facilitate trade. This will be very similar to the case of European Union (EU), where customs procedures have been standardized across all 27 member states.

This simply means that a lot of countries engaging in trade with TPP members will be exempted from certain mandatory documents that were required earlier. A long list of documents will most probably be reduced to just a few documents. Some of these documents, however, will be demanded by customers and will have to be produced only when asked for.

How Oracle GTM will help: Oracle GTM's feature of 'document generation' offers high degree of customization (unlike other GTM solutions) and can be made to create a single document that contains all the information required by various regulatory bodies. With its next release, Oracle also plans to introduce a readymade, customer-driven 'document request' feature that will allow customized documents to be created as per requests made by the customer.

3)      Landed cost calculation to become a decisive factor

In the non-discriminatory environment that TPP will bring, various countries will be treated alike by importers. There will be no or minimal non-tariff trade barriers like 'export subsidies,' 'import quotas,' 'determination of the eligibility of an exporting firm by the importer,' 'preference to domestic suppliers,' etc. Under such conditions, 'landed cost' of import / procurement will play an important role in deciding which country to import from.

For instance, an importer in Canada, interested in importing from a TPP member country, will treat all members alike and will not give any special treatment to a particular member nation. Thus, deciding whether to import from Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, or even Mexico will depend heavily on the 'landed cost in Canada' for all these options. In earlier times, Mexico would have received preference due to North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its proximity to Canada, resulting in lower logistics cost. Now, however, that will not be the case.

How Oracle GTM will help: Oracle GTM's 'landed cost estimator' feature allows any customer (importer) to create test scenarios that allow imports from various nations and then comparisons of the results. It also allows the importer to add tentative costs like freight, insurance, duties, etc. After creating and analyzing different scenarios, the customer will be much better placed to decide which country to import from.

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4)      Duty drawbacks / rebates by the government to see growth

Exporters based in the member countries outside of the free trade zones (FTZs) will also increase in number. A number of local manufacturers and merchants who will export to other TPP member countries will claim duty drawbacks / reliefs from their governments. This will give rise to a need for quick and accurate document generation.

How Oracle GTM will help: Usually, to claim the benefits of duties, a 'proof of export' has to be made. The 'document generation' feature of GTM, once again, will help exporters produce these 'proof of export' documents and will help the exporters reap the benefits of duty drawbacks / relief faster.

Written by: Ravikiran Narayan Khobragade and Mohammad Haider Talat

Infosys Edge: Plug-Tune-Play Oracle GTM Solution

In today's rapid globalization, most successful organizations operate in more than just one country -- for sourcing raw materials, importing goods, exporting finished products, and more. However, while operating in international markets, organizations need to abide by complex international trade laws that might require them to do some or all of the following:

      1)      Classify their products based on an international system or source / destination country-specific system. For example, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) for American goods
 2)      Avoid trade with people / companies suspected of being involved in international crimes / terrorism
 3)      Avoid trade with countries that are under embargoes. For example, Sudan, Syria, etc.
 4)      Comply with the trade treaties that the involved countries are a part of. For example, mandates issued by Nuclear Suppliers Group for a member country such as Australia
 5)      Comply with country-specific trade obligations. For example, no Israeli-origin goods are to be allowed for imports in a member country of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), such as Saudi Arabia
 6)      Assign license numbers to goods that are controlled / in dual-use --  for example, Export Control Classification Numbers (ECCN) for US exports
 7)      Create and provide regulatory / commercial documents that need to accompany goods -- for example, commercial invoices and bills of lading
 8)      File relevant documents electronically with the local customs authorities -- for example, 'Paperless Customs and Excise' or PaperLess Douane en Accijnzen (PLDA) in Belgium

Country-specific requirements

It is crucial to note that all these requirements vary drastically from one country to another.

For instance, in a member country of the European Council (EC) -- like Germany -- the exporter needs classification codes that are specific to EC (HTSEU), customs filing that is specific to Germany (Automatic Rate and Local Customs Clearance System / ATLAS), and other similar trade compliances specific to the trading bloc or the country. However, when you consider an APAC country -- such as New Zealand -- the exporter needs classification codes specific to the island nation (NZHSC, in this case) and customs filing with electronic cargo information (ECI), which is again country-specific.

Standard Oracle Global Trade Management (GTM) implementation

Any GTM software -- or to be precise, Oracle GTM application -- provides a tool that can be configured and customized to suit the trade-specific requirements of a customer. It comes with absolutely no data of its own. Hence, any system integrator (SI) working for a customer has to first provide country-specific data to Oracle GTM, followed by the industry-specific data, and then the company-specific data. Once the master data is fed into the system, one needs to further build the configuration by writing rules, business flows, and many more complex equations. Once this is done, the SI performs the testing, fine-tunes the system, and finally takes the configuration live for the customer. This activity usually takes months of effort, numerous exchanges of information, and several rounds of testing.

Infosys readymade solutions

At Infosys, we have walked an extra mile in the Oracle GTM space by creating what we refer to as 'Infosys Edge: Plug-Tune-Play Oracle GTM solution.' With a dedicated team of over 150 consultants from the 'supply chain' and 'global trade' spaces, Infosys performed extensive research on certain key geographical pockets and has now come up with pre-loaded and pre-configured solutions for various trading regions / countries of the world.

As a direct result, this set of solutions has drastically reduced the time and effort that it takes to deliver a GTM solution to a customer. Where a routine solution requires loading, configuring, customizing, testing, and fine-tuning before the application goes live; with Infosys, the process simply comes down to testing and fine-tuning. We have already implemented the system readymade for various countries in North America; Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia-Pacific (APAC) regions.

Furthermore, if you are a defense equipment-manufacturer based out of Australia, we already have a system prepared for you that does the following:

     1)  Checks classification of your items as per the Australian Harmonized Export Commodity Classification (AHECC)
2) Screens your business processes / transactions as per the list provided by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions and additional Australian Autonomous sanctions
3) Checks if any of your exports fall under the Defense and Strategic Goods List (DSGL) and whether licenses like a Restricted Goods Permit (RGP) or Defense Export Permit (DEP) are applicable
4)  Creates shipment data for customs filing with the integrated cargo system (through CI / customs interactive facility or EDI / electronic data interchange)
 5) Flags all transactions that fall under any of the trade agreements that Australia is a part of -- for example, China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA)

Since our readymade solutions already have most (if not all) of the capabilities that a business such as yours might need, it drastically brings down the total time and effort required by us to provide the right solution to you.

 

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Written by: Ravikiran Narayan Khobragade and Mohammad Haider Talat

August 11, 2016

OTM on Cloud: Buy Vs Rent Dilemma for Transportation Management System

For enterprises, running operations on cloud has come a long way from being just a cost saver to a rapid business enabler.

In today's fast-changing dynamics, chief information officers (CIOs), who are keen to implement transportation management solutions for their organizations, are immersed in the following dilemma:

Do I buy a transportation management system (TMS) product and implement it on-premise or do I rent the services over cloud for my TMS?

At the same time, CIOs of companies that already use TMS systems are in a different dilemma over the following:

Do I continue investing and upgrading to a newer version or do I move the processes to cloud?

The answers to the above questions are not simple! In this blog, we will elaborate on how Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) cloud solution and Infosys help CIOs make this decision.

Customer Category

We, at Infosys, strive to understand customer needs and their existing processes before we provide a recommendation. Towards this, we evaluate the client capabilities across the following:

     a. IT landscape
b. Objectives and pain points
c. Current TMS solutions
d. Solution complexities and dependencies
e. Existing business processes

     Based on our evaluation, we try to categorize the client in the following buckets :

    a. Entrants: No TMS and transportation processes are small-scale and adheres to industry standards without much deviations.
b. Intermediate: No TMS or client has homegrown applications with complex business processes
c. Complex: OTM is already implemented but running on an older version or is highly customized leading to significant expenses on infrastructure and licenses

Infosys can help companies transform from a state of legacy or no systems to one with future-proof systems. Our evaluation process for each of the above categories differs. We believe in the basic mantra that software must compliment the business and not define it, but somewhere Oracle has put most, if not all, of the best practices into the software. Hence, it is always best to see if the processes can be made lean and mean. Infosys puts the effort in understanding the business and the criticality of the process implemented before any recommendation is provided to the client.

     a. Entrants: There are some smaller companies which do not own comprehensive transportation systems. Moving to OTM solution is the best option for them. They get industry best practices at the least cost possible. It kick-starts the redefinition of their processes, improves their business, and paves the path for growth. As a result, they get to own industry standard processes at a much lower investment. We also enable them to choose from a range of pre-configured solutions to rapidly reduce implementation life cycles by using standard processes and valuable, bolt-on applications
b. Intermediates: The best option is to move to OTM to make their systems future proof. We provide an assessment of the solution and a recommendation based on the complexity and client objectives.  If after careful evaluation, it is still found that certain customizations are absolutely necessary, then OTM can be complemented with the Oracle Platform as a Service (PaaS) solution. The combination of OTM and PaaS helps to bridge the gap between customizations and standard features
c. Existing: Many companies run on legacy transportation management solutions. This requires additional investments for upgrades and continued support from software vendors. This is where the move to OTM Cloud will also be helpful. We can migrate the solution to OTM Cloud and complement it with Oracle PaaS solution

     Each industry has it specific nuances and any solution has to be reflective of that. Our solutions are industry-specific and take care of these nuances. In addition, they can be rapidly implemented with pre-configured OTM instances, documentation, mobility, etc. The solution suite from Infosys can include the PaaS solution as well, if the standard features of OTM do not fulfill all requirements.

The combined benefits of implementing our solution along with OTM Cloud are as follows:

     1.  Low cost which makes the OTM Cloud proposition very attractive. There is no investment on infrastructure 
2. Rapid implementation methodology helps customers gain faster return on investment
3. Upgrades are managed by Oracle and Infosys, which ensure that the client's technology infrastructure remains current. Cost-effective license fee as customers avail a subscription based model
4. PaaS solutions are provided for functionalities that do not have a standard OTM feature

Written by: Anirban Roy and Sambasivam

Rate Maintenance: A task simplified by OTM v6.4

Amidst a multitude of enhancements over previous versions, Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) v6.4 has caught the attention of OTM practitioners and users with its improved fleet management, rate maintenance, and mobility features. Considering the criticality of rate maintenance function and also the frequency with which OTM rates need to be updated, it won't be an exaggeration to conclude that the rate maintenance tool is poised to stand out as one of the key driving factors for OTM 6.4.

Global economy today is highly dynamic, complex, and competitive. Businesses strive hard to synchronize their offerings along the crests and troughs of the economic indices. In such an uncertain terrain, logistics service providers and carriers are left with no other option but to frequently update their service offerings with revised pricing structures. In today's world, rates and accessorials are in constant flux while service providers and transportation lanes are constantly being added or removed from supply chains. Thus, from the perspective of OTM users as well as those responsible for maintaining the IT infrastructure, these fluctuations emerge as one of the most complex, time and resource consuming activities. Let me begin by listing down the key reasons that favor this improved rate maintenance tool:

  • Conventional rate upload process in OTM is time consuming, resource intensive, and expertise requiring activity
  • OTM rate tables are highly interlinked and inter-dependent; also, as these involve a large number of related attributes, the scope for error is huge
  • Owing to volatility of market forces, there are frequent fluctuations in rates and consequent revisions to the offerings of service providers

However, before jumping to conclusions, it's important to understand the 'hows' of the conventional rate upload process. Basically, rates in OTM, be it buy or sell, are configured through either of the following methods:

  • Manual entry via user interface
  • Table-by-table upload of comma-separated values (CSV) through Business Process Automation- Integration

The manual entry method mostly involves business users and is used only for a small number of records. The CSV upload method is more popular for editing and uploading large number of records, but on the flip side, the tables have many dependencies and unless correct values are inserted, it would lead to complex errors. To illustrate this point, I would like to quote a few interrelated tables such as X-Lanes, Rate Versions, Rate Offerings, Rate Geos, and so on. Also, each of these tables consist of umpteen attributes, which correspond to a totally different set of values.

In such a situation, OTM v6.4 seems to have brought a much needed intervention in the form of its Rate Maintenance feature. However, as all good things come at a cost, this feature too requires a license for OTM Sourcing. Its user interface leverages the Oracle Application Development Framework (ADF), which is being used to enhance overall user experience throughout OTM.

The Rate Maintenance feature comprises of the following key processes:

  • Managing rate load definitions or defining structure of desired rates: Users begin by simply selecting a template or sample rate to define the fields they want to collect or modify. They then configure what and how they want the proposed rates spreadsheet to look like based on the available rate attributes
  • Downloading existing rates or generating spreadsheet: Depending on whether 'new rates' are to be configured or 'existing rates' need to be modified, users select either of the two available options: 'download without rates' for former and 'download with rates' for latter. Using the Rate Load definition ID and based on the selected option, users query the rates which they want to create / modify
  • Populating / editing rate data in spreadsheet: Users populate the spreadsheet with the new rates or rate updates
  • Uploading the rates spreadsheet: Once data entry is completed, the rate spreadsheet is selected to be loaded into OTM
  • Reviewing, approving, and making rates operational: Approval actions enable the user to review and approve the rate changes. An audit trail of all rate uploads and approval activity is maintained. Lastly, the user finalizes the rates making them operationally available

Thus, in this manner, users are able to easily upload and maintain rates in a logical and user-friendly way. The interface and workflow shall undoubtedly play pivotal roles in shortening the quote to contract process. In a nutshell, this Rate Maintenance feature of Transportation Sourcing v6.4 leads to improved productivity by enabling business users to manage rates without requiring technical knowhow of the OTM rate tables.

On a similar note, prior to v6.4, Infosys OTM competency too had developed a homegrown service solution in the form of a mass upload tool to facilitate such requirements.

Written by: Prayash Baruah

August 2, 2016

How to process Investment in Associates in Oracle E-Business Suite?

 

When an investor entity exerts significant influence over an investee entity, the latter is called an 'associate' of the former. When the investor has the right to take part in the financial and operating policy decisions of the investee, it is treated as a 'significant influence.' However, the term 'significant influence' does not include 'controlling influence,' in which case, the investee would be called a 'subsidiary' of the investor entity. The investor may acquire this 'significant influence' by holding a 20-50 percent stake in the equity capital of the investee, or through terms and conditions of its investment that provide the entity such rights.


International Accounting Standard 28 prescribes the use of equity accounting method for treatment of investment in associates.

 

Many organizations manage such investments through spreadsheets. The cumulative accounting impact is booked directly as journals in the general ledger. However, if the volume of such investment transaction is high, it would be risky and inefficient to maintain it in spreadsheets.

 

Oracle E-Business Suite customers can leverage their existing investment in the financial modules to track and process such transactions. For solution details, please read the white paper 'How to process Investment in Associates in Oracle E-Business Suite'.

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