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

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October 26, 2018

Workforce management (WFM) -There is an app for it!!!

There is an app for it" - More often, than not is the response to a question.

As the workforce continues to evolve and transform, workforce management tactics and processes also need to embrace the coming trends. Mobility was the buzz word few years back, and is now being augmented by a new trend: Employee experience (EX).

EX can be summarized as Self-service with a personalized experience on a mobile device.

Questions that an organization needs to address to be able to create the ultimate EX app:

·         How do we empower our employees/managers to be more independent (so that they spend less time managing the business and more time growing it)?

·         How can we reduce the time spent on mundane daily tasks?

·         How can we help our managers plan better and spend more time with their teams than systems?

Some key tenets of an ultimate EX app:


dt1.png

Source: created by author

 "Less is more"!!! it is not about making a great all in one product. In fact, it's about how seamless the transactions are across products.

If an organization can enhance the employee experience, they will be able to create more involved and productive workforce that helps business achieve their goals.

A study from IBM and Globoforce found the connection between optimistic employee experience and more engaged work performance and reduced attrition. Companies with engaged employees outperform those without by 202%; customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged; and organizations that have more than 50% employee engagement retain more than 80% of their customers. Engagement is a key to every company's success and employee detachment amounts to loss of over $500 billion per year in US economy.

dt2.png

How does get one started on the EX journey?

The primary goal of the Employee Experience app is to create supplementary value for the users. Which is why the use cases being rolled out are of utmost importance.

Training is extremely important. While millennials will love to use a "cool" app, the entire workforce should be able to see value in adapting newer tools. Hence the message 'simplification and acceleration of administrative tasks' becomes critical.

The app itself needs to be highly interactive to allow all user transactions seamlessly across systems.


The cherry on top for a successful experience is customization capability of the app which will allow users to define their look and feel. 


dt3.png

View image 

Source: created by author


Let's look at couple of examples that would help understand this better.

Example 1: Daily punches - no click solution!

Solution: no click punches via mobile app. The tech in the background would leverage Geo fencing + biometrics (voice/face recognition) + employees registered mobile phone number

Detail: Employee walks into the office -> gets a push notification "hey, you have reached office would you like to punch IN" -> employee responds via voice "Yes, please" -> Punch is authenticated and recorded

Flow:


dt4.png

View image 

Source: created by author


Example 2: applying time -off - talk to the app!

Solution: voice enabled time off requests. The tech in the background would leverage voice enabled Chatbot

Detail: Employee opens the app and conversation would be as below:

Employee: Please apply Vacation for tomorrow

Bot: Would you like to apply full day or half day vacation?

Employee: Full day

Bot: Please confirm with a yes or no. Applying full day vacation for *insert date*

Employee: Yes

Bot: Vacation request successfully submitted


Flow:


dt5.png

View image 

Source: created by author


This is the classic "less is more" example allowing the user to have a seamless transaction while the tech running in the background is a complex combination of algorithms.

In addition to considering the framework/technology, it's also important to think about what is going inside the app. Mobile solution requires a new approach to content. When thinking about the app, remember that it shouldn't be a dumping ground for old webpages. 

Personalized Mobility is the future of the workforce, and an app will enable employers to connect to their employees in new and exciting ways.

As a result, they get an engaged and empowered workforce that spend less time managing the business and more time growing it. Thereby increasing customer retention rates by ~18%. Engagement is a key to every company's success and employee detachment amounts to loss of over $500 billion per year in US economy.

"App" IT - now!!!

October 24, 2018

OAC Data Visualization (DVD/DVCS) New Features

Oracle Analytics Cloud (OAC) is getting matured in the industry and gaining customer trust. So Oracle is adding more and more new and innovative features to make the product more usable and make more compatible in today's ever changing market.

There are number features has been added in the OAC DV version 4 and 5 which will provide whole new set functionalities that will enable OAC users to harvest features and functionality like OBIEE. We are going to discuss few of the new and exciting features in the below article with some live example:

·         Drill via Existing Column in Same Visulization

·         Drill to another Canvas or URL

·         Use one analysis as a filter for whole canvas

·         Pattern Brushing

·         Synchronized Visualization

·         Explain Feature


1.      Drill via Existing column in Same Visualization

When we are performing some ad-hoc analysis and creating an intuitive summary report we may need to drill to detail level in the same visualization or analysis to get a detailed idea about the underlying information, which is forming the summary value. This can easily be done by right clicking on the data point (or e.g. bar/pie in a chart) to select the appropriate column to go to the detailed data. For an example, in the below Bar chart we can select any month and go to the product level to see individual product sales.

Drill via Data 1.JPG

Drill via Data 2.JPG

Drill via Data 3.JPG


2.      Drill to Another Canvas or URL

There may be need when we would like to see the whole detailed information not only corresponding to a particular column but a detailed report present in different canvas either in the same project or different project. This will also allow us to choose what column to pass to the next canvas as parameter. This can be simply done by creating drill down feature from the Data action pane. So in the below analysis, if we would like to see the canceled product in a detailed report. First we will click on the top right corner (3 dots) and open the data actions pane. From there we have to choose a name for the drill down, anchor data (on which drill option will be available, upon right click), name of the canvas or URL to go and name of the columns to pass as drill down parameters to the next canvas.

Drill to Other Canvas 1.JPG

Drill to Other Canvas 2.JPG

Drill to Other Canvas 3.JPG

Drill to Other Canvas 4.JPG

3.      Use one analysis as a Filter for whole canvas

As the outline suggested, Sometimes we want to use a particular analysis to use a filter for the entire canvas. This can be easily achieved by just right clicking on a particular analysis/chart and click on use a filter option. In the below chart we can use Sales by month as a filter for the next chart (Sales by Country).

Filter 1.JPG

Filter 2.JPG

4.      Pattern Brushing

Patter brushing is a new and innovative feature to highlight similar data points on the respective charts and graphs/analysis upon clicking on particular data point from different chart in a same canvas. We can see that when we click or select any number of months (data points) in the bar graph, corresponding months also get highlighted on the tabular format.

Pattern Brushing 1.JPG

View image

5.      Synchronized Visualization

Synchronized visualization is a very useful feature which allows the smart user to select any data point from particular chart/graph and rest of the visualizations from the canvas gets automatically filtered. In the below image we can see when we use keep selected option for any month the next visualization also shows the data corresponding to the same month. We can also disable this feature by unchecking the synchronize option from the top right side of the canvas.


Synchonized Visualization 1.JPG

Synchonized Visualization 2.JPG

Synchonized Visualization 3.JPG

6.      Explain Feature

As the name suggest this a brand new functionality provided by OAC DV version 5. Sometimes when we deal with some new and unknown data set and we are curious about a particular column and their data structure and type we can easily use Explain feature to get the required details. To get the explanation for a particular column, simply right click on the column name and click on EXPLAIN COLUMN_NAME option. The below images outlined the topic in a nutshell.

Explain Feauture 1.JPG


Explain Feauture 2.JPG

All the visualization has been created on the latest version of OAC and using Sample Sales Data available at here. 

https://www.kaggle.com/kyanyoga/sample-sales-data#sales_data_sample.csv

We will provide more details in future as Oracle introduce new features to OAC in upcoming blogs.

 

October 22, 2018

Supply Chain Planning on Oracle Cloud for Industrial Manufacturers

 

Digitalization is changing our world in profound ways. Product development cycles are decreasing and delivery models are dramatically evolving. Software-enabled innovations are creating new service-based business models that are replacing existing products and re-ordering industry dynamics seemingly overnight. All kinds of industrial manufacturers have a common characteristic of globally distributed supply networks which is very complex. Process manufacturers these days are facing problems related to high fixed costs and a relatively inflexible manufacturing footprint. Discrete manufacturers also face challenges typically of high demand volatility and short product lifecycles. Therefore, all types of industrial manufacturers are feeling the heat and its imperative that they undergo a transformation to meet the requirements of the digital age.

Existing supply chain planning process of large industrial manufacturers is characterized by rudimentary applications that involve lot of manual data entry and number crunching is an even more tedious task. There is lack of transparency which leads to inconsistencies in data analysis and reporting. As a result, planners and users waste a lot of their time in trying to organize data in the format that's readable and actionable. This leads to increasing costs.

 

From the earlier disjointed planning systems which had Demand Planning, Supply Planning, Inventory Planning and Sales & Operation Planning operating separately, the need of the hour is to have all the planning systems on a single platform. The day in the life of a planner currently involves analyzing loads of data, modeling multiple scenarios and then acting on recommendations based on their analysis. This is a time consuming process and needs to be run on a single engine so as to assist the planner and make him more responsive. He should be able to simulate and run analytical models with a single click so that decisions can be made efficiently and faster.

 



Infosys over the years has worked with several Industrial manufacturers and currently many projects are still under way. Infosys consultants have years of experience across multiple client engagements. Infosys has the foundation in place and is ready to help clients navigate to their next. For industrial manufacturers the next step is to have an integrated suite of products with smart dashboards, Intuitive UI's so as to help the planner perform their day to day job efficiently and with minimum hassle of navigating across multiple ERP screens and applications.


 

                 Modern Best Practice

 



     Outsourced, In-House Manufacturing, Make-To-Order, Configure-To-Order and Make-To-Stock




The Infosys Industrial Manufacturing Solution is the first of its kind, fully integrated and configurable on Cloud which optimizes the day to day tasks and processes for a planner. It assists the planner to accurately do Demand forecasting and schedule the production plans effectively. The Demand & Supply Planning solution is fully configurable for Make-To-Stock, Configure-To-Order, Make-To-Order and OSP related workflows. This solution allows planners to quickly adapt and modify their production plans, sourcing details according to changing demand patterns. The In-built smart dashboards and analytical models help the planner to identify process-related bottlenecks, eliminate waste and optimize production. It operates on the lean principle of supply chain planning of minimizing waste. The Supply Chain planning on Cloud enables the planner to efficiently plan, simulate multiple scenarios with a single click and make decisions at a much much faster pace. Constraint based, capacity based planning can be easily modeled with the help of this solution thereby making other rudimentary applications redundant. For an Industrial manufacturer, the complex one to many bill of materials that is currently being configured across multiple warehouses can be easily modeled in Supply Chain Planning Cloud in the form of a Supply Network wherein multiple 'Make At', 'Buy From' and 'Transfer from' sourcing rules can be configured and assigned to the supply plan with the help of an Assignment set. Thus the configuration of the supply network and supply plan is also an easy task with the step-by-step task pane available. Demand Fulfillment dashboards, Demands-At-Risk and other custom exception messages can be easily configured in this Cloud solution, based on which planner will be able to make decisions faster and more efficiently. Supply Planning can help you simulate multiple business scenarios, be it capacity constraints or demand volatility or even shorter product lifecycles by making the plan flexible and agile..


The Kanban Planning, Min-Max based planning, Service parts planning are already planned to be rolled out in future releases of Oracle Cloud which will further enhance the flexibility of planning central cloud to other process and discrete manufacturers.




October 18, 2018

Oracle Master Data Management - OCH

Introduction

Trending technologies and methodologies had led to tremendous growth in the IT landscape leading to the agility of the processes. In due course of adapting to the trending technologies, customer data integration and management becomes key aspect of the maintenance. The optimum solution to leverage the data integration and management is the Master Data Management tool. Currently in market there are numerous number of MDM tools available for the usage and most of them are in use as well depending on the compatibility of the applications being integrated.  

MDM Overview

Oracle provide their support to the master data management capabilities supporting as one of the leading product support enterprise.

Oracle Master Data Management drives results by empowering enterprises and their users with the ability to cleanse, govern and manage the quality and lifecycle of master data through its principles. Oracle's MDM is a comprehensive platform designed to reduce time to market, reduce the cost of compliance as well as improve the customer experience by optimizing marketing efforts and providing the scalable ways to align to the latest technologies in market, along with providing the answers customers need.

Oracle Customer Hub also known as Siebel Universal Customer Master/Siebel UCM is one of the Oracle's leading Master Data Management (MDM) offered solutions. OCH's package functionality at enterprise level enables the capability of managing the customer data over the complete customer business cycle i.e., 360 degree view of the customer: capturing data, standardization and correction/rectification of names/addresses; Ability to identify, merge duplicate records; enrich customer profile; ensuring the governance of compliance and risk policies; and the maintenance of a "single source of truth" ensuring the best version of the customer profile is available for the consumers

In case of any other platform other than Siebel, respective MDM utilities/tools can be used depending on the client requirements.

Benefits of MDM

Below diagrammatic representation explains the industry challenges along with MDM relevance in respective area

 

mdm.jpg

 

 

Salient Features and Approach

As mentioned earlier, Siebel UCM or Oracle Customer Hub (OCH) solution is the leading oracle MDM tool proposed which provides the below salient features:

ü  5 Fundamental Master Data Management capabilities such as Quality, Consolidate, Quality, Share, trusted data which play vital role in overcoming current industry challenges.

ü  Compatible to establish reusable frameworks for optimum and fast delivery of Siebel UCM/OCH services and batch loads.

ü  Out Of The Box (OOTB) Siebel features related to real time services such as data decay, merge, web services, business services can be enabled & utilized

ü  Provides batch load feature(s) such as IFB, EIM and staging tables need to be utilized for batch integration

ü  Data Quality features such as cleansing, standardization, matching, survivorship and cross referencing can be maintained with the help of oracle product OEDQ integrated to the OCH component

Solution Integration Overview

In order to ensure smooth, fast and optimum scalable delivery it is important to ensure appropriate frameworks are being defined during initial setup so that the respective interface can be extended to on-going consumers/subscribers to the OCH/UCM application.

The framework can be categorized into Real Time service, Batch Load, Data Quality.

(These frameworks can be established in other MDM tools also, as per the tool compatibility)

 

 

mdm1.jpg

 

Consumers/Source System(s) interact with UCM/OCH application either in Real Time

Services (RTS) or Batch Integration(BI) via respective middleware (s).

 

Real Time Services (RTS)

In the current world, as we are aware every customer expects the features to be readily available to them, which is viable by Real time services. Respective consumer can interact with OCH through middleware (e.g., say Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) or Enterprise Application Integration (EAI)).

The Incoming request (Inbound Service) from the consumer would be processed by the MDM tool, thereby responding back to the consumer with the processed data via outbound service which ensures the completion of transaction.

 

Batch Integration (BI)

        Respective source system might be having bulk load to the MDM component, which would be achieve through batch integration process via respective middleware (say e.g: Enterprise Integration Gateway (EIG)).

        Below are the features support in batch load:

·         In case if any of the data doesn't get updated/created via RTS then respective data can considered in batch i.e., more of backup option

·         Bulk loads of data also considered under batch flow

·         Source System(s) to retrieve the information via data mode

 

Oracle Data Quality (OEDQ)

                Oracle Enterprise Data Quality (OEDQ) is the primary utility for the Oracle data quality management process. It consists of several modules for customer data cleansing and matching. OEDQ capabilities are required to control, correct and maintain the quality of the customer data that are originated from multiple systems. OEDQ capability refers to functions such as customer search, customer de-duplication, customer matching, along with data standardization and data profiling.

      OEDQ is integrated with Oracle MDM tool (OCH) using Siebel data quality universal connectors. Considering the fact that OEDQ is third party utility, it can also be integrated with other MDM tools depending upon the pre-requisites and the compatibility of the system requirements.

 

October 16, 2018

Recurring Journal in Fusion GL Clould

 

Recurring Journals: Overview


 

Define recurring journal formulas for transactions that you repeat every accounting period, such as accruals, depreciation charges, and allocations. Your formulas can be simple or complex. Each formula can use:

  • Fixed amounts and account balances, including standard, actual amounts, statistics, and period-to-date or year-to-date balances.
  • Amounts from the current period, prior period, or same period last year.
  • Amounts in your formulas, including total balances, entered currency balances, or statistical balances.

You can quickly create recurring formulas by copying and modifying existing formulas. You can:

  • Define single ledger or multiple ledger recurring journal formula batches.
  • Create a recurring journal formula batch that contains recurring journal entries for different ledgers.
  • Define recurring journal formulas for your ledger currencies, entered currencies, and statistical currency.


 


Recurring Journal Type;

You can use the following types of recurring
journal entries to reduce data entry time and increase accuracy for journal
entries that repeat each period.



  • Skeleton: With no amounts

  • Standard: With set amounts

  • Formula: With variable amounts


Defining Recurring Journals


This example shows how to define and generate formula recurring journals that are automatically generated every period.


You must have:

  • A role that can access the Journals work area in Oracle General Ledger.
  • A duty that can access the Create Allocation Rules task.

The following assumptions apply:

  • The chart of accounts includes segments for company, department, account, subaccount, and product.
  • Account 1210 is the trade receivables account.
  • The period-to-date activity in account 1210 is 100,000 USD.

Here are the goals for this example.

  • Create a journal that populates a monthly allowance for bad debt based on 5% period-to-date activity in the trade receivables account.
  • Account 7730 is the bad debt expense account and account 1260 is the allowance for bad debt account.
  • A formula rule must be defined to generate the following journal entry for the period Apr-17 and thereafter.
    • DR 01.000.7730.0000.000 5,000 USD
    • CR 01.000.1260.0000.000 5,000 USD

This worked example includes details for the following tasks:

  1. Configuring the Formula Rule
  2. Creating the Runtime Prompt Variable
  3. Creating the Rule Set
  4. Generating the Allocation Journal


Configuring the Formula Rule


Create a formula rule.


  1. Navigate to the Journals work area.
  2. From the Tasks pane, click Create Allocation Rules.
  3. Navigate to the Administer menu option and then select Calculation Manager. Calculation Manager opens in a new browser window and a cube is highlighted based on the data access set selected in the Journals work area.
  4. Expand Essbase.
  5. Expand VF_USA_Accounting_Flexfield (your cube).
  6. Expand db.
  7. Highlight the Rules row, right-click, and select New from the menu.
  8. Enter the Rule Name: Special Bad Debt Allocation, accept the other defaults, and click OK.
  9. The Rule Designer opens in a new tab. Under New Objects, click, hold, and drag the Point of View object. Place it between the Begin and End nodes in the Rule Designer.
  10. Enter a Caption: Point of View.
  11. Perform the following steps to enter a Variable Dimension Value:
    • Click the Value field for Accounting Period.
    • Click the Actions icon and select Variable from the drop-down list. A new window opens.
    • Under Category, select Database from the drop-down list.
    • Click Accounting_Period.
    • Click OK.

  12. Perform the following steps to enter other member dimension values:
    • Click the Value field for another dimension.
    • Click the Actions icon and select Member from the drop-down list.
    • Select a member and click the Add icon to move the member to the Selections panel.
    • Click OK. Repeat for all dimensions to include in the Point of View.
    • In this scenario, the following are fixed dimension values:
      • Company: 01
      • Department: 000
      • Subaccount: 0000
      • Product: 000
      • Currency: USD
      • Currency Type: Total

    • Under New Objects, click, hold, and drag the Formula component and place it between the Point of View nodes in the Rule Designer.
    • Enter a Caption: Bad Debts Calculation.
    • Enter the offset member.
    • Click Next.


    In this scenario, the offset is defined as account 1260, the allowance for bad debt. The offset is child combination 01.000.1260.0000.000 when combined with the fixed member dimension values in the Point of View.


    1. Perform the following steps to enter the Formula member dimension value:
    2. In this scenario, the formula member dimension value is defined as account 7730. The bad debt expense is charged to child combination 01.000.7730.0000.000 and combined with the fixed member dimension values in the Point of View.

      • Click the icon for the formula field and select Member from the drop-down list.
      • Select the Account dimension value, highlight the row, and click the Select icon to move the value to the Selections panel.


      In this scenario, the goal is to calculate an allowance for bad debt based on the period-to-date activity in trade receivables account 1210. Trade receivable is child combination 01.000.1210.0000.000 when combined with the fixed member dimension values in the Point of View.

        • Repeat for the other formula member values and click OK when all formula members are selected.

      In this scenario, the following dimension values are selected. Selection of members for the following dimensions is required for the source in a formula component.

          • Scenario: Actual
          • Balance Amount: Period Activity
          • Amount Type: PTD




        • Multiply the formula expression by .05.

        • Click the Save icon.

        • Click the Validate and Deploy icon.

      Creating the Runtime Prompt Variable


      Create a runtime prompt variable as an optional component of a rule. When you generate an allocation based on a rule with a defined runtime prompt variable, you are prompted to specify a dimension member for the variable. The variable is used in the allocation calculation.


      For example, use a runtime prompt variable of Accounting Period, which prompts you to specify the period to use in the allocation calculation. A runtime prompt variable can be created once and used in multiple rules.


      1. Navigate to the Journals work area.
      2. From the Tasks pane, click Create Allocation Rules.
      3. Once the Calculation Manager opens in a new browser window, a cube is highlighted based on the data access set selected in Journals work area. To define the runtime prompt, select Variables under the Tools menu.
      4. Expand to the db under the cube, highlight the row, right-click the row, and select New from the menu.
      5. The Variable Designer opens in a new tab. A default value must be entered and the variable name can't contain any spaces. Complete the fields, as shown in this table.
      6. Field

        Value

        Name

        AccountingPeriod

        Type

        Member

        Dimension

        AccountingPeriod

        Default Value

        Apr-17

        RTP

        Selected

        RTP Text

        Enter Accounting Period

      7. Click the Save icon. The runtime prompt variable is ready for use.

      Creating the Rule Set


      Rule sets are created by combining two or more related rules together to enable sequential allocating of balances.


      1. Navigate to the Journals work area.
      2. From the Tasks pane, click Create Allocation Rules.
      3. After the Calculation Manager opens in a new browser window, expand to Rule Sets under the highlighted cube. Highlight the row, right-click the row, and select New from the menu.
      4. Enter the rule set name and click OK.
      5. The Ruleset Designer opens in a new tab. Expand to the db under the cube for which the rule set is created, expand the rules, and drag the rules under the rule set.
      6. Click the row for the rule set, click the Variables tab, and select Merge Variables.
      7. Merge variables means that common variables among all of the rules in the rule set are merged. You only have to select the runtime prompt value once when submitting the Generate General Ledger Allocations process.

      8. Click the Save icon.
      9. Click the Validate and Deploy icon.

      Generating the Allocation Journal


      Start the allocation process to create the journal entries that populate the account balances.


      1. Navigate to the Journals work area.
      2. From the Tasks pane, click Generate General Ledger Allocations.
      3. Select a rule or rule set and enter any runtime prompt values.
      4. Click Submit.
      5. The Generate General Ledger Allocations task submits four processes consecutively (three, if the Post Allocations option isn't is selected). The processes calculate the allocation, write the results to the GL_INTERFACE table, import the journal batches, and post the journal batches to the General Ledger.


      Scheduling Recurring Journals: Examples


       


      You can create processing schedules for recurring journal entries that have been defined in the Calculation Manager. Scheduling automates the monthly generation of the entries and speeds up the close process.


      You can define multiple schedules for each calendar in General Ledger. These schedules can increment by accounting period, based on any calendar defined. Schedules are shared across ledgers.


      Scenario


      In this example, you have created a reserve for bad debt recurring journal entry in the Calculation Manager. Now, add a recurring schedule to the entry to generate the entry once a month on the last day.


      1. From the Journals work area, select the Generate General Ledger Allocations task. The Generate General Ledger Allocations page opens.
      2. Select the rule: Reserve for Bad Debt.
      3. Specify Accounting Period: Blank
      4. Note: The Accounting Period field appears if you use a runtime prompt in your rule and select Accounting Period as the runtime variable.

      5. Select the Post Allocations option.
      6. Click Advanced.
      7. Click the Schedule tab.
      8. Select the Using a schedule option.
      9. Select a frequency of Monthly.
      10. Select Repeat: By date.
      11. Enter start and end dates.
      12. Click Submit.
      13. The following figure shows the Schedule tab on the Generate General Ledger Allocations process page. The options on the page are set to the values as directed in steps 7 through 10.

      14. The generation process runs at the scheduled time.

Oracle GL Account Reconciliation Cloud


Reconciliations ensure that a company's financial accounts are validated by checking to see if the balance in the account is correct. Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud Service makes this process simpler and faster for companies by automating the process and helping users involved in the process collaborate effectively.


Reconciliations ensure that a company's financial accounts are validated by checking to see if the balance in the account is correct. Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud Service makes this process simpler and faster for companies by automating the process and helping users involved in the process collaborate effectively.


Because account balances are valid at a point in time, and business conditions change, it is critical that reconciliations occur. In addition, companies face stiff penalties for failing to reconcile.


Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud consists of two modules: Reconciliation Compliance and Transaction Matching.


Reconciliation Compliance


Reconciliation Compliance helps you manage account reconciliation processes, including balance sheet reconciliations, consolidation system reconciliations, and other reconciliation processes in effect.


Reconciliations can be performed at whatever level makes sense for the business. For example, you could perform some reconciliation by business unit or company code, while performing other reconciliations at the department level. An administrator can create mapping rules to assign the account balances to the reconciliations, and when balances are imported, ensure they appear in the correct reconciliation based on these rules.


The administrator sets up the reconciliation lists that contain the balances to be reconciled, as well as account descriptions, instructions, due dates, and completed dates. Email notifications are sent, reminding other users that due dates are approaching, or that reconciliations can be acted upon.


Transaction Matching


Transaction Matching is an integrated module of Oracle Account Reconciliation Cloud and the perfect complement to the existing Reconciliation Compliance feature set.


With Transaction Matching, companies can automate performance of high volume/labor intensive reconciliations, and seamlessly integrate those results into the tracking features within Reconciliation Compliance.


With the addition of this powerful new module, companies save additional time on the performance of reconciliations, while improving quality and reducing risk.


October 14, 2018

eSIM and its impact on the Customer Experience

 

Apple recently announced that the iPhone XS will support electronic SIM's. The eSIM significantly alters the experience of the customer in terms of how they interact with their devices. Before I get into the details, let me explain what is an eSIM.

An eSIM is a little piece of hardware that is embedded within the phone that can hold and manage the profiles needed to connect to a mobile network. eSIM's have a distinct advantage over physical SIM's.

  • An eSIM can be provisioned electronically by downloading a profile onto the user's device. Unlike a physical SIM, the user won't have to go to a store, buy the SIM and insert it into their device and wait for it to get activated. They can seamlessly manage the process online.
  • A user can have multiple eSIM profiles, allowing them to switch between the same. So while roaming, the user won't need to buy and swap physical SIM's. They could seamlessly switch profiles between their local and roaming providers.

eSIM's have applicability in both B2C scenarios and B2B scenarios.

The most interesting B2C use case is around wearables such as smartwatches. A customer with an eSIM enabled Smartwatch can purchase a plan that allows the watch to function pretty much as an independent mobile device.

The most common B2B use cases are in the area of M2M and IoT. The provisioning of SIM's on the connected devices is made much simpler if these devices are enabled with eSIM's.

A B2B2C example is in the use of medical monitoring devices. eSIM enabled wearables that help monitor a patients vital statistics can be provided by a service provider as a part of the medical support service.

Telcos are gearing up their solution landscape to support eSIM based devices. This impacts various applications across their ecosystem.

1. eSIM remote subscription management:  Operator profiles for eSIM need to be managed similar to inventory. A solution is needed to procure and provision the eSIM profiles and manage the eSIM lifecycle. This solution has to integrate with the operator's BSS systems.

2. Multi-SIM capability:  When the customer receives makes or receives a call, a single number should be applicable across the phone and the wearable device. This requires the B/OSS systems as well as the network to have the ability to handle the one number to multiple SIM mapping.

3. Sharing plans/propositions: A wearable device would normally be tagged to a primary device such as a phone. The mobile plans should allow sharing of data/voice across the multiple devices that the customer has, making it seamless for the customers to manage their allowances and bills. These plans with sharing capabilities need to set up in the CRM and Billing systems and made available for sale via the channels.

The Telecom operators need to make significant enhancements to their digital channels, CRM and Billing systems to support the seamless digital experience offered by the eSIMs for the customer. These enhancements and associated costs will be become imperative to keep pace with competition as the adoption of eSIM's continues to rise.

October 13, 2018

USE OF MULTIPLE BALANCING SEGMENTS IN FUSION GENERAL LEDGER

 

AS WE KNOW EBS  R12 HAVE ONE BALANCING SEGMENT ASSIGNED TO COMPANY SEGMENT. ORACLE FUSION GENERAL LEDGER OFFERS USE OF 3 BALANCING SEGMENTS AND THESE ARE-

 

  • Primary Balancing Segment
  • Second Balancing Segment
  • Third Balancing Segment

 

Primary Balancing segment is required whereas second and third balancing segments are optional and can be assigned to division or to cost center segment. With the help of these balancing segments, Fusion GL offers tracking of Financial transactions and results at a finer level of granularity compared to single balancing segment in EBS R12.

 

A balancing segment is a segment in chart of account structure. Whenever we define structure , we must choose one of the segment as balancing segment. Primary Balancing Segment is a Segment qualifier attached to company segment and helps to generate Balancing entries in receivables and Payables. By doing this , system ensures that journal entries are balanced that is- debits equal credits for each value of the balancing segment and journal entries are always balanced by company (since Company segment is chosen as balancing segment)

 

In Oracle Fusion General Ledger, we can use 3 segments as balancing segments. First one is called Primary Balancing segment and is a required segment (this normally represent Company or Legal entities). Values in this segment is assigned to legal entity when we configure accounting in General Ledger.

 

The other two balancing segments (second and third) are optional and can represent other parts of the enterprise structure, like divisions or cost center or line of business (LoB). Balancing segments helps to monitor company's retained earning or to track assets, Liabilities and Equity ie net balance sheet.

 

Advantange of using balancing segments are;

·         Balancing segment ensures that all journals balance for each balancing segment value.

 

·         General ledger automatically calculates and create balancing lines as required in journal entries.

 

·         By using Multiple Balancing Segments (MBS), it is possible to generate Financial Statements for each unique combinations of Segments.

 

·         This offers greater insight into visibility of operations to monitor and measure financial performance of a company. Multiple balancing segments ensures that account balance comes from journal entries where Debits equal Credits and financial reports are properly generated for each account combination across all the balancing segments. This helps users and company to get more granular reporting however this requires more resource and steps to achieve granularity.

 

 

Example:

Chart of Accounts contains Total 5 segments with 3 balancing segments: ( Company, Cost Center and Line of Business )

Segment

Company

(Balancing Segment)

Cost Center

(Balancing Segment)

Line of Business

(Balancing Segment)

Account

I/C

 

 

Values

 

00 (Clearing Company or any value not tied to a LE)

 

 

01

000

1001

1817 (I/C Receivables)

01

02

101

2001

2817 (I/C Payables)

02

03

202

3001

4817 (I/C Revenue)

03

04

302

4001

6817 (I/C Expense)

04

 

 

 

 

6110 (Office Supplies Expense)

 

 

 

 

 

2110 (Accounts Payable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1899 Intracompany A/R

 

 

 

 

 

2899 Intracompany A/P

 

 

Scenario A: Company 01 receives a $1000 invoice for supplies that are used by both Company 01 and Company 04 across 2 different Cost Centers and Lines of Business for each company. Company 01 enters a journal entry for $1000 where they owe 60% against Cost Center 101 and Line of Business 1001. Company 04 owes 40% against Cost Center 202 and Line of Business 3001.

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Enter Manual Journal in General Ledger

Account Combination

Debit

Credit

Co

CC

LOB

Acct

I/C

 

 

01

101

1001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

600

 

04

202

3001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

400

 

01

101

1001

2110  (Accounts Payable)

 

 

1000

 

Step 2: System Automatically Generates Balancing Lines

Account Combination

Debit

Credit

Co

CC

LOB

Acct

I/C

 

 

01

101

1001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

600

 

04

202

3001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

400

 

01

101

1001

2110  (Accounts Payable)

 

 

1000

01

101

1001

1817  (I/C Receivables)

04

400

 

04

202

3001

2817 (I/C Payables)

01

 

400

Grand Totals

1400

1400

 

 Scenario B (Most Complex): Company 01 receives a $1000 invoice for supplies that are used by both Company 01 and Company 04. However, the following allocation of costs applies across the following Cost Centers and Lines of Business:

  • Co 01- CC 101- LOB 1001 = 20%
  • Co 01- CC 202- LOB 2001 = 30%
  • Co 04- CC 202- LOB 3001 = 40%
  • Co 04- CC 202- LOB 4001 = 10%

Step 1: Company 01 Enters Manual Journal in General Ledger

Account Combination

Debit

Credit

Co

CC

LOB

Acct

I/C

 

 

01

101

1001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

200

 

01

202

2001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

300

 

04

202

3001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

400

 

04

302

4001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

100

 

01

101

1001

2110  (Accounts Payable)

 

 

1000

 


Step 2: System Automatically Generates Balancing Lines

Account Combination

Debit

Credit

Co

CC

LOB

Acct

I/C

 

 

01

101

1001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

200

 

01

202

2001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

300

 

04

202

3001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

400

 

04

302

4001

6110 (Office Supplies)

01

100

 

01

101

1001

2110  (Accounts Payable)

 

 

1000

01

101

1001

1817  (I/C Receivables)

04

500

 

04

202

3001

2817 (I/C Payables)

 01

500

01

101

1001

1899 (Intracompany A/R)

00

300



01

202

2001

2899 (Intracompany A/P)

00

 

300

04

202

3001

1899 (Intracompany A/R)

00

100

04

302

4001

2899 (Intracompany A/P)

00

                       100

Grand Totals

1900

1900

 


 

 

October 12, 2018

Improving HR Helpdesk Service delivery via Oracle Service Cloud

Employee relations and employee satisfaction are some of the key areas of focus for Human Resources (HR) group in any organization. One of the important tools that helps HR in keeping the employees satisfied is a Helpdesk platform which can act as a single application for addressing various employee queries. Lack of a helpdesk solution or a poor helpdesk solution can leave employees confused and make them search for various options to report any grievance or look for an answer. Some of the common challenges employees face for HR related queries include:

No single application for raising queries related to HR.
Prolonged query resolution from HR due to incorrect assignment of queries
No dashboards for HR managers to study and analyze the employee queries and resolution time.
No real time employee engagement

Infosys HR Helpdesk Solution is a pre-configured, Oracle Service Cloud based multi-channel HR inquiry/complaint management solution with self- service portal for employee engagement. Our solution can integrate with any leading HCM application to fetch basic employee information. This solution can enable organizations to improve their employee experience.

The main features of this solution are:

Employee Inquiry/Complaint Management
Pre-configured Guided resolution flows
Pre-defined workflows for common HR related requests 
Self-service portal for employees
Integrated knowledge for employees and HR associates - HR policies, FAQ's etc.
Employee Dashboard
Analytics/Dashboards for HR managers
Live Chat & Virtual Assistant

Image-8.png

Let us deep dive into some of the key solution features to understand how this can help transform the employee experience.

Pre-configured guided resolution flows:
Using Service Cloud's HR associate desktop HR associate Scripts feature, our solution as a set of pre-configured guided resolution flows for HR associates and customers. These flows provide a sequence of questions with answer options which guide the HR associate or customer to the best resolution available. These guided flows help in reducing training necessary for HR associate thereby reducing costs. For e.g. if an employee raises a request to know about health insurance benefits offered by the company, guided flow will show a series of questions related to this, thereby helping HR associate ask the right questions.

Pre-defined HR case workflows:
Our HR helpdesk solution uses Service Cloud's workflow feature to provide a set of pre-defined workflows which provide contextual screens based on the case type. For e.g. a benefits case will have a screen with fields such insurance type, covered members etc, whereas a compensation related case will have details basic salary, bonus structure etc.

Integrated Knowledgebase:
Using Service Cloud's knowledge foundation features, our solution provides ability for employees to access HR policies, FAQ's etc directly from self-service portal. In addition, the portal is also accessible from mobile devices which makes the HR policy information available for employees at all times. HR associates can also access the knowledge content from agent desktop.

Employee Dashboard:
One of the best features of our HR helpdesk solution is a comprehensive employee dashboard. When an employee logs into the self-service portal, he/she will be navigated to a dashboard page. This provides a 360 view of all areas that an employee needs in the form of widgets. Data in this dashboard can include their basic employee details, leave information, training details, employee hierarchy, and recent requests to HR etc. The data in these widgets can be fetched from any HR system such as workday, Oracle HCM cloud, SAP success factors, etc.

Image-6.png

HR Manager Analytics/Dashboard:
Using Service Cloud's analytics module, our solution offers comprehensive dashboards to HR managers or supervisors which allow them to keep track of all areas of employee interaction. Managers can not only track and analyze the employee requests/cases, but also know the employee sentiment through the feedback survey analytics.

As detailed in this blog, the features of this solution can increase employee satisfaction & improve their morale which can in turn help to reduce employee attrition. This Helpdesk solution can offer a superior employee experience for organizations who want to provide an engaging platform for their employee interaction.

October 10, 2018

Optimising Omni-Channel order Interface - Real time or Near Real time?

In a world where the attention span of customers is fast reducing, the longer the response time the greater the probability of losing the customer. The customer expects their order to be updated at appropriate time and wants the know the status in minutes at least, if not seconds. In this context, organisations handling sales order in an Omni-channel order processing, face a dilemma on whether to wait and process the sales orders in batch mode to optimise the load on applications or process the orders immediately as individual orders to service the customers faster? This blog tries to unearth this mystery by searching for various factors that might affect this decision.

 

Pic 1 - Real time Vs near real time.jpg

                                                                                                                          Pic 1 - Batch or Individual mode

What's what:

In a true Omni channel scenario, sales orders are created via various means like ecommerce web site, an app in mobile or tab, traditional order entry means, customer service team order entry, orders entered in retail stores, orders via EDI, orders created in kiosk at shopping malls etc. While order capture systems are many, there is traditionally one fulfilment application (For example, Oracle Fusion cloud). There are 2 ways of interfacing, enriching, importing and processing these orders in the fulfilment application. Let us look at a theoretical definition of the options available

  • Near real time or Batch mode: Interface all sales orders from various applications into one single repository. At a specified time enrich, import and process the orders as one batch by running batch processes. In order to improve the performance, static or dynamic batch (batched as per order type or order source) is used
  • Real time or Individual mode: Interface, enrich, import and process every single sales order from various applications individually i.e. order by order. In order to improve the performance, multi-threading is used

 

Following are few of the key considerations before the Sales order interface architecture is decided

1. Order cycle:

The order life cycle can range from weeks (for example in hi-tech industry) to just a few hours (typically in retail industry). But irrespective of the industry, with the advent of digitisation, the life cycle of orders is fast decreasing. The length of the order cycle needs to be considered before the selecting the mode of order import.

Verdict: Short life cycle à Import individual sales order in real time

2. Order volume, order clock and seasonal:

2.1 Volume: In retail industry, the volume of sales orders is quite high. For example, there are retail customers creating 10,000 to 4 Mil sales orders per day. When the volume is high, it is a general trend to choose to batch the sales orders and import them at regular frequency during the day. This will optimise the utilisation of server resources.

Verdict: High volume à Chose batch mode in near real time


2.2 Order clock:
Order clock is the distribution of sales order volume throughout the day. Following are certain examples

  • There are certain B2B customers or retail stores where sales orders are created throughout the day but interfaced only at mid night or post office hours
  •  

  • Field service engineers create orders in their hand held device throughout the day. But these orders are interfaced only when the handheld device is physically synced in the deport or service station in the evening when the engineers close the day

When the order clock is skewed, there will be a sudden rush of sales orders in one particular point of time in the day, while rest of the day receive normal flow of orders. At these peak volumes, individual order import may not be the best method.

Verdict: At peak loads à Chose batch mode in near real time

 

2.3 Seasonal orders: There are certain items which have seasonal demand and hence a sudden inflow of sales orders during a particular time of the week or month or year where individual order import may struggle.

Verdict: At seasonal loads à Chose batch mode in near real time

3. Operational clock and throughput:

There are organisation with stringent operational clocks. For simple example, it is 30 min delivery or pizza is delivered free. Pharmaceutical retail industry has a need to fulfil orders on the same day. Online furniture selling organisation has the liberty to take a month time to manufacture and ship the item ordered. Care must be taken before sales orders are batched when organisations have such needs.

Verdict: Stringent Operational clock à chose individual mode in real time

Pic 2 - Multiple factors of decision making.jpg








Pic 2 - Multiple factors of decision making

4. Size of the orders:

In hi-tech industry, the sales order can have one high value custom manufactured item while in retail industry, the sales order can contain a laundry list of low value items. If the sales orders with thousands of lines are imported, it may end up queuing next orders for import if the orders are imported one by one.

Verdict Number of lines is less  à chose individual mode in real time

5. Individualisation:

In an age where "good old" emails are being replaced with apps, chat and voice services, there is a need for considering the need for individual customer preferences. Customer needs vary from getting and update once a day to getting every single update on their sales order. Hence the choice of the customer needs to be kept in mind while decided if a sales orders can wait for batch process or not. For example, furniture retail organisation will have updates sent to the customer once a week or once in few days. Such industry can choose batch process

Verdict: Less updates to customer, frequency of updates to customer is low à Chose batch mode in near real time

 

Apart from these parameters, the below 2 subjective parameters also play a key role in the design choice

6. Capability or the ERP:

With organisations wanting to stick to standard functionality rather than customise the application, the capability of ERP chosen becomes one of the first factors to be considered. In current release R13 of Oracle Order Management Cloud (OMC), there is no means to import the sales orders into OMC in batch mode or interfacing the sales order from OMC to EBS in batch mode. This restriction is an example of ERP's capability. The case study is explained in detail towards end of this blog.

Verdict: Pick up the option based on capacity and appetite to customise

7. IT landscape and Architecture:

This is a broad topic and mostly technical in nature, but nevertheless that needs to be factored before the sales order import is decided. It compasses the following details to name a few

  • If the applications involved are on cloud or on-premises or in hybrid model?
  • Are there are multiple firewalls through which the sales orders need to be interfaced for order creation and status update?
  • What is the Middle-ware used to integrate these applications and robustness of the middle ware?
  • Performance considerations and how sized are the applications and middle-ware
  • The list of applications the order has to pass through before closure of the order. For the sales order has to pass through order entry application, order orchestration, order fulfilment system (purchasing, manufacturing and warehouse applications), transport application and invoicing application. The longer the chain the difficult it is to made the MACD (modify, add, change, delete) when sales orders are individually imported
  • Technology involved. For example, ODI (Oracle Data Integrator) can be much faster causing batching to be faster when involved from middle-ware like SOA while individual order creation via order creation web service in Order management cloud is faster when order transformation is minimal

 

Case Study:

The case study belongs to an optical retail chain giant, operating globally, which offers optician services, along with eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids with global turnover of £1.8 billion in 2017. Following are the summary of requirements

  • The sales order volume was expected to be 1.16 million lines per day when all Business units are live in OMC
  • The retails orders are imported from multiple different legacy application into Oracle Order Management Cloud (OMC) for consolidation, orchestration, and routing
  • These updated sales orders are then interfaced from OMC into eBusiness Suite (EBS) OM module for fulfilment
  • Order cycles are short.
    • All pick to order sales orders created before 6 PM will be shipping on same day before 10 PM (35% of overall volume)
    • Sales orders that require manufacturing have life cycle of 7 days (65% of overall volume)
  • Size of the sales order varies from 500 lines (maximum number of lines for Pick, pack, ship orders) to 30 lines (manufacturing SOs)

These requirements are plotted on the below chart


Pic 3 - Business requirements in the case study.jpg

Pic 3 - Business requirements in the case study

The above chart can be used as a tool for deciding. All the dots (requirements) will possibly lie in the real time / batch or real time / individual mode to help the decision.

 

Below are the subjective parameters for the client.

  • Order Management Cloud, as an application, could be scaled up to import the sales order individually despite of the nature of business and volumes explained above. But the interfaced between OMC and EBS could not be managed with the standard connector provided by Oracle. Hence a custom component was suggested. Following diagram explains the standard functionality of the application (real time or individual mode) and custom component (near real time or batch mode)

 

        STANDARD FUNCTIONALITY (INDIVIDUAL MODE)                     CUSTOM FUNCTIONALITY (BATCH MODE)

Pic 4 - Standard and custom connector to integrate OMC and EBS.jpg

Pic 4 - Standard and custom connector to integrate OMC and EBS


  • Client had procured SOA 12c for designing and building new interfaces and had controlled approval for customisation

 

Based on the requirements plotted in the above mentioned tool and subjective parameters for the client, both individual and batch model was could not be suggested as the sole design choice. Even though the average number of orders and order lines are well within the parameters to decide individual mode, the outliers in terms of order volume per day demanded a need for batch import. Hence a hybrid option was suggested for the client. The sales order will be imported in individual mode or batch mode based on order type, volume of orders at a point of time, time of the day etc.

Pic 5.gif










Pic 5 - Comparison of different methods

Conclusion:

Near real time or Batch, real time or individual and hybrid sales order import are equally good options and have their merits and demerits.

  • Near real time / Batch process can reduce load on the applications and ensure there is a fixed time for orders to be imported and statuses to be sent to the customer. While Real time / individual order import will quench the information thirst of a curious customer and ensures there is no harm done to the service level agreement with the customer
  • Near real time / Batch mode can cause a slight hold of the sales orders and can cause delay in the life cycle. While real time / individual order import may cause too much network traffic and can delay as sales order queue up at times of peak load
  • here are times where there is a need for a parallel universe, i.e. both batch and individual order import are implemented side by side. Cherry picking orders for import may involve higher cost in terms of maintain 2 code versions but certainly guarantees a balance between the 2 modes both functionally and technically


While there is no standard formula, the details given in this blog helps the architects to nail the right approach for each customer and in fact each sales orders in particular.

How Oracle Service Cloud can transform Customer Service Experience in Telecommunications Industry

The telecommunication industry is seeing tremendous growth in India and other Asian markets. However there is also intense competition among the telecommunication service providers (TSP) with new entrants coming into the market. Take India for example where Reliance Jio entered the telecom space offering the latest 4G VOLTE technology, deep discounts and lot of freebies. This has put lot of pressure on incumbents to reduce their tariffs by a huge margin. In this cut throat competition when cost of customer acquisition is high, it becomes important for TSP's to keep their customers happy and retain them. This is where technology can enable companies to provide superior customer experience.

In the customer experience software area, there are number of leading products such as Oracle CX Cloud, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP CRM, PEGA etc. In this blog, I am focusing on Oracle's Service Cloud product, its features and how it can help address the challenges faced by telecom industry. Oracle Service Cloud offers best in class customer service experience with features like omni channel contact center, mobile self-service, and knowledge centered service etc. TSP's can improve customer service experience using these features.

Image-4.png

Let us take a deeper look at how Oracle Service Cloud can help transform the customer service experience for TSP's.

Omni Channel Contact Center:

OSvC's Omni-Channel contact center - Agent Desktop provides a complete 360 degree view of the customer. Irrespective of the channel in which customer makes contact, this can include - phone (CTI), email, chat, self-service portal, social media & community portal, Agent Desktop allows Customer Service Agents (CSR's) to proactively monitor customer service needs and respond to them from a single application. OSvC's out of the box Dashboards and workflow provide a true 360 view of customer. This can include data fetched from different external systems such as billing, usage etc.

Knowledge Centered Service:
OSvC is KCS (knowledge centered service) certified and uses knowledge as the core method of delivering service. Customers get access to knowledge content via the self-service portal which allows them to view, rate as well as subscribe to FAQ's, How to documents etc. It can even proactively show knowledge articles when customers choose to submit a new service request. CSR's can use smart assistant feature which proactively searches knowledge base based on case description and presents this data to them. This KCS approach helps TSP's to increase call deflection rate and reduce customer service costs while increasing customer satisfaction.

Mobile Self-service:
Research has shown that in developing countries such as India, consumers use mobile devices to access internet. With mobile internet penetration increasing, it becomes important to provide a self-service application for customers which can be accessed through any device. OSvC's self-service portal comes with out of the box mobile templates which allow TSP's to enable self-service options for mobile devices. Customers can have the ability to access knowledge, submit a request, initiate live chat as well as provide feedback all from their mobile.

Feedback/Survey Management:
Gauging customer feedback and acting upon it is a key element to retain customers and increase their satisfaction for the service provided. In this cut throat competition in the telecom space, retaining existing customers is very important for TSP's. OSvC's feedback/survey management allows different types of surveys to be quickly configured and launched. Customers can provide feedback through channels like email, web link etc. OSvC's powerful analytics features can analyze the feedback provided by customers, understand the intent using key words mentioned and present customer sentiment dashboards. This allows CSR's to take proactive action when needed and alleviate customer's problems which helps to build trust and increase their satisfaction.

In conclusion, maintain a strong focus on customer support experience by telecom service providers can help retain existing customers and help save customer re-acquisition costs. As we have seen on this blog, Oracle Service Cloud can not only improve customer service for telecom industry, but it can truly transform the customer experience through the best of breed features it offers.


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