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

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October 10, 2017

An account of Contract based Project Billing in Fusion PPM Cloud & its comparison with EBS Projects

1.      Introduction

One of the most major change in Oracle Fusion Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Cloud compared to Oracle E-business Suite (EBS) Projects is the shift from Project driven billing model to a Contract driven billing model.

This new contract based project billing involves the integration between Oracle Fusion Project Billing and Oracle Fusion Project Contracts. While Fusion Project Contracts takes care of the Contract terms, conditions and billing requirements, the Fusion Project Billing piece handles invoice and revenue generation & processing.

So contract now becomes mandatory in Fusion Cloud to do billing and revenue recognition. In EBS, it was optional to use Project Contracts module and agreements were used in place of contracts.


2.      Contract Structure and its components

A contract in Fusion Cloud is divided into contract header and contract lines.

2.1  Contract Header

The header contains

·         Basic contract information: Contract Number, Name, Description, Start Date, End Date, Currency, Status, Amount etc.

·         Party information: Customer and Supplier and their Contacts, Bill-to & Ship-to accounts etc.

·         Billing Information

The billing information contains bill and revenue plans which is a new concept introduced in Fusion Cloud. These are user defined and contain set of instructions on how to bill and recognize revenue for a customer.

Bill plans are associated to predefined billing methods - Amount (Event) Based Invoice, Bill Rate Invoice, Burden Schedule Invoice, Cost Reimbursable Invoice, Percent Spent Invoice and Percent Complete Invoice.

Similarly, revenue plans are associated to seeded revenue methods - Amount (Event) Based Revenue, Bill Rate Revenue, Burden Schedule Revenue, Cost Reimbursable Revenue, As Billed Revenue, As Incurred Revenue, Percent Spent Revenue and Percent Complete Revenue.

Availability of such wide range of billing and revenue methods makes the billing functionality very strong in Fusion PPM Cloud.

In EBS, the same was done using Distribution Rules - Event/Work/Cost combinations.

 

2.2 Contract Lines

Below the contract header can be one or multiple contract lines. Each contract line can      select its own bill and revenue plan combination. This makes it possible to process invoicing and revenue in different ways by using multiple lines on same contract.


2.3 Project/Task/Funding Association

The association to project/task and funding also happens at line level making it possible to implement the various scenarios like One contract- one project, one contract- multiple projects (multiple lines, one project at each line) and multiple contracts-one project.

In EBS projects, agreements were linked to projects/tasks in different ways like (One Customer-One Agreement), (Multiple Customers, One Agreement per Customer), (One customer, Multiple Agreements), (Multiple Customers, Multiple Agreements per customer).

In Fusion Cloud, funding is not mandatory for Project/Task except Percent Spent case. In EBS, baseline of funding was one of the compulsory steps before one can generate invoice or revenue.

So fusion cloud project billing offers much flexibility as compared to a more rigid project-agreement-funding relation in EBS.


3.      Important New Features

3.1 Bill Set

In Fusion Cloud, an important and new bill set feature on bill plan enables the transactions with same bill set number belonging to different bill plans to be grouped together into a single invoice. So you can send a single summarized invoice to customer.

3.2 Release Invoice Automatically

In cloud PPM, now you can release the invoice automatically by simply enabling a checkbox at the contract header level. So the invoice gets created in released status directly. In EBS, this was not a standard functionality and Automatic Invoice Release Extension would need to be written.


4.      Contract Approvals

The contract approvals can be configured for auto-approval, serial and parallel approvals using BPM work list in Fusion Cloud.

·         Auto-approval: To bypass approval and approve automatically

·         Serial Approval: To go for approval sequentially to a series of people

·         Parallel Approval: To go for approval to many people in parallel and approved when all people have approved


5.      Contract Amendments

Contract amendments is a full-fledged feature in Fusion Cloud. Retroactive contract amendments are possible using amendment effective date with transactions marked for automatic adjustments thereby reducing the manual effort. Also the amendments can follow the same approval workflow as contract.


6.      Project Invoicing

6.1 Draft Invoice Preview/Print

In Fusion Project Billing, you can preview the draft invoice and even print the same. So it can be checked in Projects before sending to receivables for final billing. There are seeded Business Intelligence Publisher (BIP) reports available to be used directly or you can create custom BIP reports also.

6.2 Taxation

Another change in invoicing is on the tax side. In EBS, tax was not calculated on project invoice. Only when auto-invoice import to AR was done, tax got calculated and appeared on AR invoice directly.

In Fusion Cloud, tax calculations can be viewed on project draft invoice itself. The tax rules are setup in Fusion Cloud Tax and tax code can be included at Contract, Contract Line, Expenditure Type and Event Type levels. The tax code can be changed at invoice line when doing invoice review if required.

The process follows the same route from draft invoice approval, release, and transfer to receivables and update from receivables after auto-invoice import.


7.      Project Revenue Recognition

7.1 Revenue Processing

On the revenue side, there is a major change in how revenue is processed in PPM cloud. In Oracle EBS, you could review and release revenue lines in projects. The draft revenue could be deleted and regenerated if it is incorrect. In Fusion Cloud, there is no review/release process now.

7.2 Accounting

On the accounting side, oracle projects auto-accounting in EBS is totally removed in Fusion Cloud. Fusion Sub-ledger accounting (SLA) is the only source of accounting rules now. For project revenue, projects SLA is used to derive the accounting while for invoices, it is derived from receivables SLA when accounting is generated for project sourced invoice in receivables.

8.      Conclusion

This is an attempt to provide an overview of the way contract-project billing takes place in Fusion Cloud PPM. It also tries to present a relative account with Oracle EBS. There are fundamental changes, process changes as well as many new features in Fusion Cloud PPM which effort to make the functionality stronger and more flexible to handle the complex contractual/billing/revenue recognition needs of customers.

 

 

October 4, 2017

To Cloud or Not to Cloud: Make the leap of faith logically!

HCM and HRIT functions are veering towards adoption of cloud applications to effectively address the trends such as mobile workforce, uptake of digital platforms and emphasis on user experience. While the decision to move to cloud seems a no brainer, the shape and velocity of this adoption requires a more involved approach. CXOs have to contend with balancing their current operations, assessing the readiness of the organizations as well as resistance to change internally when making this decision. The blog examines the dimensions in an enterprise's decision mix enabling them to choose the right path to HCM cloud solutions.

 What is the trend?

Trends-HCM-2.jpg

 The HR function and practice continues to evolve rapidly in response to the business world as well as to the societal changes from where it derives its capital from. The evolution is also getting influenced by technology.  

In organizations, the focus of HCM and HRIT functions has been on meeting operational requirements including compliance and administration while integrating with rest of the organizational business systems.

However, with the advent of millennials, trends such as mobile workforce, attitudinal changes such as increased desire for collaboration, uptake of digital platforms and emphasis on user experience have come to the fore.

These underlying trends are causing a rapid shift of HR role from transactional to tactical to strategic. This, in turn, is creating a demand for technology platforms that enable this shift. Foremost among these enablers and shapers are cloud-based HCM applications that offer sophisticated functionalities.

Is the Trend your Friend?

Moving to Cloud-based systems at first glance appears to be quite logical and an easy choice to make. Well, as many CHROs, CIOs and CTOs experience, it may not be an easy decision to make. Intrigued?

Imagine you are the CTO of a retail organization with around 30,000 employees. You will most probably have an enterprise-wide HRMS system based on a leading package such as PSFT or Oracle HRMS. To manage your needs in recruitment, temp staffing, time clocking & tracking the system landscape would include other applications. It is also quite likely that for the core functions you might have customized (bolt-ons etc) the enterprise HRMS system to meet your unique needs. With a view to getting richer functionalities and potential infrastructure cost savings, you understand that Cloud Applications may be the way to go.

Question-HCM-3.jpg

Then out tumbles some nagging but very pertinent concerns: does it offer the same amount of functionalities to meet my needs, will my business stakeholders be fine with what is offered, can the cloud handle the integrations, what about the customizations, what about my existing infrastructure investments...The list goes on...


 Is that all?

The initial set of problems that come to mind mostly deal with the ease of moving to Cloud. But was there a problem in your current HR applications that was constraining the HR functions to begin with? Is there a need for moving to cloud or doing anything at all? If there is a need, how pressing is it? Determination of the need is vital not only to make a business case from a technology or business standpoint, but also to prioritize the areas where you want to focus on.

EaseVsNeed-2.png

Need could be an expressedly Felt Need or an unstated Underlying Need. A Felt Need usually comes in the form of specific instance of users & stakeholders regarding the state of affairs of the application or function whereas Underlying Need is typically a desire for better functioning/functionalities or general opinion of the application or process. The stronger the Need, the higher the drive or support for the remedial action. The action proposed should deal with what specific functionalities and processes to be moved to Cloud, the sequence of adoption clearly articulating how these would address the Need dimension.

 Ease, Need and then...

One of the aspects, though known, that is underestimated, more often than not, is gauging whether the organization is ready for cloud adoption. It is important to recognize that the change management process begins even before the decision to move to cloud is made. The Adoption Readiness of key stakeholders from the HR organization as well as IT organization needs to be assessed. Readiness to adopt cloud can be considered in two parts -(a) Is there Awareness of the capabilities of Cloud Applications? (b) Do key stakeholders show sufficient Intent to move to Cloud? An analysis in these terms can help CXOs decide what actions to take to increase Adoption Readiness. If Awareness is found out to be low, then knowledge sessions on Cloud may be undertaken; in case of low Intent, workshops to understand the underlying concerns may be considered.

AdoptionReadiness-HCM-1.jpg

Understanding Adoption Readiness across groups is also important. It is quite possible that the IT stakeholders are gung-ho about the movement whereas the business stakeholders may not be mentally ready. This insight will help CXOs/ sponsors in getting an advance view of which group to work on for buy-in and in the process unearth not-so-evident issues in the Cloud Adoption journey.

 What next?

After collecting data pertaining to these dimensions in preparation for cloud adoption, it is necessary that a sum total analysis be performed. It is imperative that the interplay of these dimensions and the state of the organization be clearly understood to chart out the path, roadmap if you will, that your organization's cloud journey will undertake. A well-thought out plan based on the inputs as mentioned above, will dramatically increase the chances of a cohesive, right-paced and successful Cloud Adoption.

Continue reading " To Cloud or Not to Cloud: Make the leap of faith logically! " »

September 11, 2017

Get IFRS15, ASC606 Ready - The Easy and Quick Way

 

The accounting standard for recognizing revenue is changing.  For the new comers let me briefly describe the change.

What's the Change?

For countries using the IFRS standards, it means they now need to account revenue as per "IFRS 15- Revenue from Contracts with Customers" instead of "IAS- 18 - Revenue" standard to recognize the revenue.

For the US based companies needing to report under US GAAP, they now have to account revenue as per new "ASC 606 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers" instead of the old "ASC605 - revenue Recognition".

The old IAS 18 standards (issued by "International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)") and the ASC 605 (issued by "Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)" for the US companies) where having substantial differences. The new standards issued by the IASB, ASC i.e. IFRS15, ASC606 are now synched up.

The new standard outlines the below five logical steps for revenue recognition -

What's the big deal?

So - what the big deal? The accountants will take care - should the rest of you be worried? Accounting changes always keep happening, so what new now?

This is a big because it impacts the most important numbers on your P&L - the top-lines and the bottom lines and many other critical aspects like the taxes to be paid, the annual plans, probably the commissions, bonuses to be paid as well.

This is also big because the change is complex especially if you have bundled deals (like the telecom and hi-tech industry). Not all accounting software can do accounting as per the new standards. Apart from the accounting systems, business processes and maybe business contracts also might need modifications.

So, it is not just the finance guys / accountants - the board, CXO's, auditors, the Information technology folks, the planners, the analysts, sales teams, HR compensation teams - needs to understand the change and plan for the impacts.

Getting this wrong, has a direct impact on all key stake holders - shareholder value, employees (bonuses, commissions), government (taxes).

By when do you need to ready?

That depends on whether you are applying IFRS or US GAAP. For most of the companies the standard has to be adopted from the financial year starting in 2018.

  • For "IFRS15" applying companies
    • The financial year starting "on or after January 1, 2018"

  • For "Public business entities" and "not-for-profit entities that are conduit bond obligators applying US GAAP" -
    • The financial year starting "on or after December 16, 2017"

  • For the other "US GAAP" companies
    • The financial year starting "on or after December 16, 2018"


Are you late in the game? Probably yes, but....

This is where Oracle - Infosys can help you.

The Oracle Revenue Management Cloud Service (RMCS) is tailor made to meet the IFRS15 / ASC606 requirements including the transition requirements. The product has been successfully implemented across industries and is a proven solution for IFRS15 / ASC606 needs.

The "IFRS15 / ASC 606 solution" of Infosys is a complete solution to get IFRS15 / ASC 606 ready - quickly and perfectly. The Infosys solution encompasses program/project management, change management, implementation of RMCS, implementation of Financial Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud, building integration with various middleware. The Infosys solution  creates a robust process with tight integration ensuring automated reconciliation and no revenue leakage / discrepancies.

Considering the need to ready on time, the solution will prioritize requirements, so the MUST-HAVE requirements are developed, tested and ready on time.

Below is the overview of the Infosys Solution

How do we make a difference? How quickly can you be ready?

Infosys has been working on numerous IFRS15 / ASC 606 implementations using Oracle RMCS. While a typical IFRS implementation is done in 6-12 months implementation time depending on the number of integrations, use cases, we are able to cut the implementation time by at least 25% by levering the accelerators repository comprising of

  • Pre-built Use Cases

  • Key Decision Documents

  • Pre-Configured Instances

  • Data conversion templates

  • Configuration templates

  • Key learnings from other project

Apart from the normal implementation, we also offer a rapid implementation which can be completed in 3 month time-frame. A typically rapid implementation assumes not more than 2 integrations, conversions using FBDI templates, 30-40 use cases and 5 custom reports developments. The typical rapid implementation plan would be as below

Sample List of use cases for telecom:

S.No.

Description of the Use Case

1

Billing & Satisfaction: Single Handsets plus Plan

2

Billing & Satisfaction: Contract Termination

3

Billing & Satisfaction: Multiple Handsets Plus Plan

4

Billing & Satisfaction: Multiple Products and Plan

5

Billing & Satisfaction: Contract Modification

6

Billing & Satisfaction: Contract Add on

7

Downward Modification

8

Loyalty points - Termination

9

Family share - Multiple Lines

10

Loyalty points - Redemption

 

Sample List of Issues:

Below is the sample list of problem areas

  1. How to determine the SSP (standalone selling prices)

  2. Significant financing components on the contracts

  3. Managing impacts on cost - both direct and indirect

  4. Managing Discounts

  5. Managing Variable considerations


Get Started now, this is your last chance...

If you have still not started on the IFRS15 / ASC606 journey - you need to start now. With Oracle RMCS and Infosys experience in implementing the same, you now have the chance to be ready on time.

 

Meet our experts at @ Booth 1602, Oracle Open World 2017, to see a demo of the solution.

 

 


Continue reading " Get IFRS15, ASC606 Ready - The Easy and Quick Way " »

August 27, 2017

Modeling Centralized Procurement in Oracle Cloud Applications

Modeling Centralized Procurement in Oracle Cloud Applications

Benefits of centralizing procurement activity in a large or diverse organization are well known. It helps in achieving significant cost reduction and policy compliance. In this article, we will focus on understanding the key concepts for modeling centralized procurement in Oracle Cloud applications.

In Oracle Cloud, a business unit does not need to perform all business functions. The business unit model allows you to assign only relevant business functions to a business unit, while some other functions can be outsourced to a different business unit. Examples of business functions are Materials Management, Requisitioning, Procurement, Payables Invoicing etc. Note that not all functions can be outsourced; Procurement is a business function that can be. A business unit that has a procurement business function assigned is called as procurement business unit.

Many of us have the impression that procurement business units create purchase orders like requisitioning business units create requisitions. Well, this is just partly true and does not reflect the true essence of this model. In Cloud Procurement, purchase orders are created in context of legal entities. It is true that a purchase order is managed by the procurement business unit but it is issued on behalf of a particular legal entity (which is typically derived from the requisitioning business unit). Suppliers see the name of the legal entity as the buying organization and not the name of the procurement business unit. In fact, Procurement business unit name is not even included in the printed purchase order PDF. Secondly, all the accounting impact that a purchase order has, is absorbed by the ledger of the requisitioning business unit. Procurement business unit does not even need to have a ledger setup done.

Confused?? .... You might be thinking, what a procurement business unit is and what it does? Well, we need to understand the idea of Procurement business function the way Oracle has conceptualized it. Let me explain. In Oracle Cloud, Procurement business function encompasses following activities:

Supplier relationship management: A supplier is a global entity, but supplier sites are created in context of Procurement business units. A single supplier site, can be leveraged by different business units through site assignments. Also note that Approved Suppliers List (ASL) entries are created and maintained at procurement business unit level.

Supplier Qualification management: Initiatives, Assessments, Questionnaires are created at procurement business unit level.

Sourcing: All negotiations are created in context of procurement business unit; and a single negotiation can carry item requirements from multiple requisitioning business units.

Pricing and Policy Determination: Blanket and Contract purchase agreements that define your purchase prices and terms and conditions, are created in context of Procurement business units. These agreements are rolled out to requisitioning business units through Business Unit access control.

Procurement Catalogs Management: Catalogs, smart forms, punch-outs are all setup at procurement business unit level and rolled out to requisitioning business units or to specific users through content zones.

Purchase Order Management: Buyers that manage the purchase orders are setup as procurement agents at the procurement business unit level. Purchase order header carries an attribute for Procurement Business unit, however the ownership and the liability lies with the Legal Entity.

None of these activities have any accounting impact. And all of these can be centralized, meaning that a centralized department can offer all these as services to the different business units of the organization. Moreover if you notice, all of these are strategic business activities on which organizations want their buyers to focus on more aggressively apart from the routine activities such as following up with suppliers for delayed shipments and invoice mismatches.

For centralizing procurement, it is advisable to setup a separate (or dedicated) business unit and assign it only procurement business function. And then create the service provider relationships with the requisitioning business units which will be able to utilize the services of the centralized procurement business unit. It is like plug and play setup; when a new business unit gets configured (for requisitioning) we just need to setup the service provider relationship and then roll out specific agreements or other catalog content as needed.

Before closing this article, I will like to emphasize on the fact that a business unit which only has procurement business function does not need any accounting setup (chart of accounts, ledger etc.). This means that, for customers who are implementing only sourcing or supplier qualification, there is no need to do any accounting setup at all.

I hope this article proves useful for you to understand the 'Oracle Cloud' concept of centralized Procurement. Thanks!!

Continue reading " Modeling Centralized Procurement in Oracle Cloud Applications " »

July 7, 2017

Achieving Smart Sourcing using Oracle Procurement Cloud

Rapid globalization has led to organizations looking for different strategic avenues in terms of sourcing from suppliers in order to remain profitable and relevant with changing times. Supplier Qualification and Sourcing are two of the most critical aspects of the Procurement processes which will enable the organization to work collaboratively with suppliers and reduce costs on operational front. This article intends to highlight how Oracle Procurement Cloud can help organizations achieve Sourcing Excellence giving them competitive advantage to empower their business growth.

Continue reading " Achieving Smart Sourcing using Oracle Procurement Cloud " »

April 19, 2017

Mergers and Acquisitions - Oracle SaaS to the rescue!

Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) are time-tested strategies adopted by companies small and large to strengthen their market position and beat competition. In this process, parents usually acquire or merge with entities that are smaller or larger than themselves or of comparable size as theirs. Companies that get acquired could operate in niche areas, possess rare skills and be winners in their business arena. For the consolidation to be successful and yield results, business objectives & strategies need to align/complement, corporate/work cultures need to harmonize and business process synergies need to be realized

Continue reading " Mergers and Acquisitions - Oracle SaaS to the rescue! " »

April 10, 2017

Building customizations (RICEFW) on Oracle SaaS

 

In the current IT landscape, there is a huge spike in companies adopting software-as-a-solution (SaaS) cloud applications to realize benefits like business agility, quick time to market, and cost optimization. One of the fundamental challenges that organizations face in adopting SaaS applications is exact fitment to their business needs. In most scenarios, organizations need to customize or extend the SaaS applications to meet their specific requirements. So, how do these customizations differ from the traditional on-premises application customization?

 

During on-premises Oracle applications implementation, these customizations are done through additional configurations and custom extensions built on top of the core functionality. RICEFW (Reports, Interfaces, Conversions, Enhancements, Forms and Workflows) objects represent requirements that are not currently supported within the core functionality of an Oracle Application module, and thus require additional technical development to satisfy the functional requirement of an organization. While this was achieved in on-premises world using Oracle developer tools like reports, procedural language / structured query language (PL/SQL), forms, Oracle Application Framework (OAF), and workflows, the same tool sets are not applicable for building RICEFW for Oracle SaaS applications like CX (Customer Experience) , Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM), and Human Capital Management (HCM) on cloud. There is neither direct access to database schema nor option to alter the schema in Oracle SaaS.

 

Technologies used to build RICEFW on Oracle cloud

 

Reports

 

Following are the tools used to create analytical and transactional reports that are not available as standard reports in Oracle SaaS:

 

Available within Oracle SaaS

 

Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI): The tool is built on the power of Oracle's industry-leading business intelligence tool - Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE). This allows users to build powerful data visualization with real-time data that highlights data patterns and encourages data exploration instead of delivering static flat reports.

 

Smart view: With the smart view desktop tool, users can create or run OTBI analyses within MS Excel, Word, or PowerPoint and save them back into the OTBI catalog in real time.

 

BI publisher: It is a reporting solution to author, manage, and deliver all your reports and documents easier and faster than traditional reporting tools. It is pre-integrated with Oracle and works seamlessly with OBIEE, e-Business Suite, PeopleSoft Enterprise, JD Edwards Enterprise One, Oracle Hyperion Planning, and Oracle Application Express (APEX).

 

Available with Oracle PaaS

 

Business intelligence cloud service (BICS): BICS can combine data from diverse sources and quickly create rich, interactive, analytic applications and reports. Data is stored in the Oracle Database Cloud Service, which is hosted on Oracle Public Cloud.

 

Interfaces

Following are the tools to build interfaces for external systems in online and batch mode:

Continue reading " Building customizations (RICEFW) on Oracle SaaS " »

April 8, 2017

How 'impactful' are your Talents for future....

 

It was interesting to watch the panel discussion about 'Fourth Industrial Revolution' at WEF, Davos earlier this year. Ever since, this new phrase 'Fourth Revolution' has been making headlines across all print, visual and social media. While it may sound 'sky is falling' right now, the phrase 'digital refugee' (referring to people losing jobs due to Automation and Artificial Intelligence) is quite intriguing.

Watching and reading all this, there is a clear and alarming sense of urgency to plan and shape-up for future. Experts in Organizational Dynamics point out that this drive to transform the entire mind-set of the organization from grass root levels, could be a major change management exercise. So, the big question is how do Enterprises plan to build or shape-up their workforce for future skill needs? How do they bring down this plan to individual level and measure it to succeed ? What is the time on-hand to make this enormous shift..?

 

Today's approach is just not enough !

Clearly, today most Enterprises might be in a 'Talent Steady' state - the change in skills required to run business are more or less defined and repeatable. Today, Enterprises' track 'Talents' under the name of 'skills', 'competency' etc.. associating skill taxonomy and skill-level to these parameters. Subsequently, workforce is tagged to a defined skill set and measured for the skill-level which they demonstrate at assigned work. This is measuring 'Talent' just in one dimension - 'completeness'.

Come tomorrow, Enterprises need to plan a massive renaissance to acquire new skills. Lets call this 'Talent Shift' state - where Enterprises have to focus on rigorously de-skilling and up-skilling workforce for future while the current work is being attended to. This is more an organic change, a transformation from within. In a more metaphorical sense, in future, Enterprises need to realize that employees are no more Employees but 'Talents'. This is akin to the proverbial joke about the 'heart surgery' carried out while the 'heart' is still beating! Hence, time is of the essence in future. Measuring Talent for 'completeness' alone is not enough. Talent needs to be associated with 'Impact' going forward and the impact created by each individual's Talent needs to be measured.

Being an 'impactful' Talent is the key 

Going forward, this 'impact' needs to be measured under 'Behavioral Skills' for every individual - at onboarding and subsequent performance evaluations - as this is associated with talent behavior pattern. I call this, 'Talent Quotient', which will be a key data-metric for measurement at individual level.

Once this is done, workforce needs to be grouped under following categories:

Original Thinkers

As the name suggests, these talents are unique, path-breaking and innovative. These individuals create and co-create useful stuff for an organization - solutions, view-points and deliverables etc... In summary, they are responsible for the intellectual asset building for an Enterprise.

Catalysts

These people are the leaders and adapt to change quickly. While adapting themselves to change, they influence others, enable them and deliver results thus working as 'Catalysts'.

Followers

Obviously, this category covers the foot soldiers who 'do' things. They follow the 'Catalysts' and work under their leadership and guidance.


Lets see the distribution of this 'Talent Quotient' across various category of companies to illustrate the utility of this metric 'Talent Quotient'.

A product company, which plans to undergo a 'Talent Shift' state, needs to have 50% - 60% of Talents categorized with 'Talent Quotient' as Original Thinkers and Catalysts. This is because asset creation is an important imperative for a product company and talents have to be shaped up accordingly.

Likewise, a Company primarily running on Services side and plans for a 'Talent Shift' state, might need Talents with 35% - 40% under 'Original Thinkers and Catalysts. This is because of the adherence to processes / SOPs and the extent of leg work in a Service industry.

Similarly, we can derive more examples and data metrics for various industry segments or stream of work (Consulting, Administration, Operations etc,,). To reemphasize the hypothesis, the speed at which an Enterprise moves to future state is completely dependent on this mix. Unless, Enterprises measure 'Talent Quotient' of their workforce, the so called 'Talent Shift' is not a smooth journey.

How does this 'Talent Quotient' impact a Talent Management cycle

Enterprises need to plan carefully to manifest this metric in the current Talent Management processes.

While, the individual treatment varies from Enterprise to Enterprise based on the nature of business and philosophy of Talent Management practices, following is an illustration of how this metric 'Talent Quotient' impacts the Talent Management cycle.

Onboard

Develop

Evaluate

Reward

Retain

Impacts the skill taxonomy

Impacts the Learning Development plans of workforce

The KPI 'Talent Quotient' needs to be measured under Behavior Skills

Create different CnB packages based on the 'Talent Quotient'.

Create retention plans and clusters based on 'Talent Quotient'.

Impacts the hiring slots and budgets

Changes the Personal Development Plan of the individuals

Determine a continuous mechanism to assess this metric

Determine the Reward mechanism to reward on 'Potential' along with Reward on 'Delivered Results'.

 

 

Summary

With changing times and advent of AI & Automation at work, the future workplace is going to see lot of changes. Enterprises need to undergo a big 'Talent Shift' from their current state. They need to figure out new mechanism to identify and track 'talents' that speed up the process of this 'Talent Shift'. Tracking the 'Talent Quotient' of individuals with their workforce will help Enterprises to make this transformation much faster within. You know, Upcoming newer times need renewed approach!

March 22, 2017

***Chart of Account (COA) Design Considerations***

Chart of Account (COA) structure is the heart of an ERP implementation enabling business to exercise its day to day operations. This has very influence on how an organization wants to record monetary, contingent and statistical impact of different transactions taking place across the line of businesses, report it out to external entities to fulfil regulatory and statutory requirements, leverage it internally to gain insight on performance of different departments on both top and bottom lines. In order to be able to embark efficiently on these essentially require a modern chart of account mapped to different business modalities and dimensions that does not only takes care regular requirements as said but helps facilitate automation, rein in need of creating duplicate segment value pool, one segment does not override others i.e. maintains uniqueness of purpose mapped to each segment etc. Investing enough to lay down the foundation of COA structure would be the first step to lock down a successful ERP implementation and to drive innovation for businesses throughout the life of application. Note: Combination of segments (e.g. Company, Department/Cost Centre, Account etc.) forms a Chart of Account.

There are numerous essential characteristics including, but not limited to, below 5 that must be considered while designing COA structure:

Selection of business modalities/dimensions as segments of COA:

The selection of modalities as segments is not an objective matter but a very subjective in nature. While some are mandatory one irrespective of everything and anything but some are invariably vary based on types of industries, organizations and products or services offered, geographies where businesses have its operations, internal and external reporting needs, future considerations and volume of inter or intra company transactions etc. Each one of these are key drivers to design an idealistic, futuristic and holistic chart of account. For an example, manufacturing organizations may want to consider cost type as a segment to represent say fixed and variable cost in order to better assess contribution margin at the product level. They may look at a segment exposing sales destination location of a product to clearly articulate the strategy for multi-fold growth in determined geographies. In banking industry, companies may choose to introduce reference to a relationship manager/cost centre in order to measure performance at product portfolio level. In retail industry, looking at product categories instead of individual product can be the favourable option.

One segment should not override or make other ones redundant:

This is one of the vital discussion points while designing a COA structure in any ERP systems. While a thought leadership on this can offer long term benefits to organizations in account of easier maintenance, minimal master value pool for each segment, no duplication etc. On the other hand immature decisions, however, may erode the benefits eventually. A COA structure and value set for each segment should intelligently be designed in such a way that one segment does not make other one redundant, does not enforce introduction of similar type of values for a segment and most importantly they must be structured "relative" to each other. To understand it better, let's take an example of a COA structure that has 4 segments called Company, Cost Centre/Department, Natural account and Sub-Account. There are 3 companies COMP1, COMP2 and COMP3 and each company operates with its 4 own departments as Sales, IT, Purchase and Inventory. As a strategic and sustainable approach, a) one would recommend only 4 different cost centre value sets representing each of the 4 departments. These 4 can be associated with either of the 3 companies while actual transactions are taking place. On the other side as a poor design, b) organization can undoubtedly be enforced to introduce 12 different cost centre codes representing 4 departments working for 3 different companies. It is self-evident that option "a" firstly cascades the behaviour of relativity where Cost Centre is relative to a company and thereby does not lead to a redundancy and secondly avoids creation of duplicate codes for similar type of departments. This can further be well understood with postal code numbering system where it navigates through State, District and finally City. Here City is relative to a District and a District itself relative to a State for a given country. In regards to option "b", shortcomings are clearly countable as creation of duplicate codes while departments are of similar nature for each company, can't share segment values, certain to experience huge volume of cost centre values over the period of time etc.

Automation for Intra/Inter Company Transactions:

Organizations like GE who has leading business presence almost all over the world deal with huge volume of transactions b/t two or more internal business units. Transactions taking place b/t 2 business units ideally lead to inter/intra company transactions and that is where it is essential to consider a placeholder for inter/intra company segment in the COA in order to efficiently track referencing inter/intra company and enable opportunities for automation. ERPs like Oracle Application R12/Fusion Cloud offers an automation to create inter/intra company accounting entries by introducing pre-configured rules. For example, Oracle Fusion Financials automatically creates Intercompany Payable accounting entry corresponding to the Intercompany Receivable inter/intra company accounting entry by looking at the rules. Such entries have a counterparty reference in the COA code combination as in company (balancing segment) and designated inter/intra company segment.

Give meaning to each digit/character within a segment rather than just treat as code:

While a business meaning is tagged to each segment, a COA design can further be advanced by injecting an appropriate meaning to digits or characters within a segment. For example instead of just coding a company as COMP1 with no meaning to individual or set of characters, one can strongly advocate for "013060" where first 2 digits represents Country, next 2 region and last 2 State. Such logical combination may take away the need of an individual segment in a COA to signify location. This is additionally very helpful for easy reference.

Business Rules With Valid COA Code Combinations:

In regular business practice while creating different transactions, allowing only valid COA code combinations is usually the core business requirements. For example, although a COA code combination with Cash Account does not require any specific product code however the same would be needed while booking revenue. Thus, identification of such scenarios and implementing rules accordingly in the system is the key to rein in undesired code combination values.

Oracle Financial Accounting Hub (FAH) - A True Value Enabler

For any business organizations, recording accountings for its different transactions taking place with internal or external entities is an obvious objective. It is essential to measure the overall performance of the organization, gain insight to penetrate the new markets and to control cost expenses, fulfil the statutory and regulatory reporting requirements and so on. To efficiently support all these any modern organizations need a reliable, scalable, centralized fulfilling global and local accounting requirements, quick enough to implement a change and importantly economical solution. The answer is Financial Account Hub (FAH) and embarking on it is a first step to plant a foundation for innovation. FAH is an intuitive accounting engine that consumes business transactions' attributes interfaced from legacy systems, apply the accounting rules and mapping to eventually create accounting entries. For a better reference and understanding, it is similar to Sub-Ledger Accounting (SLA). While SLA is an accounting processor for business transactions originated from different sub-ledgers like AR, FA and AP etc within Oracle ERP, FAH is to deal with transactions originated from legacy systems and interfaced to Oracle ERP. Here are the 5 key value enablers that innately help drive organizations to inject FAH in their accounting solution footprint:

 

Centralized Accounting Solution:

In a traditional approach, consider a scenario where accounting entries are created for 10 different types of business transactions in 10 different front-office systems and finally interface it to Oracle where general ledger operation is supervised. This apparently counts some of the inefficiencies like:

a) Maintaining business accounting rules in 10 different systems

b) Requiring multiple resources with different product specific skills to implement accounting solution, change and support.

c) Lack of governance and control over accounting

d) Lost opportunity of reusing different components e.g. mappings and common accounting rules.

e) Have to invest on front-office applications for something which they don't primarily mean to do.

To overcome all these, FAH is one of the best options that offers centralized accounting engine empowers organizations cultivating a strategic roadmap to consolidate the accounting solutions lying at different places to just one at enterprise level.

 

Quicker and easier implementation:

Unlike Oracle EBS 11i and prior lower versions, both Oracle EBS and Oracle ERP Cloud offer front-end configurable capabilities to mimic business accounting rules on FAH setup components to eventually derive accounting entries for interfaced business transactions. Configurations are simply divided into logical groups likes Accounting Derivation rules, Journal Line Type rules (Dr and Cr) and optionally line/header descriptions rolling up starting from transaction, application, accounting method and finally to ledger. All these are configured corresponding to its relevant entity, event type and class model. An accounting solution for an interface can be ready in one month or so. 

 

Minimize dependencies on IT teams for maintenance:

Unlike custom accounting solution, most ongoing maintenance requests like capturing additional details to the journal line description can easily be achieved without even involving developer and a code change. Consider another scenario where there is a regulatory requirement to book asset expenditure to expense account instead of asset account for certain asset categories. Unlike in traditional back-end accounting engines where a medium size IT project may require, FAH can deliver it to business as part of the BAU processes without involving IT teams and notably in a quicker, easier and cheaper manner. In this particular case, accounting derivation rule will require a change to accommodate expense account for certain asset categories.

 

Capability to handle exceptions and complex mapping/rules:

While FAH is capable of handling most of accounting requirements with out-of-the-box configurable features, it also provides a powerful custom source concept where you can code your own accounting logic and link it to a custom source available for use in FAH. Consider a scenario where you want to derive BSV (balancing segment value) of COA based on the complex mapping and exceptions, a custom source can be defined for the same linked to a custom s/w code. FAH invokes the custom source at run time while interface processing to derive the BSV based on the logic coded in the custom s/w program.

 

Cost avoidance:

With FAH is in place for interface processing, organizations can avoid multiple licensing cost by eliminating the need of licenses for all front-office applications having its own accounting engine. It naturally avoids the salary costs needing for product SMEs with different skills set related to core legacy systems.

 Thus, FAH is categorically a strategic accounting hub be it Oracle EBS or Oracle ERP Cloud that offers agility extensively enabling modern organizations gain radical benefits of faster responsiveness to the regulatory and statutory accounting requirements, cost effectiveness, and importantly consolidation of accounting solution on a single platform.

March 1, 2017

Key Productivity Tools you need in your Incentive Compensation Application-Part 1 of 2

Many a time while choosing an Incentive Compensation application, companies tend to focus on core capabilities like crediting, incentive calculation and reporting capabilities. Less attention is paid towards productivity tools that are required by administrators to run the application smoothly and efficiently. In the absence of such tools, even the best equipped applications fail to "Go-Live".

In a series of blogs on this topic, I will attempt to list and describe the set of productivity tools that sales and incentive compensation administrators should be looking for when they are shopping for their incentive compensation application.

Let's start by looking at a standard flow of the incentive compensation processes and then focus on the productivity tools that are required at different stages. Not all stages will be discussed in these blogs as every stage may not require productivity tools. Below process flow uses terminology from Oracle Sales Cloud-Incentive Compensation although other products will have similar flows.


IC process.png

 













Import Participants- This process step may encapsulate tasks like creating salesreps and sales managers in the application along with updating their attributes. Below productivity tools may be relevant here

-Ability to import/create salesreps from an external file/tool. Typically the field level information in this task includes salesrep name, manager details etc.

-Ability to update salesrep attribute information using an external file/tool. Salesrep attributes are typically fields like country, home currency, role etc. Note: Where multiple currencies are involved, it is also useful to have the ability to import currency exchange rates through an external file.

 

Configure Crediting Rules- Crediting rules define who receives how much credit for a business transaction. Multiple criteria maybe be used along with defining some sort of a hierarchical structure to enable 'rollup' of credit to managers if required. If the number of salesreps in your organization are high, these may lead to a high number rules to create and manage. Adding to that, if multiple criteria are involved, the number of clicks required in the applications to do this activity increase exponentially. Hence a productivity tool that enables below becomes very important

-Ability to mass create and maintain credit rules through an external file or tool.

 

In subsequent blogs, we will look at productivity tools that can be used in other steps of the Incentive Compensation process. 

February 17, 2017

A Guide for PAAS Solutions on Oracle Sales Cloud

 

Introduction:

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

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

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




PAAS Architecture:

         


 



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


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


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


PAAS Patterns:

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

       



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


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


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


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


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



Custom Application using ADF\OSC Objects


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

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

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

     

Solution Approach:

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

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


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


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

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

Conclusion:

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




January 30, 2017

Customer Experience cloud options for Telcos

 

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

Continue reading " Customer Experience cloud options for Telcos " »

December 6, 2016

Oracle Fusion Opportunity to project integration


In most of the service organizations, internal resources are utilized while pursuing the proposal of customer (Opportunity) to get the new business from existing or new customer. However, the internal organization efforts are not tracked in detail level. If the organization tracks the indirect pre-sale effort / resources utilized for the opportunity, it can give more clarity on how to make use of these resources efficiently. It also helps to identify / track the indirect cost used for Opportunity. This could support organizations in budgeting and resource utilization.

Oracle Fusion Application provides integration between Oracle Sales Cloud (OSC) and Oracle Project Portfolio Management (PPM) to track and plan the indirect pursuit pre-sale cost for Opportunity also it will help to plan, budget, track and execute the delivery of opportunity once organization won the new business.

Following project types can be considered for Opportunity.

·         Pursuit project

It is an indirect project type, which tracks the pre-sale non billable pursuit cost of Opportunity, including staffing, travel, and other expense.

Project manager / opportunity owner creates corresponding pursuit project when the Opportunity gets created. He plans the budget according to the effort / resources / expenses required for the Opportunity. Opportunity owner raise the resource requirement for pursuit project which gets fulfilled by resource manager as per availability. Project team starts working on pre-sale work of Opportunity and charges the time sheet on corresponding pursuit project. All expenses are submitted on pursuit project. Every pre-sale opportunity pursuit costs like expense, procurement, and time card are collected on pursuit project. Opportunity owner / project manager executes the budget to actual cost analysis to review the project performance according to the budget and raises any change request if required.

Once the pre-sale activity of Opportunity get completed, corresponding pursuit project will get closed. So, no more cost will be charged on the project. Opportunity's pursuit budget to actual cost details provide better clarity on organization's indirect cost spending on multiple opportunities to plan it effectively for better outcome.

 

 

Pursuit Project.jpg
















 

·         Delivery project:

It is a contract project, which plans and tracks the delivery / execution of opportunity with planning, staffing, budgeting, billing, and revenue forecasting.

Once the Opportunity won, corresponding Delivery project get created. Project manager plan the project delivery with effort/resources/expenses required and prepare the budget for the Opportunity delivery. Project manager will raise the resource requirement for delivery of project which will get fulfilled by resource manager. Project team will start working on delivery and will charge the time sheet on corresponding delivery project. Any expenses occur will get submitted on project. All the delivery cost like expense, procurement, time card will get collected on delivery project and revenue will get generated accordingly with customer billing as per milestone achieved. Opportunity owner/Project Manager perform the budget to actual analysis to review the project performance as per budget and will raise any change request if any staffing or budget changes required.

Once the delivery of opportunity get completed, the corresponding delivery project will get closed, so no more cost/revenue/billing get charged/generated on project. Delivery projects budget to actual analysis provide better clarity on cost & revenue details of opportunity to track project performance to plan it effectively for better outcome.

 

Delivery Project.jpg
















 

The pursuit cost of all opportunities collected through pursuit project can be redistributed on multiple delivery projects at organization level.

Summary:

Opportunity to project integration provides more clarity on Opportunity's pursuit and delivery activity. Pursuit project helps to plan the pursuit of opportunity in a better way with available resources and cost budgets. It also provides clarity on actual cost-budget, resource availability, and other details for pursuit activity performance evaluation at organization level for better decision making.

Delivery project serves to execute the delivery of opportunity in better way with in details planning including staffing with cost and revenue budget. It helps to track the real-time progress, which helps to take key decision for opportunity delivery. The project also provides clarity on actual cost and revenue to budget for reviewing financial performance of delivery project.

Opportunity to project integration helps to track the pursuit and delivery activity of Opportunity at granular level with better control.

 

 

                                                

September 17, 2016

Roadmap to become a Digital CFO

Finance function has been constantly evolving. From being a bean counter, it has become the guardian of the shareholder value and a trusted advisor.


As the guardian of the shareholder value, it is important the function considers the impact of the happening Digital revolution on the finance function. The digital revolution is toppling leaders at a pace never seen in history.  Hence, it is critical the CFO understand the Digital revolution and what it mean for the finance function.


Digitalization is often understood in a very narrow sense as the automation of the business operation or moving away from using physical documents to digital documents. While this is correct, the Digital revolution is a much bigger exercise.


Gartner defines Digitalization as "the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business".

What does this mean for the finance function?

The change in business models will require the finance function to build, evaluate and guide enterprises in decision-making.  Failure to do so, will mean non-performance of the most critical function of the CFO i.e. safe guarding the shareholder value. Numerous surveys have also repeatedly called out the CFO as a major decision maker in IT investments and in big number of cases the CFO has direct responsibility of the IT function. This further strengthens the case for the CFO to understand and probably push the enterprises into the digital revolution. The digital leaders will not be able to able to increase increased revenue and margins, it will also lead to a significant reduction in cost. An Oracle-FERF survey put the cost saving as 20% of the cost base.

While the CFO office gets involved in pushing for the Digital revolution and advising on the new business models it is also necessary for the 'Finance' function to be flexible and innovative is using the digital age knowledge to reach the next level of maturity.

 What is digital finance?

 To assess the current level we should look at the four attributes of the a 'Digital Finance' function

Leverage of Cloud - Strategically leverage cloud to modernize finance

  1. Leverage of Mobility - Leverage mobility to automate, speed the processes and provide real time data

  2. Leverage of Data age Big and Analytics - to improve business decisions, be able to present diagnostic, predictive and prescriptive insights.

  3. Leverage of Internet of Things, Social Media - to deliver real-time information using mobile devices and social media.

How to reach the Aspired Digital Levels?

The Process:

The 'Infosys Digital Finance Capability- Maturity Model' -helps an enterprise to assess the current 'Digital level' of its finance function. The assessment is done for the various processes within the finance function like Payables, Receivables, General Ledger etc. Next, based on the enterprise business environment the target levels will be set by the business with recommendations from Infosys. Enterprises may take a step-by-step approach to move from one level to another to ease the change management, budget availability, criticality and other business realities. Infosys will also help the enterprise set the new KPI to track the progress and assess the performance of the digitized function.



The Solution:

The Oracle Cloud set of solutions along with Infosys Nia solution provides numerous options to build the Digital enterprise. These solutions can be deployed on cloud.  Infosys will also help the enterprises build other solution levering the 'Infosys Digital' expertise to build solutions not covered by Oracle Cloud or Infosys Nia solutions.

Oracle Cloud:

Modern cloud applications from Oracle help you speed your digitization journey. These applications are integrated with social, mobile and possess analytic capabilities to help you deliver enhanced customer experiences.

Below are some of the Out-of-the-Box solutions offered by Oracle cloud, to speed up the Digital journey

Oracle Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud - built to optimize the close. Financial Consolidation and Close Cloud is designed to help minimize risk, provide transparency to the process, and accuracy to the results. Provide real-time insight and access to data with interactive process and financial dashboards.

  • Oracle Analytics Cloud delivers business analytics for traditional data and big data across the entire enterprise.

  • Account Reconciliation Cloud - helps management and improvement of global account reconciliation.

  • Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud - improves reporting by providing multi-dimensional and analytical capabilities.

  • Use Financial Reporting Compliance Cloud Service to optimize controls within and outside your financial processes using an integrated solution as part of your Oracle ERP Cloud deployment.

Infosys Nia:

Nia is a knowledge-based AI platform. It brings machine learning together with the deep knowledge of an organization to drive automation and innovation.

Nia does Data Collection from different integrated sources by using the information platform (IIP) and relaying it for further analysis. Nia then utilizes the  'Knowledge platform' (IKP) of Nia to analyze the data and detect anomalies. Next, the Automation platform (IAP) of Nia is used for 'Automated strategy' update, Automating fixing of the upstream processes. Nia also provides numerous dashboard to view real time data showing views across regions in real time with predictive and prescriptive analytics.

Below is the how Nia solution works for business case , where the enterprise wants to improve the DSO by automatically updating the collection strategy based on statistical, text and econometric analysis of the data fed from the various application like - Cloud ERP, Credit agencies like D&B, financial information providers like Bloomberg and third party applications.



Nia provides similar solution for other finance pain-points. Below is the current set of Nia finance solutions.


S Num

Nia Solution

1

Improving DSO by reducing propensity to default

2

Eliminating disputes through dynamic systemic controls model

3

Increase First Pass Match % & Exception Invoice Management

4

Re-imagining T & E process for World-Class Performance

5

T & E - Fraudulent Claim Detection Management

6

General Ledger & FPnA -  Acceleration of Close process

7

General Ledger & FPnA- Improving  Effectiveness of Balance Sheet Account Reconciliations (BSAR)

8

General Ledger & FPnA- Reducing market risk by real time monitoring of foreign exchange


Conclusion:

Where do you see your organization in terms of Digital maturity of the finance function? In our discussions with the finance leaders, the finance related digital work does not seem a priority item. Moreover, many CFO's also feel with the automation of the operation tasks and creation of shared services, the finance functions are now fully matured with no scope for drastic improvement.  There is also a reluctance to move decision-making tasks to machine intelligence. The CFO needs to overcome these inhibitions is using the new technologies of machine learning, robotics process automation, artificial intelligence. Leveraging the new solutions will make the decisions better, faster and also free-up the bandwidth of some of the always-in-shortage finance staff for more critical analysis needed to explore new lines of business, expand the core business. Thus, helping the CFO in guarding and enhancing the share-holder value.


September 14, 2016

HR-bots and baby day-care centers: How today's Enterprises are balancing their HCM initiatives

 

At times, your organization's HR team may have to plan extreme human capital management (HCM) initiatives that can leave you perplexed about where it's all heading. Well! These initiatives are a result of the sky high expectations from chief human resources officer (CHRO) and HR teams in an organization.

Recently, an Indian IT services firm created around 22 bots to perform HR functions using artificial intelligence (AI). These bots are being integrated with the existing HR software platform that the company sells, thus bringing a high-end 'robotic experience' i.e. without the intervention of humans, to the otherwise mundane HR transactions.

On the other side, large tech companies are now providing on-campus, toddler daycare services, in an effort to improve their employee-friendliness and bring a 'human touch' to employee relations.

These two anecdotes best summarize the extreme HCM initiatives ('face-less' to 'humane') that typical HR functions have been undergoing in recent times.

Given their offbeat nature, it is interesting to analyze the various factors influencing the planning and execution of such human capital management (HCM) initiatives. To be more methodical about this analysis, we will categorize these factors as 'behavioral,' 'ecological,' and 'positional.'

Behavioral factors

As the name suggests, behavioral factors revolve around the 'perceived behavior' of your HR teams, and the associated HCM initiatives which determine how employees perceive the HR teams in an organization.

Recent HCM initiatives introduced by various enterprises across the globe point to the following patterns:

  • Big shift in the mind-set towards employee engagement / satisfaction

As mentioned above, the introduction of toddler daycare, on-campus, is an excellent example of this shift. Alongside, Tech companies like Microsoft, Infosys, etc. have already announced that they are 'removing the traditional bell curve for employee performance' appraisals. In fact, several companies today also take pride in announcing themselves to be 'flat' or 'no-hierarchy' organizations. Introduction of more work-from-home opportunities and informal dress codes are some other moves made by them, considering 'employee satisfaction' as a key parameter in designing HCM initiatives or policies.

  • Need for increased communication

Enterprises today have realized the undeniable need of employee communication. Therefore, each enterprise is creating layered HR teams to address employee concerns. This could encompass initiatives like location-specific HR teams, business group-specific HR teams, creating 'grievance cells' to handle employee issues, and introducing 'employee buddy' programs to handle the onboarding of new employees.

  • Ensuring cross-cultural diversity and a strong gender-mix

One of the largest shifts visible today is in an organization's efforts to introduce gender diversity in their enterprise. Similarly, global organizations carry a huge onus of ensuring improved cross-cultural diversity in their teams. Enterprises with high diversity are good examples to emulate, as they are seen to have more 'open' and 'fair' HR policies; which is, again, a positive behavior from the HR team that employees would look forward to.

  • Process simplification / standardization

While business complexity is increasing with every passing day, enterprises are hard at work, trying to simplify their processes as much as possible. HR is one good function within an enterprise, wherein process simplification or standardization, elimination of multiple approvals, and going paperless for almost all processes is fast becoming a standard practice.

Ecological factors

These factors are driven more by the outside environment or the 'ecosystem'. Although some considerations here are optional, most are crucial and mandatory, and to a large extent, define the HCM initiatives taken by various enterprises.

  • Technology trends

These include various tech-practices trending across the HCM ecosystem; such as, the rapid adoption of HCM cloud, increased use of HR analytics, and preparing for HR operations using machine learning.

  • Regulatory compliance

Strict adherence to Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) laws, diversity rules, paid leaves of absence (LOA) standards, labor policies, minimum wages, etc. are governed by regulations or the law of the land. There is an increasing trend among global organizations to conduct HCM initiatives aimed at streamlining such regulatory compliance across various geographies of operations.

  • Data security / Personally Identifiable Information (PII)

Enterprises today face enhanced scrutiny of their data management, data access, and PII data protection practices. This is forcing HCM teams to design and implement several governing, policing, and grievance redressal mechanisms around various data privacy or intellectual property laws.

Positional factors

These HCM initiatives are designed to provide a positional advantage to an enterprise. They act as external or internal branding for the enterprise and are closely monitored by the organization's high-level executives.

  • Articulate the business value of HR

Enterprises are mandating their HR teams to demonstrate the business value of HR to the organization. In other words, most HCM initiatives today are driven by business value / key performance indicators (KPI) and focus on aligning HR to the organization's strategies.

  • Create a 'brand image' - like 'Best Employer'

Most enterprise want their HR teams to bring in new, market-leading, and employee-focused practices that culminate in achieving the coveted 'Best Employer' award. Recently, a private bank in India created an employee journey based 'Employee Experience' HR initiative, which was kind of a radical approach to handling HR transactions.

  • HR as a partner in innovation across the company

Enterprises today want their HR teams to propel a culture of innovation across the organization and be true partners in their modernization journey. This is driving HR teams to create newer policies / frameworks to nurture and propagate innovation within the teams. Recent HCM initiatives include redefining jobs / positions / AORs (Areas of Responsibility) to allow employees to manage their career working on multiple items beyond the regular work. It is just like allowing them to manage their careers as a portfolio. HCM initiatives are being designed specially to identify and incentivize an employees' contributions of novel or innovative ideas, above and beyond their regular, expected tasks / activities.  

  • HR as a strong propellant for an enterprise's value system

Today, most enterprises use their HR teams as representatives to communicate the company's value system. HCM initiatives primarily designed in the form of workshops, emails, sessions, campaigns, etc., using various gamification techniques, are meant to improve the awareness of the organizational value system within the employee population.

  • Continuous competency building

This is an age-old expectation from HR teams but receives very high visibility in today's age of 'talent wars' - in which an enterprise has to participate. HCM initiatives are now designed to empower the organization's workforce in skill-areas that are crucial to giving an organization the much-required 'competitive edge'.

To summarize, the changing needs of organizations to engage better with the  millennial employees and digital workforce -- employees who use smart-devices and are active on social networks --are mandating them to change their HR processes and applications in line with the future's needs.

This has made chief human resources officers (CHROs) and HR teams of organizations take proactive actions in addressing the expectations from various corners. The factors discussed above - behavioral, ecological and positional - influence most of the HR initiatives being planned and executed by these teams.

Be it HR-bots or toddler daycare centers --it is all for a good cause!

September 8, 2016

Internet of Things (IoT) in field service management (FSM)

In today's competitive world, real-time data and innovative service methods are vital for field service enterprises to ensure customer delight, increase revenues, and expand profit margins.

The IoT explained

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows machines to communicate with each other (M2M communication). It is built using a combination of networks that comprise of data-gathering sensors, devices, big data, analytics, and cloud computing, which communicate via secured and encrypted channels. Connected devices enable efficient predictive maintenance by constantly providing information on a machine's performance, environmental conditions, and the possibility of failures. IoT can connect machines on the field in order to record incidents in real-time into a semi-intelligent 'Gen-X' FSM system.

Integrating IoT with FSM software applications

Field service organizations always strive to consistently provide the best service experience to their customers, by ensuring immediate repair and maintenance of their equipment and machinery. By collecting data about the machine's health and performance from IoT sensors, organizations can leverage predictive and preventive field service to minimize device downtime.


Three primary traditional FSM challenges

Here are three primary issues that challenge the current reactive scenarios:

    Field technicians execute the job and fix the equipment after the issue is reported. However, the delay can impact business continuity, which in turn affects the operating profit margins


    Adding more field technicians and service trucks to the field comes at a cost and sometimes the increased capacity remains under-used


    Assigning more work to existing field teams can have a negative impact on SLAs and first-time fix rates. Even worse, it can increase the cost of travel and overtime

Essentials of a new-age FSM solution

A field service management system that integrates device sensor data, technicians, customers, and technology is the key to address these issues. It should function in a predictive and preventive mode with the following features:

    The FSM process, which includes issue identification, communication, incident creation, scheduling, and assignment can be automated, thereby ensuring zero disruption in machinery operations and no or negligible downtime. This not only increases productivity, but also expands operating profit margins

 

    Most FSM products can also automate incident creation, scheduling, assignment, and invoicing processes. Using IoT, we can predict upcoming issues based on sensors data analysis and auto-creation of incidents based on preset threshold rules

The workflow of a FSM system with IoT integration

Here is an outline of the flow of incidents in a typical IoT-enabled FSM system:

1.   Data from the equipment's sensors is collected and transmitted, using secured and encrypted channels, to a big data storage


2.   Big data management and analytics is used to parse and analyze for refined sensors data


3.   The IoT command console is configured with predefined threshold rules to identify errors and monitor the device's health and performance


4.   Incidents are auto-created in the FSM system whenever errors are detected


5.   Auto-scheduling, routing, and dispatching of field service technicians against the incidents is done based on customer entitlements, location, product, skills required for the job, technician's availability, parts availability, etc. via the FSM system


6.   A field technician performs the job at the customer's site; records the effort, parts used, travel time, and any expenses incurred; and then bills the customer


Workflow of Field Service Management application using IoT.