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

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September 30, 2016

Oracle Projects for Project Based Manufacturing Industries - A Perspective


What is a Project Based Manufacturing Industry?

Further to the broader classification of manufacturing industries into Process and Discrete Manufacturing, the latter one can be further classified into a Product based manufacturing setup and Project Based Manufacturing Setup.

Key features that distinguish Project Based Manufacturing setup would be as under where all or some of the criteria may be fulfilled:

  • Almost all of the finished goods that are manufactured and assembled  are made as per the specifications of the customer
  • Each customer order has unique product specifications
  • Meeting the customer requirements need the organization to perform activities of unique design, work specifications, test and installation.

Once the design and routings are created, each process builds upon the next, so the product is built cumulatively as each layer of the manufacturing process is applied in a sequential order and in a quality-controlled environment.

Few of the key business challenges faced by Project based manufacturing organizations are as under:

  • Since every order is different, it is difficult to determine the sales quote to be sent to the customer enquiries
  • It is difficult to maintain and report on the records for the costs consumed in fulfilling a particular order. Standard costs and overheads cannot be applied.
  • It is also difficult to determine the profitability of each order and hence the viability of the business model being followed remains in doubt.
  • Due to all of the above, and inaccuracies around them, it is difficult to build a reliable repository of historical trends of costing, revenue and profitability which can aid as ballpark for estimations of new orders.

Apart from the above business challenges, other operational challenges faced by the industry are as under:

  • Data Integration across various business functions.
  • Maintaining Quality
  • Managing Schedule
  • View of Project Cost across each function
  • No clear methodology of cost allocations to project at various stages of the manufacturing

What does Oracle Projects Offer to this Industry?

Oracle Project Management and Oracle Project Manufacturing can help in a big way to solve the above problems. Oracle Project Manufacturing Application is specifically an offering which is targeted to support organizations in an 'Engineer-To-Order' and 'Project Contract' delivery model.

Oracle Project Manufacturing along with Oracle Project Costing and Oracle Project Billing provides organizations a layer of project view for planning and execution on top of their existing business functions in Oracle like Order to Cash, Procure to Pay and Manufacturing cycles. Key process activities and process steps while using Oracle Project Manufacturing are as under:

  • Create Project for every Sales Order Booked
  • Detail out the Project Activities in the Project Work Breakdown Structure. Create Cost and Revenue Budgets based on estimates from the design activities
  • Incur costs on the project including procurement, material and resource consumption, overhead allocations and job works. Collect all these costs into the project (and tasks) so that costs of the project and each activity are updated at each stage.
  • Review and Track project activities as per schedule and plan activities in advance, align resources as per plan.
  • Generate Billing out of Projects to determine and account revenue as well as billing events and eventually determine the financial metrics for the project (e.g. Profitability, Budget vs. Actual, etc.)

Key Business Drivers for Oracle Projects in a Projects Organization

Key benefits in implementing and usage of Oracle Projects portfolio in a Project based Manufacturing setup would be as under

  • Leveraging standardized WBS for project execution based on generic product templates and customizing them as per the engineering design specifications and resultant activities
  • Order execution planning can factor in both internal constraints like lead time required to complete each activity, resource leveling, delivery schedules of procured items as well as external constraints like committed delivery timelines to the customer as well as financial budget constraints.
  • Initiation of the Procurement and tracking of the deliveries based on project. This is critical, particularly in the light of the uniqueness of each project resulting in project specific items to be procured, and in time.
  • Helps maintain inventory specifically to a project / order by creation of a logical organization of inventory
  • Aids in systematic change management of project schedules and rescheduling of other dependent processes. Also, impact of any change on cost and timelines can be verified before base lining the same.
  • Automation of Cost and Revenue recognition in correct accounting periods more accurately which helps in better reporting of financial position of the organization.
  • As every project is different in nature, separate rules for allocation of cost of resources and overheads to each project is possible. Hence no more compulsion to use organization specific generic allocation templates which do not factor project specific complexities

Jayeeta Shenoy

Lead Consultant, Oracle Practice

Infosys Limited, Pune

Customer Experience - Expectations

Today's evolving customer has distinct requirements and wants a unique experience. This insight of customer experience may seem radical - but it's a real possibility. Customers no longer want a discrete digital and physical experience- there needs to be one smooth customer experience. The customer is no longer reserved to be at the receiving side of the value chain.

There are four key elements that coincide to drive noteworthy advances in the way businesses and customers are reaching out to each other.

1. Entwining of Virtual and Physical Experiences

The Innovation Age has enabled businesses to connect with their customers seamlessly through multiple channels creating new experiences online, over cell phones and even in the physical world

2. Arrival of the `PROSUMER'

With the reduced distance between an organization and its customers due to cloud and mobile technology adoption, customers are getting more and more involved in designing and producing products. As an example let's take the case of advertisers reaching out to their audience to ideate and produce the next big commercial. A leading food and beverage manufacturer commercial is one such example, where consumers were asked to record and send in their video entries for the beverage commercial.

3. Age of Engagement

No longer does the consumer today visit brick and mortar stores to get information about interested products. All the information that they need is available to them at their fingertips to discuss, compare and purchase. This leads to 'smart' sites and more products and features linked to social networking. This unstructured 'Big Data', sourced from the point of Engagement, is being used by businesses to study their customers revealing insights which were never thought imaginable

4. A Make-for-Me Future

The traditional techniques of mass marketing and selling pre-packaged products are already becoming a thing of the past. The buzz word these days is 'Customerization' where each product is customized per an individuals need and the future looks to be bright for those businesses which can achieve this hyper-personalization of goods and services

The revolution being experienced in customer power at present, is keeping companies on their toes and is driving them to dynamically captivate and innovate with customers across the value chain and to draw out insights from the ever so growing data sets. Disruptive innovations like 3D Printing have always pushed forward the evolution of mankind by leaps and bounds. The advances mobile, social, big data and cloud technologies provide customers a platform to connect with others and express their opinions in a more direct manner than ever possible before. This has put them right back in the center of the change being driven through technology by businesses aiming to optimize resources in a dynamic environment.

September 29, 2016

OBIEE 11G Performance Optimization Strategies - Part II

In the first part of the blog, we discussed the basic performance expectations from a reporting application and the reporting design considerations. In this part we continue the conversation and discuss further on the RPD design considerations and the approach to troubleshoot performance at the database level.

RPD Design Considerations

While looking at the OBIEE RPD from the point of view of performance, there are a number of basic questions that need to be kept in mind which are illustrated below

1. De-normalizing Objects De-normalize dimensional objects, combine several dimensional attributes into one flat table to reduce joins

2. Aggregate Tables Minimize the cost of aggregations using Aggregate tables though this has a trade-off resulting in additional ETL, storage and complex mapping efforts

3. Trimming the OBI RPD Best practice is to keep the RPD trimmed by disabling the projects, initialization blocks, variables and redundant objects

4. Push Complicated Calculations to ETL Complex logic that involves complex SQL can be considered to be handled in ETL reducing runtime processing

5. Cross Database Joins and Opaque Views Cross Database joins should be eliminated as much as possible and opaque views used as sparingly as possible

6. Caching Caching helps especially for complex queries that are reused many times. Implementing caching can be a little tricky as cached entries may become specific to users

7. Connection Pools Dedicated connection pools are advised for initialization blocks and session variables. Maximum number of connections advised for a connection pool is 20% of the concurrent user

8. Timeout Parameters Providing certain timeout parameters in the RPD to control long running queries enables OBI to track and cancel runaway queries

Database Layer Troubleshooting

1. SDE Queries Source Dependent Extract queries in the ETL can be optimized by adding hints which force the database query optimizer to execute the statement more efficiently

2. Lean and Streamlined Mappings Use of redundant transformations which utilize system memory and temp space could pose as another bottleneck and hence should be done away with

3. Incremental Data Ensuring incremental records are picked in daily loads is essential and can be done by configuring prune days

4. Load Plan Scheduling Proper care should be given while scheduling the loads so that deadlocks and unconditional waits aren't introduced

5. Database Optimization Oracle database features like proper indexing, partitioning of tables and pushing the star transformations to the DB level should be used. Configuration of DB parameters as per Oracle recommendations should be followed

The above are the most common and basic optimization techniques that can be employed to tackle any problem associated to performance. The main thing to remember is to break the problem into pieces and take it a battle at a time rather than try to fight a singular losing war.

OBIEE 11G Performance Optimization Strategies - Part I

Any BI project is not only about implementation but is rather a complete lifecycle with activities required in the stages pre, during and post implementation. Coding the business requirements to achieve the desired results is just one part of the engagement. For a BI project to be successful it is not enough to deliver accurate information but it also has to be delivered in an optimal time frame.

The tuning, optimizing and performance monitoring is a very critical part to the implementation of an OBIEE solution yet is very commonly overlooked. In the following sections, we discuss Oracle BI performance and focus on the areas generally hit and the common optimization strategies.

Expectations Around OBIEE Performance

Before we go into the strategies that can be employed, we need to understand and identify what is good performance and what is bad before any action is taken on it. The reason behind any bad performance could be very basic in nature (connection pools not configured properly) or could be a result of disconnected development brought on by ignorant RPD building practices.

The common areas affected by performance degradation are listed below

  • Application availability and access
  • Retrieval and display of data on reports and dashboards within an optimal timeframe
  • Responsiveness of reporting application
  • Minimal impact of an increase in the number of concurrent users on the application responsiveness

Reporting Design Considerations

1. Extensive formatting of reports

Any formatting of reports (conditional or otherwise) has overhead on the system compared to simple tabular reports
Pivot Tables and Charts If a significant number of Charts or Pivot table views exist on a dashboard page, one should consider changing the existing reports to Table view to help performance

2. Defaulting Dashboard Prompts 

Using a default value for the prompts in dashboards ensures that the reports will return a smaller result set
Hidden sections and guided navigations Always check for any hidden sections and guided navigations on a dashboard page since these will always run

3. Push Complicated Calculations to BI RPD 

Complicated calculations should be coded in the BI repository rather to ensure the presentation services displaying the results in optimal time

The performance monitoring tool provided by Oracle provides key insights into the system performance and can be used to get details related to the cache usage, catalog access, the chart engine performance, presentation services sessions and connection pools amongst many other useful insights

In the next part we will dig a little deeper and discuss the RPD design considerations and DB Layer troubleshooting.

Dummies Guide - Enterprise Application Deployment Options


In our previous blog (click here), we discussed on the various options and considerations an organization must undertake while choosing to procure Enterprise Applications. Having decided on the same, we would now understand the different options for deploying the software and the considerations that one would need to undertake.

Software Deployment, as the name suggests is a process to deploy the software following a set of pre-defined or vendor suggested steps and make the software available to use. The processes and steps to deploy will vary with each software based on its specific requirements and characteristics along with the deployment option chosen. Also, for deployment of every application, there is also a need for installation and/or alignment of the peripheral dependencies like other existing/new applications, networking, etc.

For this article, we would not be going into the technical details of deployment architecture and processes but would focus on the various deployment options available to an organization once they have zeroed in on the Enterprise Application(s) to be deployed.

First and foremost consideration for any organization on this front would be on choosing the correct infrastructure to deploy the Application. IT Infrastructure has evolved over time to provide customers with various options to choose from depending on their needs and appetite. Let us first begin to understand these options at a high level.

On Premise Deployment

This is the most traditional approach of deployment of software where the entire process is managed in-house with or without the help of external consultants. In an on premise environment, the software would run on servers that are owned by you and placed within the organization's boundary.

The organization in conjunction with the specifications from the Software Vendor would preparer the needs of the server, sizing and other details, procure and install the same. This will be followed by the software installation on the server, enabling the required services and configurations to ensure that the software is up & running and can be accessed by the users from their machines:

  • As the servers are within the own premises, the applications are connected across the users in the organization using the hardware and networking infrastructure present in the organization.
  • The organizations IT resources can manage the day to day maintenance of the application as well as manage the enhancements and upgrades.
  • This approach is typically adopted by companies who have their own IT resources to manage the IT Application landscape. This is also adopted if the companies have mandate from regulatory authorities or customers for maintaining the application data locally.
  • Key steps involved in On-Premise Deployment of Enterprise Application:
        • Capacity Planning and Sizing of Hardware, Software and Networks
        • Procurement of the above
        • Installation of Hardware along with configurations
        • System Development and Testing
        • System Deployment
        • Application and Hardware Maintenance
        • Managing Enhancements and Upgrade

Pros and Cons of 'On Premise' Application Deployment are as under:



Strong Integration capabilities with other existing applications of the organization.

High upfront costs due to costs of procurement, installation of software as well as hardware

Can meet regulatory and customer requirements of data security

Internal IT teams need to be trained and made capable of handling all technical activities related to the application and server

Provides flexibility of software customizations without dependencies from third parties

Scalability of software and sizing are limited due to infrastructure capabilities

Complete control over IT infrastructure

No Service Uptime Guarantee

Doesn't depend on internet as infrastructure is residing and accessed within the organization through corporate internal network

Capacity enhancement is time consuming. Can take months.


Need to procure and maintain hardware to cater for the surge requirements. This needs to be carried all the time


Cloud Deployment

Cloud is one of the hot terminologies that have been in use over the last many years. Cloud is basically provisioning of a virtual IT environment by a host organization to its customers that can be accessed, transacted and maintained remotely. Cloud Computing are primarily segregated into 2 parts - Cloud Services and Cloud Deployment.

The key business drivers that led to an emergence and wider acceptance of Cloud Based IT systems are Cost Reduction and Capacity Planning constraints. In a competitive world, organizations are inclined to keep costs, especially IT Costs lower than ever before. Contrary to that, business uncertainties restrict effective Capacity Planning that has resulted in under / over capacity translating into further costs to the organization. Cloud deployment provides a perfect answer to these challenges by providing an organization the required flexibility as well as cost effectiveness in deploying and maintaining their Enterprise Applications. Many organizations tend to deploy their applications on cloud because of the lower capital expenditure upfront and also for the predictability in the operating costs.

Cloud Providers typically enter into agreement with organizations which are characterized by service level agreements, service up-time guarantees, and performance metrics to be adhered along with technical support.

Pros and Cons of Cloud based Deployment are as under:



Allows users to access systems and information anywhere and anytime

Lacks total control over the organization's IT infrastructure.

Lower deployment and operational costs. Operational costs over the years are predictable.

Certain aspects of cloud environment is determined by the cloud provider and may not be customizable to businesses' needs

Provides guarantee of service up-time and performance metrics

Security still a big concern when the data travels through internet

Requires a lean team in internal IT. Does away with the need of resources with complex technical skills

Multiple points of failures in series making it vulnerable. (Orgà ISPà Providers Network)

Cloud provides for scalability of infrastructure in lesser time and cost


Possible to have capacity enhancement for surge period only


Various models for Pricing available



There are primarily 3 cloud deployment models which are explained as under:

Public Cloud: As the name suggests, in this model, the third party cloud provider owns an infrastructure that is made available to organizations and users over the internet either free of cost or for a fee. The owner of the cloud is responsible for maintaining the cloud environment and its peripheral resources. 

Public cloud, being a shared-tenant arrangement, the hardware hosted on the cloud is shared between many organizations and users. When an organization subscribes to public cloud, they can't have control over the hardware performance and specifications as these are in the prerogative of the cloud provider to use whatever works best to the entire server. However, since the costs of the infrastructure as well as the operating costs are shared between the subscribers of public cloud, it provides a very cost effective model for organizations to subscribe, especially for hosting applications which do not contain business or client sensitive data.

Private Cloud: Private cloud is also known as internal cloud as the cloud deployment in this case is specific to an organization and its requirements. Private cloud ensures compliance to an organization's security requirements and is hence characterized by the necessary safeguards like firewall, access control restrictions, etc. Though the private cloud may be hosted by an external service provider, the organization subscribing to it would be the owner of the same. The organization can maintain the requirements in terms of server sizing, performance metrics, and scheduling processes as per its own business requirements. The administration of the Private Cloud can either be done by the organization's IT resources or can be outsourced to a third party.

Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud is a cloud deployment model comprising both public cloud and private cloud. An organization may decide to deploy critical business applications like ERP and Financial systems on a private cloud to ensure compliance and tighter security, whereas applications having less critical information may be hosted on public cloud.  Though hybrid cloud model provides an organization with cost rationalization opportunities, it will have to factor in challenges of integrations and disparities between different cloud environments.

Hybrid Deployment

Hybrid Deployment is a model where some of the Enterprise Applications are hosted on Cloud while some are hosted on internal servers. The reasons for an organization to choose for hybrid model may vary, though few typical reasons are listed below:

  • The organization may want to try out cloud based model for few of the applications before making a move entirely into cloud in future.
  • There may be legal or business requirement to maintain certain critical applications On-Premise for greater control and security
  • An organization may want to derive benefits of investments in existing physical infrastructure for existing applications while newer applications may be deployed on cloud.

Key Considerations for Choosing the Correct Deployment Option:

Now that we know the deployment options available to an organization, let us understand the key influencers in decision making to make the correct choice from the above:

  • Integration - Requirement of integrating various applications and the technical challenges in building and maintaining those integrations across deployments
  • Control - Does the model provide for the organization to define the critical control mechanisms and to what extent
  • Data Security and Privacy - capability to build and maintain security of access as well as data
  • Peak Loads - Ability of the infrastructure to handle peak loads and consistent average loads without impact to performance
  • Vendor Confidence - Credibility and reliability of the cloud / infrastructure provider
  • Customer's Skills and Experience - Types and number of IT resources that are required to maintain the infrastructure
  • Costs - Upfront investment required as well as Operational Costs. TCO including hardware/ Resources / Subscription as applicable over a period of 3-5 years
  • Impact on Working Capital - Percentage of working capital that would get blocked and/or consumed for maintaining the infrastructure
  • Cash Flow - Payback period of the investment (Return on Investment)
  • Flexibility and Scalability - whether the deployment model is capable to be scalable as per the business needs


Ravindra Kumar Deshmukh                          Shrikant Shrinivas Shenoy

Principal Consultant - Oracle Practice              Principal Consultant - Oracle Practice

Infosys Limited, Pune. India                             Infosys Limited, Pune. India


September 21, 2016

Integrated profitability analytics - The need, struggles and future



Banks have enjoyed relatively high profit margins for long time. But the recent trends in Banks profit margins have not been very encouraging.  The recent business developments like changing technological landscape, higher capital requirement on regulatory front and entry of newer payments and banking platform have led to significant decrease in profit margins and highly vulnerable customers.


To sustain, grow and compete with new fintech (finance technology) start-ups, financial services enterprises need to continuously evolve and provide more value to their customers at a much lower cost. This requires multidimensional profitability view across the enterprise at the most granular level and timely availability of analytics for key business decision.

Key focus of financial services enterprise

Due to the changes in business environment the focus on enterprise-wide profitability measurement has increased. The focus is more on managing information rather than accounting information - information which can be used to support business decisions based on the granular customer level analytics. This level of information helps to answer key business parameters like which parameters can be changed to increase profitability, how do a product and geography compare with other, which are my highly profitable customers etc?

Challenges on the road to achieving integrated profitability analytics

The key challenge is the complex landscape due to multiple systems operating in silos. This makes it very complex and time consuming process to bring all the data at the granular level together in same format without data quality issues. Other challenges include custom built solution which is difficult to maintain and change, static allocation engine which is very inefficient and cannot take dynamically changing driver data from multiple systems.

Therefore it is imperative to adopt the right solution which can produce the required information accurately and timely to support decision making. The solution should be able to provide a holistic view of profitability across the enterprise at an account and customer level. Typically, enterprises find it difficult to allocate indirect cost. This requires the solution to have robust and dynamic allocation framework adaptable as per business needs.

Infosys Approach for integrated profitability analytics


Infosys profitability analytics solution leverages oracle financial services profitability management (OFSAA) to provide integrated profitability analytics. This can be integrated with OFSAA analytics solutions such as enterprise, retail and institutional performance analytics to gain an in-depth view and ready-to-use dashboards. The enables institutions to gain an integrated and multidimensional profitability view across dimensions such as product, channel and even individual customers.

Business benefits of the solution

  • Incorporate risk into business decision making

  • Prioritize customers based on profits generated

  • Achieve a consistent view of performance across the organization

  • Get timely profitability insights for go-to-market strategy



With the ever changing business environment, intensified competition and increasing need for personalized products and services, the financial services industry would look for more detailed analytics. This would enable them to offer a bespoke product to cater to the specific needs of a customer. Infosys approach for profitability analytics solution helps enterprise achieve multidimensional integrated profitability analytics at the most granular level. The solution helps the management not only to evaluate and retain the existing avenues but also explore newer opportunities.

September 20, 2016

Improving Performance of your Sales Personnel - The Cloud Way


Over the years, traditional CRM solutions have expanded from being customer centric to maintaining a good health of the sales organization. Having a seamless and trustworthy system for incentivizing the Salesforce, goes a long way in improving the sales morale, thereby increasing the productivity. Further from a business standpoint, the incentivizing solution should help align the sales behavior to corporate goals. This is where Oracle sales cloud incentive compensation plugs in as a potential game changer to both the stakeholders: Salesforce and Organization. It is a global compensation management application that allows organizations to align the business objectives with sales force activities. Using OSC IC, organizations can leverage a calculation engine which can seamlessly cater to on-time and precise payments.

Sales organizations which continue to use spreadsheets, have failed to optimize sales planning and faced roadblocks in maintaining a motivated Salesforce. Some of the pain areas that have caused continual trouble to such organizations have been low sales morale, misaligned sales behavior due to lack of intersection between the organizations sales strategy and the compensation plan modelling. Also as a by-product of this, attrition in sales teams and retention of top talent has become an area of paramount concern. Henceforth having an automated, scalable and flexible commission calculation engine has attained greater importance.

Key Pain Points


Oracle Sales Cloud (OSC) IC as a Solution

Given the wide range of challenges that organizations have to address, Oracle Sales Cloud (OSC) IC Module provides a comprehensive solution to handle all of these aspects.

Use Case to Articulate the Benefits

Let's take an example of Sales Organization generating a revenue of 50 million dollars annually, with an average of 5 %( 2.5 million dollars) estimated towards the incentives payout/cost over the year.

Considering the below Key Performance Indictor's (KPI)  to evaluate the Return on Investment / Net benefit by automating via OSC IC.


So the overall monetary gain amounts to approximately 1 million dollars. Apart from these tangible benefits, there are other non-tangible gains like maintaining a high sales morale, retaining and rewarding top performers.

End to End Incentive Compensation via OSC IC

Design & communicate incentive programs that align with corporate strategy.

Measure attainment against sales targets / goals.

Reward sales behavior.

Analyze the sales / incentive payout numbers.  



Happy Customers with Augmented Humanity - AI


In today's increasingly competitive world, organizations need to do things differently, yet in a way that they stay relevant to customers. A major dimension of this is customer experience (CX) - the interaction between customers and organizations over the course of their continued relationship, eventually culminating into a purchase. Such a relationship includes attracting a customer, making them aware, and cultivating a transactional relationship with them, eventually leading to a purchase, use of a service, and advocacy for the organization by the customer.


A recent research by Gartner indicates that very soon, close to 89 percent of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience, making CX the differentiating factor for any business. With the advent of automation, implementing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud in business processes will become imperative for companies to enhance their reach. Consider the following facts: Google's voice recognition technology now claims 98 percent accuracy and Facebook's DeepFace boasts a 97 percent success rate in facial recognition. These are all artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and they are all successful. 

The question now is, 'how can organizations involve AI in CX?' To answer this, we need to first understand what exactly AI is (and no, it's not your typical, Hollywood Sci-Fi movie's AI that is ready to take over the Earth and overpower humans!). Artificial intelligence is in fact intelligence exhibited by a machine that evaluates its environmental factors to churn out actionable outcomes based on cognitive logic, in order to take decisions like a human. AI adds relevance to any intellectual task, and when this technique reaches mainstream-use, it is described as the 'AI effect.' 

AI in CX 1.JPG

AI is everywhere and assisting millions of users daily in the most subtle way


Sounds too fancy to be true? Well, AI is actually involved in our day-to-day lives in various aspects like

activity recognition, which basically determines what a person is doing and based on the activity, decides what is the appropriate response / action that needs to be taken. Then there is natural language processing (NLP), in which the machine has the ability to recognize, interpret, and synthesize speech. An extension of this technology is the deep learning approach used by Google in RankBrain, which analyzes vast amounts of digital data in order to find relevance in content and queries. It can learn all sorts of useful tasks, like identifying photos, recognizing commands spoken into a smartphone, and accordingly respond to internet search queries. In terms of self service support, AI is used to create assisted customer care, wherein the interaction with customers is handled by machines. Chatterbots are another extension of this technology, where AI talks to humans over text chats. Siri, WeChat, IBM Watson, etc. are popular examples of this technology created over different platforms, which can additionally be embedded in websites and messaging applications. There are AI tools that are designed to augment human intelligence using an AI technique known as intelligence amplification.


Recent advances in AI and machine learning capabilities assure that AI can help improve customer experience significantly. There are several potential use cases for AI in the CX lifecycle that can be envisaged in the near future; such as:


Innovative marketing

1. Targeted advertisements and campaigns: Advertisements, which are the most basic form of marketing, can be optimized to be more targeted with the help of deep learning, by detecting trends in user behavior through internet content. Artificial intelligence will help increase the likelihood that a user will click on an ad and thus achieve better cost-per-acquisition for the organization.

2. Automated product pricing: With multiple products and different business factors that impact sales, estimating a cost-to-sales ratio -- commonly known as price elasticity -- can be difficult. AI can prove to be helpful here, with its ability to work out dynamic price optimization by analyzing pricing trends and environmental factors that affect sales.

3. Lead assistant bots: Sales leads assistance bots can be developed with AI to nurture your leads through constant interactions, at various touch points. The AI engine can be configured to generate leads based on various sources and also initiate a personalized email campaign or other media interaction for the targeted segment. The AI can then nurture the leads and hand them over to sales reps when such leads turn hot.


Accelerating sales

1. Complementary sales: AI can be used to upsell and cross-sell across product groups by providing potential customer recommendations with the help of AI-assisted analytics. The AI engine can analyze the information gathered from different sources, linking it to industry, purchase patterns, product types, etc. to suggest products to potential customers. Armed with information about different customer attributes, skillset of sales reps, and relationships with different types of customers, the engine can learn and recommend what combination of customers and sales reps yields the best results.

2. AI can recommend the most optimum territory coverage based on sales rep relationships, affinity, and strengths, alongside quotas based on industry statistics as well as historical sales.

3. With the help of social and digital platforms, AI technology can be used to enhance customer contact touch points. Different people have different preferences and adjusting your way of interacting with customers can help your business satisfy them better.

4. AI can also help in recognizing patterns and behaviors of customers to automatically generate action alerts. Additionally, by studying these patterns, AI can help recognize the most appropriate sales and service channels for a customer. AI-aided speech recognition could be used to spot key words and consequently trigger service enhancements.

6. AI can help businesses have effortless omnichannel engagement with customers across all channels, including phones, tablets, websites, etc. It can also guide sales reps to communicate with customers through the channel of their choice. This is not only a means of effective information, but also serves to elevate the quality of service and nurture better relationships with customers.


Powered with high-quality data, strong algorithms, and excellent computing power, AI is already paving the way for human brain-like behavior. Given the significant leaps in cloud technology, we can expect this space to witness some rapid innovation.

AI in CX 2.jpg

Critical Success factors of AI


It's clear that AI advancements and cognitive technologies will result in tangible results, such as upselling, increased loyalty, and cost savings. AI-driven customer experience can positively impact the bottom-line for a business and successfully make customers happy by:

  • Optimizing the selling and service time by inducing faster actions and decisions to satisfy customers who seek quicker responses

  • Providing better outcomes, be it via a resolution tailored to a customer's problem or faster diagnosis of an issue faced by the customer

  • Improving efficiency of operations and employees

  • Reducing labor costs through intelligent automation of service tasks, assignments, etc.

  • Greater scale of performing major tasks quickly that are otherwise too tedious to be performed manually.

  • Bringing innovations in products and services, such as improving customer service with personalized responses, and launching new approaches.

Rapid innovation is going to make AI a critical success factor in customer relationship management across various sectors. It will bridge the gap across digital, online, and offline channels, leading to improved efficiency, reduced costs, increased revenues and ultimately, a better and more connected customer service landscape.

Coalition loyalty: Loyalty's new definition


Coalition loyalty - the next-generation loyalty that increases customer satisfaction through easy earn and burn points across businesses is gaining traction quickly the world over. Coalition loyalty offers incentives / rewards to customers of two or more businesses. Although not a new concept, it is gaining traction quickly, the world over.


A coalition loyalty requires an anchor who brings partners from various services or product domains onto a single platform and allows the points issued by one vendor to be interchangeably used with another vendor on the same platform. It essentially works as a Loyalty Sharing group between the participating partners.


Next-generation loyalty offerings are fast moving in this direction with customers reopening some of their inactive loyalty accounts, with the prospect of being able to use points beyond just one brand.


The success of coalition loyalty lies in the usage of a settlement system that helps in reducing the settlement time between earn & burn partners in addition to helping in reducing operational costs and preventing revenue leakage, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.


Infosys has implemented a solution for such settlement needs using Oracle's stack of products such as Revenue Management and Billing (RMB), Oracle BI Publisher (OBIEE) and Oracle Documaker.

  • Oracle's Revenue Management & Billing (ORMB) - rules based system for billing, payment and collections

  • Oracle's Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE)  - for management reporting needs

  • Oracle Documaker - for printing statements from ORMB



To read more about the need for Coalition Loyalty and understand the settlement solution from Infosys, please visit us at Oracle Open World 2016 to know more about this solution.


September 17, 2016

Decoding GST for Oracle Customers


As India gets ready to implement the new GST law, the question on top of most of the IT leaders, finance leaders is regarding the readiness of the IT systems to meet the new requirements.

Are the changes to the system simple or complex? How long will it take to solution and implement the change?  Has this been done before? Can you speed up the process? When do we start with work to be ready on time? These are absolute valid concerns and need immediate attention.

Infosys has been working on building the solution to help enterprises move to new GST law smoothly and quickly. The Infosys solution

-          Uses the Infosys 'Tax Assessment' framework to understand the likely impact areas.

-          Uses the Infosys pre-built solutions, templates to solution the requirements

-          Uses the Infosys Intrak implementation approach to implement the solutions

Note, the solution has not considered Localization patches which Oracle may come up with. As of now, Oracle is still working on the localization patches. 

Assessment - Infosys Tax Assessment framework:

The Infosys Tax Assessment framework, has been built based on our experience in implementing tax solutions across the world for VAT, Sales tax regimes in Americas, EMEA, and APAC.  The framework ensures the tax impacts - easily and in a structured way without any misses.

The Infosys Tax Assessment framework, discusses the impacts within the below five boundaries.

1.       Master Data

2.       Tax rules ( defaulting tax on business transactions)

3.       Cutover Impacts

4.       Business documents

5.       Reporting and Accounting

The provision of 'Credits and Refunds' have also created a lot of confusion and anxiety.  The Infosys framework has been tailored to assess the likely systemic requirements around credits and refunds.

1.       Master Data -

Master data like supplier master, customer master, legal entity setups, General Ledger accounts and Part master needs to be enriched with the new tax registration details and exemption details to meet the GST law requirements.

GST Requirements on Registration:

As per the Model bill, the existing dealers would be automatically migrated. The new GSTIN will be a 15-digit GSTIN based on IT PAN.

Liability to get registered: Every supplier should be registered if aggregate turnover in a Financial year exceeds 0.9 million / 9 Lakhs INR (0.4 million / 4 Lakhs INR if the business is registered in North Eastern States and Sikkim).


Liability to pay tax:  will be after crossing the threshold of 0. 5 Million / 5 Lakhs INR for NE states and Sikkim and 1 Million / 10 Lakhs INR for Rest of India. Small dealers having sales below 5 million INR can also adopt the Composition scheme and pay flat of about 1 to 4% tax on turnover.

The tax is also determined based on the type of item, hence the parts should also be categorized using HSN Code.

2.       Tax Rules (defaulting tax on business transactions)

The tax rules default the tax rates on different transactions - P2P transactions and O2C transactions.  The Infosys 'Tax Assessment' framework helps building a tax matrix capturing all the tax rules in a single matrix, considering all the tax determining factors like party, place, product and process. The tax matrix ensures all tax requirements are correctly captured and are easily understood. Based on the tax matrix, the tax rules will be configured.  The tax rules will cover branch transfers and job work (OSP) transactions.

GST Requirements impacting tax rules:

·         GST is based on supply of goods or services against the present concept of tax on the manufacture of goods or on sale of goods or on provision of services.

·         GST will be Destination based tax against the present concept of origin based tax.

·         Local Transactions - will attract Dual GST With the Centre and the States simultaneously levying it on a common base

·         Interstate Transactions - will attract Integrated GST (IGST) would be levied on inter-State supply (including stock transfers)

·         Import Transactions - will attract IGST would be treated as inter-State supplies.

There are also likely to be multiple rate based on the type of item

·         Merit Rate

·         Standard Rate

·         De-Merit Rate

·         Zero rate taxes for certain items


3.       Cutover

The cutover from an old solution to a new solution is likely to impact the transactions which are mid-way in the end to end process. For example a PO created under an old tax regime might have old tax related data. When an invoice is created by matching the invoice to the PO, it might result in multiple taxes - one with old tax rates, statuses and the other with new tax rates, statuses.

The Infosys solution is able to identify the potential areas of impacts and leverage pre-built solutions to quickly identify and resolve such issues.


4.       Business Document -

Tax related information for e.g. tax registration details are usually printed on business documents like shipping documents, bill of lading, AR Invoices, purchase orders. Considering the refund / credit balance, the GST TIN of the buyer and seller should be printed on the AR invoices. The Infosys 'tax assessment framework' specifically poses questions around the business documents and invoices numbering. This is critical and is often missed, leading to penalties and non-compliance issues.


5.       Reporting and Accounting

The Infosys 'Tax Assessment Framework' finally looks at the reporting and the accounting requirements.  The monthly, quarterly, yearly, ad-hoc reporting requirements are captured as part of this step. The reports used for reconciliation with the general ledger and the number of GL accounts needed for reconciliation and reporting.  Companies may want separate accounts for Input IGST, Input SGST, Input CGST, Output IGST, Output SGST and Output CGST for easy reconciliation and credit tracking.

GST Requirements on reporting:

The Model GST Law proposes following reports





GSTR 1- Outward supplies

GSTR 4 - Quarterly return for compounding Taxpayer

GSTR 8 - Annual Return

GSTR 5 - Periodic return by Non-Resident Foreign Taxpayer (Last day of registration)


GSTR 2-Inward supplies received



ITC Ledger of taxpayer(Continuous)


GSTR 3-Monthly return



Cash Ledger of taxpayer(Continuous)

GSTR 6 - Return for Input Service Distributor (ISD)



Tax ledger of taxpayer(Continuous)

GSTR 7 - Return for Tax Deducted at Source





GST Requirements - Credits and Refunds

This is probably the most controversial change suggested by the Model GST Law. The credit claim process has been a topics of hot discussions as it could have big impact on the cash flow and even margins of the enterprises.

Below are the details of the credit and refund process.

Tax Credits to be Utilized as below

Conditions to Claim Credit


Input CGST to be utilized against output CGST and IGST

Possession of tax invoice

One year from the invoice date

Input SGST to be utilized against output SGST and IGST

Receipt of the goods/ service

Credit pertaining to a financial year cannot be claimed after filing the return (for September) of the next financial year or the filing of the annual return for the year to which the credit pertains - whichever is earlier

Input IGST to be utilized against output IGST, CGST and SGST in the order of IGST, CGST and SGST

Payment of tax charged on the  invoice by supplier



Filing of GST return



Match the claimed credits with the vendor tax liability. In case of a difference / discrepancy, excess credits will be disallowed to the recipient.


 The above requirements are likely to lead to the following systemic requirements

·         A systematic way to automatically calculate the credits

·         A systematic way to do a vendor account reconciliation

·         The need to do a vendor reconciliation will need an ability to upload the vendor data from GSTN into Oracle.

·         A form to view the GST balance and ability to write-off credits which cannot be claimed


Solutioning using Infosys Accelerators -

We have a pre-built repository of ready-to-deploy solutions, which will help enterprises shorten the time to solution and then to develop the solutions. The solutions cover all the areas mentioned below

S Num


Infosys Accelerator


Master Data

Re-usable solution to enrich master data


Tax rules ( defaulting tax on business transactions)

GST Tax Matrix, Pre-Built GST Configuration Templates


Cutover Impacts

Pre-identified components and pre-built solutions to correct cutover impacts.


Business documents

Re-usable solution to fix business documents


Reporting and Accounting

Pre-built reports, solutions to meet the reporting and accounting needs.


Refunds and Credits:

The Infosys solution for claiming refunds and credits will require developing the following programs and solutions to track credits, perform vendor reconciliation, claim credits and write-off credits.

·         Tracking Credits - A custom form will be developed to track the GST credits.

·         Vendor Reconciliation - Two custom programs will be built

1.       A custom program will be built using API provided by GSTN, to upload supplier data.

2.       Custom program will be built to automatically list the unreconciled items with reason code e.g. Goods in transit.

·         Claim Credits - A custom program will be built to automatically claim credits as per the GST rules

·         Write-off credits - The custom form to track credits, will include the ability to write-off credits.



The Infosys solution will enable enterprises to freeze the GST solution in 5-8 weeks, leveraging the Infosys 'Tax assessment framework' and pre-built solution repository.The likely timeline for the solution will be as below.





India GST Plan.PNGIn Conclusion:

Considering time frame-work of 1-2 months for solution finalization plus implementation effort of 2-4 months, it is prudent for organizations to start the work on GST immediately, to be ready for the 01-Apr-2017 launch.






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


Improving DSO by reducing propensity to default


Eliminating disputes through dynamic systemic controls model


Increase First Pass Match % & Exception Invoice Management


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


T & E - Fraudulent Claim Detection Management


General Ledger & FPnA -  Acceleration of Close process


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


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


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.

Are you still creating quotes in Excel?

Most times, Microsoft Excel can be a perfectly convinient tool to capture details in a well-fomatted manner and macro-programmed Excel may even provide quick automation. However, is it good enough to be used as a CPQ tool?

Let us understand how Excel helps sales reps and sales managers to take quotes, in the first place.

To begin with, it is an easy option to choose when it costs less with the current volume of data and given that sales reps are well-accustomed to using it. Additionally, it provides the following perceived advantages:

  • They can save their local copies with some values prefilled, as per the products / models they sell, and use that version every time they need to create a new quote

  • They can have a local copy of the Excel sheet available on their devices, allowing them to update the quote details whenever required

  • Excel presents the least IT spend - because not many executives or specific skills are required for any system management

Though it all seems to work now, there are some challenges that keep sales teams wishing for a more streamlined CPQ (configure, quote, and price) tool in the organization. These challenges could be any or all of the following:

  • Sales reps may have multiple versions of the same quote, across multiple Excel sheets. The quotes generated may have inconsistencies and human errors - like usage of obsolete parts, misspelt attributes, and unchecked parts compatibility

  • With sales reps using their own local copies, there is no guarantee that they are using the latest versions (with updated parts and rules). This may lead to integration issues when the quote is being imported into the order management system, causing errors and failures

  • The sales manager cannot view all the quotes being worked upon by his/her team, even though individual sales reps have details of their work

  • Sales reps may face inconsistencies with Excel versions, depending on the OS in the system they use

Hence, organizations need a CPQ tool in order to achieve:

  • A streamlined quotation process

  • Quote accuracy and integrity

  • Ease of product configuration, pricing, and approvals

  • Agility and mobility