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Projects Planning in EPBCS - What you need to know before you kick start.

What you need to know before you start off with Projects Planning in EPBCS.

It's not uncommon for SME's to drastically underestimate the Projects Planning module and commence playing without the full pack! This struck me and as work demanded, thought I should write a diary entry on Projects Planning Module and hot from the Oven it is going to be from EPBCS Enterprise Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service. May sound like I am jumping on the bandwagon, but it is not any less an exercitation! Project-based Planning is Everywhere!

Well, to benefit the first time readers I am bound to give a flashback of the basics, so bear with me until I swim it thru and guess I will make it before your first yawn ;)

EPBCS looks at Projects classification or types as below:

Internal Projects: As the name stands, related to company's internal projects like research and development, IT projects, marketing projects etc. This also deals with prioritization of the same, approval process, stage-gating or phase gating (this actually means a decision point to promote or not the project to the next stage) etc

Capital Projects: Companies prime investments, heavy investments like machineries, basically build up cost, capitalization and expended cost related, single or multiple asset creation related areas. Also envisions Opex vs Capex derivatives.

Contract Projects: Related to customers who are in IT services, that typically bill for their services that makes revenue out of projects. If they want to plan such contractual projects, this is the place.

Below are the typical Project Planning Process groups, might not be fully future ready but apparently comes with the promise to permit customization based on customer needs in one or all of these areas.

So the grouping goes as..

1. Summary: Anything to do with what you want to provide as information of the project. Even information like start date and end date of the project. Can also have different level like any custom dimensions, like vendor and stage dimensions.

2. Expense: This piece is quite similar to Financial Planning module. We can do driver based model, high level planning or even very detailed level of project planning at labor-cost etc. It also houses simple direct input planning. The cloud only feature is for internal projects where we can provide benefits (financial and non-financial) of a particular project. I sure bet this would have eased the whole song of justification, which on the on premise world planners might keep it at bay considering the manual documentation and work involved.            

3. Revenue: 3 basic revenue models are available -Time & Material, Cost Plus and Direct Revenue. Enhanced Revenue recognition parameter to meet IFRS standards. Interesting as it may sound the showcasing of revenue recognized based on performance obligation, completion. A whole lot of KPI's, measures comes OOTB.

If Freshers attack the Projects planning module in EPBCS with this background information, they are lucky not to find any strange language to deal with.

Now for those On-Premise Planning Experts, below is the birds eye view of the comparison between on premise and cloud version of projects planning module.

Topping the list is the Benefits section -Financial, Non-financial and Qualitative. This new feature, as it is being upgraded in the roadmap ahead might turn out to be a good eye catcher for the module as a whole. The "Project Stages" now becomes a new dimension in Cloud and I would believe with this, stage gating can be a cake walk altogether. Next i should mention the "Incremental Enablement" in EPBCS Framework, as it flows to Projects module as well as in the others. Especially for projects it should fall in the must-use list as it not only comes bundled with the list of uses and flexibility but also the ease of use. Yet another capability in Cloud is the ability for planning multiple assets for a single project. While in on premise we can only plan one asset per project, in EPBCS as much as the real world projects planning operates, it allows. Guess this would have been in the wish list of the on premise projects planning users and granted in EPBCS. Last but not the least that is worth mentioning in my list is the Built in Integration with other modules as in Workforce, Capex and Financials. I initially wondered why would we fall for this tight an integration leaving us little room for life time maintenance related enhancements or upgradations (well, IT brain thinking operational) or business process changes or complete ramp over or need to use different codes be it job or labor. But the answer for obvious with the amount of benefit it gives to Business and single source of Truth and the company's full view of the performance management reporting. Imagine the Labor information from workforce flows into projects planning module and you can just pick and assign to projects and the numbers you work out of the projects talk back to financials. Also what if the capital projects from Project module can talk to Capital module and Bingo you are all set! Final icing is the feature that also lets you run Projects Planning stand-alone. Despite the fact that you have enabled Workforce, Capital modules and you are building the Projects module, you can still keep this little brother separate and run him on his own shoes! Now this feature, with this height of flexibility is going to speed straight to my love list of best innovations (for today!) in this module of EPBCS.

Now finally here is what that did not make it into the list to first version of as-is Cloud and Why??

The answer to why may be because of the challenges of adoption or not enough justifiable as I heard from the horse's mouth and/or real time customers not exploiting this feature or less useful/famous in on premise. Why sell something that people don't buy. Good idea to let-go at this stage but while you are questioning if Oracle would have provided options to set it up by customer need basis, Of course the product team proved that they not only do for you but also think for you.

Ranking and Scoring is out with respect to all the OOTB features, rules, logics, but there is parameter set to play with. Few other out-goers are the Intercompany project charging and funding request capabilities. Another surprising OMG moment is the kill of the Primavera integration. Why? Your guess is as good as mine and I will leave it for the future upgrades planned in the roadmap for Project Planning module in EPBCS when they answer Why not cloud integration to P6?

Heading to hit the hay now and will return with another write up with details of all you need to know to get equipped for Projects Planning implementation in EPBCS as I am heading to get my hands dirty in the coming weeks! Can't wait and Lucky Me!


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