Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oracle Technology-Related Points From 10 Things You Can Do Now To Prepare For Fusion Applications - Part 1

Continuing my review of Dr. Nadia Bendjedou’s presentation titled "Oracle E-Business Suite Customers: 10 Things You Can Do Now To Prepare For Oracle Fusion Applications"...

The first four Oracle technology-related points Nadia laid out were:
  • Consider Master Data Management
  • Move to SOA-Based Integration
  • Extend Your Business Intelligence Portfolio
  • Adopt Enterprise Reporting & Publishing


The upshot of this point is similar to Oracle’s "Single Source of Truth" message: consolidate master information into a single master repository, clean and enrich data centrally and distribute, synchronize data for a consistent enterprise view, and leverage master data to improve customer and product centric business process and analytics. The benefits of Master Data Management are cleaner data for business intelligence reporting, and the creation of an enterprise-wide data repository to simplify the upgrade to Fusion.


The compelling recommendation here is to document all external interfaces. What are they and what business flows through them? Is the interface public (such as one found within Oracle iRep) or private ("home-grown", which would be considered a customization)? What are the usage characteristics of each interface (volume, business criticality, frequency, synchronous or asynchronous)? Is the interface build on a hub-and-spoke or point-to-point model? There is also quite a bit of info on Oracle’s future directions in this area, such as the Pre-Built and Orchestrated Process Flows, the Oracle Business Process Analysis Suite, and Oracle iRep.


Much as I regret saying anything about this presentation that may be construed as a negative comment, this section was mostly a plug for Oracle’s Daily Business Intelligence ("DBI") and Oracle Business Intelligence - Enterprise Edition ("OBI EE"). Nevertheless, the idea of leveraging analytics to manage your enterprise and track the performance of business process execution is very important to the SOA and Fusion concepts.


The vision here is to move away from legacy reporting tools (Oracle Reports comes to mind as an example) and move to a standard reporting tool that provides both web-based and paper-based output in any one of a variety of format choices - yup, we’re talking XML Publisher.


I’m in enthusiastic agreement with the idea of Master Data Management. I’ve always believed that an enterprise is best served by centralizing the data so that it can be managed by the data professionals and federating the reporting so that the information output can be managed by the various types of business professionals according to their needs.

As a System Engineer, I’m also heavily in favor of beginning the move to SOA-Based Integration by documenting all external interfaces. This should be part of every enterprise’s technical view of their enterprise architecture, so that it can form the basis of the integration efforts that will be at the heart of a Fusion Applications implementation.

While I recognize the value of business intelligence, I do wish the presentation would have included more conceptual information on that value rather than simply "plugging" the Oracle BI products.

As far as Enterprise Reporting and Publishing, XML Publisher is the next-generation reporting tool and cuts to the core of the Fusion vision. In my opinion, one of the best moves E-Business customers could make today to prepare for Fusion Apps would be to immediately stop any present or future development efforts using Oracle Reports and start using XML Publisher instead.

The final portion of my review on this presentation comes next...


SickPuppy37 said...
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SickPuppy37 said...

I agree with everything you stated including that XML Publisher needs to be the Enterprise form of reporting.

The problem comes when viewing all reporting needs of an organization. Based upon the real world experiences I have had in Life Cycle Management, Enterprise Reporting essentially consists of somewhere between 30 and 45% of the total organization's reporting needs.

Discoverer or some other tools that allow adhoc reporting based upon centrally stored, read only, base objects eliminates the biggest expense of all. Creating and maintaining one-off custom requirements for end users.

Everyone just seems to continue to miss this or glance over it. This has the biggest cost savings, even though it has a high price tag to rollout.

I believe most people, Technical and Non-Technical, just don't understand BI and Adhoc and what it truly means to any organization.

fteter said...

I can't disagree with you. I don't think that XML Publisher will ever replace Discoverer or similar tools - two different tools for two different purposes. However, I am delighted to see a significant upgrade to Oracle's Enterprise Reporting capability.

I think the trick for most enterprises will be differentiating very early in the process between Enterprise Reports and one-off, ad-hoc, or "working" reports.