Can chatting make you more productive?

According to the CEB Corporate Leadership Council High Performance Survey, 2012, the average worker collaborates with 10 or more people to accomplish day to day tasks.  That is a lot of chatting.  We think that this chatting needs to be be tied to the business transaction you are working with and the best way to do that is by having the collaboration tool as part of your ERP application.  This is what you get with Oracle ERP Cloud.  I have discussed what social is in the ERP Cloud world in my earlier post Socializing the Finance Department that you can review to get a background.  The key message here is that the collaboration must be tied to a transaction.  Take a look at the video below to illustrate the point and see it in action.

I think you will agree this type of chatting, or as Alan Leposfsky (@alanlepo) of Constellation Research would call it, purposeful collaboration, clearly does make you and your organization more productive.

Guest Post: Custom Balancing by 2 segments in EBS R12

Sangeeta
Sangeeta Sameer, IT Leader – Finance, Renewables ERP at GE Power & Water

This is a guest post from Sangeeta Sameer, who worked for Oracle for 6 years before moving on to work for GE where has held a number of senior positions.  She has also joined the board of the OAUG Multinational Special Interest Group.

At the Collaborate 2014 Conference, David Haimes and I presented a custom solution to enable balancing by 2 segments of the Chart of Accounts in Release 12.1.3 of Oracle e-Business Suite. The attached PowerPoint and Paper that we presented describes in detail the requirements and the custom solution.

So when David asked me to write a guest post about this topic, I thought about what else I would include in the paper if we were writing it again. While the paper talks about the requirement to create a balanced Trial Balance by 2 segments, it does not expand on why we need a balanced Trial Balance by 2 segments. Global corporations like General Electric (GE) need better granularity and accountability for the financial performance of their geographical divisions and lines of businesses by being able to create a Balance Sheet at both a Legal Entity/Statutory level and Business Unit/Management Entity level. GE is a Global conglomerate that has diverse businesses operating in a large number of countries. GE needs the ability to create a balanced Trial Balance by the Legal Entity (LE) and the Management Entity (ME) segments in the Chart of Accounts.

The ability to automatically balance by more than one segment is not a new requirement for GE, and I think it would be a requirement for other multinational companies as well. This requirement is explained quite well in Oracle Fusion Applications Enterprise Structures Concepts Guide 11g Release 5 (11.1.5) – Part # E22899-05. See the section titled “Legal Entity and Its Relationship to Balancing Segments”. While Fusion Applications are able to balance by up to 3 segments in the Chart of Accounts, Oracle e-Business Suite (EBS) Applications are able to balance by one segment only.

In prior EBS Release 11i implementations at GE, the requirement to balance by 2 segments was satisfied by developing custom solutions that needed to be re-visited for Release 12. For example, one of the solutions in 11i was for a custom program to bring balancing entries into the Interface Table. With the introduction of SLA in Release 12, this 11i solution was no longer a good one for R12. The solution described in the attached Paper and PowerPoint is a much more robust solution, and is live in Production for 2 different ERP Projects at GE.

The OAUG Multinational Special Interest Group (SIG) is organizing a webinar on June 11th at 10.30 am Pacific (1.30 pm Eastern) on this topic. David and I will repeat the presentation from Collaborate 2014, and look forward to sharing this solution again. The webinar will be one hour long, including 20-25 minutes for Q&A.

The link to register for this webinar is:
https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/790696327

Report from Collaborate 14, Las Vegas

David in a Suit
Talking Fusion Accounting Hub in a suit

Last month I attended and presented at Collaborate, the largest Oracle conference outside of Open World and one where the agenda is determined by the user community.

I was well organized this year; before I attended the conference I had downloaded the mobile App and started creating a conference agenda, I was a little bit disappointed that I had to manually add sessions I was presenting to my agenda, seems like a missing feature and it did not create the best first impression.  However, I then found the mobile app really good, a lot of discussions, the ability to comment on sessions and all the good social features you would expect.  When the conference got started the gamification they had added (a simple leader board of activity) helped to drive adoption and also caused some controversy, I’ll stay out of that but I would recommend reading Debra Lilley’s thoughts on it.

Throughout the week many people were talking about how several sessions they wanted to attend seemed to be scheduled at the same time. My first thought about this was that they were just making a polite excuse for not attending some of my sessions, but then I did observe the same thing myself.  It is hard having to choose between two or often three very interesting and useful sessions which are on at the same time, it is also tough when attendance at some sessions is lower than they deserve.  However, as I thought more about it, I feel it should be seen as a positive that the quality of the sessions and the presenters was very high.

My session on Fusion Accounting Hub and GLobal Charts of Accounts and Consolidation was on Monday and I had a decent crowd, got through a lot of material and had some really good questions (and I hope the answers were good).  I mentioned on my blog that FAH was the talk of the town based on the number of sessions that were covering it, I certainly spent  lots of time discussing it with people over the course of the conference.  We had a good GL SIG group meeting, I did a few minutes about the management segment and Data Access Sets in EBusiness Suite GL Release 12.  I was surprised that more people were not aware of this very useful feature, maybe I should blog about it (he says, adding it to a long to do list).  My third session was co-presented with Sangeeta Sameer from GE, I have asked Sangeeta to write a guest blog post introducing it, sharing the paper and announcing a webinar repeat of it – watch this space.

Exciting that all the things were, probably the part I enjoyed most was talking to so many people who had implemented or were implementing Cloud ERP Apps.  I had a chance to hear the positive comments and excitement that customers and partners had, but equally chat about where the y had suggestions for improvements.  We have a lot of very experienced, motivated and very smart partners out there and I enjoy every minute talking with them and learning from them, hopefully helping them out with a few tips too.

So next up for me is Open World, I did not make KScope this year, but one day I would like to go there, but for my particular field Collaborate is a must conference and if you have never been I would highly recommend you consider it next year, I will certainly be submitting a paper.

 

 

 

Americas Cup Winning Boat Arrives at Oracle HQ

UPDATE: Check out this post for a time lapse video of the boat being installed over the weekend.
https://davidhaimes.wordpress.com/2014/05/13/americas-cup-boat-installation-time-lapse-video/

On May 20th 2008, I arrived at work and was surprised to see an Americas cup yacht as I looked out from my office window and posted pictures to this blog.  This weekend, almost 6 years later to the day, we had a new boat arrive to live on the lake and this time I was ready because preparations have been going on for a while.  I popped into the office on Saturday to see how it was looking and it was looking, well it was looking very big.  These multi hulled machines are amazing pieces engineering and seeing one so close is pretty cool.  Take a look below at the old boat and the new one viewed from the same office and you will get an idea of the difference in size.  More pictures to come soon…

p-640-480-8d9271fc-4381-49cc-a4ae-710d69c98a30.jpeg

 

teamUSAatHQ

 

 

 

Collaborate 14 Paper: Balancing by 2 Segments

It is a very common requirement to automatically balance by two different segments of the chart of accounts, typically the Legal Entity and some sort of Management Entity (department, line of business, cost center, etc).  Fusion financials allows you to balance by up to three segments, which is always a well received feature.  However at Collaborate you can learn how one company built a custom to do this in EBusiness Suite.  I’m honored to have been asked to Co-present with GE on this topic, they have done some really good work here and I’m sure it will be of great interest to others too.  So come along and join us, you’ll get the specifics of what they did, the details are below:

Session ID: 13941
When: 10 Apr 11:00 AM-12:00 PM
Room: Level 1, Marco Polo – 801
Speakers: Sangeeta Sameer, General Electric (GE),  David Haimes, Oracle Corporation
Abstract: This paper describes the Custom solution that General Electric (GE) implemented in collaboration with Oracle to achieve Balancing by 2 segments in Release 12.1.3 of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS). GE has the business need to Balance by both the Legal Entity (LE) and Management Entity (ME) segments in the Chart of Accounts. While Fusion Applications allow Balancing by 3 segments, Oracle EBS Applications do not have this Functionality. This paper covers the requirements and solution in detail for 2 Segment Balancing.

Oracle Ebusiness Suite Financials Books

I am often asked what book to read to learn Oracle Financials, there is no simple answer here.  If you get the concepts right everything else will drop into place much more easily than getting overwhelmed with specific details of how to configure every single feature click by click or what every single UI does in detail.  I have listed some of the books available below.  I have given some commentary, but I advise going to amazon and checking out the reviews there or looking in the comments of this post where I hope you will all share your thoughts on the ones you have read.

Oracle E-Business Suite Financials Handbook, Third Edition

I have the first edition of this book, it is very readable and goes over the concepts and major features of all the products in financials, a good starting point if you are new to financials.  It discusses how you would run an implementation project and does not concern itself with step by step guidance on how to set up specific features.  It’s a good book and well researched.

I have not read the third edition in detail yet, anyone who has please feel free to post comments on this post.

Oracle E-Business Suite Financials R12: A Functionality Guide

Oracle E-Business Suite Financials R12

Full disclosure on this one.  Firstly I was given this book free by the publishers to review, secondly I know the author Mohan Iyer, who is chair of the OAUG GL Special Interest Group.

This book is not going to make you an expert in Oracle Financials and ready to get started on a major implementation right away, it does not get into the detailed steps of how to configure all the modules and features. It simply introduces the modules in a way that a business user can understand, diving into a little more detail in some places. I think it is intended to be a guide for a business user considering or already starting an implementation, so they can understand some of the options and choices available and I feel it mostly meets that goal well.

The Oracle General Ledger guide

I purchased this book and I’ve read most of it. It seems to be very comprehensive and accurate on the details but is not adding the value I’d hope for over and above the online help or product documentation.  I would have liked it to see some more concise overviews of features and business cases for using certain implementation choices over others.  That said I’m thrilled to a book on GL and am sure many people will find it useful.

Oracle E-Business Suite Development & Extensibility Guide

Not had a chance to read this one, but it contains information that many, many people will care a lot about.  Let me know if you have read it.

Shining a Light on the Release 12 World

The Solution Beacon crew have produced a number of good publications and have a lot of experience, they focus on what is new in R12 and what is in it for you.  It comes with a recommendation from Floyd Teter, who is a respected friend of this blog.  I have not read this one myself.

If you have any of these books, or maybe you are one of the authors of these books please share your thoughts with the community in the comments section.

Happy Birthday to my Blog

I registered with WordPress.com for this blog six years ago today.  My first post was a review of my social calendar for OOW 2007, taking a swipe at Chevy’s, Elton John and Budweiser.  I went on to post 12 times in the remaining 13 days of November, including the now legendary Intercompany Vs Intracompany, it is still the most viewed post on my blog and has amassed 81,331 onsite view to date, which amazes me.  My second most popular post of all time is How do I define my Legal Entities? with 28,690 views and that post is also the most commented on post ever on my blog.  So I clearly did my most popular work in the first two weeks and have ridden that wave ever since.

So six years on I found inspiration at Oracle Open World again this year and am trying to get my blogging frequency up again, I have plenty of content in my mind, but it is finding the time and energy to form it into meaningful and digestible blog posts that takes the time.

Changing the Legal Entity to Balancing Segment Assignement

In the R12 Accounting Setup Manager, you can assign Balancing segment values (aka BSV, Company Codes) to Legal Entities, that’s nothing new for me to blog about.  However a few times in the last month or two I have been asked a question along the lines of

“We are doing a re-org or have created a new LE and now we want to reassign an existing BSV to the new LE, how do we do that?”

My reply is

“I don’t think you really want to do that”

The reason why is because moving ownership of assets and liabilities from one Legal Entity to another is an Intercompany Sale, it has to be done correctly and any taxes due etc must be paid.  Also you need to keep all the history of the activity the old legal entity did and report on that and have it available for audit.  Also you probably want to deal with all the open transactions against the old LE in one way and just start recording new transactions against the new LE.  A good option is to create a new balancing segment value and assign that to the new LE.

There is one situation where I am ok with people wanting to change the assignment, that is when it was a mistake during implementation and you have not entered any transactions against it yet.  That is essentially a data fix.

5 things I don’t do to get more clicks

I was prompted to write the by this  very funny post on the excellent xkcd.com, which highlights what I think is a growing problem of attention grabbing headlines to try and drive traffic.  Everything has to be a ‘5 things…’ or ‘You won’t believe…’ type of headline and format of post, rather than a headline giving an idea what the post is about.

I do like to make snappy titles to my blog posts, but that is to make them more readable and memorable, if you were blogging about Enterprise Software and Accounting (possibly the two most boring subjects known to man) you would do the same.  I do the same with presentations, for example to make my point that mobile solutions need to think about rapidly changing platforms I brought in a host of mobile devices from the last 12 years, it is a trip down memory lane, a little bit of fun and it helps to emphasize my point.

What I don’t do is artificially squeeze a topic into the standard format that is said to generate more traffic to a blog.  I think this is selling your soul for clicks and if your writing has no soul then how can you expect to engage the readership you want to reach?  I personally tend to avoid clicking on headlines or links like “This video will blow your mind – MUST SEE”, the chances of my mind being blown are slim and I am fairly sure that if I don’t see it, then life will go on just fine.  I suspect most of my readers feel the same way about attention grabbing headlines, so probably nobody is reading this anyway.

What is Fusion Accounting Hub?

I like the name Fusion Accounting Hub.  I would like it more if it did not cause so much confusion with the E-Business Suite (EBS) Financial Accounting Hub.  So in an effort to clear things up, I’m writing this blog post.

First some history.  When we designed EBS R12 we wanted to have a common accounting engine for all subledgers, so we built Subledger Accounting (SLA).  We also wanted to provide a platform for customers to generate accounting for all their non Oracle Apps transactional systems using a rule based system.  So we created Financial Accounting Hub (FAH) which exposes the SLA rules engine to external systems so you can bring those into EBS and generate the accounting for multiple systems in one place, using standardized, transparent accounting rules.

When we were building Fusion Applications, we wanted to Fuse the market leading Hyperion BI and Financial Reporting features as well as the powerful PeopleSoft Trees* with EBS General Ledger.  We also wanted to provide a way for Peoplesoft, EBS and JDEdwards customers to move to Fusion in an incremental manner, maybe consolidating data from several GL instances into one Fusion system.  The result was Fusion Accounting Hub (FAH).  Oh and we also provided the accounting rules engine for external systems in the Fusion Accounting Hub.

So we ended up with the same ‘Accounting Hub’ name for the Fusion product when it really offers a whole lot more and different options, you can pick and choose what you take advantage of.

So in summary:

  • E-Business Suite Financial Accounting Hub – An accounting integration platform
  • Fusion Accounting Hub – A BI, reporting and consolidation Platform and an Accounting Integration platform

The other great thing about Fusion Accounting Hub is it is a a great way to incrementally move all your financials into Fusion, but that is a topic for another post…

I hope this clarifies, rather than confuses things, but please let me know your questions in the comments section below.

*Actually there are other Peoplesoft features we include, not least of all automatic balancing across multiple chart of account segments.