Posts Tagged ‘Business Intelligence’

21st Century Time Bandits of Accounts Payable

May 9, 2011

When I walk into an Accounts Payable department, it feels like I have almost stepped back in time, from the 21st Century to the 1990’s. Think about this – the 1990’s saw the dawn of ERP systems. Companies implemented these ERP Systems to handle amongst other things, the process of managing and paying invoices from suppliers.

Companies got large amounts of invoices, sent via the good old postal service. These lie on desks in huge piles, until some Payables clerk is ready to pick it up, put their head down and key it in. This process goes on endlessly, in many companies around the globe. Very little has changed in the last 20 years………it is as if, we got into a time machine and went back 20 years.

So a quick intro and a quick movie recommendation before we get into the content. First up, another favorite (and directed by an Ex-Monty Python actor), Time Bandits was a very original movie, all about, you guessed it, Time Travelling. It’s a really original and very entertaining movie. It’s an 8 and great for your kids.

Now a lot of people instantly say outsource Accounts Payable. To those people I say, outsource precisely what? I am a firm believer in using technology to automate certain areas. Freeing up those people to then add far more value to the Business in other areas of Accounts Payable. Too many people outsource business functions in a knee-jerk unimaginative reaction, effectively keeping the 90’s Business processes, whilst really they should be looking at new ways of working and transforming their organization with 21st century technology.

Now I sat in one Oracle OpenWorld session a few years back and listened as one company explained how they processed 1 million invoices a year, with a handful of staff in their Accounts Payable function. My company, if it had the same volume of invoices, would have needed a staff of well over twenty times that. So how did this company manage? Because they changed the way they did business. They didn’t blindly outsource 1990’s Accounts Payable business processes.

They were a 21st century Accounts Payable function whilst their competitors remained firmly in the 90’s.

This caused me to take a very good look at exactly what was the Accounts Payable function in my company processing. I’m going to go through a breakdown of exactly what went through our Accounts Payables subledger, throwing in a few ideas of what we did, what we automated and a few future directions. Hopefully it might trigger you to start questioning some of what you are doing in Accounts Payable.

I’ve been through a lot of Self Service applications in previous blogs and this blog continues to pursue this key technology with a view to automating business processes.

What struck me about my company was that our Payables unit was putting in all sorts of staff related invoices for payment to staff. Not only were they manually entering these but they were also checking all the accounting, figures, etc. Could we outsource? Why on earth would we outsource a function that had absolutely no business value to be done manually and actually shouldn’t exist asw a manual process?

Our company gave loans to staff. When a staff applied on paper, it went through massive approval processes, then finally hit the Accounts Payable for processing. We simply replaced this with an online application form. Staff applied, everything in terms of checking was automated, and we put an invoice through the AP Open Interface (already pre-approved with all the correct accounting) ready for Payment. One function of Accounts Payable removed, with over 2,500 invoices automated.

Our company gave Home Country Travel allowances. Same process as above. Staff applied on paper, massive approval processes, then finally hit Accounts Payable for processing. Online application form, pre-approval, automation, AP Open Interface, neeed I say more. 850 complicated invoices gone, completely automated.

Housing allowances. Same procedure again. Full automation. 850 complicated manual invoices gone, completely automated.

Staff go on a lot of travel given the nature of my company’s business. Same approach again. Online application, straight through Accounts Payable processing (pre-approved, proper accounting, etc). This removed 5,000 manual invoices per year for payment of travel allowances, going completely 100% automated.

Some of our staff have Payroll paid through Accounts Payable. (Don’t ask, it’s complicated). Linking our Oracle Payroll to Payables resulted in over 5,000 manual invoices being removed from Accounts Payable. A similar approach for Pensioners (don’t ask, it’s even more complicated than staff Payroll…….) removed 12,000 manual invoices.

The point is simple. We are a small company. Our company was processing manually over 30,000 invoices per year that it simply didn’t even need to process. Automation led to not only vastly reduced workload, but also 100% error free, paper free invoice processing and vastly faster and better service to our employees.

A short point to finish up. If your Accounts Payable function is being overloaded due to Employee “invoices”, do look at what can be automated by online application.

Another perfectly valid approach is to look at iExpenses to reduce the overall manual effort and avoid your Accounts Payable function (which is supposed to be processing supplier invoices) becoming swamped with Employee expenses. This is another good approach to streamlining your overall Employee Expense Management processes.

By looking very carefully at our business processes for handling Employee Expenses, we automated over 20% of our entire Accounts Payable function, removing completely the need for manual intervention.

And with that it’s definitely time for a movie recommendation. Back in the 80’s, a great movie (actually series of movies) covering time travel was Back to the Future. These are well worth a rent for the kids. A 7 out of 10. It’s so sad to see Michael J Fox, the star of these movies, battling a terrible disease when he was still relatively very young.

Moving on to the next area of Accounts Payable. Do you have any very large, very frequent suppliers? Depending on your business, a significant percentage of your Accounts Payable invoice processing may be down to a small number of suppliers. In our case this was certainly true. Let me go through the examples of how we transformed this area.

My company does a lot of travel. But we deal with two travel agents only, giving competition but also good control of our overall travel spend. We process around 10,000 travel invoices per year. Now these companies were not happy with us. Our Accounts Payable was failing to process invoices in a timely manner. Disputed items were confusing. Volumes were high. Invoices required vast amounts of checking. Vice versa we were not overly happy with them, as we found equally the Accounts Payable process very time consuming, confusing and seriously expensive.

Now our Travel process is fully automated, including bookings to these travel agencies. We asked the Travel agents, given everything is automated when staff travel, can you give us an electronic billing file? They were very keen indeed – this was going to save them a huge amount of time as they no longer needed to prepare vast quantities of paper invoices.

So look at our processing of Travel Invoices today. Two Travel agents give us a flat file monthly each. These two files are loaded and automatically matched to our Travel system. Can you imagine how much time that saves us just in reconciling an invoice to actual travel. 95% of the invoices sent are automatically matched by our automation programs. These invoices are then automatically imported using the Payables Open Interface and paid, with no intervention by our Accounts Payable department. Our processing times for these invoices have been drastically reduced (98%). Our time is spent dealing with the exceptions, not every single invoice. And the Travel Agents are happy because for the first time ever, they actually get paid on time. (And the 95% matching is a work in progress. It’s early days and we aim to hit 98% first time matching).

Next example. Our telecoms companies. Again we have two providers for competition. We have a huge number of staff with Blackberries. Every month, we receive bills for each staff, each with a different account number. Now that’s how the service providers work, so we need to deal with that. Each month, we would circulate these paper bills to staff, get the feedback, pay each invoice……………a truly dreadful process. Huge amounts of time and effort, bills were never paid on time. Service provider was unhappy. We were unhappy…..everyone was unhappy. Simple solution – service providers gave us consolidated billing files. These were uploaded and matched to staff, sent as notifications in Self Service and uploaded directly to Accounts Payable. A very complex, highly manual process, became highly automated, again with levels of matching approaching 100% with minimal human intervention. This removed 10,000 manual invoices from our Accounts Payable function. With the simple provision of two flat files that the suppliers were extremely happy to provide.

Final example. Our company, by the nature of it’s business, has an outsourced caterer, both for the staff canteen and for functions where food is provided. Our functions are very, very frequent, leading to a very large volume of invoices. Now our caterer used to prepare each invoice and send it to us. All paper based. These would then be circulated around our company, finally hit our Accounts Payable and finally be paid. We requested a monthly file from the supplier. This is then uploaded again very simply into Accounts Payable, with automated matching again approaching 100%. Again this supplier had never actually been paid on time, wasn’t too happy but accepted it as we put a lot of business their way. From our side the process was a nightmare. But with simple invoice files, monthly, manual invoices and manual checking completely disappeared. This removed more than 6,000 manual invoices per year.

We also do this with  a few of our other large service providers. They are usually all happy to work to a very similar template for the flat files they provide to us. We’ve taken over 30,000 manually entered invoices out of our Accounts Payable function. Our matching rates are above 98%, with very few of these invoices requiring manual intervention.

Simple approach. Look for the suppliers with the most invoices. Ask those suppliers if they want to reduce paper work, reduce burueacracy and get paid a lot easier. Most will say “Yes please”. Then automate.

Now we’ve not referred to Oracle’s EDI product – E-Commerce Gateway. But effectively that is what we are doing on a very simple, but very effective approach. Oracle does have a module that allows for large-scale electronic data interchange, including for Accounts Payable. EDI has been around a very long time (I remember implementing this in the 90’s for a very large customer). Now Oracle supports what are industry standard transactions, making it possible to link companies and their suppliers together using the same language, in terms of file formats/contents, etc. A few links can be found in the Reference Section relating to this. (Note Oracle provides EDI not just for Payables, but for other modules including Purchasing, Order Management and Receivables).

The use of EDI (either Oracle’s module or simple, effective home-grown EDI) can transform your Accounts Payable process.

And now another movie review. Actually I’m going to do something a little different and recommend a TV Series (although there have also been movies) for a change. Doctor Who is a TV show broadcast by the British Broadcasting Corporation. Now this show is done relatively cheaply, but always has original stories and is highly entertaining. It’s about a time traveller that travels through time and space, fighting evil aliens such as Cybermen, Daleks and other such monsters, whilst protecting the human race. He travels around using a blue British Police Box which is actually a time machine. His main enemy are the Daleks (shown below in a poster). These are robot monsters that move around on wheels taking over the galaxy, unless that Galaxy has too many stairs, as with wheels they cannot go up stairs…….Honestly, get a few DVD’s as the series are now all available. Kids will love it and adults too…….It’s a great British institution – been around since the sixties and I’d give it a 10 out of 10.

So the next option for transforming your Accounts Payables department. I’d say this is only for the large suppliers, but Oracle has an option called Payment on Receipt (ERS). The idea here is simple – you have large suppliers that provide you with goods. Now if your Shipping department (or whoever receives and accepts the goods) has checked the goods, accepted the goods, quality checked the goods and you have a validated Purchase Order, then exactly why do you then need a supplier to send you a paper invoice (or even electronic invoice) to your Payables department to process that invoice, check it again, etc. Why do you not just get Oracle ERP to create an invoice automatically? You remove vast amounts of bureacracy, vast amounts of unnecessary work and the reliability of this method trumps even EDI – this is a huge benefit to both you and the Supplier. Details can be found at the end of this blog.

Another interesting option is that Oracle can generate Invoices based on milestone payment in Services Procurement. A very similar concept to the ERS functionality, again further removing the need for manual invoices. If you have agreed to pay a supplier on a milestone, based on a deliverable, then once a manager has accepted that milestone has been achieved, an invoice can be automatically generated. (Hopefully as you read this blog, your also starting to see just how important a good Purchasing function is when it comes to Accounts Payable – one function cannot reach it’s full potential without the other also working highly efficiently).

The idea of companies still receiving paper invoices is a curious one for many areas of their business. One step better than you paying people in your company to enter invoices is for the company wanting paid to do the work for you.

Our company hires a lot of consultants. Those consultants work on contracts, to deliver certain tangible reports/studies/other pieces of work. The project manager signs off these deliverables and the consultant gets paid. Our approach to this is to provide a simple screen for the Consultants to enter their claim (very similar in many respects to iExpenses). With the consultant entering their own data, automatically validated against a contract, workflow notification for approval to their manager and then an invoice generated automatically for Payment (based on accepted deliverables), we will remove approximately 40,000 manual invoices from our Accounts Payable department.

Our other approach for more standard goods and services is the introduction of iSupplier. This module provides many facilities including suppliers entering/updating their details/views of Purchase Orders/updated shipping information, etc. One of the facilities is for the supplier to enter invoices, removing the need for your company to do so.

Next up………..how many calls and how much time do you waste talking between your Accounts Payable Department and your supplier? You don’t know because no-one ever actually records the time………..but I bet it’s significant. The average company spends a lot of time dealing with calls that are really unnecessary. “Did you receive my invoice” or “when will my invoice be paid” or “what was this payment actually for?” We’ve replaced a very large number of these calls, again by implementing iSupplier. This module gives the supplier a full end to end view from Procurement to Payment of all activities. It effectively gives a real time window into your company to the supplier, eliminating the need to inquire on invoices or payments. Invoice and payment information can be downloaded by the Supplier for easy reconciliation.

Interestingly, if your sending out Remittance advices, this can also be replaced either by iSupplier Portal or simply letting the Payments function automatically email the supplier with a detailed remittance advice slip. Every invoice we process generates a payment and every payment has an email remittance. That’s over 150,000 manual remittance advice slips that we no longer have to prepare, print, put in an envelope and send.

This has been a busy blog. Time for a break. Time for a movie recommendation. Probably one of the first and most famous stories of Time Travel was by H. G. Wells. Now his books have been made into countless movies and the most recent The Time Machine wasn’t a bad interpretation. Overall I’d say a 7 out of 10 and worth a rent, although probably not a buy.

Now I don’t need a time machine nor some weirdo Oracle prophet to predict the future of Accounts Payables departments. The future has actually been around for quite a few years already with products that can read, scan and workflow invoices, significantly streamlining and automating your Accounts Payable function. But the one I am now looking at is Oracle’s own Imaging and Process Management. So here’s my prediction. I believe this piece of middleware (bought by Oracle, as all the best stuff seems to be) will become a central pillar, not just of AP, but will be used everywhere in future versions of R12 and Oracle Fusion. If you want to get on the Fusion express train, this is one product you should be seriously looking at.

Irrespective of product, the future, already used by many visionary companies, is to be able to receive either paper invoices or scanned emailed invoices into a single shared service center. The technology is already smart enough to scan these invoices and identify the information in a reliable manner.It can also generate invoices and match those invoices. Further these products can then workflow the invoices to the correct recipient for approval.

So what else does the Oracle Prophet see in the future? Again it’s an easy question to answer, as the future is definitely already here. I’ve done a blog previously about Oracle Pre-Built analytics. Well one of the major functionalities of the Oracle Pre-Built Analytics is the Payables module. I watched Oracle install all the tools, database, populate the data warehouse with 7 years of corporate AP data – in seven hours (as a proof of concept). The dashboards were then ready to use and we could instantly gain insight into our Accounts Payable functions. All the KPI’s were there to see invoice aging, discounts given, invoices processed, methods to process, etc. This is another fabulous product from Oracle and rounds off nicely this 21st Century Accounts Payable blog. Imagine having a complete, instant view of the health of your entire Payables process, with the ability to drill down to any single transaction, or aggregate at any level or instantly see who your problem suppliers are.

Now my company made a mistake in early 2000 by decentralizing the Accounts Payable function. In many respects this was organized chaos. If I had been with my company I could have agreed with the person doing it, except then we’d both be wrong. What I’d like to see my company do next is to move to a shared service, 100% centralized function that is 100% decentralized…………yep I’ve totally lost you, but we’re back to the concept of total federated services at the point they are used using shared service centers where appropriate. The technology is there today to allow a shared service to receive and quickly scan invoices, doing most of the keying automatically. The shared service provides a centralized function for dealing with difficult invoices (ones that don’t match, ones that don’t automatically go into the system, etc). It provides a Governance, Control and Analytical function. along the lines of a standard Accounts Payable department. However once in the system, the invoices should be routed directly to those who need to approve payment. The line managers in all the various departments worldwide who actually received the goods or services. Hence you have a shared service center, but a totally federated approval process. The technology today is very much capable of supporting this process. Throw in the automation for straight through processing on as much of your Accounts Payable invoices as possible, a sprinkle or heavy serving of EDI depending on your taste, and using your time machine, you’ve arrived in the 21st Century for Accounts Payable processing.

So out of our 150,000 Payables transactions a year, we have automated (or will shortly automate) almost 120,000.  Now I make that a whopping 80% of all Accounts Payables transactions. Now the not so smart companies out there (and there are plenty of them) would have simply perhaps have  outsourced their 1990’s business process. We will have achieved 80% automation by 2012 and taken a 20 year leap in technology and business process, all within a couple of years of the initial idea being floated.

We do intend to keep plugging away at the last 20% looking at potentially automation of invoice scanning, etc using Oracle’s Image and Process Management. We do want to continue to review what isn’t going through as EDI transactions and why. We do want to see where spend is avoiding the standard procurement processes and understand why. It’s still a work in progress.

The benefits?

1. An 80% reduction in manual effort. That saves our company a fortune. Now if you count each manual invoice costs an average company between 20-40 US Dollars to process……go do the math.

2.  Decreased supplier phone inquiries significantly

3. Improved Invoice processing times (up to 98% in some instances)

4. Improved approval processing times (and in many cases automated matching removes approval completely)

5. Vastly reduced paper, paper handling and paper storage

6. Easier to see and take effective discounts

7. Ensures compliance with Payment terms, avoiding penalties

8. Improves your company image as a good company to do business with – always pays on time

9. Absolute visibility of all Payables activities and transactions

10. Easier to audit, easier to comply with SOX/etc – the scanned invoice is available directly from the ERP Transaction

It has to be said that not everything can be automated. Some countries still need the paper invoice as a legal requirement. Some invoices just won’t have anything to automate matching to. Sometimes your supplier won’t play ball on EDI. There are limitations. Accounts Payable is still a very important and critical function that needs staffed correctly. But really, any company could look to taking a significant percentage of their manual Accounts Payable and automating to some degree.

And finally a movie recommendation to finish up our Time Travelling 21st Century Time Bandits of Accounts Payable. It has to be Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure. A movie about a couple of college kids that go through time in a telephone box to complete a history assignment by collecting famous historical figures to do speeches at their review. Along the way they play games with Death and win…..a lot of fun and a 9 out of 10. It’s the sort of no brainer nonsense that I find intellectually very challenging. Definitely not a deep movie, but MOST EXCELLENT !!!!!

As I end the column I feel it appropriate to do it in the spirit of the movie Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure:

Bill –  “Be excellent to each other. “

Ted “Party on dudes !!!!”

Until next time, when we reveal the secrets of Harry Potter and the Wizards of ERP Change Management………

Further secret blogs and prophecies can be found at:

https://oracleprophet.wordpress.com

References

Below are some of the references collected as part of the research for this blog. As usual I appreciate the authors making this information available on the internet, for the benefit of everyone. Also enclosed are a few of the guides/manuals from Oracle that go into greater depth of the possibilities for improving your Accounts Payable process.

IExpense – Back to Basics

iExpenses – Ohio Valley OAUG

Oracle Internet Expenses

EDI and E-Business Suite

Oracle E-Commerce Gateway

Payment on Receipt

Oracle iSupplier

Oracle Purchasing

AP Invoice Automation – Bottomline Technologies

AP Invoice Automation – Readsoft

AP Invoice Automation – Basware

AP Invoice Automation – Kofax

Accounts Payable Invoice Automation

Oracle Imaging and Process Management

Oracle AP Automation IPM Solution

Wikipedia – Oracle Imaging and Process Management

Oracle Imaging and Process Management 11g

Accounts Payable Analytics

Business Intelligence and the Kung Fu Dragons of Wudang

October 3, 2010

I recently watched an interesting program on TV about the Kung Fu Dragons in Wudang, China. The students join from a very young age and basically study 16 hours a day to become a Kung Fu Dragon Master over many, many years. The training is difficult, filled with risks of failure and many give up before ever coming close to becoming a Kung Fu Dragon master. Indeed the truth is most simply don’t have the skills, time or patience to reach the heights of a true Kung Fu Dragon Master. Very few will ever become a Kung Fu Dragon Master.

Now you look at data warehouses and Business Intelligence and ERP. It’s extremely difficult, filled with risks of failure and many give up (after spending a fortune) before they even get close after many, many years of trying. The truth is most simply don’t have the skills, time or patience to reach the heights of a true Kung Fu Dragon Master in Business Intelligence and ERP. The parallels and similarities are indeed striking.

Now the Art of Zen Patching article talked about patience and a non-aggressive approach. Not so this article. This article is really designed to allow you to become a true Kung Fu Dragon Master in Business Intelligence in 9-12 weeks (in vanilla implementation) and stresses a highly aggressive approach to Business Intelligence and ERP. (This article doesn’t ask for any money to be sent for some dodgy DVD and a certificate I printed in my bedroom. This is free, it’s not marketing hype – this is the real deal).

A cautionary tale before I start.

I’ve seen the two sides of data warehousing with Oracle ERP. One European company I know bought a bunch of expensive, state of the art tools almost a decade ago. Almost a decade on, with a lot of tears and pain  (sounds like a Kung Fu Dragon training course…..???), 2 million bucks and a change in system architecture that will require massive re-work, users simply not adopting because what has been achieved is small, fragmented and ad-hoc, and performs like a three legged dog (indeed in the user manual it instructs the person to submit the report and then get a coffee for 20 minutes before coming back or lunch if it’s a larger report) – the dreams of being a Kung Fu Dragon Master in ERP Data Warehousing lie in shattered pieces, a ruin of what should have been a shining example of 21st Century technology. This isn’t a one off – according to independent research a huge percentage of projects fail in the custom approach. Indeed it is the minority of ERP Data Warehouse projects that succeed.

Sure they bought the most expensive software, they put in piles of money, but they never sought a Kung Fu Dragon master to train them properly, preferring naively to think that they could learn the art of the Kung Fu Dragon Business Intelligence off a DVD in front of the bedroom mirror whilst their parents wondered what the weird shouts and snake hissing sounds were from upstairs………Instead of being a Kung Fu Dragon Master of Business Intelligence, they ended up as more like something of a joke reminiscent from the movie Kung Fu Panda……….Trust me if you’re a Kung Fu Business Intelligence Panda, people are laughing at you, not with you…….

 

(By the way, if you haven’t got the DVD for Kung Fu Panda movie, it’s highly recommended). As well as Oracle Fusion Apps being released in 2011, Kung Fu Panda 2 will also be out…..

Here’s the other side. I’ve seen Oracle come in with the prebuilt ERP Analytics, install the database, ETL tools, dashboards, KPI’s and reports and do all the data orchestration, extracts and imports in……..seven hours………Now I’m an utter skeptic when it comes to Oracle marketing and consultancy, but yes, I watched as one single Kung Fu Dragon Master in Business Intelligence and Pre-Built ERP Analytics achieved in 7 hours what could not be achieved in 7 years by an army of untrained people in another European company. Now this was only a demo (done for free as a demonstration of what could be achieved), but it took all our historical R12 Oracle ERP Accounts Payable data for 7 years and transformed it in a fully defined, fully functional data warehouse with dashboards in 7 hours. This guy was an Indian Kung Fu Dragon Master in Business Intelligence from Oracle Singapore. I was in utter awe of what could be achieved so easily and so quickly by one talented individual.

Have a look at Haemonetics Corporation story at Oracle Open World on Demand (Oracle On Demand Access Required) and then the results when they moved to Oracle’s prebuilt BI Applications approach.

The reason this utterly amazing complete data warehouse could be achieved is due to the pre-built Analytics packs that Oracle now provides (for of course, an additional license fee), together with of course an incredibly talented Indian Kung Fu Dragon Master.

So what’s the deal with Oracle BI and Pre-built Analytics?

Oracle is moving heavily into the BI market, taking the overall lead in terms of BI according to Gartner, much to the surprise of many.

In parallel Oracle is moving to create an unprecedented amount of pre-built content for Oracle ERP (including R11, R12, Peoplesoft, Siebel, JD Edwards with SAP in the works in 7.9.7…..) moving the task of creating a data warehouse from a vast army over many years (with a horrific failure rate) to a guy with an installation disk. Or that’s the single great hope and prophecy of Oracle Corporation. OK, we’ll never get to an installation disk, but if the guy with the installation disk can get us to 70% I won’t be complaining……..

Finally Oracle is now heading towards, probably in R12.1.4 to embedding the BI content directly into Oracle ERP screens. (The technology to do this by embedding into Java screens – not hanging a BIEE screen of an ERP menu by the way – was released as part of 12.1.2). If you also look at the new Fusion Apps, embedded dashboards are now an integral part of each module. According to Oracle at Open World 2010, there will be “hundreds of pre-built embedded analytics in (Fusion V1) or as they put it another way “Analytics are always available in Fusion Apps”.

 

 

Whatever BI tool or preference, you have to admit Oracle’s strategy and growth is certainly very impressive. With the recent release of Oracle BIEE 11G it just gets even better. The presentation layer is truly fantastic.

 

So many are probably asking, what’s the pre-built content for Oracle ERP?

Oracle has effectively written for you the following components:

  • Data Extraction from Oracle ERP (and many other ERP’s)
  • Data Orchestration (pulling dependent tables as needed with full synchronization)
  • Data Import to Data Warehouse with full management and restart capabilities
  • Data Model Design of Warehouse
  • Standard Dashboards
  • Standard KPI’s
  • Standard Reports
  • Security Models
  • Integration both to and from Oracle ERP
  • and a whole lot more

Now all of the above have been done not by a single Kung Fu Dragon Master in Business Intelligence, but by an army of Kung Fu Dragon Masters in Business Intelligence and ERP at Oracle Corporation.

These guys are experts in Business.

These guys are experts in Data Warehouse modeling.

These guys are experts in BI.

These guys are experts integrating BI to ERP.

These guys are experts at extracting data reliably from ERP to a data-warehouse.

The product line has come from a huge amount of hours collaborating with top businesses around the globe to find out what an ERP Data Warehouse should be

They have created something that no matter how much money and how deep your pockets, you will never be able to match, because Oracle Corporation is in the software business and can use economies of scale. Your company isn’t, despite the best intentions of your IT department.

The Pre-Built Analytics module list for Oracle ERP is equally impressive and is growing substantially on a consistent basis. This now covers:

Now it’s almost definite that this list will continue rapidly expanding, so that not only is there prebuilt content on ERP, but you’ll find it integrated directly into ERP (R12, Fusion, etc) and I bet into all of the other tools that Oracle has in the coming years including their database and other management tools. Basically if you are running Oracle ERP now, you WILL be running Oracle BIEE in the years to come.

Not only does Oracle Pre-Built Analytics create entire date warehouse content, they also add to it on a frequent basis. So when Pre-Built Analytics 7.9.6 was released it had a whole raft of brand new areas of HR addressed including Talent Management, Learning and iRecruitment.

So if you are still considering building using a custom approach to Oracle ERP Data warehousing, think about this foolish Kung Fu Panda……

Imagine that Oracle ERP has some 14,000 tables – do you really want to build a data warehouse from this (and will it actually perform…….????)

Imagine having to write extracts from the key tables which although much smaller is still huge. Imagine writing all the complex logic on something like Order Management for the extracts.

Imagine having to define a complex data warehouse model (and no, ERP and standard database design don’t work for data warehouses – it’s a completely different approach from a relational database model so your skills won’t work here……).

Imagine having to write processes to manage the extraction and import of data.

Imagine having to do the Security models.

Imagine having to do all the integration to and from your ERP.

Imagine trying to keep your custom built data warehouse in synch with Oracle patches, upgrades, etc

Imagine designing and building 100’s of dashboards with no idea of the proper principles of dashboard design and usability

Still fancy your chances of building a BI Apps comparable product Kung Fu Panda? Have a look at the summary data warehouse of BI Apps…….I guess you would be a whole lot less confident if it was your own money at stake on your custom build rather than your company’s……

 

The above represents years of work by an army of highly skilled, highly paid people, where the company must wait for a very significant time to get the results if you choose to custom build. Where you don’t get these highly trained people (as too many companies don’t), the consequence is simple – utter failure and massive cost.

And of course, even if you build it, what happens when you add another 2,000 users? Is it scalable or will you find major flaws in the design that are incredibly costly to fix? With Oracle Pre-Built Analytics scalability has already been designed in by the experts.

Still not convinced? Well let me give you the stats on Oracle’s prebuilt analytics:

350 Fact Tables

550 Dimension Tables

5,200 Pre-Built Metrics

15,000 Data Elements

And Kung Fu Panda, do you really think that the quality and performance and design can match that of the Kung Fu Dragon Masters from Oracle Corporation that do nothing but BI Applications? If so put down that Vodka bottle (or whatever else you are smoking) and get a reality check.

 

Or how about this Dashboard, with all the extracts, imports, data model behind it? For info this is Oracle Projects, one of the hardest niche modules in the entire ERP Suite, with links to EVERYTHING…….

 

In BI Apps just for HRMS there are 9 dashboards with a whopping 47 pages, 230 reports and 330+ metrics. And that’s just ONE MODULE OF BI APPS !

By the time you build that using a custom build approach (that’s so 1990’s in terms of approach – are you also still using Computer Punch Cards?) you’ll be retired or fired before you see it go-live……..

Today Oracle has the capability to deploy in 9-12 weeks (in vanilla implementation). Marketing slogans and nothing else? Absolutely not. We watched Oracle install everything (from database, to tools, to dashboards and migrate 7 years of data) and bring up Accounts Payable in 7 hours as a proof of concept. I can be pretty skeptical and hard on vendors, but believe me, this was truly amazing the ease with which this product could be brought up.

Now true there are some serious challenges around also, even with the Pre-built Analytics. Anyone thinking they can buy this and that’s it, well that unfortunately is naïve. I wish life was that simple……

The fit of the BI Analytics needs to be checked in terms of dashboards. What we found was that a lot of dashboards fitted very well onto the Business Requirements. Please bear in mind that dashboards are very easy to build (and BIEE is very easy to learn), especially when the Kung Fu Dragon Masters at Oracle Corporation have done the hardest part of building the entire data model and all the data extractions for you. Even if you find no use for the pre-built dashboards, simply having the data model and extracts will save you a huge amount of time. Now looking at Infosys they reckon a 70-80% fit in terms of BI Apps. I’d tend to agree that would be a ballpark figure when we assessed this against our ERP.  (And remember a fit means data extraction, import, data models, dashboards and all the other components).

If you do have custom modules, then you will need to build the extracts, data model, etc. However don’t be fooled by naïve arguments that if you’ve customized your ERP, BI Apps will not work. I’ve rarely seen a company modify base tables in ERP (add new custom tables yes) as they would be extremely foolish to do so. Therefore BI Apps will have just about every key table from the core ERP model you could possibly need. That’s a huge chunk of work already done.

You will need to define further dashboards and reports. That is a given. BI Apps will get you very far down the line, but it won’t be a silver bullet.

You will need to design data models and extracts for any custom modules you have. That can be a difficult task, but your ERP will already have all the data models, extracts provided by BI Apps. Custom modules are almost always a whole lot simpler than Oracle ERP Data models.

One of the biggest tasks that not even pre-built analytics will address is Training and user adoption. Moving from reports and Excel to Analytics is a major business change exercise and should be treated accordingly. The project can still fail even with great pre-built content, because users are not trained appropriately and there is a lack of vision in how this can really change the way the user community work.

The cost of prebuilt analytics is still a major problem I think. There are alternates out there that are much, much cheaper but then you have to consider upgrades, risk of building, integration and a whole host of other problems. I love the Oracle BIEE and the Pre-Built analytics but the cost is still pretty high. Of course compare the cost of that to the cost of building all this yourself and there is just no comparison between the two, like for like. Playing hardball with Oracle Corporation (ideally at their year end when the best deals can be achieved) can pay dividends in terms of price, although I’m not going to give away how cheaply we got offered the prebuilt analytics……There are still alternates to Oracle in many areas, solution wise and Oracle should be reminded that you can go elsewhere…..

Pre-Built analytics for ERP can get you there fast. But a big bang approach is not recommended. A fast initial deployment to a small community followed by consistent wins over a period of time, slowly building up the user base and expanding across the lines of the business is the way to go, bringing in and training champions each and every step of the journey. Then you’ll succeed where so many others fail. When everyone can see frequent wins (and with BI Apps it can be every few months), it becomes an unstoppable train that everyone wants to get on. BI Apps is beautiful eye candy that users seem to love. (Or is it that they finally can get their own answers in seconds without waiting 12 weeks for the IT Department…..)

You can buy the software, but you need to sell the vision, otherwise you fail. IT Alignment to Business Alignment and support from Business is the key to any successful project.

I’d still recommend having a BI Expert around who you can gain the knowledge from. Again Pre-Built Analytics is not a silver bullet and your staff will need to be properly trained by an expert.

I think all companies running ERP should be looking seriously at BI Apps, even those with the approach of building everything. In the 90’s companies realized the value of letting Oracle, SAP and the rest build their ERP applications. That’s now a generally accepted principal by most companies around the globe.

Over 2,500 companies have already adopted the BI Applications. If it was cheaper (a message to Oracle Corporation and Larry Ellison) the uptake I am sure would be massive.

In the coming months, I’ll write a few more articles on deep-dive into some of the core areas of BI Applications – HRMS, Financials and Procurement, time permitting.

I think in the 21st century, that same principal will gain general acceptance on the value of pre-built analytics for ERP. Put quite simply, in the cut-throat economy companies can’t wait ten years to become a Kung Fu Dragon Master of Business Intelligence with Oracle ERP.

Companies need to achieve that in 9-12 weeks (vanilla implementation) and the only way to do that is to rely on the Kung Fu Dragon Masters from Oracle Corporation that have already done this for you…………before your competitors beat you to it……..

Related Articles

Below are a number of articles. Some are your average Oracle Sales pitches, but all the same very informative overall. Others are written by generous authors whom I acknowledge and extend my thanks to for writing very interesting and useful articles, which were used as background research during writing this article. (I particularly enjoyed the articles by Jeff McQuigg and Mark Rittman, both renowned experts in their field and excellent authors. Their articles are highly recommended reading).

 For those lucky enough to have been to the Oracle Open World 2010 show (hope you enjoyed the Black Eyed Peas !!! Turn down the volume before you click that link……), the following can be accessed from Oracle Open World On Demand.

(Note there were many more sessions, but many do not yet have the content uploaded at the time of writing – 2nd October 2010. I have chosen to hyperlink only a few of my favorite session links. Others are available in Oracle Open World On Demand).

  • End-to-End Oracle Business Intelligence: From Warehouse to Advanced Analytics
  • Enterprise Sales Analytics with Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
  • Oracle BI Applications Roadmap, Including Support for Oracle Fusion Applications
  • Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition Integration at Comcast
  • Oracle Human Resources/Oracle Financial Analytics for ResCare Decision-Making
  • What’s New in Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition Plus 11g
  • Gain the Insight You Need with Oracle Business Intelligence Applications
  • Implementation Experiences with Oracle Business Intelligence Applications
  • Implementation Experiences with Oracle BI Applications
  • Oracle Transactional Business Intelligence (OTBI)
  • Haemonetics Corporation: Better Decisions with Oracle Human Resources Analytics
  • Get Real-Time and Actionable Information with New Reporting and Analytics

An iRecruitment Odyssey

September 13, 2010

 Too many companies do recruitment in a not dissimilar way that would probably have happened around the time that Homer wrote his famous Odyssey poem back in 850 BC. Exaggeration – maybe a little, but consider someone needs a person, they advertise, interview and the person gets a job. Want another person, repeat the same process. That’s the way it happened three thousand years ago and it’s still largely unchanged today for too many companies.

Now the 20th century has added some refinement to the recruitment process, but it still left an awful lot to be desired. Your average organization still posts into newspapers or into the (almost) 21st century job boards on the internet. Your average applicant will have a nice shiny resume to send.  Your average organization will still process the same loser that you’ve rejected twenty times on each application. In short, recruitment still remains for most companies, a very intensive process indeed with many non-value added processes involved.

Our organization was somewhere between 850BC and the 21st Century in terms of recruitment, although probably leaning to the former rather than the latter…….

This led to some pretty serious problems for our organization:

  1. Recruitment cycles were incredibly slow
  2. Adverts cost a lot and don’t really hit the correct audience most of the time
  3. Good candidates were lost for future positions as it was all paper based. There was no corporate memory of candidates
  4. There was no option of pro-active recruitment, unless you looked through millions of papers in filing cabinets
  5. By the time you get the process going, the candidate is not available
  6. Candidates rarely find your organization, unless they read the right newspaper on the right day – recruitment is not a process, it’s a chance encounter between the applicant and the organizations advert
  7. Processing large volumes of candidates was slow and time-consuming as the HR department was swamped by job seekers
  8. After going through 200 resumes, you work out that 90% of those are not even relevant, but you still need to check every resume just in case………
  9. For staff away from the office, it was difficult to apply as paper submissions were required

In 2008, our organization decided something had to give. We were in major expansion mode needing considerably more staff (around 20%), but our recruitment processes could simply not support the business need. The case for iRecruitment was born and the odyssey began.

Our project followed the typical standard AIM lifecycle model, with the usual BR.100 Setup documents, MD.050 Functional Designs, etc.

 

We won’t dwell on the lifecycle model as its standard Oracle AIM. But what we did find was that for an average iRecruitment implementation, it could be achieved in 6-9 months, giving a pretty fast win and an even faster ROI.

Pre iRecruitment, our recruitment process was pretty archaic (and probably familiar to way too many readers…….)

  1. HR writes a job specification
  2. HR asks web developers to post job specification on organization website (and many don’t even have this today…..)
  3. Web developers enter this into the website
  4. Contact the newspaper with the specific advert, even though you have no idea if the adverts actually get you candidates or if it’s just a waste of your dollars or yen or euro……..
  5. Applicant views jobs either from website or by chance in the newspaper
  6. Applicant downloads a form from our website
  7. Applicant fills in form
  8. Applicant emails form to our organization’s HR Department
  9. HR Department files form in a very large room with millions of other forms – if you remember the scene from Indian Jones when they put the Ark of the Covenant in a huge warehouse never to be seen again. That’s kind of what happens to a lot of job applications……
  10. HR Department types form details into Oracle HRMS – the form is hugely complex and we needed teams of people to do this. Even more interesting was that only a fraction of the details were ever recorded and many details were wrong……….
  11. HR Department reviews each applicant
  12. HR retrieves forms from filing cabinet for shortlisted candidates
  13. Shortlisted candidates are kept in an Excel Spreadsheet
  14. Unsuccessful candidates aren’t told anything as processing 100 rejections would take too long. The impact here is that candidates think your organization doesn’t really care, so they won’t bother applying again
  15. HR prints short-listed candidate forms and sends to relevant department through internal mail
  16. Department Co-coordinator gets forms one week later
  17. Department Co-coordinator sends forms to relevant person one week later…….
  18. Person reviews forms, writes comments manually and gives back to Department Co-coordinator
  19. Department Co-coordinator sends forms back to HR department, where they manually update the comments into HRMS (sometimes……)
  20. HR arranges interviews with the person (if by this time they are still available)
  21. Department wonders what is going on as this process can take weeks
  22. Department finally gets all the forms back in triplicate for applicant interview
  23. All the other applicants are wondering what is going on as nobody informs them of progress of vacancy
  24. Interview takes place – notes are all paper based
  25. End User Department informs HR of the results
  26. HR validates the results
  27. HR send offer to candidate (via email)
  28. Candidate accepts or rejects
  29. All details are then typed fully into Oracle HRMS
  30. If someone wanted to find the same skills in the future, the process either had to be repeated or someone had to look through millions of pieces of paper or someone had to remember that two years ago they saw a really good resume…….not exactly a good process…….more a recruitment lottery than process.

This was a long and extremely painful process for the Applicants, the HR Department and the End User Departments requiring the resource.

By bringing in iRecruitment there was a very radical shift, both in terms of process, but also in terms of the mindset of everyone involved.

 

With the new process 100% online, we reduced the overall process by more than 50%…..

  1. HR writes the job spec and presses a button to enable on the website
  2. Applicants fill out their own details online, directly into HRMS
  3. HR reviews the applicants online and presses a button to refer to the End User Departments
  4. End User Department shortlists online, with full visibility to the HR Department
  5. HR arranges the interviews, with candidate automatically informed of status of either interview or rejection with regrets at all times during the process
  6. End User Department interviews
  7. HR validates results online
  8. HR Department sends the offer
  9. HR Department changes the Person Type in HRMS to Employee with no other changes required

10.  It’s a wrap!!!!!

The advantages of this process are very obvious indeed:

  1. Immediate savings by removing the need for a team of people to type in potentially 60,000+ resumes per year, with all the mistakes that entails
  2. Electronically link your advert to either your website or job sites, all under the control of your HR Department
  3. Removal of over 1 Million pieces of paper per year – good for the planet and good for your business
  4. Candidates are kept in the loop at all times and this shows your organization in an extremely positive light
  5. Reduces the need for expensive newspaper adverts
  6. End User Departments have far quicker access to Candidates
  7. Reduces the recruitment cycle time significantly, giving you the edge in recruiting the best people
  8. Massive online, searchable resource database that allows pro-active recruitment
  9. Reduces significantly the amount of HR time spent on recruitment
  10. Online referrals
  11. Apply anywhere, anytime and attract candidates GLOBALLY
  12. Hugely flexible model can be applied to centralize the HR process and federate the recruitment process

The biggest challenges and pitfalls we faced were on the Change Management and some issues very much specific to putting Oracle ERP into the outside world:

  1. The Technical Team (DBA Group) had to become very familiar with the DMZ Configuration to allow iRecruitment (and effectively therefore your ERP) to be put into the big, bad internet world.
  2.  Keeping up to date in terms of security patches in Oracle ERP is key. A prime example of a security flaw reported can be found on the following link.
  3. Keeping up with the latest ATG (Technology Patches) is critical, as you are now moving from your nice “my company has these PC’s with this Windows version” to “any candidate with any device (PC, Apple Mac, Ipad, etc) running any O/S with any browser wants to use your site”. The only manageable way to do address this major technology issue is to let Oracle Corporation do it for you: watch Steven Chan’s column, watch My Oracle Support and make sure you keep reasonably up to date on ATG Patches. Plan carefully as some of these patches are massive and although generally very good with limited impacts to your ERP, care as always with Oracle patches is mandatory. 
  4. The concept of a support team for external users was not really there – although iRecruitment saves a huge amount of resources, someone still has to answer the user calls. A solid user support structure must be in place and it’s a real grey area whether this is an IT or Business Responsibility. Our HR Department took the lead in this. Supporting a massive global user community is very different from internal support. 
  5. Our biggest User Support problems were related to:
    1.  Character Sets (make sure you have a multi-byte character set on the database, otherwise cut and paste from Word, etc fails……..This will cause support chaos and I am sure some companies are still running without multi-byte character sets)
    2. Login issues (Make sure you have very clear Quick Guides)
    3. Browser issues (make sure you are on the latest ATG Patches and keep updated)
    4. General User errors (good User Guides are essential)
  6. What was actually most difficult about this process was really getting the HR Department to let go of non-value added functions. This required a huge amount of Change Management effort and even 9 months on we are still not there. Letting go of functions that have been performed for the last 40 years is understandably very difficult, even when they add no value (and actually detract value from the process). 
  7. The other aspect of iRecruitment is again on Change Management. It really is a revolution to go from passive recruitment (wait for people to apply) to suddenly having a massive database of resumes that you can actively search on. This hasn’t really quite hit home yet in terms of changing mindsets within our HR area. Suddenly they have a resource pool of 40,000+ applicants, 2,500 staff and 20,000+ Consultants available to search at their fingertips with highly advanced resume search capabilities. 
  8. Customizations were required which ideally would have been better avoided. However the iRecruitment module is pretty flexible in this respect.

What we also found is that there is a wealth of companies out there using iRecruitment. We learned a lot simply by trying some of the sites and looking at their Help Guides. You never know, I may even get a new job with one of the registrations 🙂

However as the statistics show, the rollout of iRecruitment has been a huge success, with a massive and very active user base.

iRecruitment Statistics
Months Live Applicants Database Growth Per Month Vacancies Applicants Per Vacancy Successful Recruitment Paper Saved Process Reduction
9 Months 45,000 5,000 700 73 241 1M+ Sheets 50%

 What is amazing is the real global reach of systems like iRecruitment. A quick look at our statistics shows applicants from 85 countries from countries across Europe, the US, Asia and Africa. Countries as diverse as Philippines, Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, Vietnam, Mongolia, Afghanistan, Tonga,  Russia, Iraq, Jamaica, Peru and South Africa to name but a few.

Great talent is in every culture, race, religion and every corner of the planet. iRecruitment allows you to very effectively tap into that huge wealth of human talent, wherever it may be.

All of the above of course can lead to some interesting support issues that you will not generally encounter in your average day to day support of internal Oracle ERP systems.

Of course we’re not there yet. So what does our future hold in terms of iRecruitment?

  1. Upgrade of the database to support documents in Microsoft 2007. This support comes with 11G and above.
  2. Questionnaires to filter out the 90% of unsuitable applicants so that resumes don’t even have to be reviewed. A sample is shown below.

 

3. Skills and Competencies – a very advanced feature that will allow you to match Job Specification skills and competencies to that of the candidate (including both internal and external resources)

4. Rollout to 28 countries worldwide to support our other offices across the globe (happening in September 2010)

5. At some point upgrading to 12.1.3 or above to take advantage of the extensive interview functionality available.

6. Finally persuading the HR Department to let go of the short-listing and let candidate details go straight through to the End User Department, to allow our HR personnel to move from low value added activities to pro-active recruitment

7. Assess Oracle Business Intelligence iRecruitment, to allow our HR personnel to move from low value added activities to analysis and improvement of the process worldwide

 

 Looking back, our iRecruitment project certainly had some fairly unique challenges, given this was dealing with a very large outside user base. However, overall our iRecruitment Odyssey was a short journey, relatively painless and low-cost with huge rewards at the end.

This was definitely a journey worth undertaking.

Other Resources

There are a huge amount of resources on the Web that is interesting for any company implementing iRecruitment. My thanks go to the generous authors and organizations that make these resources available to all.

For those with Oracle Open World On Demand access, the following may be of interest from 2009:

End to End Talent Acquisition in Oracle iRecruitment 12.1

How to achieve High Volume Recruiting with iRecruitment

Business Intelligence – An Oracle Future?

July 5, 2010

In ERP terms, there is little dispute that the big two, SAP and Oracle, basically have control of a very large part of the ERP market for medium and large scale organizations.

However in terms of Business Intelligence, the market has always been extremely competitive. Recently, quiet strategic moves by SAP and Oracle threaten that status quo. Possibly changing the landscape with a quiet, yet fundamental revolution.

There is a fundamental shift away from the concept of stand-alone data warehouses to the concept of embedding analytics into every day Business activities. Stand alone data warehouses are very much a 20th century view of the world. The new view is stand-alone yet fully integrated data warehouses to ERP, augmented with the 21st century concept of embedded analytics directly in your ERP Systems. This is a truly profound shift.

Both Oracle and SAP are now investing to this 21st century view. Both are turning what are, lets face it, pretty boring looking applications into stunning, state of the art applications. Both companies see Embedded Analytics in their respective ERP Suites as a strategic positioning of their products to gain market share. But this ain’t happening today, right? Wrong.

When Oracle released 12.1.2 (which is already out), this had in place rich container support, in OA Framework. This little gem should, in theory, allow you to put a fantastic Oracle BIEE Page directly into a transactional screen. Imagine the sales pitch you can give your users as you embed Business Analytics directly into your applications. Now this is not creating a simple link between BIEE and ERP or vice versa as you could previously do with Oracle BIEE/ERP – this allows you to create a custom transactional screen with half of it transactional and the other half analytics – ALL IN THE SAME SCREEN.

It’s an easy bet that Oracle Corporation will, with the release of 12.1.3 in 2010 (or a version in 2011), start to embed analytics directly in R12 itself. Why? Firstly it differentiates itself from boring, old ERP’s. Secondly it’s amazingly easy to write a BI Page with fantastic drill down, graphics, etc, reducing development and future maintenance costs. Lets face it, Embedded Analytics will be everywhere in your Oracle Applications.

Now when you look at the new Fusion Applications, and there’s not much info, but these are basically dashboards and ADF mix. Fusion Applications are built on Oracle Business Intelligence as a key foundation. Embedded Analytics is now viewed as essential to Operational work. You put in an invoice, your chart is there showing if the client has disputed invoices or other relevant info. Analytics at the fingertips of your basic frontline functions. Powerful stuff indeed.

So as an R11 or R12 Oracle ERP Customer where does this leave you?

If you haven’t upgraded to R12 (and your one of 95% of customers according to independent research that hasn’t) you have the opportunity to jump your competitors and move to Oracle BI embedded with R12.1.2. That’s a very interesting option to cut your costs in future for custom development, make support easier and make user acceptance of Oracle ERP a whole lot more easy.

More worrying if you are on a 3rd party Business Intelligence toolset, the writing is on the wall:

1. Oracle and SAP will embed their own analytics products directly into their applications. Now of course those companies will not “force” you to buy their BIEE Products, but well, if you want to change the screens in future, it’s looking likely you won’t have a choice. BIEE will become as essential as Oracle Forms or Java to Oracle ERP………..

2. If most large companies who use Oracle and SAP have to buy Oracle BIEE and SAP’s own product respectively, this ain’t going to be good for 3rd party BI products. Indeed Gartner expects an 8.5% migration from customers of one key BI vendor to other vendors. It’s easy to read between the lines of this argument……..

3. Gartner further states that due to the pure-play BI vendors weakness in the ERP market, this is going to hurt those particular vendors. Or to put it another way, with an aggressive and extremely smart policy from SAP and Oracle to embed their own products, 3rd party vendors are going to get squeezed. Imagine what this will do to the BI market – do you really want to be unaligned in terms of Business Intelligence with your ERP that supports your core business? That’s certainly a very dangerous, multi-million dollar Las Vegas style gamble.

4. As Oracle has now become, according to Gartner the clear leader in BI, the writing is very much on the wall. The Gartner research on this has been deep (and excellent as always) and reading between the lines, although Gartner never explicitly states it, has some pretty profound implications for organizations worldwide.

The full Gartner report can be found here and makes sobering reading for those planning a BI Strategy for the next 5-10 years.

http://www.gartner.com/technology/media-products/reprints/oracle/article121/article121.html

Oracle has already recommended that a key step to Fusion Applications is to move to Oracle BIEE. It’s a great paper written by Nadia Bendjedou, Director of Product Strategy at Oracle Corporation that can be found at:

http://www.oracle.com/technology/products/applications/events/oow-2008/10-things-to-do-nadiabendjedou.pdf

The picture will hopefully become clearer in Oracle Open World 2010, where everyone is waiting for Fusion Applications to be formally announced and hopefully available at the booths to test-drive.

Still don’t believe the prophecy? We’ll leave it to Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle Corporation, to spell out the future, which we believe equally applies to R12 and Fusion. 

“You can’t use the system without using business intelligence,” Ellison said.

All we can say is you’d better be on the right Business Intelligence train…………