Wednesday Oct 24, 2012

Run Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close Diagnostic

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Be Proactive & Save Time—Use the Period Close Diagnostic During the Month

RedPath

Have you ever closed your books at the end of the month and, due to problems with your Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close, you found yourself working all night or all weekend to resolve your issues?

You can avoid issues by running the Oracle E-Business Suite Period Close Diagnostics throughout the month, prior to closing Oracle Financial Assets, General Ledger, Payables, and/or Receivables. You can identify issues that will interfere with your period close early, preventing last minute fire drills. Correct your errors or, if you need Oracle Support’s assistance, attach the output to a service request for faster resolution by the support engineer.

Oracle E-Business Suite Diagnostics are included in your Oracle Premier Support agreement at no extra charge. They are proactive, easy to use, tools provided by Oracle Support to ease the gathering and analyzing of information from your E-Business Suite, specific to an existing issue or setup. Formatted output displays the information gathered, the findings of the analysis, and the appropriate actions to take if necessary. These tools are designed for both the functional and technical user, providing no EBS administration features, so you can safely assign this responsibility to users who are not administrators.

A good place to start with the Support Diagnostics is the install patch Note 167000.1. Everything you need is in this patch and you install it on top of your E-Business Suite. If you are on EBS 12.0.6 or below, Oracle delivers the diagnostic tests in a standard Oracle patch and you apply it using the adpatch utility. If you are on EBS release 12.1.1 or above, your diagnostics are already there.

Oracle E-Business Suite Diagnostics:

  • Prevent Issues—resolving configuration and data issues that would cause processes to fail
  • Identify Issues Quickly—resolving problems without the need to contact Oracle Support
  • Reduce Resolution Time—minimizing the time spent to resolve an issue by increasing support engineer efficiency

In the example below, you will see how to run the EBS Period Close Diagnostic step-by-step using an SQLGL Period Closing Activity Test. This allows you to check throughout the month to identify and resolve any issue that might prevent closing the period in the General Ledger on schedule.

 

  1. Click the Select Application button. Select your Application. In this example, we will use the Period Close test. Scroll down to Period Close


  2. Step 1

  3. Place a check mark in the Period Closing box in the Select column. Click the Execute button at the bottom of the page

  4. Step 2

  5. Input the parameters. Click the Submit button


  6. Step 3



  7. Click the Refresh button, until the Status of the test changes from “In Progress” to “Completed”


  8. Step 4

  9. Click the icon under, View Report to view the test results


  10. Step 5

 

The report will complete successfully or show completed with errors. The report will show where the error is located, what the error is, and what action(s) to take for resolution. Remember, if you need to work with Oracle Support to resolve your issue, attach the report to your Service Request so the engineer can start working the issue.

With errors Completed with errors

Without errors Completed successfully with no errors

If you have questions, please ask in the E-Business Suite Category’s Diagnostic Tools Community. You may find the answer waiting for you in a prior community discussion or in one of the resources posted by an Oracle Support moderator.

Oracle’s Period Close Diagnostic, and the other E-Business Suite Diagnostics, save you time and help keep you on schedule. If you run the Period Close Diagnostic throughout the month, you can identify issues to resolve and get help, if needed. When opening a Service Request, attaching the output from the diagnostic report, speeds resolution. With the issues resolved ahead of time, your Period Close should complete without errors. Avoiding the unexpected, helps to close your books on time and without late nights or working through your weekend.

Recommended Reads

E-Business Suite Diagnostics Period / Year End Close [ID 402237.1] lists all of the Closing Period Diagnostic Tests. I highly recommend that customers execute these tests prior to closing a period. The period closing tests listed in this document help you identify known issues that prevent a successful period close. Use these tests prior to closing a period. To learn about all the available EBS Diagnostics, please review the E-Business Suite Diagnostics Overview [ID 342459.1].

Thursday Oct 18, 2012

Install Oracle Configuration Manager's Standalone Collector

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The Why and the How

InsideTrack

If you have heard of Oracle Configuration Manager (OCM), but haven’t installed it, I’m guessing this is for one of two reasons. Either you don’t know how it helps you or you don’t know how to install it. I’ll address both of those reasons today. First, let’s take a quick look at how My Oracle Support and the Oracle Configuration Manager work together to gain a good understanding of what their differences and roles are before we tackle the install.

Oracle Configuration Manger is the tool that actually performs the data collection task. You deploy this lightweight piece of software into your system to collect configuration information about the system and OCM uploads that data to Oracle’s customer configuration repository. Oracle Support Engineers then have the configuration data available when you file a service request. You can also view the data through My Oracle Support.

The real value is that the data Oracle Configuration Manager collects can help you avoid problems and get your Service Requests solved more quickly. When you view the information in My Oracle Support’s user interface to OCM, it may help you avoid situations that create problems.

The proactive tools included in Oracle Configuration Manager help you avoid issues before they occur. You also save time because you didn’t need to open a service request. For example, you can use this capability when you need to compare your system configuration at two points in time, or monitor the system health. If you make the configuration data available to Oracle Support Engineers, when you need to open a Service Request the data helps them diagnose and resolve your critical system issues more quickly, which means you get answers more quickly too.

Quick Installation Process Overview

Before we dive into the step-by-step details, let me provide a quick overview. For some of you, this will be all you need. Log in to My Oracle Support and download the data collector from Collector tab. If you don’t see the Collector tab, click the More tab gain access. On the Collector tab, you will find a drop-down list showing which platforms are available. You can also see more ways to the Collector can help you if you click through the carousel of benefits.

After you download the software for your platform, use FTP to move that file (.zip) from your PC to the server that hosts the Oracle software. Once you have that file on the server, locate the $ORACLE_HOME directory, and unzip the file within that directory. You can then use the command line tool to start the installation process. The installation process requires the

  • My Oracle Support credential (Support Identifier, username, and password)
  • Proxy specification (Host IP Address, Port number, username and password)

Installation Step-by-Step
  1. Download the collector zip file from My Oracle Support and place it into your $Oracle_Home
  2. Unzip the zip file you downloaded from My Oracle Support – this will create a directory named CCR with several subdirectories Step 2
  3. Using the command line go to “$ORACLE_HOME/CCR/bin” and run the following command “setupCCR”
    Step 3
  4. Provide your My Oracle Support credential: login, password, and Support IdentifierStep 4
  5. The installer will start deploying the collector applicationStep 5
  6. You have installed the Collector
  7. Step 6

Post Installation

Now that you have installed successfully, the scheduler is ready to collect configuration information for the software available in your Oracle Home. If you want to run an instrumentation script to start the configuration collection of your Oracle Database server, E-Business Suite, or Enterprise Manager, you will find more details on that in the Installation and Administration Guide for My Oracle Support Configuration Manager.


Related documents available on My Oracle Support

Wednesday Sep 26, 2012

Know Your Service Request Status

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To monitor a Service Request or not to monitor a Service Request... That should never be the question

Cardiogram

Monitoring the Service Requests you create is an essential part of the process to resolve your issue when you work with a Support Engineer.

If you monitor your Service Request, you know at all times where it is in the process, or to be more specific, you know at all times what action the Support Engineer has taken on your request and what the next step is.

When you think about it, it is rather simple... Oracle Support is working the issue, Oracle Development is working the issue, or you are. When you check on the status, you may find that the Support Engineer has a question for you or the engineer is waiting for more information to resolve the issue. If you monitor the Service Request, and respond quickly, the process keeps moving, and you’ll get your answer more quickly.

Monitoring a Service Request is easy. All you need to do is check the status codes that the Support Engineer or the system assigns to your Service Request. These status codes are not static. You will see that during the life of your Service request, it will go through a variety of status codes.

The best advice I can offer you when you monitor your Service Request is to watch the codes. If the status is not changing, or if you are not getting responses back within the agreed timeframes, you should review the action plan the Support Engineer has outlined or talk about a new action plan.

Here are the most common status codes:

Work in Progress indicates that your Support Engineer is researching and working the issue.

Development Working means that you have a code related issue and Oracle Support has submitted a bug to Development.

Please pay a particular attention to the following statuses; they indicate that the Support Engineer is waiting for a response from you:

Customer Working usually means that your Support Engineer needs you to collect additional information, needs you to try something or to apply a patch, or has more questions for you.

Solution Offered indicates that the Support Engineer has identified the problem and has provided you with a solution.

Auto-Close or Close Initiated are statuses you don’t want to see. Monitoring your Service Request helps prevent your issues from reaching these statuses. They usually indicate that the Support Engineer did not receive the requested information or action from you. This is important. If you fail to respond, the Support Engineer will attempt to contact you three times over a two-week period. If these attempts are unsuccessful, he or she will initiate the Auto-Close process.

At the end of this additional two-week period, if you have not updated the Service Request, your Service Request is considered abandoned and the Support Engineer will assign a Customer Abandoned status. A Support Engineer doesn’t like to see this status, since he or she has been working to solve your issue, but we know our customers dislike it even more, since it means their issue is not moving forward.

You can avoid delays in resolving your issue by monitoring your Service Request and acting quickly when you see the status change. Respond to the request from the engineer to answer questions, collect information, or to try the offered solution. Then the Support Engineer can continue working the issue and the Service Request keeps moving forward towards resolution.

Keep in mind that if you take an extended period of time to respond to a request or to provide the information requested, the Support Engineer cannot take the next step. You may inadvertently send an implicit message about the problem’s urgency that may not match the Service Request priority, and your need for an answer.
SupportEngineer
Help us help you. We want to get you the answer as quickly as possible so you can stay focused on your company’s objectives.

Now, back to our initial question. To monitor Service Requests or not to monitor Service Requests?

I think the answer is clear: yes, monitor your Service Request to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Wednesday Sep 19, 2012

Get the Information You Need. Delivered.

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Don’t Take Chances with Alerts—Get Hot Topics

HotInfo

When Oracle Support publishes an alert, how do you find out about it? I can see any number of ways you might stumble onto an alert that you need. For example, if you are visiting My Oracle Support in search of answers under the Knowledge tab and happen to notice, and click on, the Alert tab the under the Knowledge Article region, you might see an alert listed for one of the products you use.

There are other ways… like subscribing to one of the Oracle Blogs and finding the alert in your RSS feed because the blogger decided to write up that topic for the latest post. I’m sure your colleagues sometimes pass on critical alerts for your products, I hope, giving you the information before you needed it.

Well, no matter how you learn about an alert, the important point is that you get the correct information in a timely way. Right?

I must admit, the ‘magic’ required to find out via these methods makes me nervous. Rather than leave it to chance, I think you need a more reliable way to stay informed and receive alerts for your products when Oracle publishes them.

You may not be aware of it, but there is a better way. Oracle Premier Support Customers can leverage the “Hot Topics E-Mail.” You select the products and topics that interest you. Based on your choices, the system sends you the support related information when Oracle Support publishes it.

This way you and I can both relax, knowing you’ll have ready access to the alerts you need, and enjoy the breadth of support related information you choose to subscribe to. This can include recently updated Knowledge base articles, new bugs, and product news.

If I’ve convinced you, you will want to know how to set up and subscribe to the Hot Topics E-Mail. The complete guide, Doc ID 793436.1, is waiting for you. Follow the instructions in the document, and you will always stay on top of the latest information from Oracle Support.

Monday Sep 10, 2012

Resolve Instructional Webcast Series

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Catch the Express—Register for an Instructional Webcast

Resolve Issue Oracle Proactive Support’s ‘Get Proactive’ message to customers underscores the benefits they’ll obtain by leveraging the Prevent, Resolve and Upgrade capabilities available across the suite of Oracle Products. Our goal in Proactive Support is to show customers how to ‘Get Proactive’ and achieve success by leveraging the latest tools, knowledge, and best practices available to manage your applications and technology more proactively. Most importantly, we want to ensure that customers are proficient in the use of these proactive capabilities.

To help you gain this proficiency, we’ve recently launched a series of instructional webcasts that we call the “Resolve Series.” This series consists of both live and on-demand webcasts, and features some of the key proactive capabilities that customers can leverage to resolve their own problems. We launched the first phase of the series in July, and focused on finding answers using the My Oracle Support portal. Among the topics covered in those sessions were best practices for searching the knowledge base, leveraging communities to find answers faster, and other proactive features of My Oracle Support

The second phase of the series is set to kick off in September. This phase will include product specific sessions designed to provide customers who use the product with the skills and knowledge required to leverage some of the most important capabilities found under the “RESOLVE” category of our proactive portfolio on My Oracle Support. These webcasts will feature Subject Matter Experts demonstrating how to use the tools and capabilities, discussing best practices, and providing answers to any questions you might have. In addition, hands-on labs will be included in some of the sessions, allowing you to practice applying what you’ve just learned.Man working

Whether you are a new customer or you’ve worked with Oracle Support for years, you’ll discover new information and techniques to help you work more efficiently and keep your systems running smoothly. Leverage this opportunity to learn best practices and get the inside track on finding answers fast by using the right tools at the right time. Make sure to take advantage of these webcasts and maximize the value you receive from your Oracle Premier Support investment.


See the full schedule of events and register for sessions.

Friday Aug 31, 2012

When Do OS Questions Belong on Hardware Service Requests?

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My Oracle Support—Logging an Operating System Service Request


One of the concerns we hear from our customers with Premier Support for Systems is that they have difficulty logging a Service Request (SR) for an operating system issue.

Because Premier Support for Systems includes support for the hardware and the associated operating system, you log any operating system issues through a hardware Service Request.

To create a hardware Service Request, you enter the information into the Hardware tab of the Create Service Request screen, but to ensure that the hardware Service Request you enter is recognized and routed appropriately for an operating system issue, you need to change the product from your specific hardware to the operating system that the hardware is running.

The example below shows you how to create a Service Request for the operating system when the support level is Premier Support for Systems. The key to success is remembering that the operating system coverage is part of the hardware support.

To begin, from anywhere within My Oracle Support, click on the Create SR button as you would to log any SR:


Step 1

Enter your Problem Summary and the Problem Description


Step 2


Next, click on the Hardware tab.


Step3


Enter the System Serial Number (in this case “12345”) and click on Validate Serial Number:



Step 4


Notice that the product name for the hardware indicates “Sun Fire V490” with an option for a drop down List of Values.


Step 5


Click on the product drop down and choose the correct operating system from the list. In this case I have chosen “OpenSolaris Operating System”

Step 6


Next, you will need to enter the correct operating system version:

Step 7


At this point, you may proceed to complete and submit the Service Request.

If your company has Premier Support for Systems, just remember that your operating system has coverage under the hardware it runs on, so start with a Hardware tab on the Service Request screen and change the product related information to reflect the operating system you need help with.

Following these simple steps will ensure that the system assigns your Service Request to the right support team for an operating system issue and the support engineer can quickly begin working your issue.

Friday Aug 24, 2012

Get More From Your Service Request

Leveraging Service Request Best Practices

Use best practices to get there faster.

Best Practices

In the daily conversations I have with customers, they sometimes express frustration over their Service Requests. They often feel powerless to make needed changes, so their sense of frustration grows. To help you avoid some of the frustration you might feel in dealing with your Service Requests (SR), here are a few pointers that come from our best practice discussions.



  1. Be proactive. If you can anticipate some of the questions that Support will ask, or the information they may need, try to provide this up front, when you log the SR. This could be output from the Remote Diagnostic Agent (RDA), if this is a database issue, or the output from another diagnostic tool, if you’re an EBS customer. Any information you can supply that helps us understand the situation better, helps us resolve the issue sooner. As you use some of these tools proactively, you might even find the solution to the problem before you log an SR!

  2. Be right. Make sure you have the correct severity level. Since you select the initial severity level, it’s easy to accept the default without considering how significant this may be. Business impact is the driving factor, so make sure you take a moment to select the severity level that is appropriate to the situation. Also, make sure you ask us to change the severity level, should the situation dictate.

  3. Be responsive! If this is an important issue to you, quickly follow up on any action plan submitted to you by Oracle Support. The support engineer assigned to your Service Request will be able to move the issue forward more aggressively when they have the needed information. This is crucial in resolving your issues in a timely manner.

  4. Be thorough. If there are five questions in the action plan, make sure you provide an answer for all five questions in one response, rather than trickling them in one at a time. This will allow the engineer to look at all of the information as a whole and to avoid multiple trips to your SR, saving valuable time and getting you a resolution sooner.

  5. Be your own advocate! You know your situation best; make sure Oracle Support understands both how and why this issue is important to you and your company. Use the escalation process if you're concerned that your SR isn't going the right direction, the right pace, or through the right person. Don't wait until you're frustrated and angry. An escalation is as simple as a quick conversation on the phone and can be amazingly effective in getting your issues back on track. The support manager you speak with is empowered to make any needed changes.

  6. Be our partner. You can make your support experience better. When your SR has been resolved, you may receive a survey request. This is intended to get your feedback about how your SR went and what we can do to improve your overall support experience.
SupportEngineer
Oracle Support is here to help you.

Our goal with any Service Request is to provide the best possible solution as quickly as possible. With your help, we’ll be able to do this with your Service Request too.

 

Thursday Aug 16, 2012

Why should you listen to us?

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Are you on the Oracle Premier Support inside track?

InsideTrack If your answer is ‘yes’ then you probably already know how to ‘Get Proactive.’

If your response is ‘no’ or ‘tell me more,’ then through this blog we invite you to join us; learn from Get Proactive power users and subject matter experts all of whom have great insights, war stories, tips, tricks, and best practices that help make them successful and reduce their reactive footprint.

Your time is important to us, so let’s cut to the chase.

Here is an example of a common scenario for which proven best practices, tools, and capabilities exist….

Did you know that more than 50% of Oracle support issues reported by Oracle Premier Support customers already have a proven and documented solution available?ExclamationPoint

The real surprise is that we maintain more than 400,000 active articles in the My Oracle Support Knowledge Base. We make this knowledge directly available to Oracle Premier Support customers, without taking a single additional bit of your hard-earned capital.

And more importantly, we dine in our own restaurant!

When an Oracle Support Engineer begins working a Service Request, one of the first resources they use is the My Oracle Support Knowledge Base to locate a known, proven, documented solution.

Would you like to shorten your troubleshooting steps and move directly from issue to resolution?

In future posts we will tell you exactly how you can accomplish this and much more. Stay tuned for a featured Get Proactive 'insider best practice' post here every week.

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Let the 'Get Proactive' team help you achieve resolution faster; simplify your daily operations; reduce risks and maximize uptime through preventative maintenance.

How? By sharing our own best practices, tips, and tricks. Get on the ‘Insider's Track.’

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