Monday May 12, 2014

A closer look at Oracle BI Applications 11.1.1.8.1 release

Oracle Business Intelligence (BI) Applications 11.1.1.8.1 is now available on the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud (eDelivery), and on the Oracle BI Applications OTN page. This is the second major release on the 11g code line leveraging the power of ODI, and certified with the latest version of Oracle BI Foundation 11.1.1.7

What’s New

This new release of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications 11g adds:

1. Prebuilt Connector for Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics with Oracle JD Edwards

2. Expanded functional content coverage across existing Oracle BI Applications

3. New utilities and enhancements to increase productivity and further drive down Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

New Prebuilt Connector for BI Applications

  • Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics introduces a new adapter that provides out-of-box integration between Oracle Procurement and Spend Analytics and Oracle’s JD Edwards EnterpriseOne, enabling purchasing and sourcing organizations quickly identify savings opportunities and improve operational performance through decision-ready, best practice analytics.

New Content Enhancements: Significant expansion of content improves existing Oracle BI Applications

  • Oracle Human Resources Analytics expands analysis on HR programs and workforce performance with the introduction of Talent Management Analysis, to help HR and business managers assess talent strengths and build potential leaders by delivering greater insight into job profiles. Improvements to Absence Management, new support for Workforce Frozen Snapshots and Workforce Flex Fields are also available.
  • Oracle Financial Analytics improves company Financial Performance with the new Subledger Accounting Module, providing complete account balance analysis, including supporting reference balances and drill down to accounting transactions. Aging Snapshot restoration for Receivables and Payables, drilldown from Payables to Purchase Orders, and Fixed Assets support for GL Posting Status are features also included in the release.
  • Oracle Project Analytics expands insight into project-based data with new Earned Value Management Analysis, providing visibility for Project Stakeholders into Planned Value, Earned Value, and Actual Cost. Analysis of variances and indices, derived from Cost and Schedule Variance, CPI, TCPI, SPI and TSPI, is also available.
  • Oracle Supply Chain & Order Management Analytics introduces Costing and Inventory Turn support for Oracle JDE EnterpriseOne. In addition, the ability to save and restore the Inventory Snapshot when executing a full load is now supported.
  • Oracle Student Information Analytics introduces new Financial Aid Analysis, containing term-based detail information associated with a student award such as amount, status, disbursement, and aid type.
  • Oracle Manufacturing Analytics and Enterprise Asset Management Analytics have been re-introduced into the BI Applications data model. Although new with ODI, both modules provide now the same broad functionality available with BI Applications 7.9.6.4
  • Unstructured Data for Information DiscoveryThe BI Applications Data Model has been extended to include unstructured CRM and ERP text fields. Sample Information Discovery templates – including ODI interfaces and runtime security definitions –provide the ability to quickly create sample Information Discovery Applications from combined structured and unstructured data.

New Utilities and Enhancements to increase productivity and drive down TCO

  • New Data Lineage Tool allows customers and implementers to track lineage from source to target – improving information transparency across their enterprise
  • Configuration Management expands System Setup and Load Plan definition capabilities, including the registration of multiple instances for the same Product Line Version, UI enhancements to support DW connection configuration and Load Plan definition, and Load Plan definition migration. 
  • Fact Partitioning IKMs and Parallel Index Builds are key performance Innovations introduced with this release. The former enables a feature that tags partitions so that only the indexes that need to be re-built during incremental loads are executed. The latter uses ODI parallel process so that Indexes can be built using multiple session (faster than and in addition to DB parallel).



Friday May 02, 2014

Data Relationship Governance – Workflow in a Bottle!

As organizations grow through acquisition and the development of new products and services, the task of keeping master data synchronized across multiple systems is often met using Oracle Data Relationship Management. However, managing the process of requesting, approving and documenting changes to this master data requires something more – Oracle Data Relationship Governance. Paul Ritner, a Principal Solutions Architect with Advanced EPM joined me for a podcast to discuss what data relationship governance is, and why people want and need it. 

So what is data relationship governance? Paul indicated that to understand data relationship governance, you first need to understand data relationship management. 

Data relationship management is a solution used to manage the structure and alignment of master data such as, account numbers, department codes, product codes, and any other similar values or reference data across multiple systems. The real value of data relationship management is that organizations can build their business rules and other complex business logic into the repository to ensure only valid values get created and are correctly positioned in the multiplicity of hierarchical structures organizations require for both aggregations and reporting.  Oracle’s solution, Oracle Data Relationship Management (or DRM), is just such a management solution that is highly configurable and is agnostic when it comes to connecting to align data in multiple systems.

Data relationship governance is the solution that helps to monitor and manage workflow activities related to data relationship management. Oracle’s solution, Oracle Data Relationship Governance (or DRG) is fully integrated with DRM.  DRG handles all the workflow activities, and relies on existing Oracle DRM configured rules and property formulas. It is also a natural extension to Oracle’s DRM solution.

Paul said that prior to Oracle introducing their DRG solution, discussions about workflow in relation to data relationship management was usually met with a rolling of the eyes due to the complexity of typical data governance processes. At the time, it was a difficult conversation as it required significant customer development. With DRG it turns into a simple configuration exercise.

So why do people now want Oracle’s DRG solution?

Paul said that there were several reasons, including:

• Oracle DRG is an easily configurable workflow tool that is fully integrated with, Oracle Data Relationship Management.
• Oracle DRG enables you to easily build web-based workflows to manage requests for new values & changes, which ultimately end up in your existing data relationship management repository.
• Oracle DRG includes task lists and email alerts!
• All the key configurations that organizations already have in their Oracle DRM repository can be readily leveraged by Oracle DRG workflows.  Configurations such as:
• Linking workflows with hierarchies
• Linking existing data relationship management validations (or Business Rules) with particular data relationship governance workflow steps
• As well as including any of your derived property values, which can contain some very complex logic

Basically, all the hard work that went into an organization’s DRM application can be readily included in their DRG workflow, and that’s a huge value! Paul provided a great 4 step workflow example, however he indicated that workflows can have as many steps as needed by an organization. He also talked about the fact that a single workflow request could be made for multiple accounts.

So who, exactly, would initiate a workflow request? A financial analyst? Paul indicated that it could be one of several people.   However, in general,  it is often an analyst or accountant. A request could be made by other business people as well and, if the workflow was for a Department Code or Cost Center, requests could come from all over a company.

Paul covered several more aspects of Oracle’s Data Relationship Governance in the podcast, including sad alternatives (like email or spreadsheets) to a robust solution and convinced me that DRG really is “workflow in a bottle”.

To listen to the entire podcast, click here.

To learn more about Oracle Data Relationship Management or Oracle Data Relationship Governance, click here.
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