Tuesday Mar 20, 2012

Transformation?

I started working at Oracle in 1997.  Since then, we (and most everyone) have been talking about transforming finance operations....but what does that mean exactly?  From my perspective, I thought it meant eliminate waste and menial tasks and giving your finance team more time to work on more strategic things.  That seems logical and simplistic, but how much progress have finance teams (and their IT departments) really made over the past fifteen years?

I have yet to talk to a customer that doesn't have one amusing task that makes me chuckle.  Sometimes they still print hard copies of transactions to "file," or sometimes they print 700 pages of data to "analyze," or sometimes they cut and paste from one or more reports into a spreadsheet.  Upon hearing these things, my first question is always, "Why do you do that?" to which their response is rarely the same.    Sometimes it's related to trust (both the employee and the system).  Sometimes, it's habit-based.  And sometimes it is just impossible to accomplish the end result without some manual effort.

I will say that I used to print nearly everything that I needed to review.  Partly, because I liked having the ability to scribble notes on the paper, and partly, because it was uncomfortable to read online.  However, I have changed. Rarely do I print anything anymore.  It's easier for me to read and notate online, and well, I guess I've just changed my habits.

So where do you think our resistance to change comes from?  Is it truly deficits in our systems, or is it our own personal resistance to change?  What's your most annoying & untransformed task?


Thursday Mar 15, 2012

Fusion Documentation

If you have some spare time, Fusion Documentation is available on OTN.  There is a lot of it, so have fun!

Tuesday Mar 13, 2012

"EBS does __________."

I hear this phrase frequently from customers and partners.  Generally, the blank is filled in with "it" or "it this way".  When they say, "EBS does it" or "R12 does it", they're inevitably talking about some feature.  If they say, "EBS does it this way",  it means there's a  misunderstanding of how Fusion works.

This leads me to the first misconception of Fusion: Fusion is just like the E-Business Suite. While it is true that EBS Financials was the basis for Fusion, Fusion is not a re-packaged version of EBS.  Much of Fusion does closely resemble EBS, but much of it does not.

"EBS does it"
There are features that exist in EBS that are not in Fusion.  EBS is an extremely mature product with many releases, and each release typically adds new features building on the functionality of prior releases.  This is how software works,  our beloved facebook is always releasing new "features", and angry birds gives us new birds and new levels. Fusion Financials is software, and it is not EBS R13.

"EBS does it this way"
For many of the capabilities that exist in EBS, Fusion has a different way of meeting the same functional requirements. Some examples are Responsiblities & Security, Setup, and Reporting which are quite unlike EBS.  In my opinion, Fusion handles these three areas in a much better way than EBS.  However, they are significantly different in Fusion, and it's not just a simple mapping or translation exercise to understand the differences.

So, for all of you EBS gurus out there, take comfort in knowing that there are similarities between Fusion and EBS. Not everything is similar though, and in some cases, it may be easier to forget your knowledge of "how EBS does it" and learn "how Fusion does it" without trying to translate.

The next time you hear someone say, "EBS does _______", just realize that comparing software is sometimes like comparing fruit.

Friday Mar 09, 2012

An Education in Fusion Financials

Over the past year, I have spent a lot of time working with customers who are implementing Fusion Financials.  My primary role is to educate these early adopters on the inner workings of Fusion Financials and its benefits.  Most of you probably assumed that I have just gotten bored with blogging and decided to abandon this blog.   I can't completely argue with that assumption because honestly, it's partly true.  However, a bigger part of the truth is that I wasn't really sure exactly what stuff anyone would be interested in reading.  I can spew forth all kinds of detailed facts, but are any of you looking for a regurgitation of the vast information readily available on oracle.com regarding Fusion Financials?  I doubt it.

In spending time working with these customers, I have gotten my own education.  It's not that I learn new functionality in Fusion (well, sometimes), but I learn from listening to our customers and partners and from understanding their business needs and nuances.  Sometimes, I'm schooled because of  a complete misconception on their part of what they think Fusion is.  Other times, it stems from my persistent questioning of "Why do you do that?" 

We've been working on Fusion for several years now.  Often, we forget that the concepts in Fusion, many of which we take for granted, are completely foreign to outsiders.   For the more complex concepts, I believe that we are just beginning to understand the best way to explain them, or we're just now identifying the bigger, previously unrealized, benefits that many customers can gain from them.

Over the next few blog posts, I'm going to attempt to explain in detail some of the most common misconceptions, some of the more "interesting" concepts, and some the newly discovered benefits of Fusion Financials.  In the meantime, if there is something that you're just dying to know, just leave a comment.

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This blog will be used by Financials Strategy group to discuss various Fusion Financials topics. Want to know more? Just ask.

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