I think most folks see the advantages of BIP/XMLP no matter what the flavor. It's still relatively new, but XMLP has actually been around in the E Business Suite for coming up 3 years in May. It's still evolving yes, but the reporting engine itself I think is now proven. We have customers generating more than 10,000 invoices an hour, others generating huge 10,000 page documents and its not just listing reports and invoices, its certificates, shipping labels, marketing campaigns even books.
The common thing across all of these examples is that the layout templates, for the most part have had to be custom developed by IT departments or consultants. The real value add for BIP/XMLP is the templates and those provided out of the box for you the customer by the development teams. In EBS 11.5.10 there are about 200, in PeopleSoft 9 there are a smattering of templates available. For EBS that is about to change ...
With the R12 there are more than 850 templates available across more than 50 products ... I have put together a document (using XMLP of course) listing all the available templates, you can get that here. 'Hang on', I hear you cry what about the other near 2000 reports that you guys ship to us? Good news here too, we currently have a project going on in development to migrate the rest of the Oracle Reports based concurrent programs that you will be able to take advantage of later this year ... so thats going to be nigh on 2500 templates to customize to your hearts content.
What about my reports?
Well with R12 we have released migration utilities to help you migrate your own Oracle Reports to the XMLP platform in EBS. They are documented but here's the document itself. We take your RDF binary, use Oracle Reports to convert it to an XML format, parse that XML and generate a Data Template (extraction), supporting plsql packages and an RTF Template (layout). We are not guaranteeing 100% conversion, you are likely going to need to tweak the layout a little and deploy the plsql but we'll get you a long way along the process of conversion.
What about us 11i folks?
Right now, no plans to backport the templates to the 11i code line ... we need some carrots to get you to upgrade. But the migration scripts will be released with or very soon after the 5.6.3 release is made available. They come with a caveat, you folks use Oracle Reports 6i, we need 9i or higher available to carry out the conversion ... its not a biggy and I'll document the 'how' once 5.6.3 hits the streets.
What about us non-Apps folks?
Manish, fair comment. For those of you that are not in the EBS bucket theres hope for you too. The scripts are planned for release with the 10.1.3.3 release later this year. We needed to do some more work for you to generate you a complete XDO file. Still going to need at least the 9i reports executable somewhere on the disk but the principle will be the same.
Looking to the future a little, there are plans on the table to provide a Template Bank. This will be a hosted version of the Template Manager with some bells and whistles. The plan is to make all of the development delivered templates available via this application, then hopefully consulting and of course you folks out there building templates. Should be a great big template sharing community!