Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oracle Project Resource Management

Oracle Project Resource Management enables enterprises to:

  • Leverage Single Global Resource Pool
  • Deploy Resources Collaboratively
  • Monitor Resource Utilization
  • Streamline Organization Forecasting
  • Analyze Resource Demand and Supply

Major Features:
  • Oracle Project Resource Management enables companies to manage human resource deployment and capacity for project work.
  • Built using Oracle’s proven self-service model, Oracle Project Resource Management empowers key project stakeholders, such as project managers, resource managers, and staffing managers, to make optimal use of their single most critical asset: their people.
  • With this application, you can manage project resource needs, profitability and organization utilization by searching for, and locating and deploying most qualified people to your projects across your enterprise.
  • As a result, you can improve customer and employee satisfaction, maximize resource utilization and profitability, and increase your competitive advantage.
  • Oracle Project Resource Management is part of the E-Business Suite, an integrated set of applications engineered to work together.

Key Considerations while implementing Project Resource Management:
  • PJR should be used in very process centric organizations. Value out of the application is made out only when processes are followed and data is properly maintained. Resource search of candidates relies on 3 parameters- Resource availability, Skills Set and Job levels.
  • Segregation of resources eligible for Staffing - Project Resource Management maintains central resource pool that maintains data about resources availability, skill set, resume, address, job, email, work information, location etc. All the resources in an HR organization need not to be defined in resource pool. This refines the resource search and improve performance of the application.
  • Integration between Project Resource Management and Project Management - Out of box functionality in Projects module allows integration between Project resource management and Project Management. Integration can be achieved either by Bottom-up approach as well as Top-down approach.
  • Integration between Oracle Time and Labor and Project Resource Management - Objectives of the Project resource Management and Oracle time and labor totally different as one captures resource planning and other calculates actual. There is no out of box functionality available which integrates these two modules.
  • Non project centric and small organization - Project Resource Management is not that beneficial for small organizations where there are few projects, non skills based organizations, not much movement of resources across projects or where there are few resources. It is generally used for mid-sized and large-sized organizations.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Deep dive into Oracle Project Management (PJT) Features and Functionalities

Oracle Project Management (PJT) Key Features:

  • Workplan and Progress Management
  • Reciprocal integration with MS Projects
  • Oracle Resource Management Integration
  • Enhanced Budgeting and Forecasting features
  • Projects Deliverables Management
  • Project Status Reporting
  • Issue and Change Management
  • Document Management
  • Project Performance Reporting
  • Performance Exceptions Reporting
  • Performance Measures and Graphs
  • Program Management and Reporting
Workplan and Progress Management features:
  • Facilitate scheduled completion of project work
  • Task managers and team members can manage their tasks and communicate progress to the PM
  • Supports the following key activities:
            • Create, manage, version, and view workplans
            • Create and maintain tasks and resource assignments
            • Track progress for projects, tasks, and resource assignments
Reciprocal integration with MS Projects:
  • Use MS Projects to create and maintain WBS
  • Send and receive a project
  • Send an update
  • View real-time project information
  • Receive real-time values for task attributes
Oracle Resource Management Integration:
  • Define Project resource requirements based on Project Roles
  • Leverage competency for suitable searches with correct skill sets
  • Determine project requirement staffing through search and nomination
  • Automate employee assignment to the project
  • Track time and report against the approved assignment
  • Use pre defined (Discoverer) reporting workbooks for reporting
Enhanced Budgeting and Forecasting Features:
  • Create budgets and forecasts to manage the financial performance
  • Track project status and performance
  • Generate budgets and forecasts from:
            • Staffing plans,
            • Workplans,
            • Financial plans
  • Enter plan amounts using Microsoft Excel and HTML
Projects Deliverables Management Features:
  • Create project deliverables, associate them with workplan tasks, and track them
  • Define Deliverables
  • Define Deliverables Actions
  • Execute Deliverables Actions
  • Collect & Rollup Deliverables Progress
  • Integrate with Other Applications (e.g. AR for Billing)
Project Status Reporting Features:
  • Report relevant project status information
  • Control access to unpublished reports
  • Reporting cycles define the start and end dates for the reporting period
Issue and Change Management Features:
  • Centralized system to manage issues and change requests
  • Team members can work together collaboratively
  • Track issues and change requests from creation through to completion
  • Create issues based on predefined issue types
  • Assign actions to people to help resolve the issues
  • Enable team members to comment on issues
  • Export a list of issues into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet for further analysis
  • Automatically route issue approval using Oracle Workflow
Document Management Features:
  • Team Members can attach and store documents
  • Attachments can be:
            • a File
            • a URL
            • a Plain text box
  • Users can define attachment categories that defines the types of documents that can be attached
  • Attachment categories can be based on common characteristics that a class of documents have
Performance Reporting Features:
  • “At-a-glance” comparison of actual versus planned performance as defined in project budgets and forecasts
  • View performance in the areas of effort, cost, profitability, earned value, billing and collections, or capital costs
  • Graphical and tabular overview of data
  • Review of project performance information at the project, task, and resource levels by time period
  • Drill down features to view detailed transaction information such as commitments, expenses, and events
Performance Exception Reporting:
  • Review a summary of exceptions and issues on a project
  • The status indicators provide an immediate understanding of critical, at risk, and on track issues on the project
  • Drill down to the details of a single exception, and enter or review remarks and reminders for corrective actions
  • Automatically generate the latest exceptions and key performance area status indicators on a periodic basis
  • Automatically communicate the latest key performance area performance statuses and exceptions to key stakeholders via e-mail
Performance Measurement and Graphs:
  • Supports predefined measures for cost and profitability
  • Measures appear in the performance overview of the project
  • Measures can be used to create custom measures
  • Supports a set of predefined graphs that analyze cost, profit, and earned value information
Program Management and Reporting Features:
  • Program is a collection of projects linked in a hierarchical fashion
  • View and manage workplan and financial information for a group of projects
  • Track and report on rolled-up planned, actual, and forecasted effort, cost, and revenue, as well as progress and schedule information for all projects in the program hierarchy
  • Top down linking approach facilitates navigation and drill down into the individual linked projects within the program hierarchy

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Project to Cash Enterprise - need for Order Management

One of my clients was implementing Oracle Ebusiness Suite 12.1.3 and was in construction business. The proposed foot print was to implement the Project to Cash suite of applications. But they were confused whether to implement Oracle Order Management or not.

For Project to Cash enterprises the key design decisions which need to be considered are presented below:

EBS Order Management key features and benefits for Project to Cash enterprises:

  • Order references one or more lines, and each line is for a specific Inventory Item. Ship To can be defined at the line level
  • Each order line is associated with Pricing through Price List
  • Out of the box integration with AR for billing and revenue
  • Integrates with Revenue Management functions in AR for deferred revenue and earned revenue accounting based on revenue contingencies and events (for example revenue to be earned only when customer pays in full)
  • Native integration with Inventory for shipping and Cost of Goods Sold
  • Full integration with Bill of Material and Configurator whereby by selecting a Model (product group for example), system will configure its components and explode each item into the Order Line
  • Integration with WIP Manufacturing application to create Work Order for the SO Line and capture Material & Labor costs to the Work Order (based on Bill of Material)
  • Native integration with Project Manufacturing for cost collection from Manufacturing (Labor and Material) into Project costing
  • Integration with Service Contracts, Installed Base for selling services
  • Connects with Credit Management for credit profiling, credit limits, etc

EBS Order Management key constraints for Project to Cash enterprises:
  • Doesn’t have the capability to do milestone/progressive billing
  • Application assumes that the billing has to be for the full amount of the line value upon shipment. Hence cannot model install job billing requirements.
  • Significant work done so far for developing POC revenue cannot be ported to revenue management model and need to be developed from scratch
  • Cannot leverage POC revenue work done so far for building completed contracts based revenue in revenue management model
  • Forces the use of Bill of Material (BOM) and Work in Process (WIP) applications for being able to associate Labor and Material costs to the Work Order and booking the Cost of Goods Sold upon shipment. Overkill and complex for Project to Cash Enterprise business needs
  • Doesn’t integrate with Project Costing and billing
  • Projects integration requires implementing Project Manufacturing. Project Manufacturing needs to be turned on and configured for associating the project and task with OM Line for Manufacturing cost collection.

Credit Card Payment Processing in AR

Many clients will have the requirement to process customer credit card payments in a seamless fashion within Oracle AR. The Oracle Payments (previously iPayments in Rel 11) module enables this functionality working with Oracle AR using a 3 step process:

  • Create Invoices: Create invoices in AR with payment method= ‘credit card’
  • Credit Card Authorization: Create and approve receipt which includes getting approval codes through Oracle payments and Payment gateway/Payment Processor. Tyco is currently using Chase Paymenttech as a payment processor which Oracle has certified for R12 (Metalink Doc. ID: 471385.1) so we may want to use the same in the future.
  • Credit Card Fund Capture: Generating remittances and capture fund through Oracle payments and Payment gateway/Payment Processor. 

What is PSON?

  • PSON stands for Payment Server Order Number and this is used by Payments during the funds capture settlement process. This field is located at receipt workbench and is populated by Oracle Payments after authorizing fund.
  • Process for ACH processing:
    • Oracle Payment, through Funds capture, supports ACH payment and can be integrated with any Payment system for Electronic fund transfer. For Tyco, Payment system can be their remittance banks. 
    • Process for ACH processing is same as credit card processing (Create Invoices, Authorization and Fund Capture/ Settlement) with following differences: 
      • Authorization step is optional for ACH
      • ACH does not block funds during authorization
      • Bank information is validated only once and then it is stored as a profile in Oracle payments whereas credit card payment needs approval (PSON) for every transaction.


CAS compliance for Federal Business

Cost Accounting Standards (CAS):

Cost Accounting Standards (popularly known as CAS) are a set of 19 standards and rules promulgated by the United States Government for use in determining costs on negotiated procurements. CAS differs from the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in that FAR applies to substantially all contractors, whereas CAS applies primarily to the larger ones.

When CAS will be applicable to your enterprise:

  • Your enterprise performs work for federal government customers
  • Your enterprise may be subject to 'full' CAS coverage (required to follow all 19 standards) when you receive either one CAS-covered contract of US$50 million or more, or a number of smaller CAS-covered contracts totaling US$50 million
  • Your enterprise may be subject to 'modified' CAS coverage (required to follow only Standards 401, 402, 405, and 406) when you receive a single CAS-covered contract of US$7.5 million or more
  • Your enterprise may be exempt from CAS standards provided:
    • Contracts awarded to small businesses are exempt from CAS, regardless of contract size
    • Any contract less than US$7.5 million is exempt, provided the company has not been awarded a contract greater than US$7.5 million, and also any contract less than US$700,000 is always exempt
    • Contracts for commercial items
    • Contracts awarded under sealed bid procedures, or where "adequate price competition" was available (the latter meaning where at least two companies had the ability to bid and perform on a contract, even if only one bid was later received)
    • Contracts where the price is set by law or regulation
    • Contracts awarded to foreign governments
    • Contracts awarded to foreign concerns (only the disclosure statement and CAS 401 and 402 apply in this case)
In general these cost accounting standards and compliance is synchronous with US GAAP for accrual accounting.

Oracle Projects Suite of applications

What is Oracle Projects Suite of Applications?

  • Project Foundation (PJF) - Common setups for Projects Suite like templates, project types, expenditure categories, expenditure types etc
  • Project Costing (PJC) - Costing related functions for projects
  • Project Billing (PJB) - Billing (both Revenue and Invoicing). Billing module license includes access to Costing module features
  • Project Resource Management (PJR) - Labor resource management features. Project team role requirements are staffed through this application
  • Project Collaboration (PJL) - Project team member collaboration
  • Project Management (PJT) - Functionalities relating to workplan management, enhanced budgeting and forecasting, change control & project performance reporting. Seamless integration with all of the above modules.
Projects suite features comparison chart:

Friday, August 23, 2013

BIG DECISION - do you want to turn on Item Serialization?

One of my clients whose primary footprint on the supply chain is Oracle EBS was at the crossroads of making a big decision - whether to turn on item serialization or not. This decision has lots of benefits but also comes with a lot of additional responsibilities to enter and track serial numbers. Here is the journey on how we evaluated the item serialization big decision for the client:

What is Serialization?

Oracle Inventory provides complete serial number support for inventory transactions. You can enable serial number control for specific items in your inventory. For items under serial number control, you assign unique serial numbers to individual units and

thereafter reference the same serial numbers each time you perform material transactions. This allows you to have tight control over every unit of every item in your inventory.

Serialization in Inventory & Installed Base tracking design:

Key considerations for the Client:
  • Client does not create its own Serial No upon installing the Products and hence Serialization is applicable only to the Inventory ordered for the Project
  • Serialization can be selectively turned on at specific item (A Type?) level

Key questions and design considerations presented to Client leadership team:

  • Can we use serialization features at selective A type items such as Cameras?
  • Can this be enabled using Item category/Catalogue definitions
  • Can we model the Product sold (eg product1 product2 etc) as MTL Items (non tangible, but Item Master record with IB tracking enabled)?
  • Can we define/track Client Serial No at that level?
  • Is that scalable to future design of serialization turned on at lower levels?
  • How does this get IB tracking benefits and for maintenance/upselling?

Based on the above framework and many deep dive sessions later, the client decided to turn on serialization only to key 'A' level high value items to begin with. This enabled them to adapt slowly to best industry practices and also have a scalable design to turn on serialization for 'B' and 'C' level items in the future.