Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All Around Enterprise Portal Management with SAP

In today's information driven world, the business sector is one of the biggest users of data from various sources. That is why it not uncommon for business organizations to invest in costly data warehouse infrastructures.
And what good is an expensive, ultra sophisticated data warehouse with exposing the data inside it to data consumers?
Enter enterprise portals.

An enterprise portal is a software system which can provide for a single point of entry (hence the word portal) to the rich repository of information for a business organization which is often presented in web-based interface. In theory, this is a framework that integrates information, people and processes across organizational boundaries.

The SAP Netweaver is both SAP's technology platform as well as the very foundation for all of SAP's solutions. And of the functions it does best if managing and efficient enterprise portal.
There two main variants for implementing SAP Netweaver. The first is implementing a federated portal network so that business organizations can share contents between portals by integrating non-SAP WSRP-compliant content into an SAP NetWeaver. The second method is implementing an external-facing portal used for a wide array of purposes for different business scenarios and handling of anonymous and registered users.

SAP Netweaver's support platform gives the enterprise portal system administrator a Web AS environment where it is easy for them to get plug ins from other sources or from his own coding. This modularization can make the system more flexible and this method is fast become today's standard due to its ubiquity. The platform also makes it easy to the system administrator to check and troubleshoot problems on one or more server nodes. The platform, in close coordination with the PDC inspector which is a support tool for content development and administration, can perform very thorough analyses of objects within the system.

One of the biggest benefits to be derived from enterprise portals is also one of the biggest challenges for the administrators. And this aspect is on activity reports. But SAP Netweaver has an Integrated Activity Reports for Administrators tool which can make the system gather and present information about the portal through an iView interface. This reporting tool can give information including those about users who logged on to the portal and about the content that was viewed and many other tiny details.

XML Technology has become indispensable in information system and SAP Netweaver leverages on XML by having features for import and export of portal content based on XML scripts which can enable PCD-object creation automatically.

Web services are also fast becoming ubiquitous with various large companies like and many others already exposing them for various purposes. SAP Netweaver has great support for web services so that the enterprise portal can make web services interaction very easy wherever the sources may be.

Managing an enterprise portal is undoubtedly a big challenge but using the right tool like SAP Netweaver makes the experience easier, educational and a very fulfilling.

Web development platform for on-demand software

A couple of months ago, Google and made a sensational pact wherein Google will can help small enterprises in generating sales leads while Saleforce will take its turn turning these leads into actual customers.

A few days ago, announced that it has developed a new rich web platform for building on-demand business software geared towards leading to an explosion of applications which is similar that to that with Facebook., a San Francisco based company known for its talent for coming up with great catchphrases, calls this development as which is a "platform as a service". This platform can be used by non-programmers so they can easily make very attractive online applications which will connect with other within the fast expanding Salesforce ecosystem.

This is really nothing new and as I previously mentioned, Facebook has been quite busy these past few days handling open apps like these from its huge base of social networkers. Look at online sites like and you will see advertisements seeking programmers who can develop Facebook applications. And recognizes with the words of Ariel Kelman, senior director of platform product marketing at saying: "Once you provide the openness, we think you will see an explosion of apps analogous to Facebook.", a global leader in On-Demand Customer Relationship Management is also the developer of AppExchange, an application that can host on-demand software created with partners. It is fast catching up with CRM and ERP leaders such as SAP AG, Oracle Corp. and Microsoft Corp by constantly innovating its flagship CRM service.

In August, has announced that during the second quarter, AppExchange has already 48,000 registered developers after about a year and a half from its release. These registered developers are independently working or for 348 independent software vendors that have created 642 applications.

In very stark contrast, Facebook, since its launching of its Facebook Platform in May, has only ore than 3,500 applications. The success of the system could be attributed t the popularity of social networking websites.

According to Kelman, much of the code can easily slide straight into the environment without a lot of rewriting so that software vendors or companies with existing Web applications can easily do the integration into their existing systems. He furthere added that "Porting over the user-interface elements you can do very quickly, but there will be some effort involved in migrating the database and logic. But after that, the ability to change your application becomes so much more flexible."

Open platforms are fast becoming more popular internet and more and more pluggable modules can be easily downloaded online. This is great indication of collaboration among many coders online and such scheme can bring out the best creativity in people while making them earn money for what they love doing in their most flexible schedules. The continued popularity of open platform will definitely mean more robust yet flexible business applications in the months to come.

SAP and Linux

More and more large enterprises are moving into Linux and other open source software because they are a lot cheaper as they are robust and stable. The popularity of Linux used to be predominant in the field of servers. But today, Linux is ubiquitous as it had gained support from mainstream giants such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Novell.

SAP and Linux has a particularly tight relationship with the SELinux distro. As a short backgrounder, the SELinux distro was developed by the National Security Agency (NSA). No wonder the SE stands for Security Enhanced. This distro was originally developed as a research prototype of the Linux kernel as well as some utilities for security purposes. Now, the SELinux distro has already been integrated into the mainline Linux 2.6 kernel series.

This blog is meant to focus on the Solution Manager 4.0 SR1 system with MaxDB and how it can be securely deployed with SELinux, whose modules are compiled binaries having many hard coded directory names. SAP generally is not shipped with any precompiled policy that can be employed by all SAP customers.

Before SAP can be installed in on SELinux, the following SELinux rpm packages should have been installed already: selinux-policy, selinux-policy-targeted and selinux-policy-devel.

When all the above mentioned packages are in place, we need to check the contents of /etc/selinux/config and make sure the two variable are present:


We then need to start to build the new policy with SAP Solution Manager 4.0 SR1 by going to the directory that contains the needed tools: cd /usr/share/selinux/devel

We need to build our policy from scratch so we called the policygentool script along with policy name and the binary belonging to the policy.

./policygentool sap /sapmnt/LSM/exe/R3trans
[..some information..]
Return to continue

If the module uses pidfiles, what is the pidfile called?

If the module uses logfiles, where are they stored?
>/usr/sap/LSM/DVEBMGS00/workIf the module has var/lib files, where are they stored?

Does the module have a init script? [yN]
Does the module use the network? [yN]

After the execution, the procedure will have created the following files as the source of the new policy:
# ls -la sap*
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 265 May 3 17:41 sap.fc
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 463 May 3 17:41 sap.if
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 1539 May 3 17:41 sap.te

There are many tutorials you can find on the internet. I think the collaboration between the Linux and the open source world and SAP applications in particular as well as ERP in general will be a great benefit to the business world especially for the small and medium size enterprises. This will mean a big cut in expenses as Linux is basically free so the savings can be rolled into other investments. And since open source is a collaboration of thousands of coders around the world, more developments are definitely coming their way.

Oracle and in the face of the planet

Oracle has long been a leader in global business solutions. But when one mentions the words Oracle and ERP, the idea that easy comes to mind is all those shopping spree that Oracles has done in the past few years in a desperate move to outshine its closes competitor SAP as the number provider of ERP solutions. But as I blogged in the past, I do not see anything wrong with these shopping sprees. My thing is that if Oracle can afford it and the potential acquisition gets a good deal, then fine. This healthy competition between SAP and Oracle will result in the consumers benefiting in the end. This is what business competition is all about.

Perhaps the United Nations thinks the same. There is nothing wrong with Oracle's moves. The important thing is the quality of the products. So much so that the United Nations development Programme (UNDP) has deployed and implemented an Oracle ERP module on a mass scale spreading out to all continents. This partnership is getting stronger with new efforts in trying to increase the user base and penetrating new segments in the market. It has been reported that UNDP has saved about 10 percent in time and money and has decided to embark on a new campaign of using PeopleSoft.

The romance between Sun Microsystems and Oracle has served greater benefits to the consumer public. New developments spring from the partnership include some products designed to benefit organizations in all aspects from economical to procedural. One of these benefits is the an implementation of ERP which does away with so many servers at the local level. Small and medium sized companies can install a smaller number of computer servers to facilitate their operations and thus save money.

An example of the "beneficiaries" of Oracle is a hospital company in Ohio City. Because of better hospital resource management, there has been an increase in the number of lives saved or reduced extent of loss or intensity of injury incurred on people. But along the way to the hospital's success in better management, the encountered problem with an Oracle implementation failed. But the mistake was not mainly due to the inefficiency or Oracle but in the people implementing it who depended heavily on the software as a magical cure it all remedy even to basic problems requiring only a simple common sense. In social speak, this incident is called an area for new lessons learned. Oracle ERP softwares are simply mechanical instructions and for now, they cannot totally "think for themselves".

Oracle's easy adaptability to local markets has greatly helped smaller companies in poorest countries. In Brazil, Oracle has fast become a favorite ERP application as many companies have experience the benefits. Because of globalization, many companies from poorest countries and smaller economies have to face the industry giants from the industrialized nations. But with the help of ERP solutions, the competition may not be as tough as could be expected.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Why SAP Mobile?

Well, everything now has gone mobile. Mobile devices are getting smaller: personal digital assistant such can now fit into our palm, cellular phones are more than just phones, and laptops are getting smaller, thinner and lighter.

This mobilization of things has greatly impacted today's business in a lot of beneficial ways. Businessmen, CEO and staff have become productive due not only a lot of processes being automated but because they can do their work wherever they go.

Of course, it is not wonder why SAP, the world's leader in enterprise solutions, has developed mobile support for business applications. MySAP technology has made spatial and temporal situations borderless with people working together under SAP's technical mobile infrastructure.

Here is a scenario. People in the sales team may be scattered in different geographical locations around the world. Yes, this has a common scenario since the last few decades. But these people can work together as if they are just within a few cubicles away. They can co-locate with clients by accessing sales databases. They can communicate in real time with their colleagues miles away. They can even work in their underwear at home. Or while sipping their favorite soda and lying on the beach, they can fire up their applications as a virtual office.

Sap's mobile technology is integrated in one Mobile Computing or Pervasive Computing suite called mySAP Mobile Business. This technology can facilitate mobile workers by integrating enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications with mobile gadgets connectivity to give them real time computing with high quality and up to date information.

Being on the move and still having great control over business operations have both great and powerful advantages. For people like me who love to meet people for coffee and socialization and yet still greatly considers other mental aspects of business intricacies, using mySAP Mobile business is like getting the best of all worlds. While sitting on an piazza and talking to a client or potential clients in friends and relative, I cam manage office transactions with a few clicks of the mouse and taps on my laptop keyboard. I can also update my customers and get quick responses from them through emails or online chat. I can easily monitor my sales and other transactions from around different places by simply firing up my favorite web browser.

The mySAP Mobile Business suite is both and online and offline mobile platform. It can seamlessly integrate back end and front end interfaces to ensure that important developments in business is communicated to the right people at the right time. From the offline solutions, mySAP Mobile Business can deploy data using the SAP mobile engine. This can give employees more flexibility in that they can use their smart phones, PDAs, handhelds and other mobile devices to do business even though they are in remote places with no network connection.

Tomorrow, let us take a closer look at the SAP mobile engine in particular and the mySAP Mobile Business suite in general. And for you reading this, wherever you are now, I hope you are also in a dynamic monitoring of your business. Take care.

ERP Job Salaries

I remember that in my blogs a couple of days ago, I mentioned that SAP professionals should get security certifications in order to get a higher raise. Yes, a higher raise despite the fact that SAP professionals in particular and ERP professionals in general are some of the best paid people in the computing industry.

While surfing the internet today, I came across this salary range for ERP Project Manager which reflected that as of April 2007, the median rate is at $114,194 per annum. And this rate is just for base salary; this does not even include yet other benefits and bonuses!

The website of has a neat sort of search engine for determining salary. I tried to get specific salary for an ERP programmer in the business services industry in New York, New York for a company with $5M - $10M in revenue. I learned that the salary for the specific ERP programmer is around $100,000 per annum. This is really a neat feature and you can try it yourself and see where you stand and what you want to achieve in an ERP career or any other career not just within the information technology industry!

And then I got a detailed ERP job salary range in UK from this site Oracle ERP over the last 3 month to 14 September 2007 with a comparison to the same period last year shows the Average Maximum Salary for Oracle ERP guys is £56,365 compared to the same period last year's rate of £49,263. General Business Applications professionals in the UK has Average Maximum Salary of £58,058 compared to the same period last year's rate of £57,153.

During the past six months, the same website determined the Top IT skills in the UK and the top 10 are the following:

1. Oracle tied with General ERP
2. Finance
3. Oracle applications
4. Oracle EBS
5. SQL
6. Oracle Financials tied with Oracle 11i
7. Project Management tied with Degree
8. Oracle 8/8i
9. Oracle 9i

I also came across with someone asking the question: "What's average salary in the USA for SAP ERP functional consultant with more than 8 years experiences?" This question was posted some time in March 2007.

Two guys answered. One said more generically: "You can earn around 100 000$ per year." Another guy who claimed to have 10 years of experience with SAP gave a more specific answer: "I can't talk about someone with 8 years experience, but ten years will get you $90,000 to $120,000. Big 5 firms will look in the above-mentioned range. $100,000 would be a good target for 10 years experience. The good old days before Y2K are long gone."

In most of my searches, I have discovered that certification is indeed important in order for one to get a higher rate. Yeah, many people may raise their eyebrows but this is a reality. But above all, experience is still the biggest gauge for salary rate.

The SAP Web Application Server Architecture

As I promised in yesterday's blog, I will tackle more on the internals of the SAP Web Application Server Architecture.

Just like any other web servers, the basic function of the SAP WAS to dynamically create web pages on the fly depending on the preferences specified by the end user. The SAP WAS is high end commercial application meant to manage the complexities and rich features of most of SAP's business software solutions. The SAP WAS integrates the J2EE environment with parallel support for Java and ABAP using a common database in one server.

There are four major blocks representing the main functions of the SAP Web Application Server:
The Internet Communication Manager (ICM) – the component is an independent process that takes care of all communications between the Web Application Server and external supporters over intranets or the internet. It supports many standard communication protocols including HTTP, HTTPS, and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). The ICM is built on a stable and robust infrastructure and communication is being carried out over a communication channel named memory pipe which is of high performance and memory based. This components anticipates huge bulks of enterprise data as SAP is basically designed to scale to any company size. The ICM can improve a website's performance significantly by using an active and dynamic caching technology.

The Business Environment – this component takes care of all business contents and the enterprise' underlying logic which is published with the use BSP/JSP. All existing components like business object can be used for the business logic. Both the ABAP Environment and the J2EE Environment are in this component.
Connectivity – this component is used for integrating third-party products, tools, and applications in the Web Application Server and makes sure that there is intensive support for many open connectivity standard. Because of the Connectivity building block, the Web Application Server can provide for a comprehensive technical interoperability across all SAP and third-party components. For exchanging information across disparately platforms, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), an XML-based protocol, is employed by the Web Application Server.

Relational Database – Relational database are everywhere in the SAP suite of applications. In fact, most of SAP is about data and databases. Anyway, the Web Application Server can use an exhaustive repository in exchanging all sorts of enterprise data, including the sensitive ones. It also offers a sophisticated set of Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) tools for successful deployment of web services.
So there it is, the architecture behind the SAP Web Application Server. But don’t get me wrong, it may look like four simple blocks but when you dig deeper into each of the details, you will be amazed with all the sophisticated functionalities that they can offer. You must bear in the mind that this is the most important component of the SAP Netweaver and the Netweaver is the very foundation of all of SAP's applications.

Until tomorrow, I look forward to having a fruitful weekend today. Thanks to the internet, I can monitor my business while lying on the beach.

Faster Growth for PeopleSoft ERP Applications in The Public Sector

Who says that enterprise resource planning is only for the business sector? Wikipedia defines ERP as "a system to integrate (or attempt to integrate) all data and processes of an organization into a unified system. A typical ERP system will use multiple components of computer software and hardware to achieve the integration. A key ingredient of most ERP systems is the use of a unified database to store data for the various system modules."

So there it goes, it can be used for any organization trying to unify high volumes of data processes.

To prove that ERP is gaining more widespread use in the public sector, in two of the largest school districts in the United States, The School District of Palm Beach County in Florida (having 165,000 students) and Fort Bend Independent School District in Texas (having 68,000 students) PeopleSoft ERP applications is experiencing continued strong growth. These two giant school districts have recently partnered with company specializing in systems integration and Oracle Certified Partner called eVerge Group so that they can convert their financial and human resource systems to PeopleSoft.

Accordingly, during the last twelve months, there has been a marked increase in the number of currently customers of PeopleSoft who have upgraded their existing PeopleSoft applications and acquiring new functionalities. Records showed that those customers had been upgrading to PeopleSoft version 8.9. Even the newly released Version 9, just release in early 2007, has enjoyed relatively huge purchases.
Looking back, the Cleveland State University licensed PeopleSoft's software for tracking student records in 1997. The system was adopted by the California State University system in the early 2000s.

Indeed, when talking about ERP, it is the business sector that easily comes to mind. But the fact is that PeopleSoft ERP applications have already been traditionally popular in the public sector in most of the United States. This can be attributed to PeopleSoft's ease of use and great flexibility in address unique local government as well as needs of school districts like in the field of commitment accounting and budgeting, as well as departmental position requirements.
Despite past issues such as the Decmber 1999 quality and performance issues complaints of seven of the eight "Big Ten" Midwestern universities and the California State University complaint of having spent $500 million on a deficient system, PeopleSoft has now stabilized and made more robust as it is now part of the Oracle family of applications. Customers of PeopleSoft can now benefit from the new middleware applications that enhance the integration applications and databases throughout their organization.

Oracle is in very aggressive in all of its efforts to gain the top spot in the business software applications industry. The number one spot is now being held by SAP. The move has result in Oracle making shopping sprees of other top notch applications.

Well, definitely, Oracle is doing its best efforts to enhance itself should it want to be on top. And these enhancements can trickle down to other products as well, including of course PeopleSoft.

The SAP Web Application Server

Yesterday, I blogged about SAP Netweaver, the technical foundation for all SAP applications, despite the fact that I had been blogging about a ton of SAP applications already most specifically SAP xApps. I guess it wasn’t too late to get to the core.

Now, let me blog about the SAP Web Application Server. As the name suggest, this is a web server, much like Apache, Microsoft IIS and many other but this one is specialized for all of SAP's cutting edge business solutions.

The Web Application Server (WAS or Web AS) is actually one of the components of SAP Netweaver and is undoubtedly one of the most important products as this serves as a foundation on which all other applications run on.

This product allows the web development of SAP solutions. SAP used to solely rely on the ABAP programming language, but today's development often involves the Java programming language. The Web Application Server is linked with and based on the SAP solution infrastructure. Yes, SAP is very robust, many think of SAP's relative independence as very exclusive and they seem to give the impression that they have an IT world of standards of their own.

SAP's Web Application Server makes possible the development of new internet paradigms such as the combination web services with the transactional operations of ERP. Development of these new internet paradigms start with creating an environment to provide a set of tools carefully matched in order to support many other application. This is called the Web Applications Builder. This is an object-oriented, repository-based development environment employing both Javascript and ABAP. The Web Applications Builder can allow users to develop new kind of enterprise web applications which are the BSP applications while being able to support a complete development lifecycle. Two of the main parts of the applications are the Business Server Pages (acronym BSP) and MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions) objects.

As mentioned, the Web Application Server is basically a web server like many other in the industry and the main idea behind the WAS is similar to active server pages (ASP) of ASP or Java Server Pages (JSP) of Sun Microsystems. As such, the WAS can of course support documents containing HMTL and other codes in a web page and codes are compile upon the server by end user request. One can have choice between ABAP or JavaScript for use in the documents.

It can be said that the WAS is an assimilation of conventional Web technologies by adding Web Dynpro for the presentation logic for enterprise websites. The Web Dynpro is actually the SAP NetWeaver programming model .

By using the Web AS, one can publish queries, programs and applications based on ABAP. The WAS also offers some flexibility. With versions from 6.20 up, one can have a choice of creating ABAP only, Java Platform, Standard Edition only or mixed environments.

The architecture of SAP Web Application Server has many complex areas. In tomorrow's blog, we will tackle some of those. For the meantime, I wish you a nice business day.

IPhone and ERP

If I may ask, what is the common thing beween and iPhone and an enterprise resource planning software?

Of course we know the iPhone to be an ultra fashionable device with multimedia and Internet-enabled quad-band GSM EDGE-supported mobile phone developed and marketed by Apply and many young people are going gaga over it…blah blah.

But an iPhone for an ERP? Sounds like a far fetched idea! But then again, with information technology, there is disparity which cannot be merged together. If oil and water were digital stuff, definitely, there would be an easy method to get them together the IT way.

A couple of weeks ago, Netsuite, a business solutions / ERP vendor, introduced a mobile application access interface that it calls SuitePhone. The SuitePhone can allows users of the iPhone a link up to information which stored in the latest version of Netsuite's software, the NetSuite 2007.

The synchronization offered SuitePhone takes advantage of the many functionalities available with the iPhone.

According to Malin Huffman, senior manager of product management at NetSuite:
"Traditionally in a mobile environment business applications provide a scope of functionality that is limited—typically customer relationship management or access to the back office, but it's a defined set of capabilities. With iPhone, all of NetSuite's CRM, all of enterprise resource planning is available—even the ability to manage e-commerce activities."

Netsuite has been a provider of integrated on-demand CRM and ERP and has been on-going in its deepening support for Apple's Safari browser as well as intensifying its use of AJAX technology. And this all makes sense: AJAX as open standard and Safari as Apple's browser can surely optimize and expose the many features of the iPhone!

Developments like this are just exciting and for sure many businessmen are enthused about accessing enterprise while being in remote places with only their phones. Well, there is the laptop but that is different thing. A laptop is heavier and bulkier and needs an internet service provider. With the iPhone, there is nothing to add except the SuitePhone software. Enterprise data consumer from CEO down to admin staff can remotely access financial data functionalities such as invoicing, accounts
receivable and payroll.

As of the moment, there are still certain limitations. This is of course a natural thing since the technology is still new. As Huffman said: "There are things like printing that just aren't supported yet. This is really about accessing information in NetSuite and entering new information. We're expecting people to check dashboards or run an income statement. We don't really think people are going to spend 8 hours a day on the iPhone".

For sure this software and the Netsuite – iPhone partnership, like all other things in information technology, will evolve fast. For now, I want to imagine myself listening to my favorite music or watching my favorite video on my iPhonewhile on a remote island. And while doing all that, I can still get my financial alerts. Wow, the beauty of being a mobile worker!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Let's get to the core first

For the past few weeks, I had been blogging about SAP and all its applications such as those tiny xApps for specialized industries. I figured to understand all those, we need to dissect the very foundation where most of these applications run on.

Enter SAP Netweaver.

SAP NetWeaver is the technology platform of this ERP giant. It is also the very foundation for all SAP solutions ever since the SAP Business Suite and is marketed both as integration technology and service oriented application as well. Most of the development and runtime environment for SAP applications are taken cared of by Netweaver systems integration and custom development.

SAP NetWeaver is built on open and de facto standards in the industry. As such, it could be quite easy to extend and interoperate with other technologies coming from other developers such as IBM WebSphere, Java EE and even its competitor Microsoft .NET (Well, Microsoft offers ERP applications too).

Having a business enterprise run on a single and integrated platform can greatly boost performance. For one, it could be easy to manage all enterprise data so that a company can get an accurate picture on the strong and weak points of the operations. From that, business decision makers can take appropriate actions and innovate for the weaker aspects of the business in order to keep up with the competition. Netweaver has been referred by ERP professionals as a type of "applistructure", referring to "applications + infrastructure". This is not really exclusive to SAP in general or Netweaver in particular as other vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle are into this technology as well. Some of the advantages of "applistructure" include operations flexibility (such as the ability to manage various industries operated by one company), easy applications integration (ability to integrate different modules from a software suite) and open standards (integrating different business solutions coming from different vendors).

SAP NetWeaver platform is composed of the following core components anchoring on an active professional SAP community and SAP Development Network (SDN) knowledge repository: SAP NetWeaver Application Server , SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence, SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration, SAP NetWeaver Mobile, SAP NetWeaver Portal, Knowledge Management and SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment.

SAP has been the world's top Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions vendors. Its influence on the business applications industry has resulted in team ups with top hardware vendors like IBM and HP for the development of appliances – technically hardware + software – which are geared towards simplification and enhancement of the deployment of SAP Netweaver components.

The SAP BI Accelerator is one such appliance. This technology is preinstalled on a particular hardware and is used in speeding up Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) queries and in eliminating the need for aggregations.

SAP NetWeaver is just one of the products in the SAP stack. Tomorrow, I will try elaborate on the run time environment for all SAP applications, the SAP Web Application Server.

Until then, have a profitable day!

Boosting Oracle's Communications Global Business Unit

Oracle announced on September 2, 2007 that it has plans to buy Netsure Telecom Limited, a Dublin, Ireland based communications intelligence and analytics provider. According to some, the transaction will be closed sometime in late September this year. But as of the moment when the deal is still open, both companies are still operating independently.
For sure, this acquisition, which I hope will really materialize as soon as possible, will give Oracle's Communications Global Business Unit a boost. The Oracle's Communications Global Business Unit has already been known in the industry as great tool for delivering compelling communications-specific applications to service providers.

According to Oracle Senior Vice President and General Manager, Bhaskar Gorti, "The addition of Netsure's products to Oracle's comprehensive communications applications suite is expected to help Oracle's customers improve network utilization, optimize capacity planning and financial modeling, and streamline end-to-end network lifecycle management."
Gorti further said "In conjunction with Oracle's ERP, supply chain, inventory management and network discovery solutions, Oracle plans to provide service providers the ability to improve their network ROI and increase their operational efficiency as they launch, deploy and profit from next-generation IP services."

When Netsure finally works in conjunction with Oracle Communications application product suite when the acquisition shall have been completed, the new combination will enhance an implementing companies business intelligence capacity and analytics for their network domain. Netsure's solutions are both product based and open standards compliant. This means that the capabilities of Netsure's products can easily integrate with Oracle's network inventory, provisioning, and financial asset management applications. With this integration, companies are expected to have enabled service providers in order to improve modeling and optimization, proactive network planning and as a result, operational costs will definitely be reduced while utilization and efficiency of both leased and owned network will be increased.

Netsure's has been backed by an executive team that has extensive experience in the oftware and telecommunications industries. Active Network Optimisation product suite has been popular among big companies in Europe for its reliability in such diverse aspects as network investment, capacity utilization and planning efficiency, data integrity.

Professionals in the business solutions industry have been speculating that Oracle's acquisition spree has been borne out of its unrelenting quest to take the place of SAP as the largest software provider. In fact, Oracle has been investing heavily in the communications software area and has shelled out about 220 million dollars to snap up Portal Sofware.

Other companies that have picked up by Oracle include MetaSolve Software, Net4Call, HotSip and Telephony@Work. Oracle claimed that the move is about making an end-to-end packaged software suite which is designed for efficient process in the communication industry.

For some, this acquisition fee is unfair move in the competition as many want to capitalize on innovation from the in-house. For me, I don't really care much. If Oracle has the money for acquiring other solutions and integrating into their own, then so be it. In the people, most business people really care about the totality of the package and what it does. They don’t care much about the skeletal system as long as the system as a whole makes their lives a lot easier.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Oracle Fusion

When Oracle Corporation has announced that it will release a new suite of ERP related applications dubbed as Fusion, the news greatly clarified the vision of Oracle for its applications strategies which has been a point of concern in relation to customers of PeopleSoft, which Oracle bought for $10 billion. Fusion was expected to serve as a point of migration for customers all the three Oracle platforms.

Oracle Fusion is a middleware. It is portfolio of standards bases software application products. Oracle Fusion spans many services which include J2EE and developer tools, integration services, business intelligence, collaboration, and content management. But lot of the products which are being marketed under the Fusion Middleware banner are not really middleware products themselves. Fusion is just some sort of re-branding move for many products of Oracle outside of their core database and applications software offerings.

Another intended use of Oracle Fusion is to support the development, deployment, and management of Service-Oriented Architecture. This middleware can easily leverage existing software investments such as from IBM, Microsoft and SAP (All of them are Oracle's competitors in ERP), through a pluggable architecture.

Oracle Fusion is a Java-based, service-oriented architecture that has an automated upgrade process from PeopleSoft, Oracle and J.D. Edwards applications. The Oracle Fusion Architecture can provide a robust, very high performance and highly available computing environment. With all these factors that the Oracle Fusion can deliver, a business can have a rich catalog of standard business processes in a wide range of areas such as CRM, ERP, and supply chain management. Evolution is something that cannot be avoided in business as nobody would want to set up a business without having to grow. With Oracle fusion, a company can have a dynamic business process portfolio that can evolve with the company.

Oracle has been careful in defining the line between Oracle and PeopleSoft as both could be though of as one but they need separate marketing image as well. While working on the Fusion, Oracle has made sure it maintained some separation between its Oracle and PeopleSoft development teams.

Oracle Fusion will surely be a great challenge to Oracle's nearest rival in the ERP industry – SAP AG. Oracle has seen Fusion as a revitalizing factor in its aggressive pursuing of leadership in the business applications market. The applications market has a wide array of areas for software solution development including software solutions used for managing corporate functions like sales, human resources and supplier relationships.

As a watcher of competitions among these software giants, I get excited everyday with new developments. SAP is now aggressively marketing its SAP xApps, a range of software products targeted at specific industries and have smaller footprints compared to other ERP implementations. Examples of the xApps include SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management (SAP xCQM), SAP xApp Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP xMII), SAP xApp Resource and Portfolio Management (SAP xRPM), SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (SAP xIEP). Despite the develop of a variety of business solutions, the development of software solutions to "Fuse" these things together is always catching up.

Enhancing SAP ERP 6.0

The competition for ERP applications has always been stiff among SAP, Oracle and Microsoft with many more coming in such as Salesforce which is currently in team up with the gain Google.
SAP, the world leader in ERP application, of course does not want to be outdone. To further push its products, SAP released a second enhancement product last month. This enhancement is targeted for large enterprise customers.

The enhancement package encompasses as lot of applications with the vast SAP Enterprise Resource Planning Suite. Upgrades include both horizontal and industry specific components as well as those for the core application and web services which are derived from SAP business solutions.

SAP intends to release these upgrades progressively about two upgrades every year. I think this is a good strategy so as not to overwhelm users with both expenses and learning about new upgrades. Also having to progressively release updates breaks up the massively expensive and time consuming cycle that may IT shops go through in order to have upgrades.
SAP announced its strategy in 2006 and its continuing effort to keep the ERP 6 platform stable until 2010. But for now, the problem that SAP will have to tackle is how customers will scamper to get the upgrades.

It is still hard to say how these upgrades will be accepted by customers. Although many of them say that the strategy of SAP for maintaining a stable core for several years at a time have a good effect, many customers are unsure whether they want to spend some more money or not. Those who have been implementing MySAP ERP 2004 will need to upgrade to ERP 6.0 so that they can get the switch framework functionality which is a required in order for the system to be able to utilize the enhancement packages.

SAP introduced MySAP 2004 two years ago, and SAP ERP 6.0 was introduced just last year in 2006. As of today, there are about 2,800 customers for SAP ERP 6.0. Compared to the approximately 33,000 customers that the company has on its roster, this is a tiny number. As for the MySAP ERP 2004 platform, there are about 6,000 customers.
According to Judith Hurwitz, an analyst with Hurwitz & Associates, "It's always better to have software that is more modular and easier to upgrade, absolutely. That said, these [SAP] implementations are really large. Customers are stuck between a rock and a hard place. I remember talking to a customer who said that to do even a point release is six months of work, and that's just a point release. Upgrading an entire system, you have to check and recheck every area you've done customized work to. You have to test it all."

But for my part, if it was my company that gets confused whether or not to get upgrades, my first consideration would be if my company desperately needs. I am aware that companies need to evolve. If getting SAP ERP 6.0 is beneficial to the evolution and my company can afford it without sacrificing other aspects of the business process, I would acquire it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Better wage for SAP professionals with security certification

Nobody can dispute the fact the SAP professionals are some of the best paid people in the industry. And they can made their wages even better when they get themselves certified in the area of security.

It was in the early 2000 when certified IT professionals were getting premium value compared to those who were non-certified. But in the years of 2004 and 2005, the ground started getting leveled for both certified and non-certified IT guys.

But there was an exception – and this exception was in the area of security.

It does not take a genius to figure out why. With today's business processes getting more diverse and complex, and data warehouses are springing up to serve business organizations operating in different countries, companies will surely get paranoid with data security.

According to David Foote, CEO of New Canaan, Conn.-based Foote Partners LLC, is research showed that over the last six months, there was an increase of 2.2 percent in pay for security certification. If you look at the figure, it may seem so small but security certification was the only aspect in IT certification that got an increase in value. So many administrators and technology staff are starting to consider investing in security certifications.

Says Foote "To get a CEO or head of a line of business to pay attention to security, you don't say, 'We need to invest in security as an insurance policy.' You say, 'Our customers are unhappy'. The moment they hear customers are unhappy with service or a product, they tend to move -- this is what's been moving security."
While there are many security certified IT professional clamoring to get into SAP jobs for better pay, SAP professionals getting into security certification can get a better edge in the competition. Security certification for SAP professional specializing in roles such as basis administrator can get optimum advantage with security certifications because companies prefer to hire only one staff instead of having a separate SAP administrator and a security professional to handle a certain aspect of the enterprise. I think this integration of SAP and security career is part of the whole integration going on in the ERP world.
This security certification thing will make sense if a company understands how complex SAP integration is. SAP is the world's largest business software company and in terms or revenue, it is the third largest independent software provider It focuses on six industry sectors - Process industries, Discrete industries, Consumer industries, Service industries, Financial services, and Public services making its solution very diversified. And now with the offering of its xApps that can be deployed online, security will all the more become an increasing issue.
As more and more companies using SAP are moving some of their critical business processes exposed to the internet, investing in security certification to complement a SAP skill set will definitely mean higher pay for a professional. Now is the time to start considering a certification.

Oracle E-business Suite – Logistics

The breaking of geographical boundaries has brought new challenges to many business organizations nowadays. Some countries have opened their economy to trade globalization making most companies more profitable because of the many choices they can have in relation to raw goods importation, finished products exportation and even human resource outsourcing. The act of managing and controlling the flow of energy, information and goods is called logistics. Today's logistics include management of resources such products, services and people from the production source to the marketplace.

With today's international business trading scenario, it would definitely be difficult, even near impossible, to manage these logistical resources without the help of software logistical applications.

The Oracle E-Business Suite Logistics family of applications answers the needs in logistical areas such international trading, global import and export process, and international repositioning of products and materials for manufacturing. This software solution is designed for complex distribution operations and helps manage inbound and outbound transportation which are major activities of production and marketing.

Like all applications within the Oracle E-Business Suite, the Oracle Logistics application is all about unification – in this case, unification of data models in order to give the company a single and accurate picture of the whole logistics process. With a unified view, it would be extremely easy to plan, manage and control all processes pertaining to the storage and flow of services and goods from factory to the market.

Oracle logistics closely integrates with Oracle Radio Frequency Identification (RFID. RFID makes possible accurate tracking of assets as well as monitoring of key indicators. RFID tags work together with different types of radio sensors and tracking technologies such as global positioning system for fast or real time monitoring of business processes.

DHL, a world leader in express and logistics company, has invested in RFID technology with Oracle applications in order to create optimized value for its shipping and logistical processes and to extend its supply chain visibility to both customers and partners.

To help optimize asset usage Oracle logistics leverages all assets to reduce operating costs. The Oracle Transportation Management works with the Logistics in delivering robust transportation planning. It efficiently handles cooperation among the business organization, its shippers and third party logistics provider. Among the features of the Oracle Transportation Management are Freight Payment, Billing, and Claims, Transportation Sourcing, Forwarding and Brokerage Operations, Transportation Operational Planning and Logistics Inventory Visibility.

The Oracle Logistics applications make use of the best technologies available int a multiple collaboration method for connectivity. It utilized the web through an online portal with secure remote access from all locations for all trading partners. It supports XML and OAGI XML standards for guaranteed secure one-time delivery. It's email system guarantees constant updates and follow up as well as notification of activity on business documents.

Going global with a business venture will never be headache anymore with Oracle Logistics to deploy and manage the organization. With its multi-lingual, multi-currency, multi-org, multi-national capabilities, a company operating in several countries will get the feel of being in one central location.

The SAP xApp Analytics

If you have not been a user of SAP and don’t have any idea yet about analytics, perhaps you might want to try Google Analytics service. It is for free. So, with Google analytics, one can see so many things about the activities of one's website. With Google Analytics, one can view who have visited the website, from what countries, cities and localities the visits are coming from, which page has the most activities, what keywords were used to find the page using what search engines, and more. Analytics are a great tool to give one a greater picture of the company and how capitalize on the strong aspects of the operation in order for the company to be profitable and get headed for growth.
The same is true for SAP xApp Analytics, only that the xApp is more detailed and powerful. This application can help a company aggregate, normalize, classify enrich all sort of data coming from various sources.
I read on Fortune Magazine an article stating that about 90 percent of business organizations today have failed to execute processes based on their corporate strategy simply because they lack effective means for aligning their action with strategic initiatives. In fact a study has shown that only 5 percent of the workforce in a typical business organization understands corporate strategy and only 25 percent of management incentives are linked to strategy.
With that record, it is apparent is the need for organized information to help companies have strategic imperatives down to their process level. And a good Analytics tool can help companies achieve these strategies.
SAP xApp Analytics provides facts-based view and understanding of all company customers including prospects. It is also encompasses understanding about partners, suppliers, employers and more. This knowledge is imperative to achieving both strategic and operational processes.
Let us take the case the CRM capabilities which are supported by SAP xApp Analytics. CRM delivers key performance indicators straight to the business user and SAP xApp can help the company analyze won or lost opportunities over time while assessing relative potential sales and gaining a quick view of orders to stocks. SAP xApp Analytics can also enable key company managers and administrators have a picture of important KPIs for service level agreement compliance, server order details and other customer related reports. SAP xApp Analytics can help retrieve data related to planning from the CRM system and compare the said data with actual progress. This can give company staff a clear view whether certain margins are achieved or not. The transactional integration of SAP xApp Analytics with the back end system can also help some cases where breaches occur. For instance, if there is a breach at call service level, SAP xApp Analytics can automatically send notifications to the customer service management.
Having an analytics tool is a great investment with a huge potential ROI in whatever industry the business operates in. SAP xApp Analytics can support many industries from aerospace to chemicals to telecommunications to utilities.

Oracle Learning Management (OLM)

One of the biggest forces that affect the overall success of the business comes from human resources. For many companies, hiring the best minds and the best attitudes is just the preliminary stage of keeping a brilliant workforce. But most the task associated with the human resource department is in constantly upgrading the skills, attitudes and knowledge of the workers about the ins and outs of the business operation.

Many companies spend large amounts of money to send their staff to study. But as the business grows, more expense will be needed as more staff will be hired to the workforce and these people need to be constantly trained and upgraded too.

The Oracle Learning Management (OLM) could be a great help in the learning aspect of workers in the company. Instead of sending the employees to study outside, which may mean added spending, the OLM can help the company with classroom based trainings. The OLM can give workers the learning they need at the time appropriate for them. Because of the application's great flexibility, it can allow managers to automate some key business flows such as order processing and performance appraisals and keep track of the employees learning and development activities.

Oracle Learning Management has been developed to support all levels of education through a single unified learning delivery system. All areas of the business enterprise, from the workforce to applicants, customers to partners, can avail of the education system about the very nature of the business organization

The Oracle Learning Management is web-based so it can be easily accessed anywhere. It offers full management of competencies related to workforce, structured learning paths, educational certifications, and a unified catalog in a central location. Tests and exams can be easily created to monitor the learning progress of the participants.

Because of the unique need for employee to juggle studies and work at the same time, Oracle Learning Management's can allow its participants to manage their own learning progress based on their goals. The learning path could group together specific courses which target to certain community in order to focus training investment on critical jobs. There are a variety of purposes that the learning path can be packaged for such as for role based paths, performance remediation, and career development. The three learning paths supported by OLM are catalog, manager-created, and learner-created.

The OLM easily integrates with Oracle’s talent management applications so that administrators and managers can make learning paths based on performance appraisals and other processes

As they say, time is gold and this is even more applicable to business organizations. Implementing Oracle Learning Management can make companies ensure that all learners optimize their learning time in the least time possible. As part of OLM's "student policy", the application enables managers to restrict enrollment to certain employees who are qualified for a specific course. Requiring prerequisites for course and competency makes sure that those studying will have a minimum mandatory level or expertise before they are admitted to a class. If they don’t, they will be advised to take the prerequisites first.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The SAP xApp Sales and Operations Planning (SAP xSOP)

Operating a business company can both rewarding and frustrating. Managing sales and operations has so many tricks and loopholes. But like any challenges, when the right choice of actions are taken, the obstacles can be transformed into factors of business success.

Some of the challenges that companies encounter include downward margin pressure, constrained revenue growth and operating inefficiency.

When a business starts to grow, new products or services will continue to be introduced along with other products with are repacked or evolved. As this happens, things will start to get complicated.

In the past, companies have experienced many sales and operation processes which are not capable of reconciling the perspective of marketing, sales, manufacturing and logistics. When different parts of a company are operating separating with no regular communication, different decision can create confusion. For instance, some departments need aggregated data which are presented in a different dimension that are relevant only to them and not to another.

But with business tools such as the SAP xApp Sales and Operations Planning (SAP xSOP), these complications will never be a problem anymore. As the application promises – things will be "One Business, One Plan".

As a general overview, the SAP xSOP is a family of business solution application designed to make a company establish as single and unified plan in order to move efficiently in the day to day operations.

SAP xSOP primarily helps a company by consolidating business plans. With a consolidate plan, the company can make intensive review and monitoring of critical high level plans affecting all areas of sales and operations such as finance, marketing and customer relations. From this unified plans, effective strategies can be made to gain competitive edge over the competitors.

Data aggregation can be effectively performed by SAP xSOP. With data aggregate, the company can general reports to give the company a time picture of the overall operations. Access to timely and relevant data can be granted to specific roles for security and modularity in the decisions.

In conjunction with SAP NetWeaver, SAP xSOP make efficient planning integration to give company users easy to vital information from other software business solutions. Both SAP and non-SAP applications can work together to give a company a better and consolidate picture all of all data pertaining to planning and better manage the generation of financial plans, demand and supply.

In order to facilitate synchronized tasks among teams and their members, SAP xSOP also includes a Milestone and Process Management feature. With this feature, it would be possible to have multiple working processes in an organized manner with allowance for variations. Tasks can be defined clearly and monitored with ease despite a multitude of simultaneous processes.

SAP xSOP is built on a robust supply and demand planning functionality and extends the area of collaborative business planning to the next level. With this solutions implementation comes reduced total cost of ownership as this leverages on existing IT infrastructure and overall company performance.

The Oracle E-Business Suite Interaction Center

All companies set up goals for growth, no doubt about it. Even in not for profit organizations, the goal of achieving growth is one the important areas of focus.

In a business organization, customers are the main factors that affect growth. They bring in the much needed revenue. But when customers are not managed properly, the could cause the company to lose profits. Hence, the concept of "the more customers, the bigger the profit" does not apply in business. For example, since customers demand should always be attended to, there are unreasonable demands which need delicate handling. So many companies in the past have lost money due to customer mismanagement.

To effectively manage customer, it extremely important to have constant interaction with them to know their needs, wants, opinions and comments. The Oracle E-Business Suite Interaction Center application can take care of these needs.

This family of business applications within the Oracle E-Business Suite can integrate all interaction channels with a company's customers. These channels include emails, telephone, websites and other web services such as voice-over IP calling. The Oracle Interaction Center closely works with other applications in the Oracle E-Business Suite such as Oracle Sales, Service, Contracts and Marketing so that the company can have detailed view of its customers. This can greatly the boost cross selling and upselling as aspect of the business and give the agents quickly interact with customers and answer all their needs. When customers are satisfied, they will stick with the company or even give referrals.

The Interaction Center's Advanced Inbound Telephony integrates all major telephone systems for effective communications with customers. Also, this application can merge with CRM applications so company agents can consistently interact with customers. This application ensures that customers with the most critical needs get top handling wherever channels they are in. This can also seamlessly integrate with such services as eleSales, TeleService and iStore. For management, a web based analytics can manage and monitor the performance of customers and agents interaction.

To complement Advanced Inbound Telephony, there is also the Advanced Outbound Telephony to handling outbound calling campaigns. This features multiple dial modes, progressive dialing, predictive dialing and call recycling.

To manage emails, which is one of the most use communication media, the Oracle Email Center can handle very high volumes of incoming messages. This application can classify emails and route them to respective agents.

The Scripting tool is a great way to customize applications. This can also be used to manage creation, modification and deployment of lead agents for interacting with customers. This can help a company save money by reducing agents training time and giving automated alerts when clients contact the company. A company can make scripts to create or administer surveys to gain specific list of customer prospects. In fact, building scripts, which is often a difficult task, can be made easy with visual layout tools.

Creating an environment where customers and agents have harmonious relationships can result to better profitability and faster growth for the company.

SAP xApp Product Definition (SAP xPD)

Last week, I read an article on my morning newspaper which stated that only 3 percent of new brands have earned more than $50 million in revenues during the last five years. And introductions of new products have nearly doubled in the past decade. These companies are spending a lot of time developing new products and in the end they are having a hard time selling them. If this pattern goes on, it could mean the end of business.

Accordingly the reason for the failure of these new products is that there not enough definition. A research showed that companies introducing new products with very shard definitions of the products could more than triple the selling success rates.

With lack of precise definition of the product, the company would find it hard to capitalize on its best ideas ad promising opportunities.

The SAP xApp Product Definition (SAP xPD) can help companies overcome this particular problem – in an automated way. As their marketing punch line goes: "SAP xPD helps you capitalize on your best ideas and translate them into successful, innovative products"

SAP xPD can help a company in collecting ideas and developing concepts by reaching across the technical and organizational boundaries utilizing data processes and other existing resources. From the data, SAP xPD can give intelligent recommendation on how to produce the kind of products that the customers will want to buy.

The main features of SAP xPD are categorized into Idea Management, Concept Development and Innovation Process Optimization. If one looks at them, they seem to be activities that are hard to simulate. But SAP never runs out of innovation.

Under Idea Management category, the Idea Creation feature collects ideas from different touch points like sales, service, resellers, partners, customers, consumers, marketing and many others so new business opportunities can be triggered. The Idea Categorization helps to ensure that the business owner make follow up and assessment. The Idea Consolidation feature uses a centralized idea pool in identifying new opportunities for business. The Idea Exploration feature helps share the ideas and execute feasibility assessments with cross-functional teams.

Under the Concept Development category, the Concept Creation feature utilizes concept genealogies to share with all process participants the detailed data and explain the rationale for underlying ideas. The Concept Processing feature researches on feasibility of certain concepts based on assumed risks. The Concept Exploration feature identifies all constraints using cross-functional sharing of concept data and information. The Concept Assessment feature links concept evaluation to standardized, transparent criteria related to market attractiveness and technical feasibility.

Under the Innovation Process Optimization, the Concept Portfolio Dashboard offers easy comparison and prioritization of concepts basing on predefined key figures while the Process Analysis feature analyses and optimizes the product innovation process.

These are all the features of SAP xApp and I salute them for this innovative application which I never thought would have been possible.

See you tomorrow with my next xApp blog. If you are reading this one an evening, may good ideas come into your dreams!

Oracle E-Business Suite Financials Family

This morning, I woke up with a call from my cousin who is a high school student and he asked me how to market his native products on the internet. This kid has such aggressiveness he wants to expose his market to whole world. And at such a young age, could he manage do to that?

Anyway, the point of this real but trivial morning story is that no matter how small or big businesses are today, it is so much easy to have access to the global market. Yes, we cannot escape globalization. And if we know how to take advantage of globalization, we can surely get tremendous growth for our company. But first, we must know how to manage our financial in order to accommodate such tremendous growth without being overwhelmed by it.

The Oracle E-Business Suite Financials can help manage a company's financial aspect even if the company operates across vast geographic locations without having the Finance department taking too much aspirin due the headache of dealing with disparate systems.

Oracle Financials is include highly sophisticated modules to take care of Financial related tasks such as Assets, Cash Management, Payables, General Ledger, Payments, and Receivables. Oracle Ledger includes ERP features such as Intercompany transactions, Consolidations and Multiple currency transactions.

The Oracle Daily Business Intelligence for Financials is a distinguishing module which allows a company to leverage processes on easy-to-use pre-built intelligence reports and Oracle discover workbooks. It has the power to track enterprise-wide capital investments and manage big projects involving crucial cost revenue, budget and margin data.

The Oracle Financial Consolidation Hub is yet another sophisticated and innovative application module which binds together financial data from various disparate systems. This will enable the company to have a single global view of the financial scenario of the whole enterprise. It tightly integrates financial reporting and compliance certification processes and has a unified analytic platform for credible business recommendations.

Oracle Internal Controls Manager is very comprehensive management tool in the Financials family that can be used in documentation, testing and certifying internal controls. It is also essential in monitoring on-going compliance with International Financial Reporting Standards and other related requirements for reporting.

Oracle iReceivables module provides online service to customer so they can manage their own accounts, pay their dues and print their receipts. The can even manage dispute invoices online. Because this is an online service, the company can save on manpower expenses while improving overall service quality to customers.

There are still so many other modules within the Financials family and each of them innovative in their own ways.

So whether you are trying to hatch an idea into a future business you want to make big online or you are into an existing business and you feel you need to expand, you might consider buying world class software. I use the term world class all the time because I do want to feel any boundary anymore.

SAP xApp Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP xMII)

So, how is your business today? I hope yesterday's blog on the SAP xApp Lean Planning and Operations (SAP xLPO) has made you gain better insights on how to have manufacturing operations with less wastes and more profit.

Today, let us still focus on the manufacturing aspect of a business but this time we will take the aspect to a broader sense by including integration and business intelligence.

The SAP xApp Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence (SAP xMII) is an application which makes it possible to connect manufacturing with the processes in a business enterprise. Because it also helps deliver actionable intelligence to production personnel, the company will be able to achieve superior performance in production.

Today's business moves very quickly as they are driven by information and information comes from ubiquitous data with the internet and other advance communications technology as conduit. The success or failure of a manufacturer depends on how he can manage his business in real time as information exchange among manufacturing and supply networks and the end customers need to take place any minute of the day (yes, even in one's sleep!).

SAP xMII is a great tool to help a manufacturer become adaptive to the constantly changing industry trends by helping profitably replenish his supply network and responding dynamically to the demands.

Let's break down SAP xMII into its two major parts. The Manufacturing Integration integrates the plant process and business operations seamlessly. Many companies find themselves manually intervening to enter production batch data when they are not implementing factory and ERP systems integration. This manual process is both time consuming and very costly as the company will need to spend more on staff hour salary. Also, because it is a manual operation, it is more prone to human error resulting data redundancy and inaccuracies. SAP xMII can make rapid integration between the mySAP ERP solution and other manufacturing software applications.

On the other part, the Manufacturing Intelligence, SAP xMII comes with manufacturing dashboards leveraging on a powerful real time analytics engine. The rich analytics feature aggregates data in order to deliver actionable intelligence to the staff behind the company. The nicely graphical and easy to use dashboards provide views so one can have visualization of plant floor systems, monitor production for Six Sigma violations and other exceptions, and dig deep into problems to know the root causes and have effective measures in correcting them. The dashboard also displays key performance indicators (KPI) which be configured to suit the organization's needs. The system can also be set to alert key people for expeditious actions under certain circumstances.

Implementing the SAP xMII may be cost effective as it takes advantage of the company's existing IT infrastructure so there is no need to spend extra tools because there is building of a system from scratch. Overall, investing in SAP xMII definitely help in manufacturing performance at the same time decrease total cost of ownership.

I wish you a productive day! Tomorrow, another SAP xAPP.

Oracle E-Business Suite Human Resources Management System

Before I became an independent applications developer, I was employed in a couple of companies until I jumped shipped. I do admit that overall I had beautiful experiences with those companies but I also had minor problems with them and had often heard of the problems of other workers.

Managing people resources is not an easy job. We all know that people have diverse backgrounds, different levels of skills and skill sets, different perspectives, values and work ethics. For many years and even until now, these differences have caused a big challenge to human resource managers on how to capitalize on the collective and individual strengths of resource as well cushion the impact of potential conflicts brought about by the differences.

Costs related to human resources management have reached a stunning 60 percent of total corporate spending. Companies are continually developing new models and strategies for human resource development and management which would give more intense attention on efficiency, effectiveness and productivity, all in all translate into company profitability. Oracle has dubbed this as a "new model Workforce Excellence" with the belief that this will be the solution of HR problems of companies regardless of size, segment in the industry and geographical location.

Oracle's E-Business Suite include a Human Resources Management System to be tailored to new models implemented by modern companies.

The new work force model as developed by Oracle in Human Resources Management System is all based on global best practices regardless of whatever boundaries. It offers a life cycle benefit program that can address the changing needs of both the company and is employees. The application has role based features so online access can be control with limiting privileges to some employee while granting more the higher positions. It can also link existing an existing employee's core competency data with job assessment documentation so that appropriate action related to the employee's growth, performance optimization and development can be taken.

As an employee in the past, I have experienced and heard of problems from co-employees such as favoritism and rewards go undeserving employees. Of course there are also problems on jealousies. The Oracle E-Business Suite Human Resources Management System can help overcome those problems by developing a "Total Rewards" philosophy. This philosophy is based on the premise that employees can have incentives, which may be cash or non cash, depending on their performance. Of course the performance is also reflected on the employee monitoring feature of the application.

The Oracle E-Business Suite Human Resources Management System also has an effective standards documentation in terms of workforce administration processes across the whole organization as well as its divisions. This will help the human resource department identity correct or possibly eliminate costly redundant practices.

That's it on the Oracle E-Business Suite Human Resources Management System. Although I have chosen a career path as an indie developer, I believe professional growth can be achieved anywhere as long as best practices are followed.

See you tomorrow with another member of the Oracle E-Business family.


Yesterday, I blogged about SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production
(SAP xIEP) which just goes to show that no matter what industry or how small or big a business is, SAP, today's number one world leader in business solutions and enterprise resource planning, always has an answer to specific business needs.

From yesterday's blog on a SAP solution for such a big industry as oil and gas, we go to lean manufacturing. The SAP xApp Lean Planning and Operations (SAP xLPO) is a family of applications which is designed to help manufacturers base their production undertakings on the guiding principles of lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing, by the way, is a generic process management philosophy which is focused on the reduction of wastes so that the overall customer value can be greatly improved.

Lean production management is based on two important process namely Pacing Production and Signaling to synchronize the supply chain.

Using the SAP xApp Lean Planning and Operations (SAP xLPO) can make a company enjoy the benefits and profits from a real-time production management and scheduling system. As such, the company can overcome two of the most critical requirements of lean manufacturing which are production leveling at peacemaker operations and synchronization in order to create stability in the upstream supply chain.
The SAP xApp Lean Planning and Operations (SAP xLPO) is great tool for maintaining the required stability, consistency, reliability and being waste free in production management while directly linking production to actual customer demands.
The SAP xApp Lean Planning and Operations (SAP xLPO) is compatible with any ERP systems so those that have a current infrastructure need not to worry about integration. SAP xLPO has a nice, user friendly visual interface with features such as pull-based planning and scheduling. It also features execution function and efficient what-if planning and exception management.

Integrating SAP xLPO with the SAP ERP application can result in a mixed mode manufacturing which can subsequently bring in better productivity. An example scenario would be company that has part of a plant managed by SAP xLPO based on lean processes and another part managed by a conventional push processes. But the splitting must make sense, otherwise it could result in a negative effect. For instance, work centers that belong to the same group should be managed by the same process. Manufacturing sites can then switch their processes progressively to lean production. The integration of SAP xLPO with SAP ERP is a well-defined process which goes beyond sharing of master data for work centers, items, routings, bill of materials, etc).
SAP xLPO can help in getting intelligent outlook and rapid replanning so that the company can synchronize supply with demand, minimize problems springing up when least expected and avoid last minute unplanned production. As a result, the production efficiency grows up, and cost for shipment, overtime pay, etc is reduced. SAP xLPO lives up to its function to make production lean and waste free as possible.
More SAP xApps tomorrow! Have a fruitful and waste-less day!

Oracle E-Business Suite Customer Relationship Management

It is a beautiful day today – the sky is partly sunny and partly, perfect time to go out and jog or walk and chat with people in the park. Starting a beautiful day would often mean that the whole day at work would be a delight as well.

It is also a good time to blog about building beautiful and profitable relationships with customers. So, today's blog about Oracle's E-Business Suite will focus on Customer Relationship Management.

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a term used in business with a broad interpretation. But in general it refers to activities related to managing customer relationships including the capture, storage and analysis of information about customers, vendors and internal processes of a company.

CRM itself has three general aspects. The Operational aspect refers to automated support of processes related to customers including sales and service representatives of the company. The Collaborative aspect refers to the direct communication with customers. The Analytical aspect refers to the analysis of customer data to be used for innovation and decision making.

Oracle answers all CRM related needs with its information-driven Customer Relationship Management (CRM) product lines. The Oracle CRM converts a company's data into a great driving force for profitable customer interaction while keeping a cohesive relationship with them. As such, the major benefits of implementing the Oracle CRM are reduced cost of interaction, driven with incremental revenue and growth in customer value.

Oracle has deeply understood that the very essence of customer relationship is not just about technology but as a holistic approach as well to the company's philosophy in dealing with customers. Such approaches include front-of-house customer service, employee training, policies, marketing and others. Which is why Oracle E-Business Suite - Customer Relationship Management, being one of the modules in the suite, is also composed of more than 50 CRM-specific applications addressing all phases of the CRM cycle.

Some of the major members of the family of the Oracle E-Business Suite - Customer Relationship Management include the Oracle Channel Management, Oracle Marketing, Oracle Order Management, Oracle Sales and Oracle Service.

The Channel Management Applications ensures that the company uses accurate and consistent enterprise information in order to increase channel effectiveness.

The Marketing Applications of course helps in effective marking using information driven analysis, planning and execution of marketing campaigns and trade promotions.

The Oracle Order Management automates and streamlines the company's sales order management processes by having a unified and scalable data model which shared across the enterprise.

Oracle Sales provides advance selling automating tools for accelerating the life cycle of sales and ensuring accurate and consistent enterprise information. It gives the company a single global basis of information as basis for action in different divisions like sales, marketing and finance among others.

Oracle Service helps the company's agents and technicians meet and exceed the expectations of customers.

There you go with Oracle's CRM within the Business Suite. I wish a profitable day and hope you are enjoying the same weather as I am now.

SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (SAP xIEP)

As mentioned in the previous blog, the SAP xApps is compose of diverse business solutions that can be catered to very specific industries.

Of course SAP could never have missed developing solutions of the multi billion dollar oil and gas industry.

The SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (SAP xIEP) is an xApp that simulates the business processes in large scale oil and gas business organizations.

The oil and gas industry is a complex and highly technical industry but SAP xIEP simplified the business processes by data automation and integration.

The SAP xApp Integrated Exploration and Production (SAP xIEP) is still composed of several applications that embraces together varied complex business activities related to the oil and gas industry. These activities include appraisal, development, production, and abandonment activities which are the major components at all levels of exploration and production (E&P) life cycle.

Some of the features of this xApp include essential processes which such as:

Asset maintenance - SAP xIEP automates the process of scheduling and procurement materials as well as services, facilities and oil wells.

Project delivery – Effective planning, scheduling and budgeting can be attained by using the application to execute complex tasks related to wells, projects and assets.

Production Management - SAP xIEP recognizes the special needs of the oil and gas industry in terms of producing wells and other assets like integrated field-data capture and monitoring, production integrity, production allocation and production accounting.

Procurement-to-payment and field ticket management – SAP xIEP simplifies complex activities related to procurement. These activities may include managing contracts and requests for quotation (RFQs), planning complex materials and services, and tracking and reconciling invoices.

Logistic management - SAP xIEP takes care of logistical needs catered to the industry such as upstream onshore and offshore operations and local logistics planning, shipping tracking, container management.

Upstream financial management – SAP xIEP simplifies process such as join venture management and production sharing contract management.

Exploration management – Perhaps this is the most specialized aspect in the industry but SAP xIEP has features to address this specific area.

With SAP xIEP, an oil and gas company can define and deploy user specific transactions, actions and information which are required by assets maintenance undertakings. Teams can easily identify wells requirements and develop efficient strategies. In addition, teams can also have several options for maintenance and cost strategies; well facilitated materials procurement, better control of work scope including site restoration and better analysis as basis for implementing new opportunities.

SAP xIEP like all xApps is powered by the popular SAP Netweaver technology. It leverages on the inherent efficiency of SAP's portal and business intelligence that has propelled SAP as the top enterprise resource planning (ERP) software developer and vendor in the market today.

More xApps blogs to come in the next few days. Perhaps you reading this may be from another industry, but there is nothing to worry because SAP will always have a solution for you. Well, if SAP doesn’t it, which is highly unlikely, there will always be Oracle or Microsoft.

Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement

I guess so much has been said about Oracle E-Business Suite Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) in my last blog.

As name clearly indicates, Oracle E-Business application is a suite of applications and a company can choose to implement all modules in one go or implement a single module at a time. Whatever the choice of company is, it depends on how it needs and how much it can afford.

Anyway, one of the modules in the Oracle E-Business Suite is the Advanced Procurement Module.

Procurement is the act of acquiring goods or services at best possible total cost of ownership. Also considered in procurement is having the right quality and quality of the good or service, doing procurement at the right place and time for the benefit of the organization.

The Oracle E-Business Suite Advanced Procurement also comes as several modules.

The iProcurement module helps control spending of employee through a self service requisitioning function. This module is web enabled with shopping system which can allow end users like employees create, manage and monitor orders while a central control is managed by the purchasing department. With iProcurement, it can be easy for the business organization to implement policies in pricing agreements because all transactions can be reflected.

The iSupplier Portal module is an enterprise wide application responsible for structuring all supplier communication via a secure internet based portal. Dynamic companies sometimes find correspondence through phones and emails a waste of time and proned to errors. The iSupplier Portal provides update information related to the business such as purchase orders, delivery information, and payment status. Through the iSupplier Portal the company and the suppliers can exchange communication related to requests, ship notices, payments, and profile data.

The Procurement Contracts module helps create and enforce better purchasing contracts in an error free fashion. This module lets a company take control of contract life cycle starting with authoring to closeout.

The Purchasing module streamlines processes related to purchase orders and at the same time strengthens compliance of company policies. It efficiently automates purchasing making it easy for buyers to transact and improve management of supply base. This module has a rich store of policy of supplier information.

The Supplier Network module connects customers and suppliers using intenet based models. It features message setup, transformation and routing services so that online administration can be a breeze.

The Services Procurement module helps an company gain complete control of services spending by helping manage services procurement with an online step by step process.

The Sourcing modules facilitates online collaboration and negotiation with other organizations to make information exchange regarding sourcing requirements and contracts a lot easy.

The Daily Business Intelligence for Procurement is a rich web bases reporting and analysis tool that can help spot opportunities for company savings and track performance of suppliers. Because it is web based, decision makers can easily access information from anywhere. It also has security features to ward of potential cheats.

So there it goes. Tomorrow is another day and another innovative software solutions from the E-Business Suite.


Today's blogs will still be about SAP xApps. Yesterday, I had been blogging about on the xApps, Resouce and Portfolio Management (xRPM), an application used to manage company portfolios.

For a lot of companies operating in many different industries, quotations make up a large chunk in the many factors affecting a business' success.

SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management (SAP xCQM) is a software that makes possible the aligning of disparate functions of design, sourcing and costing so that a profitable decision making endeavor can be achieved.

Just like the xApp in general, the SAP xApp Cost and Quotation Management (SAP xCQM) is also a composite application to help business organizations turn quotes into profits.

Many people in the manufacturing industry know how still the competition is between winning and losing a customer in the quotation process. Having a very high quote could affect the company's ability to secure new business partners while having a very low quote affects the company's bottom line. SAP xCQM can help avoid these problems by helping estimate internal and external costs and coming up with accurate quotes.
The SAP xCQM facilitates the streamlining of the quoting process for Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) providers and contract manufacturers. SAP acknowledges that one of the cores of a business process is the acquisition of revenues through responding to Requests for Quotations (RFQ) from customers.
Most of today's companies not using automated ERP software are experiencing grat challenges in RFQ processes. Some of the problems they experience are extreme labor demand, more prone to error and not having very updated and relevant information.
SAP xCQM automates the many processes involved in RFQ like effectively screening incomeing RFQs, creating a quote through the upload of Bill of Materials (BOMs), automating pricing of components and streamlining e-RFQ of new components.
Because xCQM is by very nature an xAPP, it can easily do integration with disparate systems such as those of production, sales and outsourcing. A user friendly and graphical interface dashboard in the xCQM application allows Account Managers, Quote Team Leads, Quote Team Members, and Reviewers easy access to information and analytical reports.
SAP xCQM is a role based application. As such, the software is tailored according to the roles of the users within the business organization. A standard SAP xCQM allows for five roles namely Administrator, Account Manager, Document Controller, Quote Team Lead and Quote Team Member (generic). To ensure security within the system, these roles must access the application with corresponding authorizations and usernames and passwords.
In summary, SAP xCQM allow a company to do the following important quotation related tasks: Opportunity screening, Data cleansing, Flexible cost assignment, Retrieval of prices from multiple sources, Sourcing with suppliers, Team management and Attachments handling and storage.
SAP xCQM can help companies in having more visibility into cost information resulting in streamline quotation managements. With this streamlined visibility, company's can achieve improvement in internal and external cost estimates.
SAP has several more xApps and there will always be one that suits your business. More xApps blogs tomorrow!

The Oracle E-Business Suite Product Lifecycle Management

As promised, I will blog today about the Oracle E-Business Suite Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) which is actually a set of applications which work in collaboration to help business organizations effectively manage all activities related to products innovation and development. These product related activities include from product conceptualization to retirement.

Because product development and management is a fairly complex area, there needs to be a unified data model which will guide the company in having a single and accurate view of the product. This will ensure that that company can accelerate introduction of new products while maximizing its value throughout the entire life cycle as well as future investments.

Business organizations have different product requirements depending on the industry they are operating. Oracle's E-Business Suite has tailored its PLM to suit the needs.

For instance, Oracle has these keen observations as the basis for tailoring their PLM to specific industries:

• In life sciences, the rate of growth in the investment required to bring a drug to market is outpacing growth in the return on marketed drugs.
• In consumer electronics, it is not uncommon for lifecycles to be as short as a few months, with extremely narrow product introduction windows–a delay in product introduction could have significant impact on company performance.
• In complex manufacturing industries, as the outsourcing trend accelerates, ensuring consistency and secure collaboration across company and geographic boundaries becomes a pre-requisite to on-time, on-cost product delivery.

Oracle PLM has a feature to integrate and support both manufacturing and service industries. This will make a company have the correct information and analysis tool needed to find the right bets and maximize captured value from services and products.

Oracle PLM's Analytics can help companies strategically allocate resources and make smart decisions. The Analytics tool is so advance that it can work in collaboration with other modules across the enterprise to reduce cost throughout the value chain.

One can configure the company products to meet the demands of the customers using Oracle PLM. The information about product attributes can be taken from the costing analytics. PLM's configuration feature can provide customer and designers with a catalog of profitable options.

Although investing in Oracle E-Business Suite Product Lifecycle Management means spending money on buying the software, it could also actually mean a reduction in the company's IT cost because of the Oracle architecture advantage.

Oracle, world leader in database software and enterprise resource management (ERP), can make possible a superior integration of both Oracle and non-Oracle systems. This way a company can have a single definition of suppliers, customers, partners, services and products. With one source of information, decision making can be made faster.
E-Business Suite Product Lifecycle Management also protects a company's intellectual property by using role based views so only certain employees can view certain information.

In tomorrow's blog, I will try to write other innovation software applications within the E-Business Suite. For now, I hope you well in all your business and personal endeavors.