Oracle Fusion Applications 101


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Oracle has been working hard for several years in building Oracle Fusion Applications which are slated to be released sometime during 2010. In this session, you will learn basic concepts of Fusion Applications, User Experience/UI Shell, features and functionality of Applciations. Present information about the Oracle Fusion Applications Present key concepts and ideas behind Fusion Applications Discuss the key technologies used by Oracle for Fusion Applications

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Oracle Fusion Applications 101

  1. 1. Fusion Applications 101 Mani Kumar Manda Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. Introduction Oracle has been working hard for several years in building Oracle Fusion Applications which are slated to be released sometime during 2010. In this session, you will learn basic concepts of Fusion Applications, User Experience/UI Shell, features and functionality of Applications. Objectives I have the following four objectives for this white paper: 1. Discuss about the Oracle Fusion Applications – What, Why, etc. 2. Review key concepts and ideas behind Fusion Applications 3. Discuss the key technologies used by Oracle for Fusion Applications 4. Inform users how they can prepare for the adoption of Fusion Applications Prologue After attending 3 Fusion Applications validations sessions with Oracle, I guess we have been programmed to say something similar to Oracle’s “Safe Harbor” Mantra. Here is one from me at Rhapsody: • The thoughts and views expressed here in this session are mine and mine exclusively. • Information expressed in this presentation is learned during Fusion Validation sessions, I have attended (3 of them – MDM for Customer, MDM for Product and Fusion Financials) back in August through November, 2009 • The concepts, technologies, features and functionality discussed in this white paper may change by the time the product is launched by Oracle OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 1
  2. 2. What is Fusion Applications? In the recent years we have heard terms like “Fusion Middleware”, “Fusion Development Tools”, and “Fusion Technology”. Fusion Applications is not any of them. Rather Fusion Applications is a business application, just like existing Apps Unlimited products such as Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), PeopleSoft Applications (PSF), Siebel CRM, JD Edwards One World (JDE), that is built using Fusion Middleware from ground up, only better. Fusion Applications is Not any of the current applications (EBS, PSFT, Siebel, JDE) in a sense, it is not the same as any one of the Apps Unlimited application suites; or the next point release of any one of these applications. It is different from these Products in the technologies used, the user experience and the overall philosophy such as process centricity, etc. All of the current applications (EBS, PSFT, Siebel, JDE) in a sense that Fusion Applications will have some resemblances to some features or functionality of all of these applications as you can see in later sections of this paper. What is Fusion Applications made of? Fusion Applications is made With End User Productivity in mind Well, Oracle tried to build an Apple Mac of business applications with end user productivity and an overall User Experience in perspective, with a user interface that has the familiarity of the internet and can be mastered intuitively. In Fusion Applications a user can navigate to any Task or Activity that he/she need to perform quickly and easily and can do that better and faster than all of the Apps Unlimited applications that exist today. This is further aided by dash board like functionality that embeds business intelligence within the business processes that a user has access to. Productivity gains are also achieved by incorporating the collaboration and social media technologies within the product and its process flows. This kind of productivity is achieved by building a role based User Interface Shell that has incorporated the ability to easily navigate; ability to know the tasks to be tended (pending work) by means of a Worklist; and an ability to keep an eye on the items by means of a Watchlist. The entire Fusion Applications is rearchitected as a process centric application. The processes in Fusion Applications are aligned with real life business processes. These are further broken into Tasks. The access to these processes is provided to users by using a functionality called Security Roles. The Security roles can be easily matched to organizational business processes. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 2
  3. 3. The productivity is further enhanced by a powerful help functionality that provides information about a specific Process/UI by several means (bubble help, hovering text, etc.), the tagging functionality, integrated collaboration features like messaging (can be used to collaborate with colleagues), dashboards for analyzing processes to name a few of the key functionalities. Technology On the technology front, Fusion Applications is completely developed using Fusion Middleware 11g on Oracle database 11g. Here is the list of technologies used in developing Fusion Applications. • SOA Suite (BPEL, BPM) • Application Integration Architecture (AIA) • Applications Development Framework (ADF) • Applications Server • BI Publisher • Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition (OBIEE) • Content Management • Database 11g • Enterprise Manager • Essbase • Identity Management • JDeveloper • Web Center Where as Oracle EBS R12 is built with following technologies: • OA Framework • BC4J • Workflow • XML Gateway • WebADI • Concurrent Program Manager • UDA • FND Attachments • Files Online AIA and the Oracle SOA platform are the technologies Oracle used to integrate the processes between various modules of the Fusion Applications. The same technology can be used to integrate Fusion Applications with other applications, both Oracle and non-Oracle applications including Legacy Applications. ADF framework (ADFui, ADFbc, ADFdi) are used to build the User Interface including UI Shell. This framework is more easily customizable while protecting the future OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 3
  4. 4. upgradability all the while and is more powerful than the OA Framework that we are familiar with today. OBIEE has been integrated into the day to day life of a user by means of embedded intelligence, including role-based dashboards, decision support queries, and multi- dimensional and real-time optimization calculations. Last count I heard during one of the validations session is that there are over 20 role based dash boards that aid the user in their day-to-day work. At the end of the day, the Fusion Applications is an application that is process centric and is designed to be an event based application with ability to manage exceptions proactively. The key take away in this context is that as a user, you need to get onto the Fusion Middleware train that is available today for you to use in the existing technology landscape at your firm. This means any projects related to user interface, business intelligence, process integration, etc., and then these projects should consider using Fusion Middleware in order to build the skill-sets for Fusion Applications. This doesn’t means that the current custom objects developed using old technologies need to be discarded because Fusion Middleware interoperates with Legacy Oracle technologies as well as non-Oracle technologies. The lesson to ponder over … ware Middle Fusion Catch it ASAP OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 4
  5. 5. Fusion Applications – How is it built? Fusion Application revolves around business processes. Entire application is architected to run around processes within the users business. To be able to accomplish this, Oracle has leveraged several technologies such as User Interface Shell (UI Shell), Business Process Management (BPM), Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), Enterprise Scheduler Service (ESS), Application Integration Architecture (AIA), etc. The UI Shell has been designed ground up with the advancements made in usability of applications with an objective to provide ultimate User Experience (UX). Oracle has built a sophisticated usability lab at their Head Quarters, to which we were all invited to tour during Fusion Validations sessions. The labs are equipped with latest state-of-the-art inventions in usability engineering for conducting usability research and testing of applications. One such equipment is eye tracking of a user during a session in which the user is given a task to complete. This equipment captures information such as the user’s task completion strategies from user’s scanpath, identifying the screen locations that generate greater visual interest and longer dwell times through heatmaps, and other aggregated reports such as opacity heatmap, and three- dimensional heatmaps. As a result of such sessions with users, Oracle has gained a deeper insight about how users think, what interests them in a specific UI, what parts of the UI they have spent more time, their task completion strategies, etc. Based on this input, the UI is further refined to make the process easier and faster and in line with the thought process of a common user. User Experience is not about how beautiful the UI looks, rather it is about the productivity gained by means of providing a UI that is easy and intuitive to use resulting in faster completion times for the task at hand. The structure of UI Shell is discussed more in later part of this section. The usability research aspect of the Fusion Applications that we have learned is exciting and is worth investing your time. Another key takeaway from this session for you is to spend some time with the site that Oracle’s Usability Research team has established and the wealth of knowledge they have already posted on their site at Check the references given below for some links to begin with at this site. The UI for all modules of Fusion Applications are subjected to the usability microscope at these labs resulting in one of the best UI’s I have ever seen in a business application. You will come to love the UI in Fusion Applications. Another key aspect of the Fusion Applications is the number of services it provides. At the last count I heard, there are over 1100 services built into this product. Each Service represents a business object, where a business object can be a Sales Order, an Invoice, etc. Each Service is OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 5
  6. 6. further broken into Service Methods, which mean tasks within a business object. For example, Create Order, Approve Order, etc., are the Service Methods (Tasks) within Sales Order Service Object. The Fusion Applications is built upon SOA framework with the optimization of reusability of components across the entire suite. Fusion Applications has some aspects of Oracle E-Business Suite, Siebel CRM, PeopleSoft and JD Edwards Enterprise One Applications. At the same time, some of the features and functionalities that you are familiar within these applications are no longer used in Fusion Applications. The architects at Oracle call this a “Creative Destruction” and “Peaceful Co- existence”. If you are an EBS user, the concepts that you have learned over the years such as Operating Units, FND User, GL Chart of Accounts, DateTrak in HR, are all gone (got killed). In their place many of the PeopleSoft concepts such as Business Units, Set ID, and Date Effectivity took over in Fusion Applications. The unified data model for Fusion Applications started with the EBS data model as a basis for most of the applications and Siebel data model as a basis for CRM applications which are then enhanced with the entities and attributes from PeopleSoft and JD Edwards. All of this is further enhanced and redesigned in Fusion Applications as part of the process centric business flows and user experience. The Sub-ledger Accounting (SLA) architecture is carried out into Fusion Applications which combined with the Business Unit mapping provides a basis for an excellent Service Provider Model. At the end of the day the Fusion Applications is an amalgamation of the FOUR (4) product lines that Oracle has built or acquired in recent years. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 6
  7. 7. Usability Engg. EBS, PS, JDE, SEBL Fusion Middleware User Involvement FND OU EBS DM Set ID Fusion Apps. The Security Model is built using the Security Manager tool that is part of Fusion Middleware. This means the concept of Responsibilities that EBS users are familiar with are gone and in its place Role based access mechanism is implemented. The popular feature of PeopleSoft known as “Date Effectivity” that users loved immensely for its historical data tracking abilities is incorporated all over Fusion Applications. This in itself is a great feature for EBS users. The existing set of Oracle’s MDM applications has introduced a new concept called Extensible Attribute Framework to add unlimited set of attributes with more powerful features than Descriptive Flexfields (DFF). This feature can be easily configured by users just like DFF attributes. Fusion Applications incorporates this capability across many modules. All attributes can be inherited or discovered by business intelligence, business rules, business process, transactional UI and transactional logic. This feature alone makes Fusion Applications more adaptable for users in many industries with its ability to add unlimited number of business specific attributes through configuration. Gone are the days where one must add custom tables due to limitations of DFF fields. A feature that I fell flat for is a functionality known as Share Context across boundaries of applications. It is a sophisticated tool to replace “Copy and Paste” mechanism that we use in our day to day lives. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 7
  8. 8. Another key functionality that many users will love in Fusion Applications is “Fusion Tables” with which users will have an excel-like capability baked into the applications that can be leveraged for inline editing of table data. To conclude, Oracle has successfully leveraged the tools and technologies like ADF, Fusion Tables, Desktop Widgets, Extensible Framework, etc., to build an application that we will love to use on a day to day basis and watch the increased productivity that comes with it. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 8
  9. 9. UI Shell The UI Shell has four (4) key areas. They are: 1. Global Area 2. Regional Area 3. Local Area; and 4. Contextual Area Global Area Regional Local Contextual Area Area Area The Global Area provides tools that are leveraged all over Fusion Applications and consists of Navigator, Search, Recent Items, Favorites, Tags, and Watchlists. You can tag pretty much everything within the Applications and use these tags for finding them later using search functionality. The Regional Area on the left side of the UI Shell includes quick access to Tasks that a user has access based on the security roles assigned to him/her. This area also includes a search feature, access to reports, and help guides for learning business processes. The large area on the UI Shell in the middle is known as Local Area and is the place to conduct business, as all of the transactions, information and actions required to accomplish a task are presented here in this section. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 9
  10. 10. The last area on the right of Local Area is known as Contextual Area and it is collapsible. This area contains analytics, notes, shopping cart, summaries, derived or computer information, etc. Most of these areas can be optionally expanded to take up the entire real estate of the computer screen and collapsed when the task is done. In a Nutshell, the UI Shell provides unified access to everything that a User need to know or do in their day to day life. <<Screen Shot if available ZZZ>> When will Fusion Applications be available? Larry Ellison has soft launched the Fusion Applications during Oracle Open World 2009 and announced that Fusion Applications will be released in 2010. My guess is that Oracle Fusion Applications will be released some where between Oracle Fusion World (OFW), oopsy-doopsy, I meant to say Oracle Open World during September, 2010 and the end of the year. As per the grapevine rumor mill, the Strategy and Architecture team is already working on setting the scope for the next version of the Fusion Applications. Whereas the development and QA team are seriously immersed in integration testing of Fusion Applications at the time of writing this White paper (February/March, 2010). What will be released in Fusion Applications Release 1.0? The first version of Fusion Applications will include the following modules: • Financials • HCM • CRM (including MDM for Customer) • SCM (including Distributed Order Orchestration and MDM for Product) • Procurement • Project Portfolio Management • Enterprise Performance Management • GRC However the initial version will not include • Manufacturing • Public Sector solutions • Industry Verticals OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 10
  11. 11. What does this all mean to you as a business/user? Recommendation – 1: Given that Fusion Middleware is already available, get your IT team trained in Fusion Middleware. Once the product is launched it will be a gold rush for experts in Fusion Middleware who has Java development experience and your firm as a user of Oracle’s technologies will have difficulty in hiring (and possibly retaining) skilled resources. This means, not only you will need to send your team for Fusion Middleware training, but you will also need to incent them by providing a means to use these technologies. And of course don't forget to give special bonuses linked to these initiatives. That brings us into the next key point which is to stop all development of custom objects that uses current technologies. Going forward use Fusion Middleware technologies to develop all custom RICEW objects. Today you can leverage pieces of Fusion Middleware, regardless of which Apps Unlimited Product Suite you are using. Recommendation – 2: Here is the most important take away. It is time that you made a decision to upgrade or not to upgrade to latest versions of the applications in the product track you currently use. For this recommendation we will use EBS as an example. It means upgrading to R12 of EBS Applications if you are one of the users of earlier versions of EBS at present. Here are the reasons why. Oracle will provide a direct upgrade path from latest versions of each of the Apps Unlimited product lines. Oracle will provide an upgrade capability from both release 11.5.10 and release 12.x to Fusion Applications V1 (Version 1) as soon as they are released per the guidance provided by Oracle. Siebel users can upgrade to Fusion Applications V1 from 7.9, 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2 versions. JD Edwards Enterprise One customers can upgrade from 8.11 and 8.12 versions, where as JD Edwards World customers can upgrade from A7.3, A8.1, and A9.1 versions. PeopleSoft users can upgrade to Fusion Applications V1 from 8.8, 8.9 and 9.0 versions. All of Apps Unlimited products can also upgrade from new versions that will be released at a later date. Oracle cannot provide upgrade path to all existing EBS versions. This is because of the extensive architectural, and technological changes in Fusion Applications, it would be technically challenging to provide an upgrade capability that can be executed automatically from many older versions of each of the product lines. The ability to upgrade directly from EBS OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 11
  12. 12. R11.5.9 or prior versions will not be provided by Oracle. In comparison to EBS 11.5.10, Oracle R12 has many functionality improvements and architectural changes some of which are carried into Fusion Applications, MOAC being one such example. By upgrading to R12 now, your IT and Users will gain familiarity with some of the concepts used in Oracle EBS R12, and to the extent these features are carried out into Fusion Applications, it will make it easier transitioning into Fusion Applications. This doesn’t mean you should start preparing the project plan for R12 upgrade. You will have to weight these benefits in the overall business context and your current applications landscape. One key aspect to decide is to upgrade or re-implement when Fusion Applications comes around. The same applies to EBS R12 also if you are currently using older version of EBS. Here is the decision criterion you may use for your firm. This criterion is based on years of experience (over 15 years) implementing EBS for customers of varying industries. If your current environment of EBS applications is • Heavily customized; and/or • Sub-optimal configurations; and/or • Has started using EBS years ago and upgraded several times since then; and/or • Has data quality issues that are impacting the productivity on a day to day basis then you need to take re-implementation path. Otherwise you can take upgrade path. If the decision is to take re-implementation path, then wait. Do not upgrade right away to R12, instead focus on mastering Fusion Middleware for the moment. Leverage the expertise gained in Fusion Middleware for all new development. If the decision is to upgrade, I am guessing that for most part, you can do a technical upgrade to latest version which means the upgrade process itself will be much shorter than a typical upgrade. Understand that however small the technical upgrade task seems, you still have to deal with change management, user training, functionality testing of all of your business processes, etc. In essence my recommendation is to defer going to EBS R12, if you will have to invest significantly in terms of money, time and resources. Unless, going to R12 provides the functionality and productivity benefits that you can’t easily get otherwise by staying with the current release you have. However keep in mind that Oracle generally recommends that a customer upgrade to latest versions of Apps Unlimited products instead of waiting for Fusion Applications. Recommendation – 3: Most of the current installations, regardless of product line used have challenges in having quality master data for some or many of the domains such as Customer, Product, Supplier, Location, and Chart of Accounts (COA). The lack of quality data in these areas results in extensive losses in sales, customer satisfaction through sub-optimal BI analytics, frustrated OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 12
  13. 13. customer, and the productivity loss from users. Analyze your installation to see if any of this applies to your organization. If this scenario applies to your firm, then start preparing your organizations to embark on MDM journey (often times a more difficult journey than implementing operational applications like EBS, PSFT, JDE, etc.). For starters, form an enterprise architecture team, if one doesn’t exist already; establish a data governance framework, conduct data profiling to take stock of the current state of data quality, etc. When Fusion Applications comes around, implement Fusion MDM applications for Customer or for Product or both domains. In doing so you will not only learn the intricacies of the Fusion Applications, but also implement the latest technology at your organization with less disruption to the business. Leverage Fusion Middleware technologies to integrate Fusion MDM Applications in your current IT landscape. Then eventually upgrade (or re-implement) your operational applications to Fusion Applications when the time is right for you. Once your users get the wind of Fusion Applications from MDM side of the implementation, you will be compelled to upgrade to Fusion Applications for operational applications sooner than later The key take away of this recommendation is that you can adopt a co-existence style of your current applications along with pieces of Fusion Applications that can be integrated with Fusion Middleware components like AIA, SOA Suite, BPEL, etc. Epilogue Where can I learn more information about Fusion Applications? Well, there are many things you can do now. For starters head to “Oracle Fusion (Open) World” in September at Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco, California. Secondly join Linked In Group titled “Oracle Fusion Applications” to learn more about Fusion Applications as Oracle releases more information about it. We are also expecting to see Release Content Documents (RCD’s) for Fusion Applications just around Oracle Fusion World. And last but not least is to become the devotee of Google-God and the Blog-O-Rama with so many budding journalists striving to share their intellect with the world. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 13
  14. 14. References 1. What Your Eyes Tell User Experience Professionals About Design by Joe Goldberg Reference Web sites Oracle Fusion Applications OAUG CDM SIG UCM SIG Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. For Latest Version of this Presentation as well as other presentations OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 14
  15. 15. About the Author Mani Kumar Manda is founder of the Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. and founder/coordinator for OAUG Customer Data Management Special Interest Group (OAUG CDM SIG). Mani has been a consultant for his entire career and worked at many mid-market and large customers. He has been a recognized Expert and Speaker in the areas of MDM and EBS with numerous presentations at OAUG, Open World, MDM Summit and several local GEO and SIG groups. Mani has developed a RHYTHM Methodology that significantly increases the “success factor” for MDM implementations. About Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. Rhapsody Technologies, a nationally recognized firm and a trusted advisor in implementing enterprise wide solutions such as: • Master Data Management (MDM) for domains such as Customer, Supplier, Product, Location and Chart of Accounts, • ERP and CRM Applications Rhapsody’s proprietary “RHYTHM” methodology supplements traditional SDLC methodologies (such as AIM). Rhapsody also has a holistic training program in Customer Data Management functional fundamentals for Oracle CDH and recently launched “Oracle DQM Search Optimization”, “Oracle TCA Functional Support” services to help users’ better leverage the TCA framework. These proven technologies have helped Rhapsody excel in guiding Clients in MDM technologies from conception to operationalization. Rhapsody has helped clients of many industries in implementing, re-architecting MDM, ERP and CRM solutions that enhance and optimize the organizational operations. With its extensive community involvement in user groups such as CDM SIG, NCOAUG, OAUG, Open World, etc., Rhapsody educates the users in MDM, CDI, ERP and CRM technologies with a focus on Oracle eBusiness Suite/Oracle MDM implementations. Acknowledgments Many thanks goes to Asha M for reviewing this document and providing valuable suggestions that had certainly enhanced the quality of this document. OAUG Collaborate 2010, Las Vegas, Nevada Copyright © 2010, Rhapsody Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. Page 15