Rocela Events ….. coming up!

As we enjoy our typical Scottish summer (!), our thoughts turn to our next stream of Rocela events programmed for autumn and, dare I say it, winter!

Our Thought Leadership Sessions are as popular as ever – events in the enterprise software marketplace continue to provide much fodder for speculation, debate and serious discussion;

• The rate of Oracle’s acquisitions must be causing much consternation in most CIO and Senior IT professionals’ minds. How does a large enterprise organisation manage this ever increasing portfolio of products? How do they ensure value for money and risk reduction?
• Oracle aside, what about the bigger picture – enterprise application software asset management covering all the biggies! Where do you start with this sometimes herculean task?
• And more recently, the recent ECJ ruling on used software trading has raised many questions with no clear answers at this point. This one is likely to run on and on and on.

How to control costs, reduce risk and remain compliant is still high on enterprise organisations’ agenda. Our Rocela Control™ sessions remain a firm favourite with our prospects who relish the chance to discuss this often complex area in a safe environment. They value listening to our clients who have, more often than not been in similar licensing situations and with Rocela’s help, now enjoy a high degree of license management and cost control.

Finally, the interest in R12 is still running high. Our professional services team have been very busy over the last 12 months with numerous R12 Upgrade or implementation projects – we have an unprecedented level of expertise in this area that we can bring to these very popular R12 sessions.

If any of these sound interesting and you would like to attend, then please contact Linda Anderson on linda.anderson@rocela.com to be added to the invite list.

We hope to see you soon.

Another great award for Rocela!

Rocela has enjoyed further recognition from the ‘The Great Place to Work® Institute’ as we were awarded a position of 19th in the UK’s Best Workplaces category for small businesses. Once again, this was made all the more satisfying and rewarding as this was our first year of entry into ‘The Great Place to Work® Institute’ for both the Scotland and UK programmes 2012.

Our co-founders, Martin Mutch and Kenny Wilson received the award during the lavish ceremony on Thursday 24th May, which was held in the Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.

The Great Place to Work® Institute UK is part of the world’s largest consultancy specialising in workplace assessment and enhancement. Every year Great Place to Work® surveys some 5,500 organisations around the world representing around 10 million employees. This gives them unrivalled insight into what makes an organisation’s employees tick and how leaders can improve their business performance by understanding and improving their workplace culture.

Martin said, ‘I am very proud of the culture at Rocela and the team. Kenny and I were delighted to pick up this award on their behalf.

Congratulations to everyone’.

Rocela values its values!

From before Rocela was born (circa 2001), fundamental values have been key to its evolution. In fact, the real trigger for Rocela was the jarring of cultures between Oracle and its largest clients and the tension that this created – a tension that Rocela would go on to soothe.

Although not realizing it at the time Rocela’s founders (Kenny Wilson and Martin Mutch) shared core personal values and attached significance to them in the boundary between personal and business lives. It is therefore no surprise that Rocela has always had a strong moral and cultural identity, and its core values have always been evident through behaviours, even when they were not specifically a focal point for development.

Over the past few years as we have grown, we have realised that scaling ‘appropriate’ behaviours and the Company culture would benefit from clarity of our values. After a full company workshop on values early 2011, we encouraged a staff workgroup to explore and define those values that our staff felt to be true of us, valued by us and important to mature and live by.

This workgroup proposed a set of core values that was fully recognised by founders and senior managers and was approved without iteration – a full description of what these values mean can be downloaded from here. Our values are:

• Customer Focus
• Expertise
• Integrity
• Professionalism
• Passion

Since then, core values have been promoted visibly, and top down are used increasingly as a guide and input to any daily decision including hiring, customer situations, investment and withdrawal, and appraisals through our performance management methodology.

So now what? It’s all very well having the values on mugs and posters – how do we actually make them come to life? A question tackled by our CEO Martin Mutch in December last year who formed the ‘next generation’ values workgroup – a group of colleagues whose task it was to devise and propose a programme for ‘Employee Values Recognition’ for our Company meeting in February 2012.

This workgroup approached all staff to ask for stories that would exemplify the company values – not so much ‘awards’ but recognition of staff ‘living the values’. The response was tremendous – over 150 separate recognition stories from all around the business.

And so began the challenging task of narrowing this considerable list down to a manageable and representative record of individuals covering all 5 values. The entire exercise was no mean feat – the values workgroup worked a miracle in getting everything in place for the Company meeting and the individuals recognised were truly humbled as a result.

We will continue to focus on our values throughout 2012 – in the way that we work, make decisions and recognise the exemplary efforts of our co-workers.

Oracle experts Rocela speaking at UKOUG 2011, Birmingham

Oracle experts Rocela will be speaking at this years’ UKOUG Conference in Birmingham’s ICC. We will be presenting on the complexities of Oracle licensing and cost management.

Ian Smith, Executive Director of Rocela will discuss ‘How to master the art of Oracle Compliance and Cost Management’. Ian will explain how a proven software asset management methodology can achieve on-going compliance while ensuring right-sizing of Oracle licensing to aid cost management and control.

If Oracle license management is your responsibility and you need to find ways of reducing cost and risk, then come along to Executive Room 1 on Monday 5th December at 17.45pm to hear more.

For more information on the UK OUG Conference 2011, visit the UK OUG’s website.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Part II – SAM for Oracle – discovery tools are only half the battle, maybe a quarter, even …

By Tam Kyle, Senior License Consultant

So, at the end of my previous post on discovery tools, we had reached the point where you were probably going blind on a very large spreadsheet only to discover that you are still no further forward in establishing your compliance position.  In this post, I’ll explain why.

Ask yourself, how can you know if you are compliant based on usage information only?  What about your entitlement – what are you actually legally allowed to use?

Where discovery tools fall short is knowing what you are entitled to, i.e. what it says in your contract with Oracle.  Ah! This sounds like a job for the Procurement Department.  If you are lucky, you have a central Procurement Department that buys everything from staplers to Datacenters and therefore, you are more likely to strike lucky with whoever is responsible for buying all of the company’s software.

If however, you have decentralized purchasing and have Oracle users around the world, where on earth do you start?  Let’s assume for one second that you have managed to obtain what the procurement department thinks is all the correct Oracle contracts for everything they have ever bought over the last 5 years.  Firstly, do you really have all the contracts and secondly, do you actually understand what the contract is telling you?  Have contracts been amended, have products been novated – can they even be used now?

Read more of this post

One small step for man, one giant leap for Web ADI

by Kenny Miller, Principal Consultant for Rocela

I recently blogged about ”BI Publisher becoming every accountant’s best friend”. However, as we all know, it’s difficult to keep an accountant happy for long. They’ll likely soon be asking an awkward question of their new best buddy:

“OK, I can see that BI Publisher is great for downloading data from Oracle EBS (E-Business Suite) straight into Excel, but can I do it the other way round? Can I upload data from Excel into Oracle EBS?”

BI Publisher is a reporting tool. It can’t upload data into Oracle EBS. So what other options are available?

Many of us will have developed custom CSV interfaces, where users create data in Excel, save it as a CSV file, which they somehow transfer to the Oracle EBS server, before SQL*Loader (or External Tables, if you’ve “moved with the times”) populates the data into a temporary table where finally it’s processed by a custom program using a standard API or interface. A convoluted solution which has its problems:

  • Having so many “moving parts” means there are a number of different ways for the whole thing to fall over in a crumpled heap (technical term, meaning to “perform sub-optimally”).
  • It’s difficult in Excel to validate the data to be accurate and relevant, without resorting to something complicated like ODBC or Visual Basic. For example, does a cost centre value entered in Excel actually exist in Oracle EBS, is an accounting date in an open period etc?

If you’re interested enough to still be reading then I expect you already know all about Client and Web ADI in Oracle EBS (for those of you still on 11i, be aware that it is Web ADI only in R12). Application Desktop Integrator (ADI) is Oracle’s standard tool for connecting Oracle EBS with MS Office tools e.g. HR letter generation using MS Word, and uploading GL journals using MS Excel.

The problem with ADI had always been that only Oracle could decide what you used it for. There was no supported way to create your own ADI document for something that Oracle hadn’t already provided. HR users have always “felt the love” from Oracle who provided them with numerous standard ADI documents. Unfortunately most of our accountant friends missed out on an invite to the ADI party. Oracle doesn’t provide even a single standard ADI document for either Payables or Receivables, so you won’t be using ADI to load your supplier invoices or your cash receipts.

However, this has all now changed! Available from R12.1.2 onwards is the “Desktop Integration Framework” (DIF)! Finally there is a supported way of creating custom ADI documents, allowing data to be properly validated and processed through any interface or API into Oracle EBS. Only time will tell if this is a “giant leap for Web ADI” but it’s certainly a welcome new option to have available, and one I thought you’d like to know about it.

If you want to learn more then I’d recommend the following material:

  • Oracle note 807319.1 which lists all the Transfer of Information (TOI) content for R12.1. Search the note for “Implement and Use Oracle E-Business Suite Desktop Integration Framework” and you’ll find a very informative eSeminar.
  • The “Oracle E-Business Suite Desktop Integration Framework Developer’s Guide” in the documentation library, which for R12.1.3 is available here.

I’m hoping to use DIF soon to develop a custom ADI document for a client. I’ll blog again once I’ve done so – I’m sure you’d like to know if the reality lives up to the hype. In the meantime, if you have any experiences with DIF you’d like to share, then please let me know.

 

 

Have you recently upgraded from Oracle E-Business R11 to R12 and find yourself unable to launch APEX from the responsibility menu?

By Andrew Archibald, Senior Consultant for Rocela

With many of our customers upgrading their Oracle E-Business Suite from R11 to R12, some have found an issue with launching APEX applications from the custom responsibilities. When users select the ‘responsibility’ to launch and log them into APEX they come across a ‘page cannot be displayed’ error.

So what’s happened to cause this?

Well, Oracle have decided to stop supporting launching mod/plsql functions in R12 which means the nice and easy way of integrating APEX with Oracle E-Business is currently ‘out the window’.  You now have to launch APEX using another method – the recommended process being using a JSP page.

How do we fix this?

First off there is a great Oracle white paper written by Rod West ,
The Fast Way to Extend the Oracle E-Business Suite, for R12.1.2 or lower which details how to integrate APEX with Oracle E-Business Suite both R11 and R12. This document is fantastic if you are starting from scratch and will get you up and running in no time (please check out this post though).

For release R12.1.3, a new document was released; Extending Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 using Oracle Application Express where Oracle have supplied a JSP as part of the install which you can use to launch your APEX applications.

So why is this an issue?

The problem is losing all your hard work of integrating APEX with Oracle E-Business Suite for R11.  Setting up your own redirections to the correct page or using your own custom cookies are only a few of the custom developments you might have completed.

The JSP page is simple and will allow you to redirect to APEX.  This is wonderful as you can still integrate APEX with Oracle E-Business Suite but with a couple of simple changes, you can keep all your existing code and only have to change setup marginally.

What do you need to do?

First off for all versions of R12 you need to use the JSP page and have followed all the steps in the white paper The Fast Way to Extend the Oracle E-Business Suite . The section you need to change is ‘the building of the url’. This is to allow for the form function to pass the name of the publically accessible procedure created in R11 to launch APEX.

Replace the existing section in the JSP page to the code below. The code is taking the value passed in the parameter and also fetching the profile option value for the APEX url.

<%
String p_params = request.getParameter(“params”);
p_params = (p_params==null ? “” : p_params);
AppsEnvironmentStore m_env = (AppsEnvironmentStore) ctx.getEnvStore();
try {
String l_launcher = ctx.getProfileStore().getProfile(“APEX_HTTP_SERVER”);
l_launcher = l_launcher + “/” + p_params;
%>

Next, the form function needs to change, so instead of calling the publically accessible procedure in the HTML, call the section of the form function you will pass in LaunchApex.jsp, change the properties to SSWA JSP function and then in the parameters section enter params=apps.MYAPEXLAUNCHPROCEDURE

Conclusion

With Oracle R12, a new step has been added into integrating APEX with Oracle E-Business Suite but hopefully this step will now provide little trouble and allow you to keep on developing great APEX applications.

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