Archive for March, 2010

Contractors Network - E-Business Suite Tax White Paper

Friday, March 26th, 2010 by

Hi Everyone,

Happy Friday! I am Pleased to Annouce the next release in our extensive Oracle Related White Paper Library of :

An Introduction to E-business Suite Tax

Authored by David Sparks

‘The purpose of David’s White Paper is to break down E-business Tax, and to present the simplest of cases, thus giving the basis to build more complicated scenarios. It does so by navigating through the E-Business Tax menus and configuration screens in the appropriate order giving examples of a working configuration.’

Please feel free to drop by the White Paper library to request your copy of the White Paper today.

David Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed paper. :)

Remember to email David with any feedback you may have relating to this white paper or post it to this blog!

Management Agent errors

Thursday, March 25th, 2010 by
Last time my blog was about the X11 display ( on  a Unix server. I will continue with setting up the management agent for a combined test and acceptation server.
This server runs several databases and 2 listeners, one for test (listenertest, port 1521) and one for acceptation (listeneracceptation, port 1522). The former DBA’s who setup this server choose for these listener naming convention but I would have chosen different names like lsnr_ or keep it default, just listener. The purpose of the 2 listeners was for setting up a clustered environment which could be switched to another host. Honestly, have never tried this and I do not know if it should work this way. Maybe in my next blog I will write about switching these database environments.
The test Oracle databases and software are installed and started with the user ora_test, acceptation with ora_acce. When installing the management agent as one of those users rises my first problem. As user ora_test I cannot read the $ORACLE_HOME of the user orac_acce and vice versa. So created an user ora_agent which is in the same group (DBA) of the other users. Installing the management agent went successfully but discovering the host with the databases give some problems. In the OEM console the databases have the status “Target is temporarily in status pending state”.  Most of the times you have to wait for about 15 minutes and after that the complete servers shows active/up databases, listeners, etc. In this case we have to deal with 2 separate environments hosted on 1 server and agent discovery makes a mess of the targets.xml file. This file is in the $AGENT_HOME/sysman/emd.  Had to edit this file because:
1. no listeners where found on this server. Added both listeners including their ports etc
2. modified the hostname for all entries
3. modified all the database entries because they all had the default portnumber of 1521
After this the default cleaning-up has to be done in ../sysman/emd. First stop the agent and then  remove the files agntstmp.txt, protocol.ini and lastupld.xml. Also remove the files in the directories state, upload, recv and  collection.
Then execute the command emctl clearstate agent (clears the state of previously raised alert), secure and start the agent.
Unfortunately you have to repeat this a few times and sometimes you have to push the resynchronize button in the OEM console which can be found here: Setup - Agents - click the link of the Blocked agent - and in the next screen pust the Resynchronize button.
Anyhow, after these steps all targets of this server poped-up in OEM with the correct status.

New Release PIM Paper through Contractors Network

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 by

Hi Everyone,

I am pleased to announce the next release in our extensive Oracle related White Paper Library of :

Critical Sucess Factors for Product Information Management (PIM) System Implementation

Authored by Mahender Bist

Here’s a snipit of Mahender Executive Summary;

‘Product Information Management (PIM) interchangeably called Product Master Data Management (MDM) is an enterprise data management solution that enables centralization of all product data (Product, Bill of Materials, Documents etc.) and streamlines processes such as New Product Introduction and Change Management. PIM can be leveraged across various functional areas both within the company as well as outside the boundaries of the organization to drive innovation and achieve operational excellence’

Please feel free to drop by the White Paper library to request your copy of the White Paper today.

Mahender, Thanks for an informative paper.

Project Dependencies Curtailing Your Plans?

Sunday, March 14th, 2010 by

I thought I would kick off this blog with a confession.  I often stay to watch the credits at the end of a film.  Sometimes it’s to see the outtakes (often quite amusing…), other times to see the effort that went into the production. Some of those job titles are very creative (e.g., regarding the role titled ‘Best Boy,’ well, what about Best Girl??).  After recently watching the credits role in Avatar, I was curious about steps they took to manage project dependencies, in particular given the multitude of production teams.

Thinking about your current project, consider the project dependencies that might cause delays in meeting key milestones.  You probably have seen some of these dependencies in your travels.  Some are predictable, some take up the time of your limited resources, some lead to scope creep on your project, and others surface during your project out of the blue.

Returning to the Avatar film for a moment, there’s an interesting scene when the main character faces a ‘right of passage’ task.  Let’s refer to this mission as his project (and no, I will not give anything away).  His task?  To ‘bond’ with a flying bird.  His ‘sponsor’ informs him just before boarding the bird that he will know he has found the right bird to fly, as this is the one that will first try to kill him.  His facial expression says it all.  Who could have anticipated this?  And not to mention this all took place a top a mountain floating in mid-air?  One wrong move, and ……you get the idea.  I suspect your project dependencies may be more predictable.  Maybe.

When was the last time you evaluated your project’s dependencies and assessed their risk to your project?  Consider the following questions -

·         How will delays on other projects/initiatives impact your project plan and workload of your resources?

·         Has your project board weighed in on the impact of these dependencies?

·         Have you introduced sufficient contingency within the project plan?

·         Have you considered new dependencies that have surfaced since your project launch, and factored them into the project plan?

Project methodologies introduce tools to track issues and risks, but how frequently do you monitor project dependencies and assess their impact?  These risks may not be as choppy as those found when boarding a flying bird for a ride to prove your worth (maybe…), but consider best practices to minimize the turbulence.   Define concrete steps to bring them to conclusion, move them forward at each opportunity and monitor throughout the project.

PIM Data Hub Vs Item Master

Friday, March 12th, 2010 by

I have been asked this question time and time again – “Why do you need a dedicated MDM solution now when all this time IT has been able to help businesses with product attributes as descriptive Flexfields, custom designed tables or other stitched up solutions?”


Well, most of us who have been working with Item Master in the past have been forced to utilize the application’s unintended features creatively to store product attributes in Categories, Cross References, DFFs etc. Finally, when it becomes unmanageable, custom tables provided refuge of the last resort. Think of it, PIM Data Hub is the natural progression step for the organizations at the higher end of the product MDM maturity spectrum.


I beg to differ with the opinion that MDM is just another application to store additional data.  There is no disputing that the products are both the bread and butter and the key ingredient to success for any organization. Now that most companies in the marketplace are past the struggle of implementing Enterprise Resource Management systems, they are paying attention to software that provides them deeper insight into the products, improve supply chain efficiencies and help them connect to the customers better. Internet based purchasing has added fuel to the fire where online retailers do need to provide more than just the name and description of the product and the customer across the globe are rightfully demanding more information to make better buying decision. UCCNet and other standardization concepts that have been around for a while are finally shaping up and the retailers in turn are collecting hundreds of product attributes from the manufacturers about the product that define:

-        Product Dimensions

-        Key properties

-        Composition

-        Quality Information

-        Packaging

-        Regulatory and Compliance Information


To easily sum up, the following matrix provides the key reasons for implementing PIM Data Hub as opposed to simple Item Master:


Product Information Management Data Hub(PIM)
Item Master (IM)
Centralized Data PIM centralizes all product data in hierarchical catalogs with unlimited attributes in addition to the ERP Operational attributes. PIM Product Workbench provides 360 degree view of: 

·       Product Attributes

·       Attachments (capability to display pictures and schematic diagrams etc.

·       BOM

·       Product Lifecycle and changes during phases

IM focuses mainly on operational and some transactional attributes. 


Functional area categories can be utilized for reporting.

Extended Attributes Extended attributes can serve as storage and validation of the important product related data such as marketing, sales, cost management and product research etc. Such data is  usually stored in spreadsheets on individual laptops in most organizations making is costly and error prone to extract 


Limited capability with Descriptive Flexfields(DFF) and Item Catalog attributes to store additional information 


Flexible Attributes PIM provides amazing flexibility in defining various types of attributes that can be keyed in by the user or derived from other attributes using dynamic functions. 


Data must be static in nature and user entered. 


Display Flexibility PIM provides flexibility to create your own page layout. This feature provides easy means to displaying attributes on item pages by business area thus facilitates role-based attribute maintenance. Excellent productivity feature! 


Predefined attribute arrangement- Live with it :–( 


Advanced Search Capabilities Customizable advanced searches provide highly flexible searching capabilities that can easily help identify the duplicates parts thereby saving cost in creating new parts, procurement and wastage Item Master focus is simply in keep the ERP running. Good luck searching if you do not have all the attributes embedded in the Product description.
Display Formats PIM Display formats are equivalent to ‘Folder Functionality’ on Steroids Folder functionality is limited to only operation attributes: DFF and catalog attributes can’t be displayed in folders
Excel Export and Import Any data displayed on the search results can be exported to excel and imported back after mass updates. Self-service capabilities of the PIM application greatly reduce IT work making information available to right people at the right time! Limited excel export capabilities and NO excel import capabilities are available from Item Master
Accelerate New product development PIM provides the most extensible and configurable workflow to automate the ‘New Product Introduction’ Workflow capabilities are next to none and workflow customizations can easily add to the implementation cost
Synchronize data with trading partners Workflow based events make it easy to synchronize data. Latest releases also provide capabilities to use out-of-the-box Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) integration services Still relies on old trigger based functionality to facilitate the data export and synchronization
Data Governance 


Product data governance can be handled via automating processes and rule-based validations. Additionally, PIM data security in addition can help achieve the governance objectives Governance is achievable with process changes and form customizations but is a sticky situation
Change Control Lifecycle phase based change control of attributes, attachments, BOM and Routings 


No lifecycle controls are available in the Item Master. ECOs functionality is very inflexible in terms of workflows
Security Highly granular role based Security available at the attribute group level Item Master has old menu/function based security 


Workflow based Productivity Flexible and highly configurable workflows for product, attachment, BOM, Routing and other attribute changes enhance productivity without adding to the cost of implementation 


Low to no workflow flexibility unless workflow is customized


Next: In my next post, I will be covering the ‘R12 PIM Data Hub Valuable Functionalities’.