Fusion hands-on and thumbs up
With the speed of light from version 1 to version 7.
Oracle Fusion Applications is the future. From the early start, Profource has been involved in the successor of E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, JD Edwards and Siebel. Since April 2014, we use version 7 for our daily operations. And version 8 is ready. This article describes our experiences hands-on.
Profource belongs to a select group of early adopters of Oracle Fusion Applications. We were officially accepted from a rigorous selection during OpenWorld 2011. Shortly after that, we got the new software of Release 1. The first thing faced, were the technical requirements. We thought that the Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) made heavy demands on our server and storage capacity, but this new software required a six fold. So we bought a new Oracle infrastructure with heavy servers and enough storage in a rapid InfiniBand infrastructure. Then we went to work and created our own ‘Private Cloud’.
After the setup and assigning the roles, we installed Fusion Ledger (General Ledger – GL). This felt almost like the setup of EBS R12 GL. The screens were quite different, with some additional steps and options, but with EBS R12 knowledge we could find your way around the system quite easily.
Fusion GL has been improved at the request of one hundred early adopters. The biggest change is the compulsory process of running journals for the year end. A good improvement from accounting perspective.
General Ledger now creates journal entries, that can be followed with the account monitor or the account inspector. Nice of course, but the main thing is to process entries from the sub-administrations into the general ledger. In Fusion this works via subledger accounting. And just like in Oracle EBS you can add one address to multiple business units to avoid duplicate vendors or addresses.
Reporting in Fusion has taken a leap forward as well. Creating reports is greatly simplified with business intelligence. This works faster and makes it a lot easier to create multidimensional reports.
Oracle has integrated the underlying applications very well. We can enter bills and automatically match them with purchase orders. With WebCenter Content Imaging (WCCI) we scan and OCR the invoices. These invoices are grouped. The information is stored as XML data, but the invoice also remains visible as an image (scan). Once an invoice has been introduced, the tax must be calculated, the amount validated and paid out. After the payment process is complete, the status of the bill nicely changes to ‘paid’. Fusion Applications then creates the appropriate journal lines.
The ‘Billing’ screen is completely redesigned. It work a lot easier now thanks to a clear menu structure.
Use of Cash Management to process flows
The Cash Management module is used to process bank statements. It shows whether the debtors have paid. With a nice new screen, we see immediately what rules of a bank statement reconciled with a cash receipt. Another improvement over Oracle EBS R11 and R12.
Speed of light
The development cycle of Fusion works with the speed of light, in comparison with Oracle EBS. We were accustomed to implement new releases every eighteen months, now we there’s get a new release with new features and improvements every three months. A big advantage for those who work in the cloud: the supplier provides all technical developments for these updates. The last six months we worked as Profource with version 5. We have a lot of experience gained. Very recent with switched to version 7.
The ‘Facebook’ look & feel of Oracle Fusion Applications is striking: Oracle used a social media-like technology. Users can send messages to other users (activity streams). “Oh, nice gadget”, we thought at firs glance, but it turns out to be very useful to inform other users and to track history. Away with searching for clues in emails! For example, a user can warn a colleague: “Be aware that supplier ‘X’ can call with a particular question again today”; or: “Can you please send the call through to mr. Y.”
Although the road to implementation was a bit rocky at first, we are extremely pleased with the result. Fusion offers us many new features and usability has been improved on all fronts. Oracle also works very hard to solve the childhood diseases. And we are proud that we could contribute to the development of this new system.
Better project management
The project management has undergone a major change, by introducing the new module Project Portfolio Management (PPM). All the ‘old’ projects components are combined into an integrated solution, with a central role for reporting (financial) management information. The projects are summarized in a general dashboard. The graphics show you immediately which projects need attention. This information can be viewed, but you can also click directly from the dashboard to the transactions. Furthermore, the dashboard shows additional price information, simply by hovering your mouse pointer over the text. We now process all our project hours in PPM and we invoice from the various projects to our clients.
A major improvement is the way the costs are being processed. In Oracle EBS this is often perceived as cumbersome. Oracle PPM has greatly improved the usability by creating a so-called ‘costing area’. This environment is cross-project and brings together all the information in one spot.
Project Budgeting & Forecasting
The EBS Project Management functionalities to budgeting and forecasting are by default in PPM. Now we can operate with multiple versions of the same time budget. The different versions are compared and the impact of certain adjustments are visible immediately. Like the dashboard, the management information is displayed graphically. If desired, you can switch between the graphical representation and a tabular view of the underlying data.
Project Contracts & Billing
The project billing is renewed. In Oracle Fusion Applications all contractual arrangements with customers are recorded in the newly developed module Contracts. A contract may include both financial and non-financial arrangements.
The invoice processing takes place in a so-called ‘billing area’. Like the ‘costing area’, this is a cross-project environment, following the life cycle of a project invoice. Also new is the concept of representation in PDF-format of the bill to send.
Project Team Connect
In a large project nothing is more important than a good communication: with all project staff, and even with customers and suppliers. Fusion Applications has developed a very handy solution for this: the Project Team Connect.
We have used Oracle Fusion Applications since Release 1. Since early 2012 we have upgraded to every new release. At the time this article was written, we were using Release 7 of Fusion to our full satisfaction. We are impressed by the results, the usability and the performance of the new system. And proud to be the first in the Benelux with hands-on experience, we at Profource are happy to help you switch to Fusion as well.