Chilling out on this Friday afternoon of Singapore. A bright sunny day. Weather has been so for last few weeks with some shower now and then. Guess the Easter long weekend has come at the right time for me. Its been long I have catch up with whats happening around and the feeds from my favorite blogs. Its even longer I have posted last on this space.
Last few months were busy at social front. At work its usual stuff. Though I have started with new project since last few weeks and things are getting busier.
Off late I have been doing assignments in Oracle Applications aka E-Business Suite(mainly in the capacity of technical consultant) and it has been a rich experience. Though I have been working with Oracle Apps for some time, it was more with the perspective of extracting data for reporting and data warehouse applications. But This time it involved working head on with some of the core modules of E-Business suite including OM, Inventory, Financials etc. Technology has always fascinated me and tech stack of Oracle Apps was no exception. Lot of interesting learnings.
ERP are huge apps with so much to explore in terms of functionality, business process, technology components, software architecture and organization dynamics. Working in implementation project Oracle Apps really brings you close to all this aspects. I do prepare some random notes of the interesting things I come across about any software product. Some of the key things I discovered/learned about E-Business suite in the last few months of engagements:
Ad-Utilities for managing middle tier components.
Integrated data model. Example: there’s one entity hosting customer data which is referred by all the module ranging from Customer Management, Order Management, Advance Shipping
Open Interface tables to flow in or out the transactions from one module to other. The same interfaced tables could be used to bring the data from other not E-Business suite systems
APIs corresponding to virtually all the online functionality. The is key for any ERP application. Integration needs always requires creating master data and transactions from the scripts or programs. APIs make this simpler to approach since it will be impossible for any way to go and update all the underlying base entities without breaking the integrity. APIs have always been powerful since they centralize the business logic and all sort of integrity checks at one place. I will stop on API here. Every one knows about the advantage reusability, modularity, refactoring, OO and other core aspects of software designing.
Approaching integration with third party applications. This really requires proper planning for developing the custom scripts, testing and rolling out the customization.
Consistent UI. Consistent usability and user interactivity.
Power of Concurrent request manager.
I came to learn about CUSTOM.pll, which allows in non-invasive manner you put the custom hooks in the standard forms.
There were lots of learning on how to go abound customizing E-Business suite apps. CUSTOM.pll, database triggers, modifying standard reports (though not recommended), defining custom Application, DFF and KFF, lookups etc.
Coding standards. E-Business suite taught me some of the nifty coding practices.
One of the big learning was the philosophy and thinking that goes behind designing and developing packaged applications. The E-Business suite apps are perfect for business needs across industries and wide range of business requirements from different organization. This is achieved by the flexibility, setups and configurations provided by E-Business suite applications. On top of theses, there are avenues to do additional customization to achieve very specific business need. Sometime back I did post on how the development of software product differs from the custom solution, but Oracle E-Business Suite holds a special place. Lot of expertise, effort, planning and experience goes in developing products like E-Business suite.
There were many more though. E-Business Suite is huge and the above list in no way wants to undermine the complete set of functionality that it offers. These are just my personal learnings. One should check out E-Business suite Documentation to appreciate the sheer size and richness of E-Business suite applications at http://www.oracle.com/technology/documentation/applications.html. In process I also came across few of the blogs on E-Business suite including Oracle’s Steven Chan’s blog on E-Business suite technology, Chris Muir’s One Size doesn’t fit all and many more.