06 July 2005

The Web

What do you get for a Euro?

Kevin Attard

What exactly does €1 buy? Well it would get you a daily newspaper and in it you would find a lot of information. You can find out exactly what is going on in the news, how your stocks are performing and even what the weather in all Europe is like. The best thing is that for only €1 per day, you keep on getting more information out everyday.
When you spend €1 Million on application software, what do you get? You get a lot of software, implementation services and consulting to fully automate your company. But when you sit behind your web browser, and you launch your applications what information do you get? The irony is that although you spent €1M on a lot of application software, you are not getting the equivalent of “a daily newspaper for your business”, and you start to wonder where your €1M went.
Of course, you do get information out of your applications, typically 4 times every year when you close you books for the quarter. But in today’s turbulent environment you need information that is current for your business.
The most common reasons that organisations cannot get information is: They can’t find anything, most organisations have no shortage of information, they have hundreds of corporate web sites but it is not easy finding information quickly; Incomplete Automation, there are some parts of your business, even with spending €1M that are not automated with software. With the result that you can ask questions but the software can’t tell you the answer because the software didn’t automate that part of the process; Fragmented Data, if the sales and marketing applications are running in one database, the financials and human resources in another and so on for your other applications then this information fragmentation problem means you generally struggle to get knowledge about what’s happening in your business.
The type of information that a CEO wants is difficult to source, prepare and deliver in a timely manner, but this information is critical. As a result, in a lot of companies decisions tend to be based on personalities rather than facts, where strong personalities can push decisions one way. It is important to manage by fact not personality. The latest release of the Oracle E-Business Suite overcomes these problems by providing:
1. A personalized Portal - to keep you informed about what is happening in your business wherever you are
2. A daily business close - This is not a financial close. It is something even more valuable such as knowing how each Line of Business (LOB) has performed on a daily basis. Apart from providing you with a “a daily newspaper”, the information is presented in such a way that you can easily see trends and carry out analysis so that you develop insight into your business so you can make better decisions.
3. A Performance Management Framework - The Daily Business Close provides a rich source of information about each LOB, but this needs to be complemented with a strategic framework that ensures all LOBs are working together to achieve corporate goals.

There are good reasons why we provide these three complimentary enhancements in the latest release of the Oracle E-Business Suite. Portals provide a number of advantages such as being a single point of access, are easily configurable, can be fully wireless enabled and can include high quality externally sourced business content. But Portals will not solve all your problems. Portals on their own provide access to a lot of information but they do not provide Business Intelligence. You need more than just a portal to get over information fragmentation problems and provide you with meaningful daily business intelligence.
The Daily Business Close provides a rich source of information about your LOBs such as Daily Leads position, Daily Sales position, Daily Cash position, Daily Inventory position. This is only available from Oracle because: All information is in one database; we have a unique information architecture where CRM, HR, financials, manufacturing, distribution run on one data model, all running out of one database. Because it’s all in one database, we can easily access this information.
With the latest release of the Oracle E-Business Suite we have completed the automation of all key business flows. It means that we have the information because the business system is complete, and we can answer questions about any part of your business.
With the Daily Business Close, managers will be able to make better, faster decisions with this broad range of data. This is good, but there can be a tendency for LOBs to operate in a fairly isolated way. You may no longer have information fragmentation, but you can have business process fragmentation. In short, accountability of business results is impacted by events in other parts of the organisation.

The author is Business Development Manager for Oracle Malta


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