Category Archives: Art of BI

The Benefits of Oracle Close Manager for Closing the Books from Home

The pandemic has disrupted normal close processes for many organizations, but it presents an opportunity to create a closing procedure that works for employees in home offices. The best part is that you might already have the tool for the job: Oracle Close Manager. If you’re in the cloud, you can find it in FCC EPM Cloud application. For on-premises deployments, you’ll find it in Close Management. Here are the ways Oracle Close Manager transforms the closing process.

Better Communication with Your Team

Email notifications alert employees so they know when to work on their monthly close tasks. This is a productivity boost that avoids your employees having to wait for instruction, or for a specific time. You also have access to a real-time dashboard that provides full visibility into the tasks in progress.

All Tasks in One Place

Everyone accesses the same repository to get the information they need to close the books each month. The templates, attachments, data, and instructions for each task are easy to access, standardizing the workflow and keeping employees on the same page. Establishing your close process in this manner also makes it easy to onboard new hires or those wanting to cross-train in other tasks.

Speed Up the Review and Approval Process

The entire process can slow down if you need to wait for a remote employee to review or approve closing tasks. Luckily, Close Manager allows users to see when items need review, making it easy for them to send approvals. With less dead time between tasks, you can close the books faster.

Create More Efficient Workflows

Setting up your close process in this application requires you to go step by step through every task. You can pick up on bottlenecks and eliminate unnecessary work. Another way you benefit is by seeing each employee’s overall load. By distributing tasks more efficiently, you can ensure that members of your team have appropriate but not overloaded schedules. You can refer to this data each month to continually improve the workflow.

Increase Your Control

The overview dashboard in Close Manager allows you to keep a close eye on closing. You can see when employees submit data, easily follow up with the appropriate department if this information is not available, and discover compliance issues in a single panel. You don’t have to track down an employee or play phone tag to get what you need to close the books.

Oracle Close Manager Is Not Just for the Pandemic

Your organization may have work-from-home employees who intend on staying remote after the pandemic. Even if you plan to bring people back into the office when it’s safe, having a remotely accessible way to close the books just makes sense. You never know what might happen down the line. The flexibility and efficiency this approach offers will set you up for the future.

Consider the everyday situations your team encounters that would be disruptive if you couldn’t close remotely:

  • Severe weather makes it difficult or impossible to get to the office.
  • Parents needing to pick up a sick child from school and stay with them at home.
  • A star employee needing to take care of an aging parent at home.
  • Someone’s car breaking down unexpectedly.

 
When your team can work from home, these scenarios don’t have to delay closing the books every month. Work-life balance improvements from remote work are another important consideration. As more organizations choose to offer permanent remote positions, talented workers are ditching long commutes and working from the comfort of their own home office. You could have long-term issues with hiring or keeping workers if you don’t have this perk available.

Getting the most out of Oracle Close Manager requires specialized skills. Datavail is an Oracle Platinum Partner and Cloud Excellence Implementer. We’re recognized by Oracle for our in-depth expertise across the full Oracle Hyperion EPM solutions suite. Get in touch with our EPM professionals to start closing your books remotely, or download our white paper “Closing the Books from Home or Anywhere Else Around the Globe” to learn more about setting up and using Close Manager.

The post The Benefits of Oracle Close Manager for Closing the Books from Home appeared first on Datavail.

Why Upgrading to Oracle EBS 12.2 Is Important for Your IT Security

Cyberattacks come in many forms, and criminals are continually developing new ways to break into systems, breach data, and perform other disruptive operations. IT security teams do their best to stay one step ahead of bad actors, but their job becomes significantly more challenging when outdated software is present on the network.

 
Older versions of Oracle EBS can leave your organization open to newly discovered exploits, attacks powered by new technology, and other security concerns. Upgrading to Oracle EBS 12.2 is one of the most important things you can do to limit your organization’s security risk. The specific improvements that EBS 12.2 offers include extended support, up-to-date security patches, a streamlined online patching method, better regulatory compliance, and ongoing feature updates.

Get Covered by Support until 2030

Oracle offers EBS 12.2 Premier Support until 2023, so your organization has a few years before you would need to go through another upgrade. You also get prepared for an upgrade to the next version of EBS, 12.X, which will have a support lifespan that lasts until 2030, at a minimum. Not having to worry about upgrading more than twice in the next 10 years takes a lot of administrative overhead off your plate.

Up-to-Date Security Patches

When Oracle releases new security patches, you’ll be able to apply them quickly to fix known exploits and vulnerabilities. Being able to deploy these patches quickly makes you a less tempting target for hackers, since they don’t have an easy way to gain access to your network and systems. When you have an older EBS deployment that doesn’t receive security patches, it becomes increasingly risky to use.

Streamlined Patching Through Online Patching Feature

Another security advantage of EBS 12.2 is the online patching feature. If your organization has a hard time applying patches because of limited maintenance windows or difficulties with downtime, this capability solves many problems. EBS stays up during the patching process, so you don’t have to push back this essential IT security operation. The only downtime usually takes the same amount of time as restarting the system. You have full control over when the system goes down, and your users won’t be waiting hours post-patch.

Online patching accomplishes this through a five-step process. EBS prepares for the patch, applies it to the system, finalizes the patching process, cuts over to the newly patched system, and then goes through cleanup.

Remain Compliant with Changing Regulations

Many of today’s regulations touch upon data security, data privacy, and other IT security concerns. When you upgrade to the latest version of EBS, you have a system that is compliant with the latest requirements and can quickly adjust to any changes in the laws. You don’t need to use other software to achieve compliance or to put workarounds in place for your FDA, accounting, IFR216, and ASC842 measures.

Offers a Less Vulnerable Attack Surface

If cybercriminals have a hard time finding a viable attack surface in your infrastructure, then they may move on to softer targets. Companies of every size and industry are vulnerable to cyberattacks, so it’s important to use every measure available to thwart hackers.

Gain Access to Updated Security Features Through Continuous Innovation

The Continuous Innovation model for EBS allows you to enjoy an ever-increasing number of features for this technology. As new IT security practices get put in place, your system can adapt so that you have strong protection on an ongoing basis.

Cybersecurity is only going to get harder as new attack methods and hacking technology develop. A strong foundation for IT security requires that your software is kept up to date, so you need an upgrade to Oracle EBS 12.2 to make this possible.

If you need help making this upgrade a reality, contact Datavail to partner with certified Oracle specialists offering end-to-end planning, implementation, and support.

The post Why Upgrading to Oracle EBS 12.2 Is Important for Your IT Security appeared first on Datavail.

AppDev 101: 9 Reasons Why You Should Use Agile Software Development

In 2001, a group of expert software developers created the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. That document started a movement in the software development world and many teams now use the Agile software development approach. But, some developers question the value of the approach and look to answer the question of whether they should adopt the methodology. If you’re asking the question, these reasons can help you make an informed choice.

What is Agile Software Development?

The dictionary defines the term agile as “having a quick, resourceful, and adaptable character.” If you’re a software developer, or responsible for a software development team, you know that software development can be a complex undertaking. Therefore, the idea of using a method that is quick, resourceful, and adaptable is extremely attractive.

It’s difficult to create a concise definition of Agile software development, but here’s one of the best attempts, “Agile project management is an iterative development methodology that values human communication and feedback, adapting to change, and producing working results.”

The Agile Manifesto provides the basis for that definition. In the Manifesto, the developers stated four values they used to develop the methodology:

1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
4. Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

Benefits of Agile Software Development

Standish Group published the most recent Chaos Report in 2018. In that report they stated, “The results for all projects show that agile projects enjoy a 60% greater chance of success than non-agile projects. Looking deeper, we find that “waterfall” projects are three times more likely to fail than agile projects.” This indicates that it is worth taking another hard look into the benefits of Agile software development offers.

  1. Iterative development

    One of the principles behind Agile development is that development teams work in short “sprints” to produce a working application that stakeholders can review.

    Experts like those at Deloitte find that if producing the first release of a new application takes a long time, the outcome isn’t well received. This is often a result of the business needs changing during the development process. When a development team can quickly produce a working application, they get immediate feedback from their customers to help them adapt the software as needed.

  2. Better design

    Traditional software development methods focus on preparing the type of documentation needed later for support during the development cycle. Agile development doesn’t ignore the need for documentation, but it values good design more.

    Laboring over documentation doesn’t improve design. The Agile processes that focus on using an iterative process to perfect design and adapting to change will result in a much better outcome.

  3. Increased quality based on midcourse corrections

    In traditional application development projects, changes in requirements are discouraged to ensure that a project stays on time and within budget. But, that limitation often results in a final product that doesn’t meet requirements. Going back once everything is complete to adjust the design is difficult and can lead an organization to abandon the project.

    Using Agile software development approaches, a team can respond easily to midcourse corrections, recognizing that those corrections are necessary to achieve the required quality of the final product.

  4. Early testing and deployment that eliminates errors

    In traditional software development, software testing is often one of the last steps in the process. That’s a bad time to find the problems and get them fixed. With Agile development, testing is done throughout the process. Agile projects often use test cases to help them tweak the design before writing code. And, teams often test related modules simultaneously to save time.

  5. Customer-focused development

    Agile teams work closely with other business teams to ensure that the software design is going to meet their customers’ requirements. In the past, it’s been difficult if not impossible to get developers and their customers together frequently. Today, a wide range of tools that promote collaboration is available.

    Used well, those collaboration tools can let disperse teams talk, and even see one another, without going any farther than their monitor.

  6. Increased visibility

    The customer collaboration principle in Agile software development means that developers are no longer hidden away taking their direction from often ill-conceived written system requirements. Using an Agile approach, the development team works directly with its customers. The team understands exactly what the customer requires and obtains regular feedback.

    Also, the tools used in Agile such as Kanban provide a visual reference for anyone in the organization to use. Increasing visibility is a common goal of CEOs and Agile helps them meet that goal in application development projects.

  7. Faster time to market

    The collaborative environment found in Agile development teams leads to rapid development. Some tasks can be completed simultaneously, and the focus is on producing working code. This rapid development can be a significant competitive advantage for a company that needs to beat its competitors to market.

  8. Improved outcomes

    Agile teams use working software as their most important measure of success or progress. That’s one of the 12 principles of Agile Software Development. Whey an Agile team embraces that mindset, delivering software in modules becomes a natural way of life.

    This approach has also resulted in operating systems using a more modular design. Annual releases and interim feature updates are now the norms. Agile development also brought subscription-based software into the collective mindset. These evolutions mean that keeping software of all types updated and consistently addressing customer needs is a reality.

  9. Increased Customer Satisfaction

    Whether your customers are internal, external, or both, you need to keep a focus on customer satisfaction. However, it’s difficult to retain that focus during a long software development project. Agile philosophies put customer satisfaction at the forefront.

 
It’s easy for traditional teams to get mired down in the mechanics of their development process during a long development cycle. It’s easy to lose sight of customer satisfaction and track things such as the number of lines written, and pages of documentation produced. Traditional teams often measure progress based on the milestones in the process rather than the effectiveness of the final product in terms of meeting customer needs.

Focusing on the process isn’t the fault of the team members. They don’t typically have regular contact with the customer. They often have no idea how business needs are changing. It’s logical for a traditional team to measure success based on the process since they don’t have insight into other measures of success.

The Agile methodology gives teams the visibility and contact with their customers they need to make it easy to keep customer needs top of mind. Using an Agile software development approach is one way to make sure your next project focuses on customer satisfaction. Based on a TrustRadius.com poll, 81% of software development professionals report that they use Agile vs the waterfall methodology.

But, there are at least four key reasons why application development projects fail. For more information, read our whitepaper, “4 Reasons Why Application Development Projects Fail & 7 Solutions.”

You can also learn more about Datavail’s Application Development Sprint Teams to help ensure your software development projects’ success.

The post AppDev 101: 9 Reasons Why You Should Use Agile Software Development appeared first on Datavail.

AppDev 101: A Comparison of Agile and Waterfall Project Methodologies

Choosing the right application development methodology will have a big impact on the success of your project. Agile and waterfall are two of the most popular approaches, and there is ongoing discussion about which is the best. A comparison of the two will help you choose the method best for your project. As you’ll see, there isn’t one answer to the question of which methodology to use. It all depends on your business and your development team capabilities.

Agile Methodology: Defined

The agile methodology was introduced in 2001 by a group of software developers who wanted better ways of developing software. It focuses on people working closely together, results reached by iterative development, and flexible responses to change.

Waterfall Methodology: Defined

The waterfall methodology is more traditional in its approach. Using the waterfall methodology, teams make concrete plans for the life of the project. The approach is linear and sequential, where each phase is reviewed and verified before a new phase is initiated. The work completed in each phase flows down to the next, which is where the term waterfall comes from.

What are the Key Differences Between Agile and Waterfall?

Both application development approaches can produce quality software. But, there are distinct differences in how the two methodologies reach that goal.

  • Agile leads teams to work in increments, while waterfall is linear
  • Agile teams work in sprints, while waterfall projects are divided into phases
  • Agile teams produce working applications at the end of each sprint, while waterfall teams produce a complete application after the build phase
  • Agile teams work on a series of small projects that come together into a whole, while waterfall teams work toward one overall outcome
  • Agile’s structure is focused on satisfying the customer, while the waterfall structure focuses on completing a successful project
  • Agile requirements are set daily, while waterfall defines all requirements at the start of the project
  • Agile teams can easily respond to changes in requirements, while waterfall teams discourage changes after the initial requirement definition
  • Agile performs testing during development, while waterfall tests at the end of the build phase

Agile Methodology: Pros and Cons

If your organization uses the agile methodology effectively, it is an excellent AppDev approach. But, there are pros and cons, and situations where it works better than others.

Pros:

  • Development is quick and flexible
  • Defects are identified and fixed faster than when using waterfall
  • Small teams working on a variety of tasks tend to avoid slowing phases of development
  • Changes can be made during development whenever needed

 

Cons:

  • Agile requires an experienced Scrum master who is comfortable with the quick pace
  • If customers aren’t willing to stay involved, they will get frustrated with the demands on their time
  • Teams must be well-organized and self-governing, even though some members may be remote

Who Should Use the Agile Methodology?

You should consider several factors when choosing the agile approach. For example, agile works best when:

  • you have an experienced AppDev team, or one with good support
  • your business is focused on continuous improvement
  • you need to respond to a rapidly changing environment
  • you want your large corporation to streamline business processes and respond to changes faster
  • your customers and stakeholders are educated about why their participation is required and how it benefits them, and they commit to the process

 

When you use the agile methodology, you’re establishing an environment where customers, stakeholders, and the project team can all play a part. When the team produces working applications at the end of a sprint, everyone involved can attend a sprint demo and see exactly how the application works. The project team can get feedback from the customer, and changes can be incorporated into the next sprint.

This iterative process helps the team to respond to requirement changes, and even the team members doing the most basic part of the project see the result of their efforts. Agile projects generally achieve higher customer satisfaction since communication is key and the team can easily manage changes. Since the team has committed to a specific deliverable for every sprint, and since everyone contributes to it, the motivation among team members stays high.

Waterfall Methodology: Pros and Cons

The waterfall methodology, like agile, has advantages and disadvantages, and situations where it works best.

Pros:

  • it’s easy for teams of any size to manage the formal and ordered processes
  • structured development phases provide stability for newly formed teams
  • setting requirements at the start of the project reduces the complexity of the project
  • planning for the entire project at the start makes it easy to manage expectations, risks, and budget

 

Cons:

  • application development is slower and less flexible
  • defects typically aren’t discovered until the testing phase, which occurs after the build phase
  • it’s difficult to incorporate changes

Who Should Use the Waterfall Methodology?

  • teams that work best with a predictable and sequential approach
  • less experienced application development teams
  • if your business doesn’t value change or taking risks
  • if your customers and stakeholders aren’t or can’t participate
  • if your projects are small and not complicated
  • if your projects have long timeframes

 

When you use the waterfall methodology, you’re establishing an environment that is methodical and where there are few surprises. Project requirements are set at the beginning of the project and don’t change significantly. Roles and tasks are defined for each phase of the project and those phases are predictable in how much time they will take. It’s easy to track milestones because the project follows a pre-defined path.

It’s the best approach when customers and stakeholders don’t want to or can’t participate. However, that means that customers won’t see the application until the end of the project, which can complicate testing and delivery. Waterfall may not be the best approach for projects that will take a long time because over an extended period of time, changes will most certainly be required.

How to Choose?

Recent studies such as the Chaos Report published by Standish Group indicate that in most situations, the agile methodology is more effective. The Standish report indicated that agile projects had a 60% greater success rate than non-agile projects. They went even further by discovering that waterfall projects are three times more likely to fail.

That doesn’t mean that you should use agile in every situation. As you’ve seen through this comparison, there are valid reasons to use both approaches. But, choosing the wrong AppDev approach is only one of the things that can cause a project to fail. For more information, read our whitepaper, “4 Reasons Why Application Development Projects Fail.” With the large cost of a failed application development project, we want to help you identify the four reasons that most commonly cause projects to fail. We also provide seven solutions that you can use to overcome application development challenges.

If you’re interested in using the agile methodology, but you don’t think your team is ready to take on an agile project, Datavail has alternatives for you. Learn more about Datavail’s Application Development Sprint Teams. Our dedicated sprint teams are available on demand to scale up your development team without losing momentum. We can also provide the leadership you need to develop your own sprint teams, allowing you to use the methodology that most developers find most effective.

The post AppDev 101: A Comparison of Agile and Waterfall Project Methodologies appeared first on Datavail.

Choosing the Right Partner for Your Oracle EBS 12.2 Upgrade

Oracle EBS 12.2 upgrades don’t need to be filled with frustration. When you have the right partner to help you along your path, you get to focus on taking advantage of this platform’s new capabilities. In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits that an upgrade provider offers and what you need to look for when choosing a partner.

Benefits of Working with an Oracle EBS 12.2 Upgrade Partner

An EBS partner brings many benefits to the table that reach all parts of your organization before, during, and after the upgrade.

Minimizes Downtime

Your partner has gone through many EBS 12.2 upgrades in a variety of business environments. They know the common pitfalls that can cause lengthy downtime, and they help you avoid them. You won’t disrupt daily business operations or run into unexpected outages that throw off schedules.

Prepares You Thoroughly for Upgrades

To hit the ground running with the latest Oracle EBS version, you need to prepare so everything works seamlessly once the system is back up. An upgrade partner walks you through every pre-check before the upgrade so everything is covered before the move.

Recommends Implementations that Work Best for Your Use Cases

Your partner’s experience with EBS 12.2 upgrades allows them to offer a plan that best fits your business needs. They can make recommendations that create a robust foundation for your organization’s future growth and requirements, as well as explain how you can get the most out of your investment.

Accesses a Deep Pool of Experts

Even if you have a large in-house IT team, you may not have specialists with an extensive background in upgrading Oracle EBS to 12.2. You can access this skill set through your partner without needing to go through an expensive and time-consuming recruitment process.

Keeps Costs Low by Doing It Right the First Time

Nothing drives up the cost of an upgrade more than having a failed deployment, configurations that don’t serve your business needs, a schedule overrun, or poor optimization. Your partner lets you avoid all these with a reliable and predictable deployment process.

Finding the Right Partner for Your EBS Upgrade

Now that you know what an EBS 12.2 upgrade partner can do for you, it’s time to search out the right one for your organization. Look for these key characteristics when you evaluate vendors:

  • Responsive: You don’t want to be kept waiting when you’re in the middle of the upgrade process. Make sure that your partner gets back to you within the expected time frame.
  • Willingness to learn about your company: Every business environment has unique quirks, infrastructures, and use cases. You want a partner that understands your organization and what you do, so they can better support your short- and long-term technology requirements.
  • Oracle EBS specialists and certifications: The staff offered by your partner should consist of IT professionals who specialize in Oracle solutions. You want to look for those with a background in working with EBS, as well as those holding Oracle certifications on an individual and organization-wide level.
  • Clients of the same size or industry: Partners with an in-depth understanding of the technology used for companies of similar size, and those in the same industry, make the upgrade process much more manageable.
  • Extensive experience in EBS deployments and upgrades: Your partner should have plenty of case studies showing their expertise in EBS and the results that they achieved for their clients.
  • End-to-end service options: In many cases, you need help with more than just the upgrade process itself. From planning the upgrade to making sure that everything functions properly, end-to-end services allow you to get help with the full life cycle. Ongoing support and maintenance are also essential to consider, especially if you have a lean in-house IT team responsible for your EBS deployment. Your partner can take over these tasks, so you have better in-house technical resource allocation.

 

A quality EBS 12.2 upgrade partner makes a world of difference during this process. Start your evaluation process by getting in touch with Datavail today. We’re a certified Oracle partner with highly experienced specialists ready to support you every step of the day.

The post Choosing the Right Partner for Your Oracle EBS 12.2 Upgrade appeared first on Datavail.