Reporting and Business Intelligence


Last week, we offered four of our top takeaways from Oracle’s OpenWorld 2008 user conference. This week, we’re back to offer more, and with a special emphasis on JD Edwards applications to boot. So join with me as we share not only what we learned from the sessions we attended, but also what we picked up from private talks with the JD Edwards team. To maintain continuity with our previous article and its four takeaways, we’ll start with…

Takeaway #5 — The EnterpriseOne and World development teams are adopting a more collaborative approach to how they enhance the two product suites. At OpenWorld sessions and casual meetings, managers and developers from both teams stated that they are working more closely with each other to roll out the same technologies on both products. In most cases, these projects involve the World team taking technologies from the EnterpriseOne team and adapting them to World’s unique architecture. A good example of such collaboration is the recently announced integration between World A9.1 and Demantra Demand Planning. This offering appeared first for EnterpriseOne 8.11 SP1 and 8.12, then was reworked for the World A9.1 environment.

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It has been a slow month for news coming out of Oracle. That’s typical in the days leading up to OpenWorld, as the software giant starts stockpiling announcements that it can unleash on conference goers. Still, some interesting tidbits have leaked out of the company in recent weeks. Here is a quick rundown on what we have been following.

Hot Papers on the Next EnterpriseOne Releases

Earlier this week, Oracle quietly posted two papers about JD Edwards EnterpriseOne 9.0 and EnterpriseOne Tools 8.98 on its Customer Connection web site. The documents, known as Release Value Propositions, provide detailed information about the enhancements in these unannounced releases. If your organization intends to evaluate either release, these documents are excellent starting points for your review. Just click on the above link, enter your Customer Connection login/password, and look for the two documents at the top of the page.

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Among the technology projects that companies are pursuing today, one of the most risky, expensive, and failure-prone among them is building a data warehouse. While data warehouses can deliver enormous benefits, creating and maintaining one on your own is fraught with difficulties that can easily undermine your efforts. In this article, I will explain why this is the case. I will also offer a way to implement a data warehouse that can deliver greater benefits than a homegrown warehouse with considerably less risk.

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Since I dedicated my last article to what Oracle is doing for JD Edwards World, let’s switch gears this week to discuss what EnterpriseOne customers are getting from the software giant. May was a fairly fruitful month for this community, as Oracle announced two significant enhancements. Here are the details on both announcements.

A New Financial Management and Compliance Console

After months of previews, Oracle has delivered the Financial Management and Compliance Console for JD Edwards EnterpriseOne. The application aggregates financial information from operational tables and delivers it to the console via a star schema data structure. The aggregated information includes 47 pre-defined metrics covering areas such as cash flow, liquidity ratios, actual vs. plan, profitability ratios, and accounts payable/receivable.

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Do you want to improve the business intelligence and reporting capabilities of your JD Edwards applications? If so, there’s a free webinar on the subject taking place next week that I would encourage you to attend. Just click here to register. The webinar takes place on Thursday, March 6 and will cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Using a data warehouse to implement business intelligence systems
  • Consolidating information from multiple companies, JD Edwards instances, and non-JD Edwards sources
  • How to use Business Objects software to deliver everything from simple reports to complex analytics and dashboards

The webinar is being offered by RapidDecision, a division of Andrews Consulting Group that specializes in business intelligence for JD Edwards systems. It will be conducted by Joe Guerra, Vice President and Chief Architect for RapidDecision. If you ever meet Joe, I guarantee you will be astonished by his encyclopedic knowledge of JD Edwards databases. This webinar is a great opportunity to learn what he knows, so click here to sign up.

So here I am sitting in front of my computer, with a cold Pepsi at my side, again placing pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as it were) to offer up another bit of insight into the vagaries of how EnterpriseOne works.

Let’s dive right in, shall we? The issue at hand is, while using the Enterprise Report Writer (otherwise known as ERW, or RDA for you old schoolers like me) the message, “The GBSPEC file is missing. Would you like to create a new one?” hits the screen and stops you dead in your tracks.

Now if you’re like me, at this point you normally would groan and use some creative phrasing to describe your feelings for the machine in front of you. Don’t be shy; it’s OK to admit you’ve done it. I have too. But let’s be honest about a few things. It’s really not the computer’s fault (though I like to blame it anyway just to make myself feel better). Chances are it’s something that was done in the not so distant past that caused you to get this message and it may be something you don’t even realize.

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Business Objects calls itself the world’s leading business intelligence (BI) software company, a claim that Oracle plans to challenge following its Hyperion, Siebel, and Sunopsys acquisitions. However, Business Objects has launched a new marketing campaign that could help it weather whatever Oracle and other BI vendors throw at it. That campaign should be of interest to JD Edwards customers, as most of them own Business Objects products.

Most EnterpriseOne and World customers know Business Objects as the vendor behind Crystal Reports, a reporting tool that comes bundled with JD Edwards applications. The full scope of what Business Objects offers, and for that matter what BI does, is something that many people in the JD Edwards community have never had the chance to fully understand. The launch of a major new marketing campaign by Business Objects, aimed at shedding some light on the BI subject, is thus of potential interest to the JD Edwards community. A short browse through the vendor’s refreshed web site can thus be an eye-opening experience.

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I just read a new report from my colleagues at Andrews Consulting Group that I would recommend to any JD Edwards professional. The report, Why You Need a Data Warehouse, explains how a properly designed data warehouse can improve query, reporting, and analysis of JD Edwards data by orders of magnitude. I’ve posted the report on our Research and White Papers page where anyone can download it. I encourage you to do so.

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Will you be at Collaborate next week? A bunch of us from Andrews Consulting Group (ACG) and Global Systems Integration (GSI) will be. Besides roaming the floors like everyone else, we will be hosting two booths on the exhibit floor and making several presentations. Here’s a quick rundown on what we are doing and where you can find us.

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Ho hum…Earlier this month, Oracle spent another $3.3 billion buying a major software vendor. This time it was Hyperion, the leading provider of software for financial consolidation, budgeting, and planning. Those of us who thought Oracle’ acquisition appetite might be satisfied for now were wrong again. A pattern seems to have formed – Oracle makes a major acquisition each winter and fills in with smaller ones in the warmer seasons.

While the Hyperion deal is obviously a big deal for Oracle, the near term relevance to JD Edwards customers appears to be limited. As another clue to the puzzle that is Oracle’s applications and business intelligence (BI) strategy, however, this plot twist is worth examining.

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