Oracle E-Business Suite is an Enterprise Resource Planning, which is also abbreviated as ERP. What exactly do we mean by an ERP? The three words themselves describe the meaning of this. You have an Enterprise that is a company, an organization, or even a small start-up. You need manpower to run this enterprise. Hence the word resource. In order to function effectively and efficiently, you need to manage and plan these resources.
In short, you need to plan your resources in your enterprise to meet the objective of your enterprise. Hence, you need an ERP. There are numerous benefits of Oracle E-Business Suite in today's world. Each business today has various aspects, and managing those aspects is, in its own way, very challenging. Almost every enterprise today is dependent on software technology and applications to perform their day–to-day operations.
So in order to provide an integrated solution, Oracle has come up with a unified solution that helps in managing all facets of running a business on a single platform. Oracle E-Business Suite provides this capability. This helps businesses to make better decisions. In addition, it also reduces cost and in turn increases productivity and profits, which is the bottom line for all businesses.
The following diagram is a pictorial representation of the Oracle EBS. In the following diagram, we have various applications across Oracle EBS such as CRM and Human Resource and modules such as self-service, which are used across all the applications of Oracle EBS.
Local and vertical extensions are used in order to integrate, orchestrate, access, and analyze data and processes across applications. Local is within particular applications such as Human Resource, and vertical might be across other applications such as BPEL or other ERPs.
In addition to the preceding applications of E-Business Suites, there are a few other ERPs such as Oracle JD Edwards, Oracle People Soft, and so on, which are provided by Oracle. These also work on similar lines as E-Business Suite and each has their own architecture, as explained in later sections.
There are basically three tiers in the architecture:
The desktop tier
The application tier
The database tier
For HTML-based applications, the client interface is provided via HTML. The traditional form-based application used a Java applet in a web browser for client interface. Thus, it supports form-based as well as web-based client interfaces.
There is also an emerging trend of using the Oracle EBS application on mobile phones and hence, various mobile interfaces to use Oracle EBS are coming up in the market which offer an interactive platform for end users.
The following diagram is a form-based desktop tier architecture:
The desktop tier is actually the starting point of accessing the application as seen in the preceding diagram. The Oracle E-Business suite home page is used to log in to the system. This home page can be opened on a desktop client web browser. For all applications, whether web-based, form-based or BI, this home page acts as a single point of access. The following screenshot shows the login page for Oracle applications.
Once you open the home page, it will ask you to enter your username and password. On the login page, there will also be an option to select the preferred language in which you want to use the system. Once you select a language, Oracle will retain this preference as you navigate through the system. This language is set for all the applications you use in the system, whether form-based or web-based.
It acts as a host for servers/service groups. These are used to process business logic.
Also, it manages the communication between the desktop and the database tier. This tier is also known as the middle tier.
Three servers which form the basic application tier for Oracle E-Business Suite are as follows:
The Oracle database servers are part of the database tier. It stores all the Oracle E-Business Suite data. The data includes various objects of different types. This file format includes tables, indexes, and other database objects. The database server communicates with the services on the application tier, which in turn acts as mediator between the database and the clients. There is no direct link between the database and clients.
Thus, in the preceding section, you learned the architecture of Oracle apps.
In the next section, we will go into the basics of individual modules that are part of the Oracle EBS HRMS application.
The modules that are part of the Oracle HRMS suite are as follows:
Compensation and Benefits
Time and Labor
The iRecruitment module deals with the recruiting process in an enterprise. It gives its stakeholders, that is hiring managers, recruitment HRs, and candidates, the ability to manage every phase of searching, recruiting, hiring, and tracking new applicants. These processes are entirely managed via a self-service interface.
The following diagram depicts the recruitment cycle usually followed in an organization. The most important entities in the recruitment process are a vacancy and an applicant. The meaning of vacancy in generic, layman terms is an opening for a job. This opening can be a new position that needs to be filled by the company, or it might be an already existing position that might have become vacant due to a person leaving that position.
The core HR module helps to manage the enterprise's work structures, that is, organization, grades, jobs, positions, and so on. This module is the most important of all the other submodules in HRMS, and also holds true for any other applications in E-Business such as Finance and CRM, as Core HR can be a source of data for other applications.
The work structure represents the different ways in which an employee can work in an organization. This is the framework for defining assignment for an employee. Work structure includes internal organizations (department, divisions, and business entity), payroll, jobs, grade, position, and so on.
The employee data is the most important entity that is captured using core HRMS. Core HRMS has the ability to hold data about current employees, ex-employees, applicants, contacts, and contingent workers.
When I say employee data, it holds information about the employee's organization, grade, position, job, payroll, location, and so on. Thus, we can conclude that core HRMS forms the basis of the Oracle HRMS application.
Unless we have core HR implemented, we will not be in a position to implement other modules of the Oracle HRMS suite.
The Learning Management module helps enterprises manage, deliver, and track training needs in online or classroom-based environments. Employees (learners) can search for the training they need, and take the training in the most appropriate mode. The mode of training can be classroom-based or online-based.
Managers can automate key business processes—from training to training delivery; from performance appraisals to training assessments—and keep tabs on their team's learning and development. Instructors can manage their own classes.
Executives can measure the effectiveness of learning and ensure alignment with organizational objectives. Learning Administrators can manage all the catalog objects, learners, and related resources. The basic process flow is depicted in the following diagram:
The Performance Management module helps the enterprise manage the performance of employees in an organization. Basically, it deals with the appraisal process in an enterprise. It enables managers as well as employees to manage various appraisal functions such as setting goals, objectives, and so on.
In addition, they can also set up questionnaires for eligible participants. The basic flow for performance management is as shown here:
Setup performance standards: This is the first step in performance appraisal; the HR department sets the standard for each employee. Basically, the expectations are set for from employees. A ranking scheme is an example. A score of 5 indicates excellent performance, a score of 4 indicates above average, and so on.
Communication standard set to the employee: After the standard is set, it is communicated to the employee. Hence, the employee knows what is expected from him/her during the appraisal cycle.
Measuring performance: The most important step is to measure the performance of the employee. Here, the employee is rated by his/her appraisal by the agreed suitable method.
Comparing performance with standard: The performance of the employee is now evaluated against the set standard. By this, we come to know which category of performance the employee fits into that is Excellent, Above Average, Average, and so on.
The Compensation and Benefits module deals with the compensation process followed within the organization. The stakeholders who use this module are managers, compensation professionals, administrators, and so on. This also includes defining the basic compensation structure along with advance benefits.
The advance benefit functionality is mainly used in association with the U.S. legislation for handling insurance-related processes. This module is one of the largest in the Oracle apps HRMS suite.
Payroll is one of the fundamental modules in any enterprise that assists in managing employee costs to ensure all employees are paid in a timely manner and in accordance with the rules and regulations of the enterprise or legislation of the country.
Oracle Payroll integrates with most of the modules of the HRMS suite. Oracle Payroll involves payments, and hence is fully integrated with Oracle Financials and also with Procurement and receivable managements. Payroll Administrators are basic business users in the enterprise. Their role is to manage employee payroll and ensure that payments are made accurately and all payroll processes are managed within set timelines.
Payroll also deals with postpayroll processes such as transferring details in finance and in turn to the employee's account. The details that can be transferred to finance are the employee's bank account information (required to pay the employee) and employee costing information, which is used to cost the employee to particular cost center in the organization.
Once known as Oracle Internet Time (OIT), this HR module, now known as Oracle Time and Labor (OTL), is a single source of time entry in the HRMS system. It is a web-based timecard solution, which helps to reduce cost by automating time record keeping. The following diagram describes time and labor:
Clock time worked by punch employees
Track time to pay for employees working on an hourly basis
Track exception-time only for salaried employees
Integrate with HR, payroll, and absence management
Track time allocations for GL and project allocations
Integrate with separate clock hardware devices
In-built reports on payable status, time card, schedule hours, and so on
In terms of the employee, it offers a simple way to submit, review, track, and approve timecards.
OTL is also integrated with Oracle Payroll. The time entered by the employee is captured in OTL module and is then sent to payroll for processing. Absence management, which manages employee absences, also be used with time and labor.
We have just covered the basic details about various modules that are part of the Oracle apps HRMS suite.
Let's now see a new concept that is used in Oracle HRMS. This is called the multi-org concept.
Suppose your company is operating in multiple countries. Working in different countries indicates multiple organizations across multiple countries. If the company wants to implement multiple organizations such as multiple ledgers (sets of books), or legal entities, which is a legal employer in that country, or business groups within a single Oracle applications, then we can say that the enterprise is going to implement a multi-org setup. Needless to say, there are certain advantages of using multiple organizations:
Secure access to application. Security of data. Operating unit security by responsibility.
Multiple organization reporting.
Let's see this through the following diagram:
The preceding diagram shows the structure of multiple organizations in release 11i. In 11i, there are individual responsibilities within each operating unit. However, in R12, as in the following diagram, you can create a single responsibility, which can access data from all operating units.
As you can see, from the preceding two diagrams, that in R12, you will need to create just a single responsibility to access data across multiple countries, whereas, in older versions, you had to create multiple responsibilities for each operating unit, which resulted in more time and maintenance.
The following diagram depicts an example implementation structure for businesses operating in India only:
Perform the tasks of viewing information
Process application data
Run reports for and across multiple operating units
The new functionality of delete Pending for Approval transactions has been introduced. In this, before the approval of the transaction, the initiator can delete the transaction.
The pay rate functionality has been changed. It will allow multiple pay actions as part of one transaction, propose/update/delete future salary changes and it has also introduced a salary basis change functionality.
Offline appraisals can be managed in performance management. We can now download in-progress appraisals, update in the required Excel format without logging into the application; then, the updated appraisal can be uploaded to the application.
In succession plans, the Web ADI spreadsheet is used to retrieve and update succession information. This functionality is delivered in manager self-service.
In compensation workbench, being CWB administrator, you can view all employees. The compensation detail report has been modified and now employee information is grouped by tabs and the plan selection page, and parameters is replaced by filters.
Administrators have been provided with responsibility-based access. The parameter of person selection rule has been added to the compensation workbench post process. You can now perform dynamic calculations in multiple columns in which you can define dynamic calculations on worksheet amount rates, separately from custom columns, define conditions and condition results using column names, and define custom errors and warnings based on requirements.
In Time and Labor:
Days-to-Hours Conversion has been automated.
Users can now enter Hours and Days within a single timecard, and Days into Hours conversion will be done by application for Oracle Projects.
A user can enter a mixed format for certain time elements based on certain conditions. For example, Regular could be start and end, such as 08:00-12:00; Lunch could be entered as number of hours, such as 2—in the same timecard.
In this chapter, we provided an introduction to the Oracle Application E-Business Suite. We also discussed the architecture of the Oracle application.
Then we discussed the various modules of the Oracle applications in detail, along with new features introduced in R12.
In the next chapter, we will cover the System Administrator functionality in the Oracle Application. This will include defining users and responsibilities. It will also cover the concepts of Menu, Functions, and so on. We will also look into requests and data groups. We will also cover the creation of concurrent programs, request sets, and scheduling concurrent programs.