Monday, September 15, 2014

The Oracle Cloud Adapter for Salesforce.com – Understanding What It Does & How You Benefit

Starting in the 1990’s it became standard operating procedure in all large and even mid-sized companies to use an ERP system  such as Oracle E-Business Suite to manage business processes like Order Management, Accounting System or Supply Chain Management, along with the complete sales and revenue cycle from quote-to-order and order-to-cash.

Salesforce.com through Cloud Adapter


However, as recently as only a half-decade ago, those same companies either ran CRM systems completely independently of those ERP solutions or they scarified high quality CRM functionally for a CRM alternative that was “good enough”  but integrated easily with Oracle.

However, this began to change at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, as companies began dropping their legacy systems and opting to move to SaaS-based CRM solutions such as SalesForce.com.  The attraction of solutions such as Salesforce.com is twofold: first, they offer best of breed functionality; second, the SaaS model makes them very attractive from a total cost of ownership perspective. 

However,  the downside that Oracle users face when they adopted a SaaS solution such as SalesForce.com was that it didn’t integrate with Oracle E-Business Suite. And this creates problems such as data silos, data scattering, data quality issues and other major inefficiencies related to business process execution. Maintaining your data also becomes a challenge, as data captured across your system must be duplicated to SalesForce.

To overcome these issues and take full advantage of Oracle EBS and SalesForce.com organizations need to achieve a seamless information flow between the two: they need to integrate them. This much has long been obvious.


The real challenge has always been: how do you integrate the two systems cost-effectively?

For a long time, the answer was, “You don’t, not really” as Oracle ERP and Salesforce.com integration was complicated and costly.

Fortunately, things are changing….

Solutions using Oracle SalesForce Adapter

There are many options available to integrate your Oracle applications and systems to the SalesForce Cloud, and each comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. We will be primarily focusing on integration using SOAP based web services, which involves meeting some challenges:

1.    Point-to-point integration increases complexity and maintenance requirements
2.    Long development cycles involving point-to-point integrations
3.    No unified view of target system to enhance reusability across integrations.

Getting Technical

Luckily, to overcome these issues and reduce integration complexity, Oracle has developed its Cloud Adapter for SalesForce, which brings new benefits to the table:

1.    Graphic SalesForce API discovery wizard, which allows developers to quickly find the correct API to use.
2.    Security configured as per setup, relieving developers of writing code during development.
3.    Session management handled entirely by the tool.
4.    Better access, thanks to being optimized for operations
5.    Possibility to write SOQL to retrieve data from SalesForce.
6.    Extension enablement using SDK.

Cloud Adapter for Salesforce.com














The Business Case

The technical improvements of integrating Oracle ERP with Salesforce.com alone might not make the case in the corporate boardroom, but their associated business benefits surely will:

1.    Reduced Cost of SalesForce.com Integration: Oracle Cloud Adapter for SalesForce.com significantly reduces the cost of developing and maintaining this complex business logic through its simple features.
2.    Improved Developer Productivity: the adapter provides a graphical wizard for configuring connectivity and integration with SalesForce.com.
3.    Reduced Time to Market: Oracle’s tool significantly reduces the time needed to develop the integration of SalesForce with other on-premise or Cloud applications.

Oracle Cloud Adapter



SalesForce Cloud Adapter: What it Really Does

It’s all very good with the technical improvements and cost-effectiveness, but which are the advantages of integrating SalesForce and Oracle EBS on an everyday basis?

1.    No more manual re-entry & data duplication
2.    Comprehensive information tracking: e.g. salesforce can track leads and opportunities and EBS can track orders.
3.    Complete view of quote-to-cash cycle involving both systems
4.    Almost real-time information sync: e.g. an account created in SalesForce should be immediately available in Oracle EBS.
5.    Ability to create sales orders in EBS straight from Salesforce
6.    Complete visibility of Sales efforts for the orders, shipping and accounting teams
7.    End to end visibility of orders, shipping and billing

Oracle CRM Solution















It’s set – How Do We Do It? Developing the Integration

Curious about the integration itself? Here are the high level steps to develop the integration code so you can start calling both Oracle EBS and SalesForce using Oracle SOA.

1.    Configure the SalesForce Adapter
  • a.    Download the SalesForce adapter and configure it on SOA server. The SalesForce adapter can be downloaded from Oracle e-delivery and configured following the steps in the installation document. Mind that the SalesForce certificate, user and CSF key are set properly. The Oracle Cloud Adapter for salesforce uses two-way SSL (using salesforce certificate) for interaction with Salesforce.com. The SalesForce certificates must be imported into Oracle Weblogic Server using an upload or import utility.
  • b.    Install and configure your development environment for the SalesForce Adapter.
  • c.    Download the “enterprise.wsdl” file from SalesForce and import it to development projects
  • d.    Connect to the SalesForce Adapter in your development environment and use it in the integration project
2.    Configure and use the database or application adapter for EBS
3.    Depending on the business flow , call SalesForce or EBS API from your BPEL code
4.    Deploy the integration project to SOA server and test it

Want More on the Topic? Join Our Webcast!


Back by popular demand, on September 19th ITC will be bringing you an encore presentation of our webcast: “ERP-SFDC Integration with Oracle Cloud Adapter.Register today and learn how Oracle’s Cloud Adapter can help you simplify integration. Reserve your spot here.

Protect Your Returns & Improve Quality Processes

There’s a smarter way to test. Join our webcast on September 23rd and learn all about Oracle Applications Testing Suite (OATS) and why its value goes beyond automation. Register today.

Too Late to Catch the Webcasts?

Don’t worry – if the internet has brought you to this page after these webcasts have come and gone, make sure to check out our Fusion Middleware Solutions page.

 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sneak Preview: Oracle ERP Localizations for China Webcast

On Thursday September 11th, 2014 we IT Convergence will host  our Overcoming the China Oracle ERP Localization Challenges at 8:00 am Pacific/11:00 am Eastern, and we’d like to offer you a sneak preview of the section on Business Management:

Oracle ERP China Localization

●    Financial Management

Global General Ledger or Local General Ledger
Based on different business’ requirements, General Ledger might be controlled globally or managed locally. Different solutions are required to meet the requirements of different ways of general ledger managements.
Concepts of Primary Ledger / Report Ledger and Secondary Ledger are taken into account as well.
Organization Structure
Take the references of mother or brother companies in the world and build up the structure accordingly. Normally one Legal Entity is set up for all the companies in one country. But each company owns its own Legal Entity is also another choice.

●    Sourcing

Sourcing Method
Sourcing is one of the most import business / department in the company, so the way of sourcing is one of the most important parts in Oracle rollout project. Global sourcing or self-sourcing will lead separate Oracle solutions.

Supplier Management
How to verify suppliers, how to select suppliers, and how to manage suppliers are the significant factors to make the project success. Global supplier management is normally used by Foreign Owned Enterprises, all the suppliers must be verified before selecting them for dealing with. The approach of selecting suppliers maybe much more rely on Chinese culture, so understanding the culture will be more helpful to understand how to handle the relationship with suppliers.

    Sales

US owned company in China has to follow the rules which US made. Export compliance must be taken into account, and also Chinese export/import rules must be followed as well.

●    IT Management

Hardware
Shared same instance globally
Primary and Backup Database / Server is mostly located in two different areas in US / out of China.
Software/ System
Support team is required to take ownership of maintenance of Oracle system to ensure the smooth transactions of business. The team could be their specific employee or 3rd party consultants.
Upgrade of the version is required periodically based on the business requirement. It is nice to get but not must. Nonetheless, new features will only be available in new versions.

●    Planning

Planning is very import for a manufacturing company, it will help to utilize the capacity of production, maximize profit.

●    Customization

Oracle provides much more flexibility of inferior development. Customized report, form personalization, interface with third parties and other extensions are all supported by the project team.

If you want to learn more about this topic, register and join our upcoming webcast!

This webcast aimed at IT Managers, Oracle ERP Administrators, PMO specialists, Functional team leads, CIO’s and anyone looking to set themselves up for ERP success in China.

Click here to register now!

Oracle SOA 12c: Another Half Dozen Burning Questions

Last month’s webcast “Simplify Multichannel Integration with Oracle SOA Suite 12c,” was a tremendous success in part due to the contributions of Oracle’s Robert Wunderlich to whom we extend our thanks again.

A robust Q and A followed the webcast, and it fact it went on so long that that the entire transcript was too big for a single webcast!



We took the liberty and poetic license of labeling the first part of the transcript “A Dirty Dozen Questions on Oracle SOA 12c You Need Answered, but Feared to Ask….” And you can click here if to read it now.

We’re simply calling this one “Oracle SOA 12c: Another Half Dozen Burning Questions”

1. In the demo you presented, REST (proxy) is calling BS( SOAP)...will such kind of design leads to performance issues for Mobile integrations? as SOAP is heavy weight protocol.

While any translation comes at some processing cost, the ability to leverage existing API , and to provide multiple interfaces for the same back-end service is a huge value for organizations.  Coupled with the management, monitoring and caching that comes out of the box Oracle Service Bus, customers can achieve exceptional performance and scalability along with reuse.

2. Any highlight features on Oracle B2B 12c?

MFT (Managed file transfer) is tightly integrated with Oracle B2B and that is a major enhancement in Oracle SOA 12c.

3. Is EM 12c  a separate license or integrated with SOA?

Enterprise Manager’s license is bundled with your Oracle SOA suite license.

4.  Can we delete stuck threads without bouncing the server in Oracle SOA12c?

Thread-dumps help in diagnosing the underlying issue causing stuck-threads to allow the code to be corrected.  To clear the threads will require a restart.

5.  Can you throw more light on cloud integration - SFDC... do you use any specific middle layer for performance & tuning?

Please plan to join us on Friday September 19th for our webcast on ERP-SFDC Integration via Oracle SOA Suite  as we’ll shed a lot of light on the subject. If you’re finding this page after the webcast has come and gone, then please click here to access all blog posts related to ERP-SFDC integration

6. Is there a direct upgrade from Oracle SOA Suite 10g to Oracle SOA Suite 12c or what is the recommended upgrade path ?

The upgrade path from SOA 10g to SOA 11g was a migration path that completely changed the underlying platform.  The upgrade that takes you from SOA 11g to SOA 12c is much smoother, as there are no fundamental changes to the underlying platform.  Therefore, we strongly advise customers to complete their Oracle SOA 10g to Oracle SOA 11g migration first, so that they’ll be able to perform the manual steps and to fully validate their code before moving on to SOA Suite 12c.

Join our Webcast on ERP-SalesForce.com Integration

Back by popular demand, on September 19th ITC will be bringing you an encore presentation of our webcast: “ERP-SFDC Integration with Oracle Cloud Adapter.” Register today and learn how Oracle’s Cloud Adapter can help you simplify integration. Reserve your spot here.

Protect your returns & Improve Quality Processes

There’s a smarter way to test. Join our webcast on September 23rd and learn all about Oracle Applications Testing Suite (OATS) and why its value goes beyond automation. Register today.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Dirty Dozen Questions on Oracle SOA 12c You Need Answered, but Feared to Ask….

SOA 12c Webcast Q&A   

Last month’s webcast  “Simplify Multichannel Integration with Oracle SOA Suite 12c” was a tremendous success. Once again, we’d like to thank Oracle’s Robert Wunderlich for his insight and excellent demo.

Oracle SOA 12c


As usual, we’re happy to bring you a transcript of the Q&A session of the webcast. But as interest in these questions goes far beyond the webcast audience, we’re taking the poetic license of calling them “A Dirty Dozen Questions on Oracle SOA 12c You Need Answered, but Feared to Ask….”

1. Does Oracle SOA 12c support batch-processing using OSB, without the need to purchase an additional ETL tool like ODI?

There are a couple of things we need to take into account when we are discussing batching. If you are talking about large payloads, like GBs or Tbs in a file, it is not recommended to go with OSB (Oracle Service Bus). That is the reason Oracle recommends ODI (Oracle Data Integrator): ODI will extract the data, chunk the file into to smaller pieces and hand it over to the OSB layer, and the OSB layer will take the data and process it.

2. Is XSLT 2.0 supported in both OSB and SOA? Today in 11g it's only supported in SOA and not in OSB?

Yes, XSLT  (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) are supported in both, and Oracle made many improvements on the XSLT mapper. The other thing to point out is on the XQuery side – using XQuery on both SOA Composite and Service BUS, and we have a mapper for that as well. The idea is that now, it becomes a developer’s choice in working between the two. Do you want to use XSLT or XQuery? You can use either one.

3. How much data volume can SOA handle?

We do have cases of extreme volume management, but this also goes into how your integration layer is designed. Going into SOA Suite 12c, we are building on the 11g industrial SOA approach – this is enterprise-grade SOA for our performance. In 12c, we make even more use of cashing in a coherence space; and there is also a new coherence adapter.

We are both on Service BUS, Service BUS had uses in 11g, we had the result side cache on the business service, but you also have an adapter that you can use to work directly with coherence. So there are many different ways to scale this out. We are obviously leveraging the Weblogic platform, so we are getting extreme performance. But if that’s not enough, we of course also have Exalogic, and that is where we are seeing even more extreme performance. So we have extreme performance, and I’d definitely say we have extreme scalability and reliability.

4. Is there a change in licensing when upgrading from Oracle SOA 11g (11.1.1.6) to 12c?

When you have SOA Suite 11g or whichever version, you can upgrade. It’s a license that you have and you can go to SOA Suite 12c. There are some additional options available; mainly managed file transfer, which is like an FTP server on steroids. That is where you can manage your files. When we talked about batch processing, moving those large files – you don’t need a separate FTP server, you can manage it all on the Weblogic platform. But that is an extra option, with SOA 12c you get the new features included, such as the new enterprise scheduler service.

5. Is ESS licensed separately?

No, the ESS (Enterprise Scheduler Service) is included in the Oracle SOA Suite 12c license. A slight difference you will notice as you start playing around is that there are a couple of features that are not in your in your developer workstation – ESS is one of them because it uses the Oracle Database; MST is another one. But typically you’re not doing that in a developer workstation, this is more of your shared developer environment, industrial sale testing and what not.

6. Does SOA12c support SFDC's REST/BULK API? Oracle Cloud Adapter supports only SOAP API - is that true for 12c?


REST/Bulk support in the SFDC adapter is on the roadmap of Oracle.  For 12.1.3, SOAP API is supported.

7. As SOA & ETL boundaries are blurring - Can we expect 12c to support both SOA & ETL integrations? Is it a roadmap at least?

ETL (extract transform load) tools & SOA are two different beasts which are independent to each other. Oracle Fusion Middleware (SOA Suite 12c) is the integration layer used to integrate on premise, cloud, IOT and mobile applications.

8. Good to know JDev is easy to install. What about SOA12 c installation? Is 12GB enough for both 12c installation & JDeveloper on same machine for development purposes?

Based on our experience, for development purposes it is recommended to have a minimum of 8GB of RAM. It is always nice to have more memory if you are planning to use ESS (Enterprise Scheduler Service) and MFT (Managed File Transfer); then you’d need to install WebLogic server and other components of SOA Suite 12c separately. Please refer to the documentation Oracle provides for more details on the installation.

9. Has there been any improvement in the MDS (Metadata Services/ Metadata Repository) migration process? Do we have to use custom scripts in 11g? Is this integrated to JDev in 12c?

As part of SOA12c, MDS is supported in OSB. You can check out the artifacts from MDS, but you cannot publish to MDS from OSB.

10. Can we use XQuery in BPEL?

One of the major enhancements of 12c is that Xquery is compatible with BPEL. However, there are a couple of points you should keep in mind while using Xquery: Xquery has a mapper similar to XSLT, and it can be used with BPEL or OSB.

11. Can we publish payload XML in the EM console manually, like we used to in SOA 10g?

If you are referring to XML Payload to test from Enterprise Manager (EM) console in SOA12c, then yes, 12c supports it as well.

12. Can we install Oracle SOA12c on AWS? Is it recommended?
AWS (Amazon Web Services) is an "Infrastructure as a Service" offering, it simply provides a cloud-based machine resource. The customer needs to be sure that the environment is properly patched, secured and that all installations are performed much like an on-premise installation. Oracle offers many cloud services, and continues to expand their offering. We recommend reaching out to Oracle to get the full value of running your integrations on the Cloud.

Join our Webcast on ERP-SalesForce.com Integration

Back by popular demand, on September 19th ITC will be bringing you an encore presentation of our webcast: “ERP-SFDC Integration with Oracle Cloud Adapter.” Register today and learn how Oracle’s Cloud Adapter can help you simplify integration. Reserve your spot here.

Protect your returns & Improve Quality Processes

There’s a smarter way to test. Join our webcast on September 23rd and learn all about Oracle Applications Testing Suite (OATS) and why its value goes beyond automation. Register today.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Larry turned 70 and Oracle Open World 14 Expects 70,000…


Even though a few weeks ago Larry Ellison turned 70, he is still very active, attending weekly product meetings and has not yet identified a successor. This is not because they don’t have a system in place – in fact, you can refer to my previous post where it’s perfectly clear that Oracle’s HR, led by Joyce Westerdahl, has a well-defined roadmap for every individual within the organization.

larry ellison oracle openworld oow oracle world oow14Having said that, there are many names in the hat, such as Mark Hurd and Safra Catz (current Presidents) or Edward Screven (from the product lines) or Thomas Kurian (who replaced Larry last year when America’s Cup 2013 became a legend). In my opinion, the decision of who will be leading Oracle will have a strong weight in the future of the organization.

But, let’s stop doing futurology and think about the short term – because Oracle OpenWorld is just a few weeks away and this year it’s expecting over 70,000 attendees. What we should expect? Which competitor will be on the hook? Would that be Salesforce.com again, who Larry accepted to be the number one Cloud application? Or would that be IBM, showing metrics of how Engineered Systems perform way better? Or maybe SAP, with a wide variety of things such as cloud applications, in-memory database -competing with HANA, and applications unlimited providing a huge uplift?

Let’s go over some of the major topics that might have news to present at OOW14:

Oracle Database 12c - In memory: We’ve heard some rumors of options being turned on and how that brings problems to customers performing the upgrade after the general availability of 12.1.0.2… well, those rumors seem to be far away now. Maria Colgan did a great blog post back in July demystifying the installation – yes, the in-memory feature is installed! – where she stated that the in-memory option, which is licensed separately, is actually disabled. There are 7 parameters for in-memory features that are disabled when you either install or upgrade your database. To be true to our readers, we need to mention that a bug was also found and Oracle - through Maria Colgan again- accepted and fixed it.
oracle openworld ebs presentation oow oow14
Gustavo Gonzalez @ OOW 12 w/ Oracle and PGA

I can anticipate that at OOW14 Oracle will be seizing the opportunity to show real cases with customers running this option and explain how you can leverage this feature with your existing application. For more information on sessions regarding Database In-Memory, click here.

The products from the Engineered Systems line of business will continue bringing news to the table. I’ve personally seen many organizations in LATAM purchase EXA products (unofficial estimation for Brazil is about 400 EXA machines running) and also a good number of Oracle Database Appliances, used mostly to improve performance for Oracle Apps.  For sure there’s going to be something new in this area so we’ll have to stay tuned and check out these sessions at OOW14.

Oracle confirmed in a press release that they’re the second largest cloud SaaS Company in the world. We all know that Larry is keen on being second to none. So Cloud will most likely become the next competitors and fictitious enemies on the center stage. The first “Cloud” company, per Oracle’s press release, is Salesforce.com with a very limited offering compared to Oracle’s. Think about SaaS for a minute: Salesforce.com only offers a CRM Suite (Sales, Marketing, Service, Social and a few others) and a platform (Salesforce1). Now set that against Oracle’s offering, with tools to:

•    Engage Customers: Marketing, Sales, Service, Configure, Price and Quote.
•    Empower People: Global Human Resources and Talent Management.
•    Empower Business: Financials, Procurement and Project Portfolio Management
•    Transform Supply Chain: Product Value Chain, and Value Chain Execution for Material Management and Transportation & Trade.
•    Manage Enterprise Performance: Enterprise Planning and Financial Performance Reporting.
•    Get Social: Social Network, Marketing, Engagement & Monitoring and Data & Insight.

Obviously there’s a big difference both in products and in terms of revenue between these 2 big companies: Oracle is making $1.1B and Salesforce.com is currently on $4.1B. In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time, since Oracle arrived late to this game and adoption is expected to experience exponential growth – big enough to make an impact in revenue, which has been growing steadily by 2 digits for several years.

Since the last Oracle OpenWorld in 2013, Oracle has acquired 11 companies. These companies can shed more light on the announcements we can expect at OOW14. Let’s review their latest strategic acquisitions:



Applications



Date
Company
Business
October, 2013
Compendium
A cloud-based content marketing provider that helps companies plan, produce and deliver engaging content across multiple channels throughout their customers' lifecycle.
October, 2013
BigMachines
A leading cloud-based Configure, Price & Quote (CPQ) solution provider.
December, 2013
Responsys
A top provider of enterprise-scale cloud-based business to consumer (B2C) marketing software.
February, 2014
BlueKai
A leading Data Management Platform to personalize marketing programs and customer experience.
June, 2014
LiveLOOK
An important co-browse functionality to improve customer experience through connected real-time engagements.
June, 2014 (pending)
MICROS System
A provider of integrated software and hardware solutions to the Hospitality and Retail industries.
July, 2014 (pending)
TOA Technologies
A leading Field Service SaaS to deliver effective and timely home- and facility-based customer service.



Middleware



Date
Company
Business
November, 2013
Blitzer Mobile
A provider of mobile apps management solutions that enables employee access to corporate data and applications from mobile devices, addressing the growing security needs created by the “bring your own device” (BYOD) movement.



Server, Storage and Networking



Date
Company
Business
December, 2013
Nirvanix
A cloud storage service with usage-based pricing.
March, 2014
Corente
A leading provider of software-defined networking (SDN) technology for wide area networks (WAN).
May, 2014
GreenBytes
A provider of ZFS technology with domain expertise in the areas of deduplication, replication, and virtualization.


From the list we can conclude that SaaS will continue to grow. The latest acquisitions are primarily oriented towards marketing, but the MICROS assets will add a valuable component to the offering by creating numerous opportunities for Oracle’s Software as a Service plus a specific industry package.

Finally, I envision that Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) will also get their time to shine. If we take a closer look at the sponsors, we won’t be seeing EMC or similar firms, and given the companies in Oracle’s portfolio, there’s a high chance they are going after the Backup as a Service or similar business. GreenBytes and Nirvanix assets brought some major advantages that will directly impact the offering.

Bottom line. Besides the four great bands and three epic nights with Aerosmith, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Capital Cities and Empire of the Sun, we are anxious to get started in the roller-coaster of a new Oracle Open World more than 2,500 sessions, networking with more than 70,000 business and technology professionals from around the world and living the show of the man of the hour Mr. Larry Ellison and his dream team at Oracle.

Let’s Stick Together in San Francisco!

You know, any time there are 70,000 people it can be easy to get lost in the crowd!

But let’s not let that happen to us!

While you’re in San Francisco, make sure to catch my session on Oracle Rollouts in Latin America (Sunday September 28th @ 11:00 am, Moscone South 250) and/or stop by Booth 2009 to meet in person.

You can also click here to visit our Oracle Open World Resources page to request a 1-1 with one of our experts.