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TEC Product Certification Report: Oracle E-Business Suite (12.1) for Process ERP Systems
Process ERP Systems
is also known as : Process Enterprise Resource Planning Systems
, Comprehensive Model of ERP Software
, MRP Software
, MRP Services
, Flagship ERP Software Package
, ERP Solutions
, ERP Systems Development
Enterprise Resource Planning Solutions, ERP Consulting, Oracle E-Business Suite ERP, Extensive ERP Products, Oracle E-Business Suite Enterprise Resource Planning, ERP Industry, Average ERP Product, ERP Landscape, ERP Evaluation Center, ERP Services Application, Process Manufacturing ERP Solutions, ERP Process, Material Requirements Planning, Manufacturing Resource Planning, ERP Software Solutions, ERP Implementation, What is ERP, ERP Business, ERP Project, ERP Integration, ERP Market, ERP Vendors, ERP Best Practices.
Table of Contents
Oracle E-Business Suite (12.1) has been certified by
Aleksey Osintsev, TEC Research Analyst
Gabriel Gheorghiu, TEC Research Analyst
Demonstration conducted by
Balakrishnan Kumarapuram, Oracle Global Partner Demo Services, Director
Raphael Lallemand, Oracle Midsize Applications Programs, Director
Sandip Bagchi, Oracle
Ranjith Krishnamoorthy, Oracle
Sayan Chatterjee, Oracle
Anuj Saxena, Oracle
Degang Fu, Oracle
Narasimha Gabbita, Oracle
Saralikanth Potluri, Oracle
Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) is pleased to announce that Oracle’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) product, E-Business Suite (12.1), is now TEC Certified for online evaluation of process manufacturing ERP solutions in TEC’s ERP Evaluation Center. The ERP Evaluation Center enables you to compare and evaluate functionality based on TEC’s comprehensive model of ERP software. Data used in the Evaluation Center are obtained from the vendor’s responses to TEC’s request for information (RFI). Certification ensures that
- Oracle E-Business Suite capabilities have been demonstrated to a TEC analyst based on the responses Oracle provided in its completed TEC RFI;
- a TEC analyst has analytically and comparatively reviewed Oracle E-Business Suite RFI data against known benchmarks.
There are many benefits to evaluating a TEC Certified product. To potential clients of a software vendor, TEC certification provides the following:
- Reassurance: You can be assured that the data TEC provides about its certified products conform to a well-defined standard of accuracy. When a vendor’s product is TEC Certified, it means that a trusted, independent third party has seen the product up close.
- Better Communication with Vendors: TEC certification helps ensure that vendors understand and respond accurately to their clients’ RFI criteria. Certification with TEC analysts provides the opportunity to clarify any issues with the RFI criteria. This ensures that the vendor is speaking the same language as its potential clients—and gives the clients an unambiguous specification of product functionality to inform their selections.
The certification seal is a valuable indicator for organizations that rely on the integrity of TEC’s research services for assistance with their software selection projects. Organizations looking for a solution can be confident that they’re comparing the product on an “apples to apples” basis with other, similar products.
Oracle E-Business Suite Market Data Summary
Oracle Corporation is one of the most-recognized global software companies in the world, and is a leader in information management systems and business applications software development, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems development, marketing, distribution, and deployment, along with related consulting, educational, and support services. Oracle E-Business Suite is its flagship ERP software package, and is positioned as an application for all types of businesses, of all sizes—from small entities to large multinational corporations. A few modules of the product have been on the market since the late 80s; it is now respected worldwide for its robustness, functionality, and scalability. The E-Business Suite can be successfully used by a business of any size—however, the software reaches its highest potential when it is used in midsized businesses and in large and multinational organizations with a wide geographical presence and a significant number of employees.
Being a global IT organization and the developer of one of the most extensive ERP products on the market, Oracle inarguably has all the necessary resources to develop and maintain the product, and in-depth knowledge of vertical industries for a long list of businesses and operation areas. The Oracle E-Business Suite application’s customers include thousands of small, medium, and large multinational manufacturers, retailers and distributors, facilities, services, and governmental organizations. The company offers many preconfigured vertical solutions that are created by its partners around the globe, and that make the implementation process shorter and easier to manage.
Oracle E-Business Suite ERP is successfully used at businesses and organizations for which the number of users ranges from dozens to as many as tens of thousands. The company delivers the software application translated into all major languages, and offers support in more than 145 countries. The on-demand version of Oracle E-Business Suite ERP is also available for companies that prefer hosted and managed applications.
Upon reviewing Oracle E-Business Suite ERP during the TEC certification process, TEC analysts determined that the application is very rich in functionality; it is a fit for practically any business model and any size of organization. At the same time, its user interface screens and menus are unified and consistent; the view and logic are visual and user-friendly. The layout of the screens makes the system relatively easy to navigate.
As far as the functionality of the Oracle E-Business Suite ERP system is concerned, the following are the highlights:
- Oracle’s open architecture allows for integration of different systems between various departments and regions.
- This product is certainly very complex and sophisticated, and has many different applications, processes, and internal tools. This sophistication makes it likely that users will need to expend considerable efforts to learn and become familiar with all the available tools and features.
- The Oracle E-Business Suite ERP system is a flexible and complete product in terms of the availability of multinational, multilanguage, multicurrency, and multisite functionality. The product is truly global and can be especially beneficial in this type of business environment.
- The system’s user interface features the usual screen texts, menus, tabs, and combination thereof with graphical representation of information, such as embedded diagrams and charts. It allows users to work with information quickly and with minimal errors.
- Oracle E-Business Suite ERP contains built-in search and select functionality—a very powerful and helpful tool that is not often seen in ERP systems.
- There are many types of customizable dashboards throughout the entire application that help managers and other users involved in their business processes to control functions.
- Operations that are similar for different business subdivisions can be centralized and unified to prevent data inconsistency and errors (e.g., the global tax engine, the centralized payments engine, the unified bank account model). Also, the whole back-office model can be copied from one operational unit to another.
- The system provides the ability to convert raw shop floor data into formats that can be further used by the business intelligence (BI) application to create analytics, reports, and dashboards.
- The touch screen feature allows users to directly manage manufacturing execution processes on the shop floor.
- The master data management (MDM) application can centrally control all business processes associated with different physical locations (such as remote corporate subdivisions or customer sites), including integration with mapping and other third-party applications.
- Oracle Business Intelligent Publisher is a tool that provides easy creation and modification of documents generated by the BI application.
Despite all the software’s features and advantages, Oracle E-Business Suite’s level of functionality can be superfluous for some small businesses—sometimes exceeding their requirements. However, it must be noted that Oracle Corporation exerts significant efforts to make the application less complicated for small and medium businesses, by providing them with faster and easier configuration and implementation methods and tools. At the same time, complexity-as-a-weakness is also another of the system’s strengths, which is the ability to support an expanding business and to support the future needs of a growing company. A highly scalable ERP system, by definition, does not limit a company in its increasing functional and technical requirements, and will remain adequate and efficient for any business scenario.
Based on four main principles, here is how SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI fared.
Ease of Use
- Layout: A tier-one ERP system’s interface is complex by definition, but taking this into consideration, the layout is straightforward and uncluttered. Information is arranged in screens, frames, and boxes, which allows for simple multitasking.
- Interface: The software has a fairly intuitive and logical interface which is highly configurable; its pattern and style are designed in Oracle’s typical conservative manner, and are consistent throughout the screens of the system’s major modules.
- Performing tasks: Tasks performed in any specific module are logically defined and accomplished. However, they do require that the user be trained on the application. The number of steps required to perform an average task was also reduced in the last release.
- Navigation: There are additional navigation tools and features available that make navigation easier and faster. Oracle E-Business Suite also supports touch-screen interfaces for shop floor information access and entering.
- Server: The solution can be deployed on the client’s premise, or can be hosted and managed by the vendor.
- Information retrieval: The multiple querying, reporting, and auditing capabilities of the software allow users to search and track information they need. Often, users do not even need to run a report to obtain particular information; it can be easily obtained via a search-and-select function.
- E-mail notifications: Pre-built role-specific alerts and notifications are available, and their settings can be easily configured for particular users or user groups.
- Data export: Users can easily export data to Microsoft Excel and other third-party applications.
- Reporting capabilities: The solution offers extensive reporting and BI capabilities that are embedded into the software (for example: role-based analytical interface, dashboard tools, and multiple standard reports), or that are offered as a standalone application (Oracle Enterprise Performance Management).
Ease of Modification
- Setup: The user interface is highly configurable according to user preferences and needs. Many fields, buttons, tabs, and general layouts of screens can be easily created or modified as required.
- Flexibility: No hard coding is required for screen and user workspace modification; they can be reconfigured for the entire organization, at the department level (or for user groups), or at the user level.
- Integration capabilities: The solution offers seamless integration of core modules of E-Business Suite, and easy integration with other Oracle products or third-party applications using the flexible Oracle Application Integration Architecture and Oracle Service-Oriented Architecture Suite products.
- New features: In release 12.1, E-Business Suite Oracle offers many new technical and functional features that allow businesses to better organize data, increase efficiency, and improve the visibility and accuracy of the data. Many of these features are innovations with respect to the ERP industry as a whole.
- Security: Multiple-level access control technology allows various authorization settings according to user, group, or department, or by combined or segregated duties.
- Scalability: As evidenced by the vendor’s marketing message, the application has superior scalability, from as few as 5 users to over 10,000 users. It offers the ability to set up multiple sites for different legal entities or remote subdivisions within the same company.
SAP with its ERP products is Oracle’s principal competitor in the ERP field. However, other tier-one and major tier-two vendors such as Lawson, Microsoft Dynamics AX, and Infor often compete with the Oracle E-Business Suite application, especially in the mid-market niche.
Using the TEC Advisor decision support engine, we have prepared high-level graphs that identify this product’s functional focus.
The TEC Focus Indicator (FI)™
This TEC Focus Indicator (FI) tells you which types of functionality are most likely to differentiate E-Business Suite from other process manufacturing ERP products. It includes three zones indicating the product’s focus: the Dominant zone, Competitive zone, and Not Competitive zone.
TEC’s models of software systems are designed with a comprehensive breadth; generally vendors will deliver a common base of functionality. While we believe in the necessity of knowing whether a product supports a base of common functionality, it’s very helpful to understand how a product really differs from the crowd.
The bars in this FI chart represent neither the quality of the product nor an absolute quantity of supported functionality. Rather, the bars show support relative to the average solution.
The functional focus arrow indicates which modules of this product provide an equal or greater quantity of support than the average solution. Modules near the top of the functional focus arrow reveal where Oracle E-Business Suite is more likely to differentiate itself through breadth of functionality. The more concern you have for the type of functionality near the top of the functional focus, the more it’s to your advantage to explore this product further.
Understanding the TEC FI Zones
The top Overall bar shows the overall difference in supported functionality between E-Business Suite and the average solution. To understand how we calculate this difference, read the Calculating the TEC FI section, which follows.
The Overall bar is our measure for determining which modules fall within the Dominant zone. If a module’s difference from the average is greater than the product’s overall difference from the average, we label it as Dominant. Those are the modules most responsible for pulling the Overall bar beyond the average.
Modules with values that do not extend beyond the Overall bar but still provide as much or more functionality than the average solution, are labeled as Competitive.
In the process manufacturing area, Oracle E-Business Suite has only one module located in the Dominant zone: Human Resources, for which Oracle E-Business Suite demonstrates balanced and stable results.
More details about the modules in the Dominant zone are available in the Functionality Benchmark section of this report.
The area of functional focus within the green Dominant zone indicates two things. First, it indicates which of the most competitive modules contribute the most pull in raising the product’s score above the average. Second, it indicates where the product has a significantly greater level of support for functionality than the average solution in this space.
This also may reveal how the vendor has focused its product development. These modules may or may not make up the bulk or even the core of the functionality within the product but if you require more than the average breadth of functionality from these modules, this product will stand a better than average chance of satisfying your requirements.
Oracle E-Business Suite has six modules located in the Competitive zone: Financials, Quality Management, Process Manufacturing Management, Inventory Management, Sales Management, and Purchasing Management.
The Oracle application is a leader in this space as well, but unlike the discrete ERP area (see TEC Product Certification Report: Oracle E-Business Suite (12.1) for Discrete ERP), its competitors often have commensurable levels of functional support, especially in the Inventory Management, Sales Management, and Purchasing Management modules.
More details about the modules in the Competitive zone are available in the Functionality Benchmark section of this document.
The area of functional focus within the green Competitive zone indicates where the product has a level of support for functionality that is somewhat greater or on par with the average solution.
In some cases a module may be considered a commodity within the market so many vendors offer the majority of the functionality, thus it is difficult to differentiate a product based on breadth of functionality. In other cases, a vendor may intend its product to compete on a level that satisfies most customers’ requirements for certain modules; however its focus on the market requires that it differentiate itself through other modules.
Not Competitive Zone
None of the functional modules of Oracle E-Business Suite are located in Not Competitive zone of ERP for process manufacturing—the application is truly a leader in this space.
The area in the red Not Competitive zone indicates where the product supports a lesser quantity of functionality than an average solution. Modules listed in this section are unlikely to be as important to the vendor’s target market as the other modules. It may also be the case that the product is a newer entrant to the space. If the product has a lot of modules in the Not Competitive zone it signifies a more finely scoped target for its functionality than other products, which may be indicative of a point solution.
Even if a product has modules in the Not Competitive zone it may still be entirely capable of satisfying your requirements for this functionality, particularly if the average solution offers more functionality than you require. Nevertheless you should be aware that if you require a greater than average breadth of functionality from a module in the Not Competitive zone, this product may not offer all of what you require. It’s likely that you would need to review the product in more depth to determine whether its functionality is sufficient.
Calculating the TEC FI
TEC defines an average solution using data about real software products available on the market. We calculate an average of the capabilities about which vendors recently provided us with information and that we’ve certified. We define these capabilities and assign numeric ratings representing various levels of support in our models of enterprise software. These models may be accessed on our publicly available evaluation centers. Typically, we use anywhere from a thousand to several thousand criteria to determine the average scores.
The average solution forms the benchmark from which we calculate the difference in functionality offered by E-Business Suite. We plot the average solution’s capabilities at point zero on the x-axis.
Next, we determine the quantity of functionality supported by E-Business Suite for each module in our model. We assume that all criteria are equally important. In a real world situation of course, you would give a greater priority to criteria that are more important for your needs. However, for the sake of the TEC FI analysis, we want to understand something about the product’s focus independent of any users’ functional priorities. (Note: If you wish to prioritize and evaluate the product’s functionality, you can do so online in our ERP Evaluation Center.)
We calculate the difference between E-Business Suite and the average solution, and we plot that value as a positive or negative distance from zero (the average solution’s capability). If, for example, E-Business Suite offers a greater quantity of support for a particular module than found in the average solution, its line will extend to the right of zero.
It’s important to note as well that just because a product has more or less functionality than other products does not mean it is a good or bad product. To understand whether it will do what you need it to do, at a price within your budget, you must evaluate the product in depth.
The following functionality benchmark graphs represent E-Business Suite’s quantity of support for the functionality within each module identified in the TEC Focus Indicator. The further the solid line extends toward the edge of the graph, the more functionality E-Business Suite supports. For the sake of comparison, you can see what you might expect from the average solution by viewing the dashed, orange line.
The ratings for the Oracle E-Business Suite in the Human Resources module demonstrate an excellent result for the Benefits, Payroll, Employee Self-service, Employees Metrics, and Training submodules, where the scores are equal to 100 percent. In the Personnel Management submodule, its rating is also very close to top level. As for the Health and Safety submodule, the ratings dip slightly, corresponding to a similar decrease in the average solution curve, while in the Workforce Management submodule it is almost 94 percent—again much higher than the average rating. The differences in support level between Oracle’s product and the process manufacturing average are significant, and fluctuate from 11 to 41 percent.
The ratings for Oracle E-Business Suite’s Finance module are excellent—equal or almost equal to 100 percent for each of eight functional areas. Its competitors also demonstrate good results; however, their average is around 91 percent for the entire module. The biggest difference in support level ratings between Oracle E-Business Suite and the average is in the Fixed Assets, Cost Accounting, and Budgeting submodules. The functional areas where Oracle’s competitors approach E-Business Suite are Accounts Payable, General Ledger, and Cash Management.
The Oracle E-Business Suite is strong in the Quality Management module, as it demonstrated in the graph below. The rating result here is stable and equal to 100 percent, meaning that all 29 criteria are supported out of the box. The average solution rating is 90.6 percent. Note that there are fewer criteria in this module as compared to other modules.
Process Manufacturing Management
In the Process Manufacturing Management module, the Oracle E-Business Suite compares favorably to the average process manufacturing solution. In all nine submodules, its rating is higher than the average. However, Oracle’s competitors in process manufacturing demonstrate results that are fairly close to E-Business Suite; their average is 88.95 percent for the entire module versus Oracle’s 96.25. The biggest differences in rating between Oracle E-Business Suite and the average are in the Conformance Reporting (11.7 percent), Production Planning (10.38 percent), and Process Model (Formulas + Routings) (9.02 percent) modules. For Process Batch Control and Reporting the difference is 2.26 percent, and for Product Costing it is 3.32 percent only.
In the Inventory Management module, Oracle E-Business Suite ratings are strong and stable—in six out of eight functional areas it reaches 100 percent support: Processing Requirements, Data Requirements, Reporting and Interfacing Requirements, Locations and Lot Control, Reservations and Allocations, and Adjusting Inventory. The two other submodules also perform well. As for the process ERP average, its overall rating is almost 94 percent. The biggest differences between Oracle’s product and the average lie in Forecasting (13.22 percent) and Reservations and Allocations (6.73 percent). Results are nearly equal in Reporting and Interfacing Requirements (1.89 percent) and Data Requirements (1.96 percent).
Although the ratings for Oracle E-Business Suite are strong in the Sales Management area, ratings for its competitors converge on Oracle’s results in Pricing and Discounting (0.21 percent), Reporting and Interfacing Requirements (0.71 percent), and Online Requirements (1.76 percent). The biggest differences are in Available-to-promise (13.13 percent), Customer Relationship Management and E-commerce Requirements (11.6 percent), and Customer Service and Returned Goods Handling (4.35 percent).
The graph below indicates that Oracle E-Business Suite’s Purchasing Management functionality is powerful and stable, with ratings equal to 100 percent in eight functional areas out of twelve. The four remaining submodules are also very close to the maximum. The average solution also performs well, with an overall rating of 97.50 percent. The biggest gaps between the two are in Requisitions and Quotations (8.85 percent), Rating of Suppliers (7.42 percent), and Repeat Procurement (6.16 percent).
Oracle’s E-Business Suite application demonstrates a strong lead in all seven functional areas reviewed. Analysis of the graphs and software ratings clearly shows that this product is one of the dominant solutions on the market: it is mature, well-balanced, innovative, and comprehensive in functionality. Different types and sizes of businesses may benefit from the Oracle E-Business Suite as either a core ERP system or as a selection of modules, given the product’s flexibility and scalability, as well as the availability of a large number of vertically tailored solutions.
Based on TEC’s product research during the product certification process, we consider this product to be well established, reliable, and suitable for companies that are dedicated to performance improvement and future development.
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