Implementing enterprise-level software has its challenges. Traditionally, a few of the most demanding and challenging milestones of an implementation project have been the conversions and integrations.
Oracle has been quite generous about open “import” interfaces in E-Business Suite (EBS). The new generation of Oracle’s enterprise software solution, Oracle Fusion, especially Oracle Cloud Supply Chain Management offerings, are not shy from providing such interface methods to its users. The remarkable improvement going from the on-premise solution to the cloud platform when it comes to user interfaces is the ability to use the FBDI files, which virtually eliminates the need for any technical objects and technical resources to load and manipulate data. This article will focus on the use of File-Based Data Import (FBDI) use in major entities within a use case for Oracle Cloud Supply Chain Management (SCM) Manufacturing Suite.
Traditionally, external data is first extracted from the source system and loaded into a format that the developer is expecting to receive. Then the files are usually either uploaded to a server, or provided to the technical team, so they can upload to the database. According to my prior experiences data extraction, transformation, and load (ETL) has been a challenge due to various methods and formats that heavy involvement of technical objects.
In Cloud, Oracle eliminates some of the layers and removes the need for custom object development when it comes to the L piece of the process. This is how:
1. Download the template.
For most processes or objects, Oracle has created the FBDI files that are easy to understand Excel files to be filled out: the templates. The first step is to download the desired template from the Oracle documentation internet page.
2. Fill out the template manually or through an extraction program.
Oracle provides great flexibility to the user as long as the data is populated in the format Oracle expects, the data set could be an extraction or manually created data. If there is a legacy system that the data must be extracted, developers download the data in the expected file format, and that’s it.
3. Load the data to the Interface Tables.
This is the step I appreciate the most. In one shot, one can load up the file to Oracle Cloud platform and populate all interface files without the need of the technical team or any development objects. If there is an error in the process, Oracle provides meaningful error messages and also purge capabilities if needed.
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4. Run the interface program
Once the” “Load Interface File for “import” program finishes successfully, the interface is ready to be run. Each process is well documented in its respective application area. It is recommended that users or implementation consultants read and understand the related documentation executing the interface. Even though there is a standard among the FBDI loads, each product and process has slight variations.
5. Monitor the progress and validate data.
If the data is not loaded as expected, Oracle provides ADFdi interface to correct the data in the interface tables in most cases. This is also a great improvement. It gives the functional user the ability to correct most interface errors and run the import process again. Please refer to this article to learn more about the use of ADFdi” “What is ADFdi and How do I Easily Download I”?”
6. Verify the data in the User Interface or Oracle OTBI
Once data is uploaded, one can go to the user interface and query up the uploaded data. Alternatively, Oracle OTBI solution is a great venue to extract the loaded data. In my experience, the cursory check of the data through the user interface is the first validation, but business users usually would like to see an extract of the data for reconciliation purposes. OTBI reports are available and can be put together to help this process.
Use Case: Manufacturing Work Orders Conversion
Oracle provides excellent tools to import Manufacturing Work Orders. After the manufacturing plant setups are complete, the first step is to import the work definitions. For Standard Operations a robust ADFdi tool is available. Once the Work Definitions are in, then the next step is to import Work Orders. This assumes that all item-related setups and dependent data are imported.
Oracle Fusion Manufacturing offers a set of FBDI templates. The Work Order Import contains the details about Work Order Headers, Operations, Resource, and Material requirements as well as any serial or component item information. The “Work Execution” work area has a Spreadsheet solution to monitor and correct the import processes. Once the FBDI template is loaded for the Work Orders, the user can see the uploaded data in the ADFdi sheet.
After running the Work Order Import, failed batches and records will still remain on the ADFdi sheet. There are plain English messages on the sheet. Users can make necessary corrections and keep running the process until all records are fixed. Alternatively, the user also is given the choice of deleting the loaded data and populating and uploading a fresh FBDI file.
After validating the data, Work Order transactions can be performed to issue material or charge labor, and complete operations. That way the Work Orders can be brought to the state they were in, in the legacy systems before go-live.
Best Practices to follow using the FBDI tool
- Always use the latest templates from Oracle.com. As implementations tend to take longer than a quarter, it is possible that the FBDI template used in the beginning of the project could be updated by Oracle. In general, any implementation consultant should follow the Oracle documentation for each quarterly release of the software
- Ensure that the dates and numbers are in the required format.
- Editing files in Excel after validation and compiling into the zip files can cause formatting issues. After reviewing the extracted CSV files, refrain from editing in Excel, and zip the files as they come from Legacy extraction
- Do not change the expected CSV file names. Oracle file uploader will err out and will not know how to process the file
- Familiarize with the related OTBI tool and create a report for the reconciliation process.
- Before proceeding with the upload, read and understand the related objects data import. For example: Is there a purge program? Can you correct the uploaded data?
In summary in Oracle Cloud SCM solutions, data migrations and conversions are becoming more robust and user friendly. Even though the tools and processes are getting simpler, a holistic approach is required to perform conversions in proper order to respect the data dependencies.
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