PUM Updates can be seen as a bit of a mixed blessing. They are a great mechanism to adopt new functionality quickly. The challenge is, they come out frequently enough that staying current can be a never-ending work cycle. For each FSCM Image that comes out, I will highlight the most applicable, exciting, relevant features and indicate why I feel that way. Where possible, I will also endeavor to give examples that will help you, the faithful readers, to apply my thoughts to your business, whatever it may be.
FSCM Image 19 Overview
FSCM Image 19 dropped recently and there are some exciting new pieces of functionality included. Oracle has continued their commitment to making the Fluid framework the core of the application going forward. As a result, many of the new features in this image relate to increasing the functionality and utility of applications within Fluid. The good news for those who are not yet ready to adopt Fluid is that Oracle has by no means abandoned the Classic mode. Now, let’s get into the features.
The two big changes in this release relate to expenses and WorkCenters and both offer some real opportunities for business process improvement as well as more cheerful users.
Fluid Expense Report Features
Oracle has completely revamped the Expense Report in Fluid. This is huge. Before Image 19, the Fluid Expense Report was at best a pale attempt at creating usable functionality. The number of items that were simply better in Classic mode made Fluid adoption difficult to justify. Now the Fluid Expense Report has nearly identical features and functionality to the Classic Expense Report. The only real challenge to adoption is the form factor. The new Fluid pages take up more real estate and require more data entry than the simplified format of pre-19, which means more scrolling. However, the gains in functionality more than make up for this.
The screenshots below highlight the layout and key new functionality within the Fluid Expense Report.
In the above screenshot, note the Receipt Split and Itemize Hotel Bill (Hotel Wizard) buttons. Neither of these functions were available prior to Image 19. Also, the Accounting Detail can now accommodate all of your business’s essential chartfields, rather than being artificially limited. The new fully-featured Fluid Expense Report is sure to put smiles on the faces of your company’s road warriors.
WorkCenter Scopes Feature
Let me start off by saying that I think the WorkCenters are easily the best feature that has been rolled out as part of 9.2. The flexibility that has been granted to users in organizing and pursuing their daily work is superb. The fact that they are also relatively easy to improve, maintain, configure, and apply is icing on the cake. Oracle has provided not only the functionality, but also a very solid starting point for business with each WorkCenter they have rolled out. Now, with WorkCenters being developed in the Fluid interface, the sky is the limit in terms of functionality.
Image 19 improved the way that WorkCenters are used. The Filter function in the My Work section of the WorkCenter is the perfect example. In previous versions, if your job function required you to do work for multiple areas of the company whose needs and/or processing schedules were different, you had limited choices in how to address your filters. You could manually change your filters as you worked in the different areas, but that would require editing each set of filter values repeatedly to shift between areas. Alternatively, you could add all of your work areas into one filter then manually filter your work further, thus negating the true value of the filter functionality. Image 19 has eliminated this issue through what is essentially a higher level filter or grouping of filters called Scope.
Scope allows you to set all of your filters to one set of values and save that as a preset. From there you can create other Scopes that have entirely different value sets. So now, instead of tediously setting each filter by hand as you shift your focus between work areas, you can make one selection. This way every work item in your My Work section updates with the new filter values and you can continue your work in that area. This substantially increases the value and usability of WorkCenters for your workers. Scope is available in both Fluid and Classic modes (although not all WorkCenters are currently available in the Fluid interface).
Image 19 rolled out a series of other features as well. While these do not have the same impact that the ones described above do, they still deserve mention as your business may find them very relevant:
- Fluid – Fluid WorkCenter improvements (Links, Scopes)
- GL/Fluid – GL Business Unit Management added to Fluid
- GL – Account Reconciliation enhancements
- Global – VAT updates (Japan, Italy, India)
- LA – Real Estate becomes Lease Administration – all asset types available to Leasing (Operating or Capital)
- AP – Prepayment simplification and usability improvements
- AR – Override chartfields on write-offs, unpost direct journals, zero payment deposits
- IN – Cost Balancing WorkCenter created in Fluid
- DMW – ADS sets added for DEIU, Actuals Close
I hope this has been helpful. I know that the rapid release of functionality through the PUM images can be tough to keep up with, so I will to continue to report the most exciting new functionality. I think you can agree that Image 19 certainly has some compelling features.