This document will continue to evolve as existing sections change and new information is added. All updates are logged below, with the most recent updates at the top.
27 APR 2017
05 DEC 2016
Initial Document Creation
In today’s competitive business environment, your organization must deliver products that offer a differentiated set of capabilities, drive superior customer experience, and provide a high return on innovation. Bringing such profitable products to market requires that you excel at all phases of the product introduction process, from identifying high-value ideas, to developing those ideas into the correct products, to commercializing those products effectively in your sales channels. Oracle is unique in providing a complete product lifecycle management solution from ideas through development to commercialization, together with comprehensive product master data management, all based on a single, integrated product record, and all delivered in the cloud. This combination will transform your fragmented product development processes into information-driven, integrated, and collaborative product value chains.
Oracle Supply Chain Management (SCM) Cloud includes the following products to support your innovation to commercialization process:
- Innovation Management: Build an innovation pipeline fueled by a steady stream of high-value ideas, which results in profitable offerings.
- Product Development: Manage and coordinate product data and processes so that you can design and develop high-value products.
- Product Hub: Rapidly commercialize products that use centralized product information for manufacturing, marketing, and sales across global manufacturing sites, sales channels, and trading partners.
Oracle Innovation Management Cloud enables your company to increase revenue growth and drive a competitive advantage through a systematic and sustainable approach to capturing, selecting and investing in the right ideas and product concepts. By striking the right balance between structure and openness, Innovation Management provides you with insight into the business outcome of each potential innovation, while at the same time facilitating the creative power of your people. Financial impact analysis and strategic fit visibility can then guide key portfolio decision makers to the best investments to commercialize in alignment with strategic aspirations.
New capabilities in Release 12 extend social, extensibility, analytics, and security features in Innovation Management. These enhancements provide you with both greater efficiencies in managing your innovation processes and on-boarding users to Innovation Management.
Decisions to “green light” a product development idea will usually result in a project. However, the “project” process is often disconnected from the “design and development” processes, often resulting in the duplicate maintenance of status information. This historic disconnect hampers your ability to respond when actual costs and performance deviates from the planned budget and success criteria.
In this release, you have visibility to the actual cost from the Oracle Agile Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Product Portfolio. The updated actual costs are read-through to the Cost tab of the proposal through a refresh action. Updated cost data is then visible and available for both portfolio and extended transactional reporting.
With actual project cost data, you are able to better monitor and react when the costs deviate from the planned budget. You can then make informed decisions across both the proposal and the portfolio, and take appropriate actions to adjust the proposal and strategic portfolio – such as allocating additional budget, postponing the project, and/or leveraging savings to new proposals.
Monitoring portfolio decisions against respective project schedules and milestone details has traditionally resulted in disconnected processes. Delayed projects result in compromised business justification, missed business expectations, and potentially failed projects.
With this release, when Agile Product Portfolio Management projects are automatically linked, you will be able to view proposal start and end dates, proposal launch date (milestone), and the linked Agile PLM project start and end dates in a Gantt chart. This provides a more comprehensive view of planned versus actual schedules. The additional schedule details are easily viewable on the Resources tab of the portfolio as you expand each proposal.
With increased visibility into the proposal and project timelines, you have critical information that you can use to react more quickly to schedule disconnects, to make timely adjustments to the portfolio, and to drive more predictable, profitable innovation.
Making portfolio decisions without having visibility into all critical factors often results in suboptimal results. Reviewing the relevant details requires navigation to related ideas, requirements, concepts, or proposals. This can be time-consuming and not intuitive to portfolio reviewers.
With this release, a Relationships table has been added to the Elements dialog for the proposal details. In addition to seeing the proposal details, portfolio reviewers can now quickly navigate to related information, such as the ideas driving the request and the status of requirements and concepts.
If a project plan is delayed or a proposal is at risk of being cut, you will be able to quickly navigate from the relationships table to determine customer impact, whether requirements are met, and if the concept achieves targeted costs. Having these additional details in a connected process prevents data isolation and drives decisions with the best possible outcome.
Because Innovation Management is the front end of your innovation funnel, this may require sharing data across other systems or applications. Web services provide you with the required ability to define granular access control for multiple external systems, the link between the cloud and data residing in existing applications.
With this release, you are able to leverage externalized web services spanning requirements (for custom data composer attributes), ideas (for customers, votes, comments, and custom data composer attributes), concepts, proposals, portfolios, and relationships, enabling you to synchronize data across other systems and the Innovation Management application.
Design reuse is a key requirement to accelerate the pace of new innovations. However, it is often challenging to make required information readily available during the innovation process, leading to a tendency to “reinvent the wheel.” Selection of new or existing items for a concept or structure can become a data-driven exercise spanning both the item’s functionality and its respective pricing and supply chain attributes. When this happens, design reuse becomes easier, and therefore more common.
With this release, you gain two-way synchronization across Innovation Management concepts or components and Product Development item attributes. When promoting a concept to an item in
Product Development, the attributes are mapped to the new item. Alternatively, if an item is added to a concept in Innovation Management (from Product Development), mapped item attributes will be read through to the concept item specification attributes. This provides the ability to evaluate the concept against cost and risk metrics.
The bi-directional mapping of attribution improves your visibility into each item’s supply chain and pricing information, taking the guesswork out of part selection and risk analysis. By empowering your engineers and supply chain analysts with the right data at the point of selection and evaluation, you will be able to shrink design cycles and get it right the first time.
Innovation and new product design is typically a highly iterative process, where the product evolves through newer revisions along the path to commercialization. Processes can quickly get out of synch, resulting in missed requirements and products that fail to deliver to customer expectations.
With this release, you will have greater visibility into item revisions. Each revision is associated with its requirement through a “Has Changed” indicator, located on Product Development items added to the Innovation Management Relationships table. If a requirement is tied to a specific revision of a Product Development item and that item undergoes a revision change, the Relationships table of the Innovation Management object is updated. This update is flagged as a blue dot, indicating that a newer revision of the item exists. Hovering over the blue dot displays a tool tip alerting you that the item is “Modified in a later version.”
This additional visibility into item revision change enables you to reconfirm linked requirements that are being met by the newer revisions. By having this visibility, you can update requirements to the new revision as appropriate, eliminating the risk of product changes failing to deliver against the product requirements specifications.
Product proposals can contain sensitive information, such as projected revenues, market strategies, and so on, yet product development is now typically a multi-enterprise process with a large collaborative community. This combination requires a comprehensive and flexible method to define and secure functional and data access across different team members.
With this release, a new Add Team Member action is available. When your proposal team is created, only authorized team members will be able to discover and access the associated proposal. Data security is shared across both the concept and the related proposal.
With this additional security feature, each innovation proposal is securely accessible to only the stakeholders who require the business case expectations and associated product development information.
Collaboration across supply chain partners, supplies, and customers early in the new product development cycles improves product success. Without a common social collaboration platform, critical input can be missed or misinterpreted, which results in additional product redesigns. Oracle Social Network is purpose-built to provide such an enterprise-class, secure, and business object-aware collaboration environment.
In this release, Oracle Social Network has been enhanced to enable outside users to annotate documents that will become artifacts of the innovations to which they have been invited to review. Annotations are graphic markers and review remarks you can add to a document preview wherever you want them. For example, using annotations, you can add a pushpin marker to a document preview and enter a comment about the document right where the pushpin is placed. Each person’s annotations appear in a unique color so that you can easily identify who added what.
By extending social collaboration to outside users, you can validate your interpretation of the voice of customers and partners, verify concepts, clarify ideas and requirements, or even discover a new approach. Outside users see only what you choose to share, and you will have an artifact of the collaboration, including the input, people participating, and when the collaboration occurred.
Staying connected in innovation discussions can prove to be a challenge with informal methods of collaboration. E-mail, phone, and hallway conversations lack traceability of decisions and the reasons those decisions were made.
Oracle Social Network enables a variety of collaboration methods. You can discuss innovation activities in forums, membership groups, or one-on-one; you can review, annotate and publish files; and you can follow the daily activities of the people and discussions you choose. You can also receive a daily digest of conversations and activities; this summary is critical to productivity.
In this release, a conversation can be initiated from Innovation Management for requirements, or from Product Development for change orders or items. When a conversation is initiated from either of these locations, an embedded link will enable users to navigate bi-directionally between the object of discussion and the conversation details.
With Oracle Social Network, your teams can collaborate to leverage the group’s collective expertise, make informed decisions, and drive product innovation forward efficiently and quickly.
Oracle Product Development Cloud enables design and component engineers to effectively manage the new product design, development, and release process in the context of a product’s lifecycle. The solution offers a modern cloud-based user interface optimized to create and manage development items. It’s also optimized for associated structures (bills of materials), attributes, design documents, approved manufacturers lists, and change orders. All of this is performed on the common enterprise product record that supports all aspects of the product’s lifecycle.
This release provides significant enhancements to Product Development by providing the power user with advanced capabilities for managing affected objects on a change order. This includes a dedicated page to author changes across multiple affected objects, bulk editing of affected objects, and fill up/fill down to populate fields quickly, with a single click. This release uses a type-ahead search, an improvement upon the existing search and discovery experience, which allows you to quickly find the objects you want. Clipboard and cut-and-paste functions provide you an easier way to add items in bulk, speeding up the creation of objects. Other enhancements include improved workflow notifications, change audit, item history, and future effective changes.
The landing page of an application is a key user interface for any business application. The Product Development application is equally vital, and it’s also process-intensive. You need visibility into workflow tasks awaiting completion, and a quick summary of items currently in process.
With this release, the Product Development landing page shows four modified information tiles:
- My Worklist, showing your notifications that require action.
- My Changes, showing your change orders grouped by status.
- My Favorite Structures, showing your favorite items grouped by lifecycle phase categories. (You can now filter on released or unreleased items for a structure. In the structure list, you can take an action to assign items to a change order.)
- My Recently Visited Items, showing the three most recently visited items.
With this capability, information tiles are more readable and ambiguity is removed in summarized content, which improves user productivity.
Quickly discovering items and component parts for products or finding changes that affect your products are some of the first tasks that you perform in a product lifecycle management system. An inefficient search forces you to repeat your search multiple times, wasting valuable time in your process.
In this release, you can expedite discovery and search of products with an enhanced keyword search. The new search provides suggested matches as you start typing keywords. This real-time capability allows you to start with a simple search term, and then click on a suggested match to navigate directly to an object. This type-ahead capability is also available when you want to search and add components to a structure, or modify affected items on a change order. In addition, the keyword search can now execute searches without requiring you to specify the % character as a wildcard for partial keyword searches. Productivity is enhanced when you can find items, manufacturers, manufacturer part numbers, or change orders efficiently.
With this capability, you can speed discovery and search of products without knowing the exact search criteria before you begin. This allows you to spend more time defining and managing products by eliminating time spent on inefficient item and component part searches.
Too often, engineering systems and processes are less transparent to, and are disconnected from, downstream commercialization and supply chain processes. This causes out-of-synch data and other data modifications that impact engineering and manufacturing. You can now view operational attributes with product development for items that have been commercialized and/or released to production. This allows for visibility of information that is typically available only for downstream functions, thereby speeding up the development and change process. Simply click on navigational “page dots” to move to various pages of attributes.
In addition, a new Product Line attribute has been added as an out-of-the-box feature to designate each product’s product line. Product lines are defined as functional catalogs in the item master.
This visibility into supply chain operational information allows you to make better decisions as you process changes and iterations to already-released items. As a result, overall change cycle processing times are reduced, change definition rework is minimized, and frequency of errors that otherwise would have occurred is lowered.
As your products progress through their lifecycle, they will invariably go through multiple iterations and changes, a direct result of your business dynamics. In many cases, tracking the evolution of these changes is a critical or even a mandatory requirement. A complete and through audit of a record is needed in order to satisfy these conditions and avoid hefty penalties.
With this release, you have the ability to view the history of an item with a configurable search capability. This allows tracking of a particular change, including who made the change and when the change occurred. This history is not limited to out-of-the-box, predefined data elements, but also includes any user-defined custom attributes. History tracking can be configured to track the relevant data elements and exclude elements that do not need to be tracked for your business function.
Item history helps you to achieve regulatory compliance and also gives you a window on past actions that can help improve your processes and decision-making.
As you build product structures as part of a new product development process or to update an existing product, situations arise where you need to add multiple items from an existing structure to another product structure. Adding multiple components one at a time would make the update process cumbersome and inefficient.
With this release, the item clipboard now allows for faster creation of structures by allowing items from an existing structure to be copied into a clipboard. These items can then be added to another structure, which is a much faster process than searching and selecting individual items. The clipboard persists within a session and resets when the user logs out of the application.
This enhancement provides a power user a tool for more productive management of product structures by minimizing the number of clicks needed, which saves time and reduces errors.
As you develop new products, existing customer requirements may change. New or changed requirements are not reflected in the product unless you are aware of these changes.
Requirements changes are now indicated by an icon, allowing instant feedback on when requirements have changed for a given item.
With this capability, you now have visibility into requirement changes so that you can update your products to reflect the new requirements.
As you manage iterations to your products, you need a revision number system that is understandable and recognizable by your business. Given that a product can go through many revisions, an intuitive, system-suggested revision numbering scheme is desirable.
With this release, you can automatically calculate the next higher revision number for an affected item. For example, if you have an original revision string of ABFFFGH34BCD, the system calculates the next revision based on the following logic.
- The system starts by finding the leftmost substring. The string evaluation starts from the leftmost character, and stops when the first non-letter character is encountered. In our example, the leftmost character is A, and the first non-letter character in the string is 3.
- All of the characters after the last non-letter character are discarded. In our example, this leaves the substring ABFFFGH.
- The system then increments the last character to the next sequence letter. Our new revision is ABFFFGI.
- For revision numbers that do not have any non-letter characters, no substring is detected. For example, a revision number of AAG will be incremented to AAH as the next higher revision.
- You can overwrite the system-suggested next higher revision manually before approving the change order.
With this improvement, your revisions are easier to recognize. This flexibility prevents errors in choosing the appropriate next revision sequence.
Typically, a product may have multiple documents that represent additional details of the product. Adding or downloading documents one at a time is cumbersome and unproductive.
The attachment user interface has been upgraded. You can now have multiple views, drag and drop attachments, upload multiple documents, and download documents.
With this capability, you can now effortlessly attach multiple documents to a product, as well as view details of the attached documents. This improves productivity and management of your product documents.
As part of change management, you may need to process changes to multiple items on a single change order. This means certain information must apply to all change lines; otherwise, you may have to author the same changes for all items on a change order. Completing each field separately for every affected object results in a lot of wasted time, as well the possibility of errors and rework.
Change order maintenance and user productivity is greatly improved through:
- Fill Up, Fill Down, or Fill Selected – With this release, you have various options at your disposal to quickly fill in information for multiple affected objects with a single click. This capability allows you to specify a value for an affected object attribute, which then automatically updates the rest of the affected objects. Use the Fill Up and Fill Down options to update the attribute for all affected object lines above or below the line containing the newly specified attribute. The Fill Selected option allows you to restrict the fill function and select a smaller subset of affected objects.
- Affected Object Power User View – An additional power user task flow is available for you to be more productive in authoring multiple affected object details and changes. You can readily access this multi-object view through a dedicated power icon on the Change Order page, allowing you to navigate to it directly with a single click. The power view is rendered in a dialog where the affected object details and the changes for the items can be authored in a single user interface.
- Bulk Edit for Affected Object – In cases where the same details need to be changed or specified across all affected objects, a bulk edit capability allows you to specify or edit the affected object line details.
- Default and Persistent Affected Object View – The system now remembers the affected object view that you recently accessed, and this is retained as a default view across sessions. This establishes a personal preference, enhancing productivity by allowing you to maintain your preference of either the table or list view.
- Affected Object Selector – The previous release introduced the affected object selector while authoring or editing changes for affected objects. This selector has been further enhanced to allow you to navigate and step through the affected objects in a sequence by clicking on the forward and backward icons. The record-based navigation can be done in increments of 1 or 25 records at a time by selecting the single forward or backward icons or the fast-forward or backward icons. The record count is also shown, making it easier to visualize where you are in the record sequence. You also have the flexibility to select a specific affected object for direct navigation, typically applicable when a specific affected object needs to be edited.
These capabilities make your change definition process more user friendly. These capabilities reduce your change definition and approval cycle times, improving the speed with which you can implement changes.
Change order workflow phases provide a way to visualize the multi-step change definition and implementation process.
With this release, all workflow phases can be selected to view details of a particular state, such as history and approvers. Selected workflow states now have a blue border surrounding the selected state to highlight the selection. The system synchronizes and displays the Workflow Summary and Approver Panel for the workflow state that has been selected in the workflow schematic.
This capability provides quick and clear visibility into the workflow status and the history of the approval process, further improving the speed of implementing your changes.
As part of change management workflow, most customers require a change to be routed to the appropriate stakeholders based on certain conditions that are specific to the change. These conditions are dynamic, and creating an approver list for all conditions is very cumbersome.
With this release, you can now define business rules that allow for assignment of approvers by evaluating customer-defined rules and conditions. This powerful capability allows you to capture the business condition once and route the approval to the appropriate approver rather than having a predetermined routing.
This capability speeds up and removes any bottlenecks for change order approval, which expedites the change implementation process and reduces the overall change cycle time.
A typical change order workflow will have multiple states for defining, routing, and approving a change. At each stage, as a best practice and to avoid errors at a later stage of the workflow, you need to validate the information required for a change before progressing to the next stage.
With this release, a new change audit capability has been added to better manage and validate the definition of a change order as it progresses through its lifecycle states and workflow. Through a proactive action, you can audit the change order for any missing affected object details before you promote the change order to its next lifecycle state. This prevents incomplete or incorrect information, reduces change cycle time, and creates faster approval cycles.
Using this new capability, you can audit and uncover any validation errors in real time while retaining the context of your change. This ensures you can be confident in promoting the change in its workflow. This improves the process and reduces the definition and approval cycle times, resulting in faster implementation cycles for your business.
As you manage changes and iterations on your products, you may want to work on changes that are effective in the future rather than immediately. This requires you to specify an effectivity date to indicate when you would like to implement the change.
With this release, you can now specify a future effective date for a revision associated with a change order. This capability allows you to phase in changes on a given date. Changes will be defined on top of latest effective revision. You can specify the effectivity date for each affected object line, giving you full control of specifying different effectivity dates.
With future effectivity, you can now stack changes and work on concurrent changes rather than waiting for changes to be implemented before starting on a new change. As such, you can work more effectively and make faster progress on your new product development process.
Workflows are a critical function of a well-established new product development process. With workflows, you need an easy way to be alerted to tasks that you need to perform, and then to perform those tasks. For example, approving a change order is a workflow item that can appear in a user’s workflow and be directly accessed from the workflow for completion.
With this release, the Notifications information tile on the application landing page is renamed “My Worklist.” The following types of notifications are accessible in the Worklist information tile:
- Approval notifications for change orders
- Approval notifications for new item requests
- Request for comment notifications
- Send object notifications
An icon is available to allow navigation directly to a change order from the notification. Notifications are now focused solely on approving and providing comments for the approval. For simplification purposes, the attachment panel that originally allowed you to attach documents to a notification has been removed.
Oracle Product Hub Cloud provides the functional layer to extend the enterprise product record into the commercialization phase, and to centralize product data across heterogeneous systems. This enables you to establish a blended product master record that is clean, standardized, accurate, and current. From products that you manufacture internally to finished goods that you source from suppliers, Product Hub enables you to aggregate, enrich, and share product data for all your manufacturing and omni-channel commerce processes. Robust business rules and workflows ensure the data that you share across the enterprise is clean, complete, and valid.
This release includes significant enhancements that provide your suppliers a better experience when uploading product data using Oracle Product Hub Portal Cloud. This effectively allows your suppliers to “own” the data that they are supplying to your enterprise. It also improves your ability to manage and onboard the products that are uploaded by your suppliers. Catalog management and digital asset maintenance capabilities are also enhanced to increase your productivity, simplify user experience, and improve governance. Finally, new public web services and business events for catalogs, item classes, and publications are introduced to help you address broader integration use cases.
Your suppliers have the ability to upload items and digital assets using a file-based mechanism through the Product Hub Portal. However, the CSV and XML templates commonly used do not typically have built-in validations, nor do they contain features such as a list of valid values. This increases the possibility of suppliers providing erroneous data and adds unnecessary steps to identify and remediate data issues.
With this release, we have introduced “smart spreadsheets” that your suppliers can download and use to provide product data via the Product Hub Portal. These smart spreadsheets are generated based on the import maps you define and associate with your suppliers. For a given import map, you can generate multiple language-specific smart spreadsheets so your suppliers can provide data based on the language of their choice. Item attributes that are mapped in the import map are rendered in the smart spreadsheet along with their respective lists of valid values. Additional details for the item attributes, including data type, maximum length, precision, and so on are also included in the template and validated. Required attributes that need to be filled in for a successful import are also visually indicated to your suppliers.
The smart spreadsheets in Product Hub Portal will increase productivity and accuracy of vendor-supplied product data at source. This will reduce the time your data stewards spend remediating data issues, providing cleaner product information overall.
In previous releases, suppliers were restricted to uploading their items and digital assets using only a file-based mechanism in the Product Hub Portal. While this approach was suitable for uploading large volumes of data, it can be cumbersome and time-consuming for low volume product uploads, where a simple user interface would be more efficient.
With this release, your suppliers can now upload items and associated digital assets directly on the Product Hub Portal user interface (UI). Any errors encountered during the item submission process are displayed to your suppliers in the UI so they can be easily rectified and data resubmitted. The item data will be held in a staging area for review by your data stewards for selection and import. Your suppliers can also view the status of their uploaded products in visual information tiles. Now they can quickly see the number of items in Draft, Submitted, Accepted, and Rejected status. The information tiles also show the number of items that require additional information based on requests sent by your data stewards.
These improvements in the Product Hub Portal greatly simplify the product upload process for your suppliers, who can improve productivity by creating and submitting low volume product records directly in the UI. They can also monitor the status of their uploaded products in a visual summary provided on the information tiles.
Suppliers need the ability to search for items they have uploaded so they can view and edit the item data as needed. Without the ability to search, your suppliers can have a difficult time keeping track of the products they have submitted, and keeping data current.
With this release, Product Hub Portal has been enhanced to enable your suppliers to perform keyword and parametric search on items they have uploaded. When performing a search, the supplier items that match the search criteria are displayed in the search results, showing the latest information provided by the supplier. The supplier is then able to perform edits on a single item or initiate a mass update directly from the search results. Item attributes and digital assets can both be edited using Product Hub Portal. Any errors encountered during the editing process are displayed to the supplier so they can easily be rectified and data resubmitted.
By leveraging these intuitive search and edit capabilities, your suppliers now have full visibility of the products they have uploaded, and have simpler ways to provide updates in a timely and productive manner.
For the products that are uploaded using the Product Hub Portal user interface, you need the ability to specify what information you want your suppliers to provide.
In order to provide this capability, the Edit Item Class page has been enhanced to support the configuration of the attribute groups that you want your suppliers to see in the Product Hub Portal UI. A new Product Hub Portal subtab is available under the Pages and Attribute Groups tab on the Edit Item Class page. Here, you can add the relevant attribute groups and sequence them based on how you want them to appear in the Product Hub Portal UI.
Because item class definition is internal to your business, your suppliers may not know which item class to select when uploading items in the Product Hub Portal UI. To alleviate this problem, you can define a mapping of your internal item class structure to an industry-recognized catalog structure (for example, Global Product Classification) using the catalog mapping functionality. When uploading products in the Product Hub Portal UI, suppliers are able to select the industry-recognized category from the category list. The system automatically identifies the corresponding item class and presents the relevant attribute groups based on what you have configured on the Edit Item Class page.
With these enhancements, your suppliers can upload correct product data directly in the Product Hub Portal UI. You can reduce your suppliers’ learning curve by eliminating the need to learn your internal item class definitions and structures.
When suppliers upload product data in the Product Hub Portal, your data stewards must be able to review the submitted data before taking the relevant action to accept, reject, or request more information. In previous releases, data submitted in the Product Hub Portal came directly to the import batch. However, this process was not optimized for an efficient review and processing of product records coming from multiple suppliers. A cross-supplier view of products and the ability to manage them efficiently in a centralized UI was needed.
With this release, a new Review Supplier Uploads task provides you with a complete view of the items and digital assets that are uploaded by your suppliers. You can review the uploaded data and accept, reject, or request more information. You can also selectively accept items provided by your suppliers. This means that only products that you plan to carry are imported into Product Hub; the rest of the items are held in a staging area for import at a later time. If you don’t plan to carry the items at any time, you can reject the items. If you need more information from your suppliers before making a decision to accept or reject, you can request more information and include specific comments so your suppliers know exactly what information to provide. You response to each item is shown to your suppliers in the Product Hub Portal so they can see what actions you have taken on their items.
With enhanced capabilities to better manage supplier product uploads, you can now be more efficient in the way you receive, review, and respond to supplier-provided products. You can accelerate product introduction by streamlining how you gather product information, accept only the products that you need, and reject the products that you do not plan to carry.
For situations where the same product is provided by multiple suppliers, you may need to blend the product data provided by those suppliers. For example, you may trust one supplier to provide you with a more accurate product description, while you rely on a different supplier for the earliest product availability information. When presenting data to your end consumers, you need the ability to merge the best and most reliable information from your multiple suppliers. Without the ability to automatically blend product data, the process of merging product data from multiple suppliers is a slow, error-prone, and cumbersome process that could potentially lead to missed sales opportunities, failed transactions, and poor customer satisfaction.
In order to address this challenge, the item rules capability has been expanded to support authoring of blending rules. You can now define blending rules at an attribute level by specifying the order of precedence for the suppliers who provide a value for the attribute. The value that ultimately gets stored for the attribute is the one provided by the highest-ranked supplier.
This new capability to blend product data from multiple suppliers enables you to accelerate your product introductions by creating a complete product record more quickly. You are also able to present cleaner and more reliable product information to your end consumers by prioritizing your most trusted sources to supply information for each individual attribute.
Import maps allow you to create a one-time mapping of columns from your data source to master data entities defined in Product Hub. While the mapping capability already provides useful features such as a drag-and-drop interface and the option to inherit maps from a parent item class, it did not previously allow you to copy an existing import map to facilitate the creation process. This caused unnecessary clicks and made you less productive.
With this release, you can now create an import map by copying an existing one. You can then modify the necessary metadata as well as the column mappings in the context of the new import map. This gives you considerable productivity benefits by accelerating the import map creation process.
Import maps allow you to specify the file type of the source file for which you want to create the column mapping. In earlier releases, CSV and XML file types were supported, given their broad applicability to various use cases. However, it is also common to use text files as a data source. Without support for text-based source files, you had to transform your source files into one of the two supported formats, which added costly steps to your data on-boarding process.
This release introduces various delimiters that facilitate the mapping of text-based source files. Some examples of delimiters that are supported include comma, tab, colon, semicolon, and space. When the source text file is uploaded, the data can be automatically read based on the delimiter specified. You can then easily proceed with the mapping of the source columns to the master columns in Product Hub.
The support of delimiters in import maps expands your ability to map and onboard text files in addition to CSV and XML file formats. This facilitates your data onboarding process and eliminates costs associated with the transformation of your source data.
Depending on the type of items you manage, you can have hundreds or thousands of attributes defined in Product Hub. Without the ability to search or filter your master data attributes, manually mapping your source file columns to master data attributes is cumbersome. What you need is the ability to search for master data attributes quickly so that you can accelerate the mapping process.
With this release, you can search for master data attributes in the Master Data region of the Import Maps page. You can use a new Find Attributes field to specify the attribute name you want to search for. Based on your input, the list of available attributes is filtered to show you only the attributes that meet the search criteria. You can then easily map your source columns to one or more of the filtered list of master data columns.
This enhancement brings usability improvements and makes you more productive when creating import maps.
In previous releases, importing trading partner items (such as manufacturer part numbers and supplier items) and relating them to internal items required the trading partner items to be created first. For example, prior to importing a manufacturer part number relationship to an item, the manufacturer part number needed to be defined or imported into Product Hub ahead of time. This caused unnecessary import failures and delayed your onboarding process with new trading partner items that are included as part of importing a trading partner item relationship.
With this release, you can now import trading partner items along with their relationships in the same process, using import maps. As a result, if you are importing trading partner item relationships and you have trading partner items (such as manufacturer part numbers) that do not exist in Product Hub, the import process will automatically create and associate the missing trading partner items instead of failing the import.
This eliminates unnecessary steps when importing trading partner item relationships and greatly simplifies your data onboarding process.
As you manage the association of digital assets and other unstructured data (for example, data sheets, technical documents, manuals, and so on) with your items, you need an optimized user interface that is easy to use and geared towards mass maintenance. With previous versions of the Attachments page, your productivity was limited due to missing features such as a lack of support for mass upload or inability to view thumbnails and asset metadata.
To address this challenge, this release introduces a modern and optimized attachments component to associate digital assets to items. You are now able to attach multiple files at once with a simple drag-and-drop action from your local desktop. You can also attach a zip file and choose whether to unzip the files upon upload or keep them zipped. Once attached, you can switch between a list and grid pattern to browse the assets. In both views, thumbnails are included to help you better view the attached files. For a given digital asset, you can now also see a rich set of asset metadata stored in the content repository including file type, size, and relevant dates related to the creation and update of the asset.
With this new attachment component, you have a modern user interface that helps you be more productive in the way you upload and associate multiple digital assets. You also gain better insight into your digital assets with a quick glance at the thumbnails and the asset metadata that are now provided on the page.
This release introduces a modern user interface for catalog maintenance to help you be more productive and to enhance your user experience. You are now able to more easily view the catalog and category details, navigate the category hierarchy, and view item assignments. You are also able to filter your favorite categories more easily by selecting the Favorites check box on the Edit Catalog page.
In addition, this release simplifies the catalog creation process by removing steps that were cumbersome to your users. This includes the removal of:
- Key Flex Field (KFF) Structures. Key Flex Fields (KFFs) previously served as the primary key for catalogs and categories. The primary purpose of KFFs was to enable the automatic assignment of categories to a catalog (that is, categories with the same KFF structure as the catalog were automatically assigned to the catalog). This approach introduced unnecessary complexity to the definition of catalogs and categories, and for the majority of use cases was not required. With this release, KFF structures are removed and replaced with a new attribute called CATEGORY_CODE. The CATEGORY_CODE is automatically defaulted when you enter the category name and is editable if required.
- Enable Hierarchy for Category Option. This option is now removed from the catalog creation page. It previously controlled whether or not the catalog would have flat or hierarchical categories. You now have the option to make the catalog single-level or multi-level without going through validations that introduce unnecessary overhead.
- Manage Catalogs task from Setup and Maintenance. This task is no longer needed, because the Manage Functional Area Catalogs task enables you to create and maintain functional area catalogs within the context of a functional area.
With these improvements, you can accelerate the creation of catalogs and categories as well as improve overall productivity and user experience.
Catalogs provide the ability to categorize items for various business functions, and often represent how different business divisions view the categorization of products for their respective purposes. In order to facilitate catalog maintenance and prevent unwanted views or edits to a catalog, you need the ability to secure catalogs and categories so that each business function maintains only relevant catalogs and categories. While you could previously secure items, the ability to secure catalogs and categories was missing. This led to unnecessary page clutter. It also presented a governance challenge, as all users had the ability to view and modify all catalogs and categories, regardless of each user’s responsibility.
With this release, you now have data security on catalogs and categories. Data security provides granular control of the maintenance of catalogs, categories, category sharing, and item category assignments. When you create a catalog, you have the option to mark the catalog as public, meaning it is visible and editable by all users. If you want to secure the catalog, you can simply deselect the Public option, and you will be automatically granted view, maintain, and administrative privileges for the catalog. You can then give data security privileges, including administrator rights, to other users or roles. Only catalog administrators can assign data security privileges to other users.
Data security can be assigned at a category level, and is inherited from a parent category to a child category. If you have view and edit privileges on a parent category, you have the same privileges for all child categories. A view-only privilege only grants you the ability to view the category and item assignments. If you also want the ability to add or remove item category assignments or modify the category metadata, you need to be granted both the view and maintain privileges.
With this new capability to secure catalogs and categories, you can now efficiently govern catalog maintenance for the different business functions within your enterprise. In addition to eliminating governance concerns, you can also reduce UI clutter and focus on viewing and maintaining only the catalogs that concern you.
You have various use cases where categories of the same name can belong to multiple catalogs. For example, a web commerce catalog and a procurement catalog can both have a category with the name Electronics. Similarly, a category name could be repeated within the same catalog. For example, the category Women could appear under a Sportswear category and an Outdoor Wear category within the same Clothing catalog. In previous releases, the category name was forced to be unique, thereby preventing the creation of categories of the same name within the same catalog or across multiple catalogs. This presented a catalog maintenance challenge that required you to use unnatural category names to get around the restriction.
With this release, the category name will act as the display name of the category and no longer has to be unique. You can now use the same category name multiple times within the same catalog and across all catalogs. The only validation that is enforced is to make the category name unique within the same parent category.
With these changes to the validations of category names, you now have improved catalog maintenance capabilities with greater flexibility in the way you create categories for the different business functions in your enterprise.
Categories can be shared from one catalog to another to simplify maintenance. In earlier releases, two types of category sharing were supported: Reference and Direct. Reference sharing allows categories to be shared from a single source catalog to a target catalog in a read-only mode. Maintenance of the shared category, including the category hierarchy and item assignments, happens only in the source catalog. For example, a Summer catalog can reference a subset of categories from a Master Fashion catalog, but all the maintenance of the categories happens in the Master Fashion catalog. Direct sharing, on the other hand, copies the category details from the source catalog to the target catalog. This means the category hierarchy and item assignments could be modified freely in the target catalog. While both of these sharing methods had valid use cases, they were not intuitive to your business users and introduced maintenance challenges.
With this release, direct sharing is removed and replaced with a more intuitive copy function. You can use the copy function to copy the category metadata, category hierarchy, and item category assignments from the source catalog to the target catalog. You can then modify any of these entities in the target catalog.
Reference sharing will be retained with its existing behavior; however, you can also reference categories from multiple source catalogs in the same target catalog. For example, your Summer catalog can reference the Clothing category from your Spring catalog while it also references the Accessories category from the Master Fashion catalog. The categories that are referenced will continue to be read-only in the target catalog and editable in the source catalog, simplifying maintenance.
The share action in the Edit Catalog page allows you to select categories, category hierarchies, and/or item assignments. After selection, you are able to determine whether you want to copy or reference the selected entities.
This improvement to the category sharing capability removes confusion regarding reference versus direct sharing, and provides a more intuitive way of reusing category content across catalogs. You are able to accelerate catalog creation with a more intuitive copy function and simplify catalog maintenance by using reference sharing as necessary.
Items can be assigned to catalog categories either manually or automatically, using rules. In past releases, however, you could not specify the valid dates of the item category assignments. For example, when managing the Summer catalog, fashion items may need to be assigned to the Summer Fashion category between the beginning of June and the end of August. Without the ability to manage the assignment dates, the process of assigning and un-assigning items from the catalog categories can be a cumbersome and error-prone process.
With this release, you can now manage the start and end dates of item category assignments. When an item is assigned to a catalog category, the start date will default to the current date. You can manage category assignment dates to be end-dated or future-dated, depending on your business requirements.
The enhancement to enable dates on item category assignments streamlines your ability to control when you want your items to be assigned to a specific category. It simplifies your ability to manage date-effective item category assignments and reduces errors often caused by manual maintenance.
When managing product data, you may need to access information stored separately from the item object. For example, you may maintain a table that contains a matrix of selling restrictions by geography or target market. The relationship between a target market and a selling restriction is maintained outside of any individual item and therefore does not lend itself to be modeled as an item attribute. However, items that are planned to be sold in a given target market need to refer to the information contained in the selling restriction matrix to determine their eligibility to be sold in that target market. Without the ability to efficiently model the selling restriction matrix and its relationship to an item, it becomes a manual and error-prone process that can have costly legal and financial repercussions.
With this release, you now have the ability to create any custom object and relevant fields for the object using the extensibility framework provided by application composer. This means you can efficiently model objects like the selling restriction matrix and use them in conjunction with items. The custom objects and the field values for the objects are now available in the Item Rules framework. This provides you the ability to use item rules to assign values to an item attribute based on information contained in the custom object. In the above example, based on the intended target market of a product, you are now able to use item rules to check the selling restriction information contained in the custom object and assign a value of Sellable or Not Sellable to the relevant item attribute.
This new capability to extend custom objects provides a powerful tool to store information orthogonal to the item data. With the ability to reference custom objects and their fields in Item Rules, you can perform important validations or derive values to be assigned to an item attribute based on information stored in the custom object. This helps you eliminate manual and error-prone processes and establish a validated and reliable product data.
When onboarding product data from suppliers or external systems, the values provided may need to be modified prior to import. For example, your suppliers may provide you with Hex Codes to accurately represent the different shades of blue for a fabric you purchase from them. When presenting the fabric to your end customers, however, you may want all the Hex Code values to be standardized to the value Blue. Without the ability to effectively manage the relationship between the Hex Code values and the standardized representations, you are likely to spend considerable time and resources on unreliable manual processes, or invest in expensive data quality tools.
With the new capability to create custom objects and reference them in import map expressions, you can now address these requirements more easily. You can define a custom object containing the relationship between nonstandard values (such as Hex Codes) and their respective standardized value. You can then use import map expressions to convert the nonstandard values coming from your suppliers and external systems to the standardized value stored in the custom object as part of the import process.
This enhancement enables you to automatically transform incoming data based on information stored in a custom object or table. You are able to reduce error-prone manual processes and focus only on dealing with exceptions. You can also enhance your product data quality by addressing data standardization use cases without investing in expensive data quality tools.
Using Oracle Social Network, you can collaborate with team members on various aspects of product data. Prior to this release, Oracle Social Network was enabled only on catalogs, thereby limiting your ability to collaborate effectively on other aspects of product data.
In this release, Oracle Social Network is expanded to include items, import batches, item classes, and item rules. You can now initiate conversations related to these entities, invite team members, discuss issues, request feedback, and share relevant documents.
With the expansion of Oracle Social Network to support these additional business entities, you can collaborate more effectively on critical product data, reduce offline conversations, and enhance productivity.
The audit trail framework allows you to gain insight into what was changed, who changed it, and when it was changed to establish accountability and improve governance on product data. In previous releases, your product data stewards could audit the majority of item-related entities, including attributes, structures, and relationships, as well as set up metadata that included attribute group and value set definitions. Due to the power and flexibility of this framework, your data stewards need the ability to expand the audit capability to include additional business entities and setup metadata.
With this release, the audit trail functionality is expanded to include item classes, trading partner items, and item rule sets. In the Manage Audit Policy task (in the Setup and Maintenance work area), these entities are now available to select for audit. Because item class is a large, complex object composed of multiple child entities, your data stewards can choose to audit specific child entities of the item class. For example, they may audit security changes only to the item class, and not those related to the new item introduction workflow.
Trading partner items include supplier, customer, competitor, and manufacturer items. Your product data stewards are now able to selectively audit a specific type of trading partner item. For example, your stewards may choose to audit changes to manufacturer items only (that is, manufacturer part numbers) and not competitor items.
Item rule sets can also be audited to gain insight into who changed which rule set, and when the change occurred. Because item rule sets can contain multiple rules, the audit trail capability can be made more granular to audit specific rules within a rule set.
With the expansion of the audit trail to include these additional business entities, your data stewards now have more control to establish accountability and gain more insight into the day-to-day management of product data. After reviewing the audit history, they can also generate audit reports and export to Microsoft Excel to share product data with relevant stakeholders in the enterprise.
The publication feature publishes items, catalogs, and item classes to target applications. While this approach is suitable for bulk publication, you also need event-based publications to support near real-time integrations with other systems. Without the required web services and business events, you could not previously support these use cases effectively.
This release introduces new public web services and business events for the following business objects and processes, in addition to what was already available for items:
- Web Services for Catalogs and Item Classes. You can now use public and secure public web serivces to create, update, and query catalogs and item classes.
- Business Events for Catalogs, Item Classes, and Publication. Business events are now raised whenever catalogs and item classes are created or updated. The publication business event is raised when a publication process completes.
These enhancements enable you to support additional integration requirements and use cases for catalogs and item classes. The web services and business events are also available to Oracle Integration Cloud Service to help you develop or enhance integrations that are based on that platform.
At Oracle, delivering products that reflect a superior and secure user experience is the result of an enormous investment. To understand your pain points, we spent countless hours examining how people like you actually work and use our enterprise applications. We then work closely with product management, security experts, strategy, and development to design innovative applications that help you to be more productive, secure, efficient, and effective.
Oracle Fusion Applications Security provides a single console where IT Security Managers and Administrators can perform various functions including user lifecycle management, role definition, security policy management (both functional and data), role hierarchy maintenance, username and password policy administration, and certificate management. The console also enables users to simulate the effect of security changes, to run security reports, and download a connector for integration with Microsoft Active Directory.
In Release 12, Oracle Fusion Applications Security offers several new capabilities that offer customers the following benefits:
- A Simplified User Experience for the IT Security Manager - Prior to Release 12, security administration functions were distributed across Oracle Identity Management (OIM) and Authorization Policy Manager (APM). In Release 12, these functions are delivered through a single interface – the Security Console. OIM and APM are no longer available in R12.
- Easy Integration with Identity and Access Management (IDM/IAM) Systems - New capabilities to synchronize user account information with Identity and Access Management (IDM/IAM) systems. This synchronization enables the delivery of a Single Sign-On experience through these systems.
- An Upgrade-Safe Reference Role Model - Starting in Release 12, pre-defined roles that are shipped with Oracle Applications Security will be locked down. Customers will not be able to modify the functional and data security policies that are associated with these roles. They can, however, add new data security policies to these pre-defined roles. In addition, privileges and resources are protected. Users cannot create or modify these artifacts
- Enhanced Set of Self-Service Capabilities - Administrators are able to manage the entire user lifecycle. They can customize how notifications are generated and sent for various user lifecycle events including user account creation, and password management.
For Microsoft Active Directory (AD) and Oracle Identity Management (OIM), customers can download and install connectors that will automatically synchronize user account information between Oracle Fusion Applications and these IDM systems. As in Release 11, customers must continue to log a Service Request (SR) to set up federated Single Sign-On (SSO) between these systems. Once federation is enabled, the connectors will synchronize the information.
Release 12 also delivers a REST API based on the SCIM (System for Cross-Domain Identity Management) standard. Customers can use this API to create user accounts, modify user attributes (e.g. email), enable/disable users, and fetch user account and role information.
Locking down these security artifacts enables safe upgrades to pre-defined roles, since the possibility of conflict with customer introduced changes to these roles is now eliminated. This, in turn enables customers to safely adopt new enhancements that may be delivered with pre-defined roles in future releases. As in Release 11, customers can make copies of pre-defined roles and freely customize these copies.
Administrators can also tailor username and password generation by choosing from a list of shipped policies.
Create, manage, and assign user accounts using the Security Console. You can also search, retrieve, and manage user accounts automatically created for employees, contingent workers, supplier contacts, or partner contacts.
Manage passwords of other user accounts as an administrator. You can auto-generate or manually enter a password for a user account. You can also define password lifecycle and complexity policies. Passwords will be automatically validated against these policies.
View only certain components of a role in the graphic visualizer. You can view only the privileges, aggregate privileges or roles assigned to a role. You can also view the graphic visualizer in full screen mode and pan over a specific region in the graph.
For complex roles, these features enable you to reduce the amount of information visualized and to focus on the area within the role hierarchy that requires your attention.
Define user name generation rules that will be used to auto-generate the user name when a user is created. You can define user name generation rules to be based on the user’s first and last names, first initial plus last name, e-mail or person or party number. You can also choose to use a system generated user name if the rule fails to generate a user name.
Define policies for password management. These policies can define the duration for various password lifecycle events like password expiration and password warning generation. You can also set the complexity of generated passwords by choosing from a pre-defined list of rules.
Define custom notification templates for your user account life cycle events. You can also use pre-defined notification templates. These templates will be used to generate notifications for events like user account created, user password reset and user password expiry warning.
Identify a predefined (factory shipped) Oracle role when viewing the role. Predefined Oracle roles are locked, and you cannot customize the Oracle-delivered functional and data security policies associated with these roles. You can, however, add data security policies to these roles.
Simplify Single Sign-On with Microsoft Active Directory by downloading and installing the Active Directory Bridge from the Security Console. Automatically synchronize user account information between Oracle Fusion Applications Security and Microsoft Active Directory.
Enhanced password reset flow. Now a notification email will be sent to the user who requests a password reset. The user will be required to click on this link within a specific period of time to change the password. This replaces the previous flow where users were required to answer a series of challenge questions to reset the password.
Streamline use of some of the functionality that you have used in the past with the Security Console. The Security Console now includes the following functionality:
- User account information such as password, lock, and unlock are managed in the security console.
- Roles are now managed directly in the Security Console and are no longer managed within Oracle Identity Manager or Authorization Policy Manager.
- Privileges are predefined by Oracle and are no longer created or managed by the user.
- You can now view, create or change roles without first selecting an application.
Resources are now granted through privilege and are no longer granted directly to roles.
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