Day 1 2007 OOW – Financial Services User Group Meeting

By Larry Grey • November 12, 2007


Well, I ended up taking Oracle up on the Blogger registration for Open World (see here for background).

The first session I attended is the Financial Services User Group Meeting. Since we have a long history with this user group (many of our customers are very involved in this group), I felt it was important to see what things they’ve been thinking about.

Here are the concerns that I’ve been hearing that I was looking to get answers for:

Future of FSI Analytic Apps

Most of the Financial Services organizations we’ve been working with have made a significant investment in PeopleSoft EPM, notably in the analytic applications supporting Financial Services on that platform. They’ve been getting mixed messages about the future of that product, including some last-minute cancelled sessions to discuss the future of CPM at Oracle. The rumor mill is saying that Oracle is killing EPM in favor of its eBusiness-driven data warehousing products, but that doing Financial Services vertical applications was not in the plans.

Future of reporting tools

Again, most of the Financial Services organizations use PeopleSoft nVision pretty extensively for management reporting. They would like to know the plans for investment in this product and what will happen in Fusion.

Here is what I learned from this session

Discussion of the future of the FSIUG:

Laura Stobbs of Everett Jones in st louis was the facilitator for meeting. She talked about how the FSIUG has recently moved to be under the Quest umbrella instead of being completely independent. There was a good amount of discussion about the enhancement request process as part of this.

Discussion on positioning for fusion:

Citigroup mentioned that they are getting mixed messages from Oracle’s field organization with respect to moving to fusion. Specifically that their salespeople have told them to migrate to the eBusiness Suite to be ready for Fusion, since fusion will be built off of it.

Patric Boyle replied that customers should not expect to move to Fusion before 2012 – 2013. It is his belief that this would be the earliest that fusion would be avilalbe for FSI customers. Too much is being brought over from PeopleSoft from a data model perspective: effdt, allocations, trees, and that it will take some time to rationalize that.

Development Update:

Amira Morcos discussed the development plans with respect to financials and financial services. Here is what she discussed:

9.0/9.1 Status:

  • Combo edit performance improvements in 9.0 and request to backport to 8.9. This has been done.
  • Re-write of allocations from Cobol to App Engine caused rounding errors for allocations. This is targeted to 8.9. Amira asked for more use cases. The issue is balancing accuracy with performance (row-by-row versus set-based). Development is hanging on this.
  • Allocations enhancement – include not equal to to reduce the number of allocation steps
  • There will be new workflow enhancements included. PeopleTools currently has new workflow functionality that eliminates the need to to customize the application to get approvals (aka virtual approver). 9.1 will have workflows built into the product using this technology. Customers upgrading tools without the application upgrade can take advantage of this, but it will include some customization if done prior to applicaiton adoption of this.

9.2 priority status

  • Back-date transactions (value date). Development needs to know what that means and needs additional use cases from the user group on this feature.
  • Lead-in to missing functionality (daily close as a modification by CitiGroup)
  • Combo edit on fields or data sets other than chartfields (development wants to know what they are, needs details)

Amira followed-on by asked more long-term planning. In 3-5 years, where do folks want to be from an ERP perspective.

  • Citigroup responded by saying that it is having troubles because they want to do all reporting in EPM, but they have special projects that have operational requirements, which causes challenges for them. The challenge is a disconnect between ERP and EPM.

Amira followed up by talking about Collaborative workspaces, which is a PeopleTools product that originally was developed for the as part of the Portal product. Collaborative workspaces provides a means of defining a set of tasks, assignments, and calendar related to a set of goals a group share (and enable the colloboration across members). She felt that building out workspaces that support the key business processes in financials, such as closing and reconciliation. She asked to have the user group provide other business processes that would fit into this from a Financial Services Perspective.

There was an unofficial discussion on upcoming releases (the people in the conversation will remain nameless to protect them).

  • 9.1 should be rolled out in latter part of 2008 (8.50 tool dependency). HR is planned to release first, then followed by other suites. Financials could have its 9.2 release in the middle of 2009 (but will deny)

New Global Business Unit
One of the biggest announcements is that ORacle will be forming a Financial Services Global Business Unit (I think I heard 10,000 people, but that sounds to be too many). This group will include both field-level and corporate resources. This group is currently gathering information for PeopleSoft 9.2.

Although no details were discussed (there is a session specifically talking about the new business unit), it is my belief that this organization will be tasked with figuring out (and potentially developing) the future analytic applications for fusion supporting this industry.

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