Oracle IPM Invoice Processing Accelerators

Oracle is rolling out best-practice ERP AP invoice processing solution accelerators as part of their 11g Fusion Middleware offering. Called “adapters”, these ERP software components are available for Oracle E-Business Suite, PeopleSoft, and Siebel.

The accelerators are a mechanism to ensure scanned invoices reach a backend ERP system for final handling even when there are issues in the invoice data gathered using OCR forms recognition during scanning. This allows for minimal user exception handling or intervention prior to each invoice arriving in the ERP system. The idea is to simply load the scanner with invoices, press a button, and then handle the invoices once they arrive in the backend.

In order for this approach to work, Oracle’s solution accelerators use XML documents to contain header and line invoice data. The XML documents are combined with business rules in an Oracle BPEL Process Manager workflow that automatically massages the data into a format that will be accepted by the ERP import functionality such as the Oracle EBS open interface table import. The invoice image resides in the Oracle IPM system.

In the case where data can’t be massaged sufficiently for insert, the invoice is keyed from image from within the BPEL workflow. Invoices that directly insert into the ERP system arrive either ready for validation, matching, payment, coding, etc., or are placed on hold with a hold code and a hold reason code. Some sample hold and reason codes are:

Purchase Order PO must be valid and open.
PO vendor must match invoice vendor.
Supplier Supplier is required.
Supplier must exist in vendor master.
Supplier ID and supplier site ID must match.

There are many more business rules that operate on each invoice inside of workflow that meet the requirements of the ERP system.

Oracle has created a flash demo of a scan to EBS process at:

Oracle has also created a PDF document that highlights the E-Business Suite Adapter:

As an Oracle partner, ImageSource has begun to implement these solutions in the field.

Clint Lewis
Senior Systems Engineer
ImageSource, Inc.

Integrating Disparate Applications at the Client Level

One product I really enjoy working with and thinking of ways to use is ILINX Integrate. The product is designed to bridge the gap between separate applications on the client side with no custom applications. If you can administer an ECM solution, configuring ILINX Integrate should come easily. ILINX Integrate is installed and configured at the client level so there is no need to modify the Line of Business or other external application. In a nutshell what the tool is designed for is passing data from one application to another. If you have implemented a server side integration in the past, think about it: how many hours were spent designing, implementing, and testing the integration? How many groups were involved and had to sign off on the idea of an integration before you could even start thinking about designing it. Personally I think that is the biggest benefit of an ILINX Integrate implementation, the ability to link two applications without having to make any changes to the applications you are integrating. From my experience the application owners don’t care, once they hear it is client side and no change will be made to the application they cease to be involved. Of course there is a flip side to this; every workstation you want to have the integration configured on will need to be touched. The product can be installed and configured remotely, but still there is a level of effort there.

It can be rather simple to decide whether ILINX integrate or a server side integration is a better fit. First off, can the applications you want to pass data between be modified or is there a built in mechanism for transferring data? If no, then a product like ILINX Integrate might be the only option. The other criteria for deciding if ILNX Integrate might be a fit is how many clients would need the proposed integration? If it is just a single work group or department that needs the integration, is it worth the level of effort to create the integration versus the cost of ILINX Integrate. The same applies to an enterprise implementation: compare the estimated level of effort for implementing a custom integration versus the estimated level of effort to distribute and manage ILINX Integrate to clients across the enterprise.

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Business Process Optimization

For those of you who attended my breakout session at the NEXUS ECM Conference on automating business processes this topic will be familiar to you.  If you missed the session, this blog will provide a glimpse into the world of automating and optimizing business processes.
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