Advice for Rolling out Smartphone Applications for E-Business Suite
By: Ketan Thanki, Dynegy
Since mid-2014, Oracle has continued to release various smartphone applications that work with Oracle E-Business Suite. To date they have released 22 such applications. They are compatible and backported to work with EBS version 12.1.3. Most of the applications that Oracle has released are surrounding HCM, Financials, Supply Chain and Manufacturing modules. These applications come pre-licensed with the module of the application.
Some of the benefits of rolling out smartphone applications with EBS include:
- Making the applications and data available on a smartphone
- Additional User Interface option
- Making modules accessible to users in remote locations
- Shortening implementation cycles
- Accelerating the decision-making process by giving them access to data and taking action on exception type of transactions
- Low cost licensing and implementation
If you're considering deploying the smartphone applications that run with Oracle E-Business Suite in your organization, continue reading for tips and a short video.
The two most important documents that are needed as a reference related to smartphone applications for Oracle E-Business Suite are below:
- Oracle E-Business Suite Mobile Apps, Release 12.1 and 12.2 Documentation Index (Doc ID 1641772.1)
- Oracle E-Business Suite Mobile Apps Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Doc ID 2064887.1)
The above two documents provide all the information for each of the smartphone application that Oracle has released. They not only list the application and the modules, but also specify the patches needed to get the applications enabled as well as the steps for administering them. These two documents are also frequently updated by Oracle. It is therefore recommended to add them as a favorite on My Oracle Support.
Below is a list of recommendations based on the lessons learned from the deployment and use of smartphone applications for Oracle E-Business Suite at my company back in 2014-15:
- Ensure that the latest version of smartphone apps are installed/updated: While the newer versions of the patches were released, newer versions of the applications were also released. The newer versions of the patches had to be tested with the newer versions of the apps, simultaneously.
- Ensure apps tier is configured appropriately: The apps tier setting/configuration needs to be as recommended by the administrator's guide. The presence of an unwanted .jar file in the incorrect folder on the apps tier caused the apps to freeze after login as well as error messages at the time of login to the app.
- Ensure VPN connectivity is enabled for all mobile apps users. Pay special attention to those who generally do not connect to the VPN. Accessing the metadata and syncing the data on these apps needs to have VPN enabled if the apps tier is behind the firewall.
- Test thoroughly: As with any other app, ensure thorough testing is completed and that the business and use cases are met by the respective apps.
- Roll out to a pilot group of users first: Always roll out the apps to a select group of users. This will assist with ironing out any issues with app connectivity and specific use cases that the users expect.
- Larger group rollout after all issues resolved with pilot group: The applications can be rolled out to a larger group of users after a successful test run by the pilot group of users. This approach will minimize issues with the larger group of users and may encourage more adoption among the users.
- Provide adequate user documentation on:
- VPN setup and connection: Ensure the users have exact steps to configure VPN settings on the mobile device and then steps to connect to the VPN. The connection settings are different for iOS and Android devices.
- App installation: Provide steps for downloading the appropriate app, installation and the configuration of the application for first time use. The application needs the EBS URL to download the configuration file and enable login.
- App features: Provide the app features to the users in a user guide.
- Troubleshooting tips: Provide steps to troubleshoot the app errors, specifically on connection and login. Most of the apps have a login feature and can be enabled by the user on their device easily.
Continue Learning about Smartphone Applications
Expand your knowledge on the information found in the OAUG Pro Tips video and network with other users. Become a member of the Mobile Apps for EBS Special Interest Group through your OAUG Profile and sign up for the LinkedIn Group. Also, join me and the OAUG Mobile Apps for EBS Special Interest Group (SIG) at our session at COLLABORATE 17.