Tuesday, December 13, 2016

HR Interfaces Strategy in Fusion Applications

Overview
One of the most critical technical work streams associated with implementing Oracle Fusion HCM is building and deploying new Inbound and Outbound interfaces with the system. Fusion Applications support both inbound and outbound integration; however different tools are available to build each kind of integration. Some of the considerations while designing interfaces are –
  • Tools and Methods
  • Full file or Delta only
  • Approach for integration
  • Interface scheduling
  • File transfer strategy including archiving

Tools and Methods
·         HCM Extract
·         BI Publisher
·         Oracle Transaction Business Intelligence (OTBI)
·         File Based Loader (FBL)
·         Web Services

Full File vs. Delta only
Integration requirements are different for each vendor and internal systems. Generation of full file could be easy in source system, but processing in the target system could be time consuming.
The requirement should be evaluated to identify if changes only (i.e. Delta) or full file will meet the needs.

Approach for integration

Outbound Integration

Outbound integration in Fusion is based on following Oracle delivered tools –
·         HCM Extract
·         BI Publisher
·         Oracle Transaction Business Intelligence (OTBI)

Following table should be used to decide approach for the outbound integration. The approach below is applicable to HR, Benefits and Payroll interfaces.
Integration Type
Full File
Change Only
Simple Integration
Oracle Transaction Business Intelligence (OTBI) or BI Publisher Report
HCM Extract and Bi Publisher
Advanced Integration
HCM Extract and Bi Publisher
HCM Extract and Bi Publisher

Output Type
The delivered tool can be used to generate output in different formats – XML, Excel, CSV, Flat Files

Approach using HCM Extract and BI Publisher
Creating outbound interfaces using HCM Extract involves multiple steps –

Approach using BI Publisher
Using Fusion BI Publisher for developing interfaces and reports involves these steps -

Inbound Integration

Integration using Oracle File-Based Loader (FBL)
Oracle File Based Loader (FBL) tool has been released by Oracle in Release 4 of Fusion HCM Applications and further refined in current release. The interface design using File Based Loader (FBL) is based below assumptions –
·         All foundation data should be converted using File Based loader tool
·         The integration is based on Comma Separated File (CSV) in File Based Loader (FBL) format
·         The interface cannot be scheduled, and must be run manually
·         Once FBL data file is generated, the batch is created and processed

Integration using Web Services

Oracle Fusion Applications exposes many web services which can be used to build inbound integration.
Note: Fusion Applications Releases 7 is expected to expose web services that are available for external use. The list of available Web Services and Business Events are published in Oracle Enterprise Repository (OER). Though Oracle Fusion Applications are designed using the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) principles, not all services are necessarily suited for integration purposes. Those services that are tagged in OER with the “EXTERNAL” keyword and have Compatibility equal to “Supported –Backward Compatibility Assured” should be used for Interface and Integration purposes.

These consumable web services can be consumed by any of following methods –
·         Existing Middleware Platform
Fusion Applications exposed web services can be consumed by any existing middleware platform that enterprise is using (i.e. TIBCO, Fusion Middleware)
Note: in an on-premise installation, Fusion Middleware comes with Fusion Applications

·         Java based integration
In this approach java program is used to call web services. This approach needs a third party scheduler to schedule the interface

Interface Scheduling
Interfaces can be scheduled to run as per the requirement – Hourly, Daily, Weekly etc. Before scheduling interfaces, following steps should be performed –
  • Identify interfaces scheduling requirements – Time, frequency
  • Identify dependencies between interfaces. For ex: the interface to send foundation data details (i.e. Job, Department etc.) must be scheduled to run first before running transactional interface.


Note: Currently, recurring schedule is not available for HCM extract based interfaces

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