What is most valuable?
We always look for the ease of being able to 'data mine' various tasks. At least in my area, we want to make sure that we're paying the right invoice, the invoice is going to the right address, that sort of thing. We have set up all of the reports in BI Discoverer to ensure that what we are paying and what we're doing is certainly what we wanted to do for that week, to make sure that we're also not duplicating payments.
It's also really helpful for our subcontracts with vendors. It compiles a list and helps us to stay organized with to-be-paid invoices relative to amounts, vendor names, etc.
How has it helped my organization?
It's very similar to what we have with E-Business Suite. For example, in the R department, it data mines employee data to determine what's needed, such as correct employee information. If there's a data anomaly, Discoverer cleans up the data on a constantly flowing basis.
For payables and financials, we utilize it to ensure the sub-ledger on one contract is also in line with what has been sent over to the ledger. We need to predict what kind of payments were made on a contract are because, for example, maybe it's a cash basis and we have to back out any accruals because there's no such thing as accruals on a cash basis. Discoverer helps us to account for that.
What needs improvement?
They need to try to develop reports to tie different tables together. Currently, to pull the data into one nice, neat report takes a more advanced technically-minded person to develop. We would, as the end user, like to be able to have a little bit more ease in compiling these reports, although we do recognize that in the future Discoverer is going away. There are other technologies out there which we are actively pursuing. It would be nicer had we had a little bit more latitude on developing reports on our own as a functional person.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
It was a lot more streamlined. Some of the tables had changed and some of the reports had to be modified a bit, but nothing to the extreme of having to rewrite everything that we've done or Discoverer being a show-stopper. We would always upgrade Discoverer when we did the EBS upgrade as well, so that was never usually one of the show-stoppers. Everything has deployed pretty smoothly.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Discoverer has been very stable and we've had no real issues. It works, certainly at this point, since there's no real development being put into it. It could work better, but again, we're looking at other solutions to fill that void.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We've had no issues scaling it for our needs.
How is customer service and technical support?
I don't think there have been anything really, at least recently, relative to any issues on Discoverer. It seems to being going pretty well and there's been no reason to contact technical support about it.
How was the initial setup?
When we did upgrades, it seemed to be a lot more simpler than with E-Business Suite because most the reports just transitioned over to the new version without really much intervention. A couple things had to be done, but for the most part it did seem to go more smoothly than the EBS implementation.
What other advice do I have?
If somebody is going to go the route of Discover, you would need to get training. Ensure that you have good tech support internally to develop the reports, because a lot of times, especially with me as the end user, can't go over multiple tables and develop a lot of my own reports as easily and efficiently as somebody who has the more technological background.