The Post R12 upgrade had me pretty excited about Publisher I will admit. I couldn't help feeling slightly giddy the first time I got my hands on that shiny new R12 EBS environment. I was excited to see what wonderful outputs would be available using the Oracle R12 BI Publisher functionality.

Rather naively I was expecting all my key reports to be in a wonderful Excel format, with all the columns I could ever want in a layout that would be easy for me to do some Excel magic and turn into business answers.

When I took the new toy out for a spin, I was quite disappointed in my findings. After running the Account Payable Trial balance, Invoice on Hold report and many more I was saddened to find the outputs to be still in Text format or MS Word/Excel. Instead of nice tidy rows and columns, I received unusable, sections of data, under blocks of other data. There was no method of connection between the headers and rows. I found myself thinking, “How could they?”

Not to be disheartened, I browsed the Oracle sites hoping that someone else was experiencing the same minor setback. Perhaps a patch to upgrade the output was all that was needed. With some research the message was clear that any end user could modify the template using MS Word. Excellent I thought. I can definitely do that. I proceeded to install the BI Publisher tools onto my PC to allow me to modify the RDF file and make my amazing output myself. Challenge accepted.

Things started off fairly promising. I was able to add some good formatting using functionality I was familiar with. Pretty happy camper. But then, things progressively got more complicated as I tried to complete the tasks needed to create my perfect layout. I remember thinking, “How do I loop each header record so it would appear on the relevant lines?” I was dangerously getting close to needing some proper training. Yikes.

Then just as I thought I was getting somewhere… That one particular key field that I needed, you know, the one I couldn't live without wasn't in the XML file. At this stage we are now talking about getting a developer in to build a custom report because we now need a custom XML file. This was a major disappointment-- yet another reporting feature/tool that hadn't been designed for the end user.

So unfortunately I can’t write a positive review of the BI Publisher features, but I can write an honest one. After such frustration I couldn’t help but think how frustrated others are going to feel once they encounter similar experiences. How many actual accountants, procurement officers and HR administrators etc. will actually be able to pick up BI Publisher and create a perfect report? I suspect not many and that is disheartening.

Did you have success with BI Publisher? Perhaps you love the standard outputs? Let me know in the comments below. 

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