Primavera P6 is the flagship of the Oracle Primavera Suite. When people are unfamiliar with P6, we make the comparison with Microsoft Project. But to put things into perspective, if you want to build a treehouse or plan a wedding, Microsoft Project is a great tool. But if you are responsible for building an interstate highway system, a research laboratory, or a series of nuclear reactors, where large teams of people must complete a series of complex tasks, then you need P6!
We like P6 so much that one of our own wrote a book on it: Oracle Primavera P6 Version 8, from Packt Publishing.
Unifier is all about Business Processes. At its core Unifier is a platform for creating data-entry forms and tying them into workflows so that users can enter data and route tasks through a process. But for our clients Unifier is often used for document control. This means managing budgets, contracts, invoices, funding, submittals, drawings, and the many other documents involved with project management. To this end, Oracle provides a Unifier module called Project Cost and Controls, which provides a large set of standard out-of-the-box business processes. The great thing about Unifier is that if a client needs more processes, or simply needs to tweak an existing process, this can be done right out of the box.
Primavera Contract Management
Calance implemented its first integration in 2001 on Primavera Contract Management (PCM), which back then was named Expedition. This product is designed to manage project control documents. It is optimized for General Contractors, and suits their needs very well. Its cost system is flexible, yet powerful, and our expertise is in tying cost information between PCM and financial systems. Whereas an accounting system can be rather rigid in its costs, PCM is designed to let users easily make forecasts so that they can more accurately estimate project cost at completion.
The future of PCM is not bright, however. For years PCM and Unifier competed for similar markets. When in 2012 Oracle bought Skire, the company which created Unifier, this marked the beginning of end of active development of PCM. Support for PCM is planned to end in August 2016, according to current statements from Oracle.
We are sad to see this fine product nearing the end of its life. It has served many companies very well over the years, and it is a shame that Oracle cannot simply let it continue. The downside to Oracle is that not every PCM customer will naturally upgrade to Unifier. Instead, many companies, and many of our clients, are asking themselves what they truly need PCM for, and what are all the options available. There are many alternative systems out there, and some, like Procore, are pretty exciting to our clients, and to us as well.
PeopleSoft is widely used in the public sector, particularly in government and education. It is designed around managing people, but has strong accounting and project controls modules. In particular, it is good at tracking funding sources across projects, which is essential when projects are funded from a variety of sources such as grants and bonds. Much of our integration work with PeopleSoft involves transferring cost data between systems, and implementing control measures to ensure that project costs are allocated properly.
PeopleSoft is quite amenable to integration due to its built-in integration processes, most notably Component Interfaces, and staging table uploads. Client examples of our work integrating PeopleSoft include the San Diego Unified School District, Jefferson County Public Schools, and the Massachusetts Port Authority.
JD Edwards was the first ERP system that Calance integrated with, back when the version called World 7.3 was out, running on a DB2 database on an AS400. Thank goodness that the product has evolved since then! In fact, Oracle improves JDE every year, making it more user friendly and more powerful. JDE is widely used in a number of industries including Oil, Gas & Mining, Manufacturing, and Infrastructure.
Client examples of our work integrating with JD Edwards includes ValleyCrest, Public Storage, and Aegion.
Timberline (Sage 300)
Sage 300 is also well-known as Timberline, a solid accounting system used by many mid-sized construction firms across the US.
Calance made their first “out of the box” integration solution for Timberline many years ago, and at the request of Primavera. At the time, Primavera has a product called TGIF which integrated data between Expedition and Timberline. But it was not core to Primavera’s vision, and when they discontinued it, Calance took that opportunity to offer up an integration solution for that market. We continue to do so today, though the suite of integrations has grown to include P6 and Timberline Estimating as well.
Procore is a fairly new product, but one which the Calance Integration Group is really excited about. It is unique in that it is only available as a hosted system. And while some hosted systems we have integrated in the past have been difficult to work with, that is not the case with Procore! This system was “born on the web”, and uses modern technology from the ground up, working well on modern browsers and giving users the simple and clean experience that users are coming to expect.
It not only delivers an excellent document controls system for our clients, but it offers a first-class API for integrations. We have worked with their developers in the Beta program, and they are a nice, energetic, and intelligent team. Their API is fast, easy, and well-documented, and it is actively developed as new features are added to Procore.
We look forward to helping our clients to make the most of this exciting new system!