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Blog | May 13, 2015

R12 Trading Community Architecture (TCA): What is it and do I have to pay for it?


INTRODUCTION:

Going back (way back) to 11i Oracle introduced some basic Trading Community Architecture (TCA) features. I’m sure we all remember the standard Netting Report! These TCA features and capabilities were further developed with the release of R12. In this blog we will discuss the different components and terminology used in Trading Community Architecture (TCA) along with key features in an R12 environment.

TCA – what it is and what it isn’t?

Oracle Trading Community Architecture (TCA) is a data model that allows you to manage complex information related to your organization’s business partners. These include parties, customers, suppliers, employees, banks and customer & supplier contacts, belonging to your business community (as included within your Oracle eBS environment). Additionally included are organizations, locations, and the network of hierarchical relationships – all part of TCA. This architecture is essentially a “new and improved” Data Model. It is not a licensable module/application which has to be purchased individually.

It is obviously important and mission critical to have a relationship view enabling you to manage complex information about your parties, customers, supplies, etc. - all who now can reside in Oracle’s TCA. These data and relationships are maintained within the TCA Registry, and allow Oracle’s TCA to become your single source truth. And, if so desired, complementing this TCA model with various Oracle Data Management tools, you can push out, take in, or bi-directionally rationalize data from legacy systems. The data is natively integrated across most of the Oracle EBS modules via a user interface. This model allows you to meet today’s complex business relationships.

Foundational Definitions:

1)  Party- Represents an entity that can enter into business relationships and or business transactions across your organization. There are four types of PARTIES:

  1. Person - A unique individual of interest to the owner of the business software.
  2. Organization - A legal entity recognized by some government authority.
  3. Group - A combination of two or more people, organizations or groups created for the use of the owner of the business software. Parties of type ‘Group’ allow for the grouping of any number of other parties into a single entity which enable modeling of households and buying consortiums.
  4. Relationship. The association between an individual person and an organization. Usually it’s a contact at an organization or group. Parties of type ‘Relationship’ allow for the relationship between two parties to be viewed as a party in its own right. Relationship is an association between two party entities. It is a party entity within itself meeting the following criteria:
  • Has a Role - Has a Role specifies the nature of relationship.

For example- member of, contact of, CEO of, Admin of, Manager of, Married to, Spouse of etc.

  • Indicates Nature - Hierarchy or Matrix.
  • Indicates Direction- Superior and Subordinate.
  • Can become a Party - A relationship becomes a party in itself.

The relationship model enables you to understand the complex relationships among members of your trading community while allowing you to utilize this information to make more informed business decisions. 

2)  Location. A Location is a physical space supported by an address. In earlier releases of Oracle, there was a risk of data redundancy if more than one customer shared the same site or location. TCA allows you to eliminate these redundancies. Multiple location types can be defined, e.g., bill-to, ship-to, mail-to.

  • There is no duplication of an address.
  • It is possible to maintain Customer History per address.
  • It is also possible to maintain important Install Base information.

3)  Party Site. A party site links a party with a location and describes the usage of that Location for the Party (e.g., mailing address, billing address, home address, etc.). Additionally, it allows Parties to be associated to one or more Locations and any one Location to be associated with Parties. 

4)  Accounts, Roles, Sites, Contact

a.  Account - A Customer Account represents the business (selling) relationship that your organization with a party. It is a roll-up point to track the multiple data such as account balances, AR, purchases, and payments.

A Party may have one or more Customer Accounts.

Stores details about the financial relationship between a Party and the implementing org’s business

A combination of an account and party represents the logical “Customer”

b. Account Role – Describes the relationship that a party can have in regards to controlling or using the account. For example Account User, Guarantor, Contact.

c.  Account Site – A Customer Account Site is a party site that is used by a customer account, for example, for billing or shipping purposes. It is unique for customer account and a party site.

d. Account Contact – A Party contact used in the context of a customer account.

5)  Contacts

Contacts – A contact is a person in the context of an organization, having a relationship between an organization and a person or between two people, (this can be either a party contact or an account contact). People who have a contact or employment relationship with a party entity. A contact can exist for a customer at the account or an address level. A person usually acts as a contact for an organization, but can also be a contact for another person. For example, an administrative manager could be the contact for an executive in the organizations.

  1.   Contact Point – It is a means of contacting a party i.e. telephone, fax, email, URL, cell phone etc.
  2.   An entity may have one or more Contact Points and it can be applied to:
  • A Party (person, organization, group or relationship)
  • A Site or Location
  • A Party at a Site or Location

6)  Parties Vs Account in TCA

a.  From an application perspective, one of the most important things to understand about the TCA model is that the concept of “customer” is separated into two layers: The Party layer and the Account layer. 

b.  When CRM applications refer to “Customer” they are referring to the Party Layer.

c.   On the other hand, when ERP applications refer to “Customer” they are referring to the Account Layer. Confusion arises because both are using the word “Customer” to refer to two different things.

d.  Parties represent persons or organizations who may, or may not have purchased from the implementing organization

e.  Accounts should be created once a party makes a purchase or establishes a financial agreement.

f.    The combination of a party and its account(s) is considered a Customer.

g.  The Party Layer captures intrinsic truths about a person or organization.

h.  The Account Layer captures the details describing the Party’s financial relationship with the implementing organization.

i.     The Account Layer cannot exist without the Party Layer.

Summary

TCA allows organizations to be well equipped to face the historical challenges with BIG DATA. The ability to rationalize and centralize fragmented, incomplete, or inaccurate data has become a reality within Oracle eBS. This ability, supported by a strategic use and configuration of TCA, will provide a strong ROI with expected results being; 1) Enhanced and clean reporting, 2) Increased accuracy, 3) Synchronization of legacy data, and 4) A higher level of confidence in your data. And remember – as part of your Oracle EBS Suite - you own this now!